Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fish-O-Gram #32! Nor'Easter Hits! Urchin YES! Winter Surprise! Black Cod Resurfaces! Oysters Approach Annual Prime! F.O.G. Government Affairs Desk--Lobsters Rejoice--Switzerland Outlaws Live Boils! Mandates Hamster Socialization!

Dear Storm-Lashed Customers
Sunday Evening at Jones (Shellfish) Ranch.  

Wizard Of Oz Time. 
These latter days at Jones Ranch have been frosty and wind-swept.  We thought we were in line for an early spring but we were wrong.  Sunday's blow knocked oyster tanks off of cribbing, scattered trays and plumbing supplies, smashed up our small boat fleet and launched a 20' long drying rack a couple of hundred feet in the air.  Nor'Easters are a legendary and feared force in the San Juan Islands.  Cold air comes roaring down the Fraser River Valley and blasts the islands--really bad Nor'Easters are rare, but when they come the results can be apocalyptic.  In deep winter the ground is generally saturated with water.  A hard freeze limits the elasticity of tree roots and heaves the water-saturated ground.  In the right conditions trees can come down like Pixie-Stix.  One story from way back concerns a Lopez Island pioneer Bat Clancy.  Bat owned a forty acre tract of old-growth timber across from his house.  He steadfastly refused to log his forest, long after old growth had been scalped from the rest of the island.  Melvin Graham, neighbor and County Commissioner at the time approached Bat one more time to ask about logging the parcel--Bat's trees were shading one of Melvin's fields and making it impossible to cure hay on a wide swath of the field.  Bat Again refused.  That next winter a Nor'Easter came up and laid down every stick on that forty acres.  So Melvin got his sunshine, Bat got a lifetime supply of firewood and planted a small orchard in the middle of his formerly-treed 40.  Decades later we leased   Melvin's field from his daughter and the resurgent forest on what had been Bat's 40 shaded the southern portion of field to the point that curing hay was next to impossible.  Plus ca change....
 Inline image 4

A Platter Named  Desire....Pink Scallop Photo of the week.  Note the Olys snuggled in the ice....

Inline image 5

Courtesy of Louis Morales, Pioneer Square Taylor Shellfish Bar
Winter Surprise at Jones Ranch!
Inline image 9

Early Springers.

Precocious Goats
Some weeks ago, while feeding the goats on a normal January day we came upon a freshly born goat kid.  In the days following we welcomed another 50 more.  This was a surprise of several fronts, normally we schedule goat breeding in order to produce goat kids in late March or early April-once spring grasses are fully on and available.  This past year we put the buck in, as  usual, November 1.  Given a five month gestation, this should have yielded goat kids on April 1.  Unbeknown to us, a young goat buck escaped castration last spring, and goats being the precocious animals they are, successfully bred the entire herd.  On the whole is has been an extremely successful kidding--we only lost one mama and a few babies.  As of now we have two vigorous kids, Banjo and Lucky, living in the house with us, while the rest of the herds prances around the rocks behind our house and consumes incredible amounts of hay.  In a week or two we are going to move them down the road, but for the moment we are entertaining a steady stream of goat-phillic visitors.  Come one come all!
See Videos attached below, check out our goat video-centric Instagram Page!. 

Fish-O-Gram Government Affairs Desk--Switzerland Outlaws Live Lobster Boils!
Inline image 7

Just Get Me to Switzerland. 

Too Much Time on Their Hands
While American Government degenerates into a reality tv horror show, our friends across the pond are getting down to business.   As of March 1, lobsters will enjoy special protections in the landlocked nation of Switzerland.  Live boiling of lobsters will be illegal, with penalties of up to three years in prison for boiling a lobster without first stunning or killing it.  Furthermore, lobster may only be brought across the border in conditions approximating their natural environment, namely in large volumes of seawater.  Further investigation reveals that Switzerland already imposes criminal penalties on pet owners who keep only one hampster, or do not allow domestic cats daily interaction with their own kind.  Left unsaid are the rights and privileges of Langustines, Crayfish and Crab, but that can only be next. 

Tell it like it is. 

Switzerland going all-in for the lobsters reminds us of a Seattle PI report, years back, on a PETA confrontation therapy campaign dubbed "Fish are People Too", an effort to get sports and commercial fishers to contemplate the error of their ways.  PI reporters tracked Seattle Salmon Purse Seine skipper Paul Matson for commentary, "I stalk them, surround them, kill them and sell the flesh,' he said while sitting on a bar stool at The Highliner, the bar at Fishermen's Terminal. 'And I couldn't care one little bit what the rest of the world thinks about the hierarchy of sentient beings.'"

Switzerland, Imelda Marcos and Moral Hypocrisy

We here at Jones Ranch try to take a more politic tone when dealing with misguided activism--for years we sold meats and seafoods at the Orcas Farmers Market and could generally count on at least one weekly confrontation with a militant vegan and so developed a full roster of firm-but-gentle rejoinders. Beyond the comedy of granting rights to crustaceans--after all, think of what they would do to us if the tables were turned?--lie deeper issues and trends--for one thing, this is a fine case study in the absurdities of claimed moral high ground from a nation that owes it's prosperity to helping kleptocratic billionaires hide their money from justice, or the spectacle of lobsters making asylum claims, or legislators and police wasting their time on the finer points of Hamster-to-Hampster interactions.  But none of this matters to the high-minded, tempeh-scarfing set.  

Inline image 8
Imelda Sez, "Thank God for the Swiss"

Today Cuttlefish and Lobsters, Where will This End?

Some weeks back we reported on European Union legislation granting rights to Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefish.  Taken together, we see this as indicative of a disturbing trend of applying abstract human values to the natural world, stemming, we think, from the ever greater remove of humans from the land, sea and the glories of food production and nutrient cycles.  With yeast-based, tank-raised faux burger now hitting the market and en ever-larger segment of the population adopting unwholesome vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, we are probably in sight of a day when foodie diehards are forced to smuggle live crab in trenchcoats and real meat is outlawed.  We promise to kick, scream and fuss, but this sort of societal meta-trend is probably unstoppable.  (See Matt Ridley blog on meat eating  When that day comes you, our customers, have our solemn pledge to go underground and carry on.  Husbandry, stewardship, and real foods are the rock on which we Jones Ranchers stand.  If that makes us outlaws in the eyes of the Swiss, the Vegans and Jerry Brown, so be it.  

Inline image 6
We Embrace the Outlaw Lifestyle.  

Until next time we are your Storm Surviving, Product Listing, Urchin-Season Extending, Black Cod Selling, Spring Oyster Extolling, Lobster Boiling, Food Freedom Loving, Swiss-Horrifying, Hamster-Handling JFF Crew.  
Call or write....We promise to write back!