Sunday, December 26, 2010

Last oyster harvest of the year

OK, so I've probably posted enough oyster-related items this year. Here's the last of 2010, because the oyster season in the town where we fish ends this week. As I write this, the snow is starting to come down lightly here in Falmouth, the beginning of what is predicted to be a fairly heavy 48-hour storm. So Mike, Tammy, Josh and I - the usual four early-morning oyster fishermen - gathered at 6:45 and traveled to the flats early to avoid the impending snow.
Tide was low enough to make the oystering comfortable and there were still plenty of oysters in shallow water, in spite of a couple of months of heavy harvesting.
There were only a few of us out there; early morning the day after Christmas is not a time most people want to be wading in winter water, bending down and scrabbling in the cold for their food. It was barely dawn and nearly freezing when we arrived, as you can see from the top photo, still in an almost pre-dawn state of blueness, one car's headlights twinkling across the harbor. The water is in the low 40s or high 30s and gives prolonged discomfort it it seeps into a glove or a boot.
Once we fill one half-peck basket, Mike takes it ashore and sorts the catch, positioning shellfish in such a way that as many are packed into a basket as is possible. The other three laborers gather and bring ashore enough oysters to densely pack the two baskets (one allowed for each town fishing license), Josh helps out with packing and then two people run rake handles through the basket handles and portage the catch to the car. This morning, the porters are Mike and Tammy, walking across the grassy sand with the catch.
Much of what we picked up this morning will be shared on New Year's Eve. The rest will not be wasted.
The snow's coming down more heavily now. Must be winter.


Tracey Broome said...

YUM! My mom used to make oyster stew for Christmas, haven't had any in years. I see all of my bolgger friends are up and blogging this morning, my family is still in bed asleep and I have nothing to do but read blogs. Bliss!
(well, I'm sure there is plenty to do, but I'm being lazy!)

Lookout Mountain Pottery said...

now that looks wonderfull. I do like eating oysters with some crackers and some tabasco,yuuum

ang said...

it looks a bit damp to be wading around but if the catch is worth it..... :P have a super nosh up hollis

Kings Creek Pottery said...

You will have a wonderful feast to ride out the storm...or as my Dad likes to say: "time to hunker down"!

cindy shake said...

Oh, how romantic! One of my favorite things about reading Blogs is being able to enjoy life's pleasures around the globe! What a cool process -I had no idea that those little baskets were used until I read about them on your Blog. Hope you're weathering the storm OK -we've been watching the CNN versions and of course it's all a bit over the top -but still. Stay safe & warm! I LOVE a good storm :o)

janet said...

Several lovely posts Hollis - I love your photos as much as the writing. We slurped down some of your catch a week ago - tasted like a refreshing summer swim - ahhh. Happy New Year to all.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, everyone. Wish I could share them with all of you. Though as you see, one commenter has actually eaten some of these oysters. Lucky woman lives in the same town I do.