Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Crawfish Harvesting

As promised the other day, I have some pictures I took of one of our friends running crawfish traps with a special boat made just for harvesting from these shallow ponds.

This special hydraulic paddle boat is used by Crawfish Harvesters. Notice the tires on the front and the giant paddle wheel on the back which allows it to ride over the levees between ponds or push the boat down the road in a bumpy awkward ride.

The path crawfish take from one year to the next has many facets and possible complications. From the time the ponds go dry in June and they dig their tunnels deep into the earth to have their young to the time they come out in September or when the water again covers the bottom surface, many things can happen. Last year, the THING was two hurricanes which flooded many of the crawfish holes while the crawfish were breathing air, not water, and carrying their young, essentially drowning much of the crop.

In a normal year, the babies would begin their growth cycle in the fall and in an especially warm climate or warm winter, a farmer may harvest some crawfish in December. From the time they are babies to full grown takes 90-120 days depending upon temperature. After the cold comes, it sends the crawfish into molt after molt. Early in the year most of the crawfish are small, weak, and soft, unless there are older crawfish in the ponds. These older adults only live about 18 months, becoming harder and harder as they age. Then they become sluggish and die, if they aren't eaten first.

The ponds range in size but as you can see, they are shallow enough that Y'er Dog, I love that, Y'er Dog can walk alongside the boat while CCM runs the traps, dumping each one's contents into the tray in front of him. The crawfish back toward the front of the tray depositing themselves into the crawfish sacks hanging from hooks at the mouth of the grader. Aren't they accomodating?

That's Y'er Dog trailing behind the paddle wheel.

Below CCM encourages the crawfish to move into the sacks. The brown turd like things in the bin below are crawfish bait which the fisherman uses to bait each of the traps each day when they are set on the bottom of the pond.

The last two years were late seasons because of the long cold winters here. It created a late crop and along with the small harvest from the flood impact caused prices to stay high and the crawfish to be small until late in the year.

It's not just in romantic fiction that size seems to matter. Our number one question from customers is - "Do they have any size to them?" Well, they are what they are. And when the price is higher your customers wonder why they get smaller crawfish and have to pay more for them.

Supply and Demand.

I keep telling CFM it's not like we put in an order from a Chinese manufacturing plant for 300,000 5 inch crawfish to be delivered three times a week in increments of 4000. It would be cool if we could stipulate, please don't send any dead ones, weak ones, or sunburned, no grass, bait, or fish scales. We wouldn't have to worry about the market, weather, shyster suppliers, unhappy customers.

Utopia does NOT exist except in stories.

CFM has his faithful customers. His motto, "They may cook 'em better somewhere, but I don't know where." Humble, isn't he? He's right. He doesn't need to be humble, he's that good. People come from across the state and state lines to get them.

Crawfish are up! Come and get 'em.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern

Nate was on twitter and gave a link to this remarkable trailer for an imagined movie starring him in Green Lantern. It's awesome!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's all over but the crying

Literally. It hasn't been a great year but it's drawing to a close. The crawfish were
'off-cycle' apparently. More about that on my Everything you never wanted to know about crawfish blog on Tuesday (if we don't get severe weather) maybe Wednesday.

But CFM usually wants to quit the week before Memorial weekend. This year, because the crawfish are just now starting to get bigger and he's still feeling pretty good, he's thinking about going one more weekend. Depends on when we run out of freon. Yep, we have a big refrigerated trailer that runs on EXPENSIVE freon and we're having to fill it every five days to keep the crawfish cool. It won't be cost efficient to buy another $350 worth of it until we find the leaks and fix them.

We used to have good weekends almost all the way through April and May but this year even Mother's Day was way down. This area has always had high unemployment but when the oil field slowed down when the price of oil went down, it put a LOT of people out of work again. That and the economy and the excessive competition, the late season start, all contributed. It's a real test to counteract the differing challenges from year to year. As with the rest of LIFE, it's always something.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bad alligator

Okay, that alligator's got to go. You see how far we are from the bank. And last week one about this size was three hundred yards, through a residential strip and across the road in a friend's front yard. And two more young alligators were dead in the curve of the road near the bank. Houston, I think we have a problem.

Last week, I dreamed that it rained really hard again and the ditch near the driveway filled up and DFM was out there trying to get the big alligator to leave. Shoot, I've seen more alligators than snakes this year. Bizarre!

We have bobcats, hogs, deer, lynx, panthers, bear, rattlesnakes, water moccasins, copperheads, alligators, otters, nutrarats (I know you're wondering what that is, I did), beaver, racoons, and of course those nasty buzzards.

What critters do you have where you are?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Castle RENEWED!!

Cool! Castle has been renewed.

It'll be a long summer without getting to watch new shows each week..and enjoy Nathan's hunky self.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A peaceful life

I don't think this is what it looks like but obviously Alpacas have a lot of personality. My cousin lives in West Virginia, moved there from Florida and has taken up weaving at the local Alpaca Farm. She's sending me a hand loomed shawl from local Alpacas.

If you've never seen anything about their process, here's a lovely video of a Virginia Alpaca farm.

