Today we ventured into Brewster to do some shellfish propagation and preventative fuel clearing for the DNR. I got a much better feel for the importance behind shellfish farming compared to the first time our group did shellfish propagation. Our initial introduction a couple of weeks ago left me with the impression that much of the shellfish industry--oysters especially--is "kept alive" only to meet the demand of an oyster-loving consuming population, which basically boils down to economic reasons. I say "kept alive" because oysters no longer live and grow naturally in most of Cape Cod anymore. There are various interconnected and complex reasons behind this, but a major part of it is due to changing habitat from increased development around the waters. And the guy that was giving us the whole rundown never made it clear if any measures were being taken to curb development, prevent runoff, and try to restore the oyster habitats (which basically means restoring the water to a healthy state). He would just go on and on about how he was helping to meet the demand, and compared us throwing the grown oysters into the bay to later be picked up by harvesters to the Easter Bunny and his eggs. hmm...so this is where I had the big question of how in the world any of this is sustainable. It also didn't help that the guy went on a rant about Mexicans coming in, taking jobs and what he called the "national debt bank". Yeah...it was certainly interesting.
But today was much better. I got a better sense of how shellfish propigation is part of life on Cape Cod, and how much it offers the economy and culture here. A couple of weekends from now Wellfleet is having their famous Oyster Fest, which apparently draws in a few celebrities every year and there are some pretty sweet events.
I had a turn at shucking a clam (or quahog), and mercifully someone else ate it. All of us suited up in our waders and braved the wind and tides to sort through the oyster cages. Lisa and I particularly enjoyed watching the little snails and crabs trying to get their share of an oyster meal. I'm not used to the wind here yet...wind burn is a weird thing. The second part of the day was spent traveling along a road, tramping through the brush 100 ft in on either side, and lugging out fallen trees and logs that were potential fire starters. Pretty long day, but some fun in it nonetheless. I really can't complain :)
Tomorrow is my first day at my individual placement! So weird. I feel like I'm starting a new job, only I never applied for the job. And it will be the first time we're not all getting ready together in the moring...which might actaully turn out to be a good thing.
Our house supervisor is baking up a storm...halloween cupcakes with pumpkin and avacado (yes! bizarre?) icing, and decorated all fancily with spider webs and things.
I'll still do some writing about the weekend with the conference and all of that fun business...but goodnight for now!