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Picking Oysters
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May 12, 2019 14:16:18   #
Coos Bay Tom (a regular here)
 
IT is 2:am and I'm dressed and swilling down my 4th cup of strong black coffee. I never wash the pot and just add more grounds on top till I have to dump it. I'm munching on leftover ribs and throwing the bones to Lumbo my massive half mastiff mutt. Time to go and I pull on my hip waders and grab a couple pairs of rubber gloves. Lumbo and I get to the dock and he jumps in. I had set every thing up the day before and I start up a 7 hp Mercury outboard on the Smoker craft. I have a small barge lashed to the side and I am going to load it up with clumps of muddy ragged shelled cut the hell out of ya oysters. We leave and go under the crown point bridge and up the Joe Ney slough headed for the South slough. The tide is going out and I keep my eye on the Alder branches I put in as channel markers as I wind my way to the Oyster beds. I reach the South Slough and I stop and Crank up the 40 horse. Into the south Slough I go. I cut across the bay to Yonkers point and turn toward Crown point with Lumbo on the bow keeping watch. I head toward the Winchester slough as I round Valino island. I shine my lights toward the beds and Eyes are staring back at me--mostly raccoons but then I spot a cat a big one so I head to the Simstacken slough. The tide is almost slack now and I am right on time. I have to pick a minimum of 40 bushels of Oysters in 2 hours and get them back to the plant before the shuckers show up. I drop out anchors and throw out baskets and start filling them with muddy clumps of oysters that I had planted 3 years before. I fill the baskets and one by one i wrestle them threw calf deep mud and I fill the barge first. The tide has turned but I have to keep up a pace that most men can't keep up with.I have seen men come and go--Panty waists most of them. Lumbo has taken off but I know he is near by terrorizing poor raccoons like he loved to do. Before dawn I have loaded about 45 bushels by myself and I pull anchors and Lumbo jumps back on shaking mud off every where. I'm running against the tide with a load on but I know the channels and I have the moon to light my way back home. I get back to the plant and I tie up to the float-- a floating box that I keep oysters in.. I get the boat and barge back to the dock and wash the decks off with a firehose. Now I have to start up the tractor and scoop oysters into the bucket and I dump them into a chute that loads the shucking table. Old Bryan should be along to open in a half hour and Toni our Korean gal will be right there with him. Work is done and Me and Lumbo leave before Larry our boss shows up. I get home and give Lumbo the rest of the ribs and I hit the shower. Time for a power nap. 9:30 am and I getting dressed and i head down the hill to the plant. Larry is already sorting and packing and he asks me to take over. Smalls -extra Smalls--petites and mediums--- A big order has to be ready in an hour. The whole time I'm firing up the tractor and loading the shucking table back up. Lumbo lays in the sun by the plant door.------The day goes on and at 3 in the afternoon larry shows back up and i get to stop for lunch. I get about 2 more hours sleep and head back in time to clean the plant and get the boat and Barge ready---I'm headed back to the beds tonite.

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May 12, 2019 18:07:22   #
Canuckus Deploracus (a regular here)
 
Great stuff...

Really enjoyed the imagery...

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May 12, 2019 18:18:24   #
Coos Bay Tom (a regular here)
 
Canuckus Deploracus wrote:
Great stuff...

Really enjoyed the imagery...


It was a great job-- I did it for 7 years

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May 12, 2019 20:37:50   #
Canuckus Deploracus (a regular here)
 
Coos Bay Tom wrote:
It was a great job-- I did it for 7 years


Sounds like the type of work I could enjoy...

Physical and good for the soul

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May 12, 2019 20:57:42   #
Coos Bay Tom (a regular here)
 
Canuckus Deploracus wrote:
Sounds like the type of work I could enjoy...

Physical and good for the soul


It was exhausting at times but I got to be on the water and in a estuary reserve that was pretty much wilderness in some areas. I was alone most of the time except for Lumbo. I miss the work and I could buy the establishment and Oyster beds from Ol' Larry. It just wouldn't be the same without Lumbo. This story is from nearly 30 years ago.

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May 13, 2019 06:38:50   #
Big dog (a regular here)
 
Coos Bay Tom wrote:
It was exhausting at times but I got to be on the water and in a estuary reserve that was pretty much wilderness in some areas. I was alone most of the time except for Lumbo. I miss the work and I could buy the establishment and Oyster beds from Ol' Larry. It just wouldn't be the same without Lumbo. This story is from nearly 30 years ago.


Good times for sure.

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May 13, 2019 07:06:09   #
lindajoy (a regular here)
 
Coos Bay Tom wrote:
It was exhausting at times but I got to be on the water and in a estuary reserve that was pretty much wilderness in some areas. I was alone most of the time except for Lumbo. I miss the work and I could buy the establishment and Oyster beds from Ol' Larry. It just wouldn't be the same without Lumbo. This story is from nearly 30 years ago.