Don't they look sweet?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This month's Dusty Update

Dusty was 6 months old this week. So for his birthday yesterday, I baked him a special little Macho birthday cake - not.

I've been trying to let him stay outside as much as possible in the early morning and evening because we are now lifting our leg and establishing our territory. Unfortunately, his territory is MY territory. Yesterday, he peed on my foot!

If I can get to him by 5:30 in the morning and get him out several times a day he does okay, but he still doesn't quite understand that he can't lift his leg and do his macho thing on my furniture.

It's getting really hot, 95 today, so he can't stand much of the heat. I asked the vet about cutting off all his pretty hair. She said if he was going to be out much it might be wise. Dusty told me to consider a mohawk. Like CFM, he says, "it's just hair - it'll grow back. Why, look at Daddy. He's taken to whacking his own hair when you don't give him a haircut. I could ask him to cut my hair..."

Absolutely not. I might go along with the Mohawk, but I don't want him to look like a scalped minature grizzly. That's just sick. No, Dusty. Quit that. Gotta go.

Picture this dog bald? Not me. A Mohawk, maybe.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Save Castle on ABC

It was love at first sight when I saw Nathan Fillion on Firefly. And now every Monday night I wait for Castle to come on at 9pm central on ABC. I can NOT believe that ABC is about to cancel this show.

Well, I can for a couple reasons. First - Murphy's Law - I like it; my friends like it; my husband likes it. So natch they will cancel it. And it has some kind of sound problem and makes it difficult to catch all the dialogue in one sitting. Seems the pace is a little too quick (commercials too long) to delve into the characters' emotions. But as the season went on it was getting better.

So give the series a second chance! Contact ABC and tell them to save the show. Give your feedback.

I found this hilarious interview on Craig Ferguson's show with Nathan from earlier this month. He shows up in a leather kilt to honor Craig with his third visit. FUNNeey.

Don't forget to contact ABC.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Leah's Happy Mother's Day blog was wonderful.

I know it's silly but I've really been able to relate to mothers everywhere better since I've had the Dusty Rascal. I have to tend to his needs, My Hero loves him, but he doesn't keep him up at night so I can go to bed early. And he doesn't get up early to let him out so I can sleep late. He doesn't double check that he has water or make sure he's got the fan on so he doesn't get too hot. Well, mothers everywhere - you know the drill.

My hat is off to you all.

I would certainly love to have been able to send momma flowers today.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I finally found the link to the video on GMA which shows the Derecho.

I guess it's karma that someone who hates storms as much as I do would wind up in one of the worst tornado and hurricane areas of the country. But isn't that the universe's way of teaching us to deal with the things we fear or issues in our lives? I'm almost to the point that I can walk outside in a thunderstorm without ducking. During the last storm when the derecho came through a woman in Texas was standing outside watching the storm and a tree fell on her. Wrong place at the right time? Or wrong place at the wrong time? I guess it depends on your perspective. Either way, a person can't live her life in a protected bubble. Where would that bubble be and what would it be made of? Everyone has their share of environmental challenges, snow, wind, fire, flood. You can't predict where the danger will be.

I remember when I was in Florida at my mother's I had to drive from New Port Richey to Lakeland to the hospital. There was an accident on the causeway where there are wide shoulders between the lanes and the outside barrier of the bridge. A small truck was in an accident and the passenger was ejected out the window and over the side of the bridge! Now, as if that wasn't weird enough, the driver pulls over, dives in to save his buddy and drowns. The passenger lived. So I guess when it's your time, its your Time.

I guess I'm in a mood. Do you know of any other bizarre fatalities?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


They called it a Straight line wind event. (There's an interesting video and article there of a derecho.) It came through so much faster than the tornados I've seen which give plenty of warning. This traveled at 70-80 mph with sideways wind and rain. They mentioned another name for it this morning - a derecho - A line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving thunderstorms that moves across a great distance. They are characterized by damaging straight-line winds over hundreds of miles. Spanish for straight.

Yesterday evening, a few of us were parked at the end of our driveways on the road trying to get reception on our cell phones. Most of the phones are out.

Damage at some of our neighbors' homes.

There's a jeep under this tree and a tree on the motor home behind the house.

The transformer was transported a good distance from its perch on one of the polls and landed near another couple of downed trees.

And if it hadn't been for a bigger tree, the leaning one would have nailed this neighbor's house.

We were very blessed that this storm didn't do more damage to the houses/vehicles or injure anyone.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tornado Alley

Offline AGAIN. Gone to get a generator. Sitting in the BAM parking lot, but not for long. Gotta get some breakfast and shop prices.

Yesterday morning a couple twisters came through and I ran for the closet. What I thought was hail hitting the roof was big limbs. The damage in this area was worse than during the hurricanes last fall.. downed lines, poles snapped, no phone, transformers blown.

CFM checked on the cf trailer and said the wind nearly knocked it off it's stablilizing anchors and lightning apparently hit the panel on the reefer but it still runs.

We had just said, we have to have a generator before hurricane season. Too late. They are talking about days for the power so we're going to get a generator this morning. It was a long long long night last night with no electricity and hot with not A/C.

Hope to see y'all tomorrow if I can at least hook up my modem and router to the generator.