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Updated: Dec 8, 2021

time: 2:00 pm

air temp: 34 F

water temp: 42 F

tide: rising

conditions: chilly, calm

Maine oyster farm
Working my way through the last of the farm-sinking process. Generally the last to go down are the oysters that are big enough to be harvested, and which I will keep harvesting throughout the winter.

First week of December. The last of the farm has been nestled in for the winter that has suddenly made it's presence known, with much colder air temps and some winter storm-like conditions the past couple weekends.

I feel lucky to have things secured safe and sound, and to be so much more closer to having a little bit of a rest for myself too. Just about all of the gear that has come ashore (more than ever before!) has been pressure washed and trucked home, where I will take my time picking through everything to mend and replace the pieces that need it before next spring. Aside from that never-ending task, the only things remaining to do on the winter prep list are to haul out old Mignonette, my three-season work boat, and get my smaller winter craft (a 14' aluminum skiff) tuned up and moved to the South Freeport town landing, where I'll keep her for winter harvest access. This move in berthing happens because the end of the Harraseeket River, where I normally come and go from and keep boats, will soon get too icy to operate out of.

winter oyster farm emilys oysters
Winter farm. Pick up buoys marking oysters to be harvested over the coming months.

As for winter harvesting, I make things as quick and easy as I possibly can for myself. I cull out as many market-size oysters as I find while I consolidate the rest of the stock for sinking. The beauties that are slated for winter shucking then get sunk with pick up lines and buoys attached, so that I can easily zip out and haul up as many bags as I need, and head right back into the harbor. Eliminating the need to do any processing or counting or culling on the water makes those winter expeditions just a little bit more comfortable (and safe) for me.

In the meantime, while I wrap up getting things cleaned up and stored for winter, I'm hard at work marketing and preparing for the holiday rush - making and sending out tea towels and shucking kits, gift certificates and answering emails upon emails! After a long hard growing season of physical work, it's a nice change of pace for me to be able to do this different kind of work, and to spend some time exercising a different kind of creativity. Also, sleeping. I'm catching up on so much sleep now that I am not back and forth from the farm everyday with loads of gear and harvests to process, and it feel so so so GOOD.

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