As September wraps up things are busy as ever! There's lots of moving parts on the farm
this time of year. Many of the projects and chores I talked about last month are ongoing, and as the days get a little shorter and the nights cooler, the water temperature has started its slow march down from the comfy summertime temps to cooler realms, which means it's time to start thinking about and planning for winter too.
As the water cools off the oysters will start to show signs of slowed shell growth, as they focus on feeding to bulk up their energy reserves for the coming chill and hibernation of deep winter instead of growth or redroduction. This means the return of those big, beautiful, plump and sweet colder water oysters that we all love so much. It also means that I've started the process of doing a big fall cull to sort out everything that is big enough to harvested over the winter. I like to do this now, to be able to put all those marketable oysters together so that my winter harvests can be nice and easy.
I've also been spending a good amount of time lately building some new bottom cages to build out the portion of my lease slated for this kind of gear. Bottom cages are a newer addition to my farming practices and one that I'm pretty excited about. Not only is this gear type great for winter, as it's a bit more protected from the wind storms and passing ice that we see, but it also have found them to provide a nice sort of "finishing off" for some of the oysters that I grow. Proximity to the bottom, access to different food sources and slightly colder average water temps seem to help with the development of a nice hard and hefty shell, which is often a nicer shell to shuck. Since the exact size and type of cage that works best for my boat and operation doesn't really exist as a product (often the case when you're a small-scale operator like me with a smaller boat and limited heavy lifting equipment), I've been building my own cages as I have the money to buy the supplies with. This has not been a fast way achieve this part of my lease build out, but at least I'm getting the end product that I want!