Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Beach, the Bay, and Crabs

So, where were we?

We were moving happily along in or plans for heading to Belize when God rudely interrupted us and sent us reeling. What was He thinking?

I say He was thinking up a might good plan. Now that He has taken our focus off of Belize, (even if it was a painful removal) I can't exactly say we know for sure what we are looking at now, but none the less things are going on and at a right steady pace. Let me see if I can catch all y'all up on our life.

If I recall correctly, my older brother is still with us at this point in our story. We got the call from Dads work while we were in Louisiana. We continued on to Texas where we picked up my older brother stayed there for a few days with friends then instead of going across the border we turned around and returned to Louisiana for a week. From there back to Alabama to my Grandma. My big brother stayed in Alabama for a week before returning to Arizona.
The Latter Part of October

Here are a few shots from our first week in Alabama.

Hehe, haha, My big brother had his graduation party from high school at Grandma's that week. Here's baby chowing down on the graduation cake. :)

Two older brothers roughin' up their baby brother. :)
The four of us older siblings took a trip down to the beach.


A hermit crab buries himself in the sand.

It was a melancholy day when big brother left. We took him to the airport in Pensacola. His plane was late because Mitt Romney was there. And he had to go through the new security scanners. Ugh. I hate those things. It is a violation of our rights as American Citizens. Check the Bill of Rights, you have to have a warrant to search someone. Well, I could go on, but that would probably be to no avail so I'll spare y'all my lecture on something you should already know anyways.

Yes so our older brother went back out Arizona and we stayed in Alabama.

We planned to spend the holidays with Grandma, (And we are at the moment, but that has happened yet in my narration of events.) so we got ourselves all cozy in Grandmas house. The next pictures will be a brief view of our time spent thus far.

One Sunday after going to Grandma's church we went down to Mobile Bay.

There was a park there so we had fun playing on the equipment. I am a great advocate for parks, I don't ever plan on growing out of them. ;)


That Sunday we also attended a re-interment ceremony for a confederate soldier
It was a solemn occasion. That man fought and died for my county. He has my respect.
At the end of the service they fired the cannon. I was surprised that it didn't scare the baby that much really.

My younger brother bought a crab trap and began catching crabs in the river. The first catch we were all quite impressed with because we had never done anything like that before. Grandma, a fisherman's daughter, told my younger brother how to clean the crab. First you tear off the pinchers, and then you rip it's brains out. I always feel sorry for the crab but that is the best way to do it unless you want to cook it alive. You rip the brains out by pulling up on the top shell of the crab. It comes off in one piece with brains stuck to it on the inside. Restaurants clean out the shell and serve their crab dishes in it.
He caught three the first time.

There's the top shell with the brains, and on the right is the body. The greyish brown stuff on the left and right sides of the crab are it's lungs. The yellow in the middle are the nerves. When you stick a knife down there to clean is out it makes the legs jerk all over the place.
The autonomy of the blue crab is interesting to me. I can't say that I have learned a whole lot about it but I did learn some basic things. It has two pinchers, (I already knew that) three legs, and two flippers. The two flippers are at the back one on each side. It is just like the legs except that at the end it is flattened out into a paddle shape. Also crabs really do squirt water out of their eyes. And, the more they fight while you try to get them out of the trap and such, the more they wear themselves out, the dryer the lungs will be when you clean it. The lungs are full of water and if the crab wears himself out they are a more shrivelled then the other docile crab's lungs. Male crabs are bigger. That is because crabs molt and grow new shells. It takes a lot of energy to molt and since the males don't have to worry about producing eggs, they have more energy and molt more often. When a crab molts it is left with no shell for a few days, I can't remember exactly how long. During this time their top is very squishy until it finally hardens into the shell.  Female crabs tend to have red tipped pinchers. They like to paint their fingernails. ;)
This is a female crab.
Do you see that dark blue round shape with the pointy triangle at the top? Underneath there are the reproductive organs. Male crabs have a pointier  upsidedown T shaped flap and females are more U shaped. Blue crabs are scavengers. They are the dump trucks of the river (and ocean). They are even cannibals and will eat other crabs if they are weak or sick or if they molting. My younger brother baits his trap with chicken bones and skins, necks, livers, any nasty meat kind of stuff. He has found they prefer the raw skin and bones to the boiled ones that he normally gets. We normally boil bones and skins in the chicken broth to make a good chicken stock.

After the crabs have been cleaned my brother takes them inside for me to do the final cleaning before I put them in the freezer. This time, the first time, however, we ate them that night for dinner.

Everyone got about two bites.

After the crabs are cleaned we boil them and they turn from blue to red. It takes a very long time to crack the shells and pull all the little pieces of meat out. The meat is mainly in the pinchers and the bodies and a little at the end of each leg when they are pulled off.

After that first night we decided to stock up on the crabs until we had enough to make a decent portion for each person.

And that is the end of October. Now there is only a month between the past and the present. Oh and that is the last of my posts labeled under "Traveling" for a while.

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