Great memories~~~

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May 13, 2019 10:38:07   #
Fit2BTied (a regular here)
 
Coos Bay Tom wrote:
IT is 2:am and I'm dressed and swilling down my 4th cup of strong black coffee. I never wash the pot and just add more grounds on top till I have to dump it. I'm munching on leftover ribs and throwing the bones to Lumbo my massive half mastiff mutt. Time to go and I pull on my hip waders and grab a couple pairs of rubber gloves. Lumbo and I get to the dock and he jumps in. I had set every thing up the day before and I start up a 7 hp Mercury outboard on the Smoker craft. I have a small barge lashed to the side and I am going to load it up with clumps of muddy ragged shelled cut the hell out of ya oysters. We leave and go under the crown point bridge and up the Joe Ney slough headed for the South slough. The tide is going out and I keep my eye on the Alder branches I put in as channel markers as I wind my way to the Oyster beds. I reach the South Slough and I stop and Crank up the 40 horse. Into the south Slough I go. I cut across the bay to Yonkers point and turn toward Crown point with Lumbo on the bow keeping watch. I head toward the Winchester slough as I round Valino island. I shine my lights toward the beds and Eyes are staring back at me--mostly raccoons but then I spot a cat a big one so I head to the Simstacken slough. The tide is almost slack now and I am right on time. I have to pick a minimum of 40 bushels of Oysters in 2 hours and get them back to the plant before the shuckers show up. I drop out anchors and throw out baskets and start filling them with muddy clumps of oysters that I had planted 3 years before. I fill the baskets and one by one i wrestle them threw calf deep mud and I fill the barge first. The tide has turned but I have to keep up a pace that most men can't keep up with.I have seen men come and go--Panty waists most of them. Lumbo has taken off but I know he is near by terrorizing poor raccoons like he loved to do. Before dawn I have loaded about 45 bushels by myself and I pull anchors and Lumbo jumps back on shaking mud off every where. I'm running against the tide with a load on but I know the channels and I have the moon to light my way back home. I get back to the plant and I tie up to the float-- a floating box that I keep oysters in.. I get the boat and barge back to the dock and wash the decks off with a firehose. Now I have to start up the tractor and scoop oysters into the bucket and I dump them into a chute that loads the shucking table. Old Bryan should be along to open in a half hour and Toni our Korean gal will be right there with him. Work is done and Me and Lumbo leave before Larry our boss shows up. I get home and give Lumbo the rest of the ribs and I hit the shower. Time for a power nap. 9:30 am and I getting dressed and i head down the hill to the plant. Larry is already sorting and packing and he asks me to take over. Smalls -extra Smalls--petites and mediums--- A big order has to be ready in an hour. The whole time I'm firing up the tractor and loading the shucking table back up. Lumbo lays in the sun by the plant door.------The day goes on and at 3 in the afternoon larry shows back up and i get to stop for lunch. I get about 2 more hours sleep and head back in time to clean the plant and get the boat and Barge ready---I'm headed back to the beds tonite.
IT is 2:am and I'm dressed and swilling down my 4t... (show quote)
You're a word-smith, that's for sure. Made me fondly remember our last dog, OD (Our Dog), a husky mix mutt my wife found loose in the KMart parking lot. 14 years and one hell of a Dog.

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May 13, 2019 10:43:46   #
Big dog (a regular here)
 
Fit2BTied wrote:
You're a word-smith, that's for sure. Made me fondly remember our last dog, OD (Our Dog), a husky mix mutt my wife found loose in the KMart parking lot. 14 years and one hell of a Dog.


Ahh yes, So many of my fond memories include dogs.

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May 13, 2019 21:13:46   #
Coos Bay Tom (a regular here)
 
Fit2BTied wrote:
You're a word-smith, that's for sure. Made me fondly remember our last dog, OD (Our Dog), a husky mix mutt my wife found loose in the KMart parking lot. 14 years and one hell of a Dog.



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May 13, 2019 22:27:59   #
teabag09 (a regular here)
 
