Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oysters, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving looks to be at the Hotel Santa Fe, because of this really fine menu, which includes oysters.

When I left the US Navy in 1987 and lived near Baltimore, Maryland, I learned  that Chesapeake Bay oysters sucked. The bay had no tide to speak of, the water was brackish, and it was warm. All bad conditions for producing tasty oysters.

So I would drive to Cape Cod to get oysters, and to visit my parents. I'd get my oysters from Mr. Smith, who ran the oyster business on Waquoit bay. I'd load up a cooler from the milk cartons hanging off his floating dock where he stored them in the water, and he would charge me five dollars or so depending on what,  I don't know. Then Dad and he and I would stand around and talk about things for a while.

There is disagreement about where the best oysters come from, because just like grapes, there is watery terroir associated with where an oyster was grown. Cotuit, my hometown, was for years said to be the finest place to grow an oyster. Now, it's a polluted mess and oysters grown there must be harvested and relocated to clean waters to get purified. Wellfleet has a good reputation. If I had my druthers I'd go with Mr. Smith's Waquoit Bay. It has fast tides, high salinity, and every oyster I've eaten from there was a lovely thing. 

Instead, I'll be at the Hotel Santa Fe on Thursday, having oysters from God knows where, the first in more than a few years, and I'll be grateful to eat a raw shellfish in the desert no matter where it came from. Plus some prime rib, and the company of good friends, Should be a perfect day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

New Home; New Farm?

This is our new place.

You can see some greenery in the middle ground of this shot, and the the desert on the ridge in the far ground. Behind the greenery, to the west, and alongside our property to the south (left of the house and behind), is Arroyo Cuyumunque, a big one. The greenery are dormant fruit trees which we'll try to bring back.

Up to that arroyo is an acre of arable land, and a ramshackle old house. We're living in the house, and getting ready to clear the land.

If I knew how, I could ride a horse through the arroyo and up that ridge to the west behind the house and be in a sort of Carlos Casteneda-esque, as I imagine it, desert. I probably should concentrate more on running a backhoe than learning how to ride, since I am unsure what I would do or want to do in that desert, on a horse or anything else. We have the 4WD pick-em-up truck if it comes to that, but I'd feel safer on a horse. I'm a complete rookie in this environment on either. The Chesapeake Bay or Vineyard Sound this ain't.

First things first. Clear land so we can put in raised beds to grow food in the spring. We did a pilot project last spring for that.

Irrigation comes from our own well. Water is a precious thing here, and our well is unrestricted, being installed "pre-moratoriam". We'll devise a trickle system.

We are planning to be a farm in the way that we all should be farmers, in the spirit of the The Continuity Project, who I volunteer for.

More as there is more to share.