Mention a hurricane to an oyster farmer and you'll likely get a weather report. While mostly contradictory, these reports can be useful for their range of entertainment. Part meteorology, part superstition, with a healthy dose of gut instinct thrown in, weather predictions for a hurricane provide hours (and hours) of fascinating farm banter.
A casual polling of Island Creek growers resulted in these thoughts:
Mike George: "Bah. We'll get 40 mph, easy. But that's no worse than what it blows like here in the winter. And personally? I don't care. I've got 100 crates stacked up in my cooler right now."
Gregg Morris: "Of course it won't rain! I mean, it may rain a little. But not a lot. You know why? Because we prepared early. If I'd left my float on the mooring, we'd get a ton. It's free insurance!"
Skip Bennett: "Who's got a blender?"
Lisa Scharoun: "Good boogie boarding this weekend I bet."
Billy Bennett: "Oh, it looks bad. We'll probably lose power. Better get those coolers filled with ice."
And, of course, I picked up a few non oyster farming locals' thoughts, too:
Guy 1 at True Blue roadside bbq stand: "Whaddya think we'll get? 60, 70 miles per hour?" Guy 2: "Nah. 40 easy. Maybe if you're on the Cape, you'll see 75. But up here? 50 tops." Guy 1: "Humph. I'll bet it gets up to 60." Guy 2: "Yeah, like I said, 60 easy." Guy 1: "Nuthin' like a good storm on the haah-bah." Guy 2: "Got that right."
I love days like today. Despite the shaky predictions on wind gusts and jokes about hurricane parties, and even with Hurricane Earl barreling up the coastline, folks on the farm are in an easy going mood. Summer's winding down, the guys are taking a three-day weekend. And football season's right around the corner. Earlier this week, down at the harbor, things weren't so lighthearted though. In just under 36 hours, about 90% of the boats were taken off their moorings by nervous owners while the growers moved their big floats and loose gear over to the Blue Fish River for safety. I'd show you a picture but my camera's on the fritz. This morning, the harbor looked a little like this.
As for me, I've been neck deep in Oyster Fest planning so the weather only concerns me a little. Worst-case scenario, we get 6+inches of rain tonight which would put us in a rain closure, meaning our growers can't harvest for up to 4 days. Since we're about 8 days away from the Fest, I figure even with a closure, we'll still have about 48 hours to get 35,000 oysters out of the water in time for next Saturday's festivities. But, you know, no big deal. No amount of fretting or anxiety can stop a hurricane... so we'll just wait and see.
Speaking of the Fest, if you're wondering where my posts have been, you can blame it on that big ole 3,000 person party coming up next weekend. Between fretting about when our Duxbury raised pig will get slaughtered, keeping on top of our crazy number of volunteers, and wondering when our t-shirts will arrive, I've hardly had time to sleep, let alone blog. All that work, plus a few other things have been keeping me busy...sort of.
I mean, can I really complain?
Just keep your fingers crossed for good weather next weekend. And hopefully, I'll see you on the beach.