Coos Bay Tom wrote:
IT is 2:am and I'm dressed and swilling down my 4th cup of strong black coffee. I never wash the pot and just add more grounds on top till I have to dump it. I'm munching on leftover ribs and throwing the bones to Lumbo my massive half mastiff mutt. Time to go and I pull on my hip waders and grab a couple pairs of rubber gloves. Lumbo and I get to the dock and he jumps in. I had set every thing up the day before and I start up a 7 hp Mercury outboard on the Smoker craft. I have a small barge lashed to the side and I am going to load it up with clumps of muddy ragged shelled cut the hell out of ya oysters. We leave and go under the crown point bridge and up the Joe Ney slough headed for the South slough. The tide is going out and I keep my eye on the Alder branches I put in as channel markers as I wind my way to the Oyster beds. I reach the South Slough and I stop and Crank up the 40 horse. Into the south Slough I go. I cut across the bay to Yonkers point and turn toward Crown point with Lumbo on the bow keeping watch. I head toward the Winchester slough as I round Valino island. I shine my lights toward the beds and Eyes are staring back at me--mostly raccoons but then I spot a cat a big one so I head to the Simstacken slough. The tide is almost slack now and I am right on time. I have to pick a minimum of 40 bushels of Oysters in 2 hours and get them back to the plant before the shuckers show up. I drop out anchors and throw out baskets and start filling them with muddy clumps of oysters that I had planted 3 years before. I fill the baskets and one by one i wrestle them threw calf deep mud and I fill the barge first. The tide has turned but I have to keep up a pace that most men can't keep up with.I have seen men come and go--Panty waists most of them. Lumbo has taken off but I know he is near by terrorizing poor raccoons like he loved to do. Before dawn I have loaded about 45 bushels by myself and I pull anchors and Lumbo jumps back on shaking mud off every where. I'm running against the tide with a load on but I know the channels and I have the moon to light my way back home. I get back to the plant and I tie up to the float-- a floating box that I keep oysters in.. I get the boat and barge back to the dock and wash the decks off with a firehose. Now I have to start up the tractor and scoop oysters into the bucket and I dump them into a chute that loads the shucking table. Old Bryan should be along to open in a half hour and Toni our Korean gal will be right there with him. Work is done and Me and Lumbo leave before Larry our boss shows up. I get home and give Lumbo the rest of the ribs and I hit the shower. Time for a power nap. 9:30 am and I getting dressed and i head down the hill to the plant. Larry is already sorting and packing and he asks me to take over. Smalls -extra Smalls--petites and mediums--- A big order has to be ready in an hour. The whole time I'm firing up the tractor and loading the shucking table back up. Lumbo lays in the sun by the plant door.------The day goes on and at 3 in the afternoon larry shows back up and i get to stop for lunch. I get about 2 more hours sleep and head back in time to clean the plant and get the boat and Barge ready---I'm headed back to the beds tonite.
IT is 2:am and I'm dressed and swilling down my 4t... (show quote)


Loved your story. I can relate to gathering oysters. I moved to the Lynnhaven River area in Virginia when I was 15. I quickly hooked up with a local fisher who did blue crabs, oysters and gillnetting fish. I also worked at a small boat yard repairing and painting fishing boats and yachts.

We had 15, 100 yard humps of oysters right in the Lynnhaven River which were exposed a low tide. Using careful selection as apposed to what the tongers had to do, we didn't deplete our stock.

In the winter to make extra money I'd go for sole shoe oysters. These rascals shells are 12 to 13" long. I would wear chest waders and have to bend over and feel in the mud for them. They were 100's of years old and found in Crab Creek behind the Thurogood House In the Lynnhaven area of Va. Beach, Va.

In the fall we'd fish gill nets for trout, croker and spots. On occasion we'd get our butts kicked trying to get a dolphin out of the net. Damn but those critters are nothing but muscle and they would leave you not wanting to move the next morning.

Tom, I can feel you're enjoyment, wish I could do that again. Too old now, any of it would kill me now as it's really hard work for an old guy but it's great for the younger folks, guy or gal. It's a great way of life in my opinion. Mike

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May 14, 2019 10:54:57   #
Coos Bay Tom (a regular here)
 
teabag09 wrote:
Loved your story. I can relate to gathering oysters. I moved to the Lynnhaven River area in Virginia when I was 15. I quickly hooked up with a local fisher who did blue crabs, oysters and gillnetting fish. I also worked at a small boat yard repairing and painting fishing boats and yachts.

We had 15, 100 yard humps of oysters right in the Lynnhaven River which were exposed a low tide. Using careful selection as apposed to what the tongers had to do, we didn't deplete our stock.

In the winter to make extra money I'd go for sole shoe oysters. These rascals shells are 12 to 13" long. I would wear chest waders and have to bend over and feel in the mud for them. They were 100's of years old and found in Crab Creek behind the Thurogood House In the Lynnhaven area of Va. Beach, Va.

In the fall we'd fish gill nets for trout, croker and spots. On occasion we'd get our butts kicked trying to get a dolphin out of the net. Damn but those critters are nothing but muscle and they would leave you not wanting to move the next morning.

Tom, I can feel you're enjoyment, wish I could do that again. Too old now, any of it would kill me now as it's really hard work for an old guy but it's great for the younger folks, guy or gal. It's a great way of life in my opinion. Mike
Loved your story. I can relate to gathering oyster... (show quote)


Thanks for sharing. I love to hear from a fellow waterman.

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