When the world is a monster     Bad to swallow you whole     Kick the clay that holds the teeth in     Throw your trolls out the door    


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


   Crabby   
Click here for a high res picture of Crabby
Click here for a high res picture of Crabby
Crabby
A Very Lucky Hermit crab

     Kelly was fishing at The Rez and I was walking along the bank when I noticed some movement near my feet. At first I thought I had kicked a rock, but then noticed a snail type of shell on the ground in front of me. I picked it up and found it was occupied by Crabby. Crabby is a Hermit crab that someone released at The Rez thinking they were doing him a favor... or getting out of caring for him. He's missing his big claw but otherwise seemed in good health. Being from the Caribbean, there's no chance he would have survived September in the "wild" and would no doubt get eaten or stepped on so... His new home is now in a ten gallon fish tank with a horseshoe crab shell for a cave, clam shells for food, fresh water and salt water AND... New Jersey beach sand to stroll on.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009



Highlights of last Year

Kayaking Alexander Lake for the first time.
Two trips to the Nordic Lodge.
Hiking the bay trail in Island Beach State Park.
Hiking Cattus Island State Park to the south point on Silver Bay.
Kelly's summer vacation in Connecticut.
Finding Crabby at the Rez.
Hiking the cliffs above Ross pond in Killingly, Connecticut.
The Boston produce show.
The Boston seafood show.
Seaside boardwalk walks in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Reviving the One-Legged Sandpiper.
Making mortgage payments.
Reclaiming a good portion of the Church yard.
Clamming in Island Beach State Park.
The Rez... Kayaking, fishing, hiking and photographing in Brooklyn, Connecticut.
Fire pit Fires at the Train Station in Danielson, Connecticut.
Beach fires.
Beach walks.
Dinner at Berkley Seafood in Berkley, New Jersey.
Watching the new Indiana Jones Movie.
Seeing 10,000 B.C. in the theater.
Having Work... That's interesting and different all the time.
Making my first "professional" videos.
Being hired as a wedding photographer.
Having many of my photographs published.
Spending time at Ocean Beach, New Jersey.
Starting the year on the beach with a fire in Ocean Beach, New Jersey.
Live music at the Rain Desert in Danielson, Connecticut.
Planting the herb garden.
Cooking with fresh herbs from the garden.
Watching plum pudding number 66 made by Agnes Walter.
Christmas.
Christmas in Piscataway.
Ending the year with a fire on the beach.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


We Usually Find Shells

Be Vewy Vewy Qwiet

      Like a trip to the Rez , a trip to Island Beach State Park is always interesting. We see foxes and ospreys and find all kinds of intersting things alive and dead. We were walking along the edge of the water in the winter anchorage on the bay side. We walked out on the first dock and there it was in about a foot of water off the end of the dock. I fished it out with a branch off of a tree and we turned it over to the park police at the gate house at the entrance to the park. One was reported missing by a duck hunter and the park police officers were hoping that this was the gun. If not, they had another issue on their hands. Usually we just find shells.

A Beach Fire
Some unfinished Business

      A trip to the Beach always seems to have infinite possibilities. While there, a trip to Island Beach State Park seems to step it up a notch... Like when we found the Shotgun that afternoon at the park. The Connecticut version of the park is the Rez... A.K.A. Wauregan Reservoir. An event of similar magnitude would be finding and rescuing Crabby at the Rez.
      In any case... The reason for the fire tonight was to celebrate an interesting day at the park. The shotgun was just part of the reason. We also collected about five or six pounds of fresh mussels from the banks of the island that border the clamming area. The mussels grow in the nastiest blackest mud well above the water level but they are always sweet and plump and tasty and never the slightest bit gritty. They are a special treat during times when summer and clamming are months away and an attitude adjustment is necessary. We had a fine mussels Marinara before heading up the beach in the cold and wind to build the fire.



     Sunday, March 22, 2009     


Crabby
A Very Lucky Hermit crab

     Crabby fans have been asking about our favorite crustacean since his rescue at the Rez. He was still active in December and we decorated his tank with a small string of lights for Christmas. He even had a tiny Christmas tree in the corner with tiny presents around it. He didn't seem to notice. One day shortly after New Years he buried himself in the sand completely. He stayed buried without a trace of activity for close to three months. We kept misting his tank to keep it humid and even checked for a telltale smell... Just in case. The worry has proven to be for nothing. Today Crabby emerged unceremoniously from his burial mound having completed a successful molt. To make matters even more amazing he has regenerated his big defensive claw that was probably lost during his abandonment at the Rez. According to Kelly he didn't seem interested in food yet but "romped around a little" and was very camera shy. He's a very lucky hermit crab.




Sunset at the Rez
The first one after work this year!

      There's just something about a sunset at the Rez. Like sunset at Barnegat Bay... I never get tired of seeing one. Thursday night was the first time I was back from Providence before dark and diverted to the Rez for an hour to grab a few pictures and see the last light of day disappear behind the low hills to the west.


     Sunday, March 29, 2009     


Crabby
A Very Lucky Hermit crab

      Crabby fans are always asking about our favorite crustacean since his rescue at the Rez. Crabby has gone from unlikely to survive another week in the wild, injured, starving and traumatized to thriving in the six months since his rescue. He now seems to be healthy and active after molting under a mound of sand in his fish tank for most of the winter. We all remember hermit crabs being sold for pets and most came in a tiny cage with instructions indicating that all they needed was a tiny dish of cornmeal and a bottle cap full of water to survive.
      The truth is that these are intelligent and complex little creatures that are captured in tropical climates and transplanted to hostile environments and sold for next to nothing to people unfamiliar with their requirements. They need a varied diet and mineral supplements to keep them healthy as well as fresh water to drink and salt water to bathe in. They need a warm moist environment, a place to hide, sand to dig in or bury themselves in and they love to climb. They need a selection of shells to live in and will try on shells like a high school girl trying on prom dresses given the opportunity. So keep checking in to follow the continuing saga of Crabby, our own Dr. Zoidberg here, as he finds his way in the world. They seem way smarter than most people assume they are. Check out this text from a cnn.com article:

(CNN) -- New research suggests that crabs not only suffer pain but that they retain a memory of it. The study, which was carried out by Professor Bob Elwood and Mirjam Appel from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's University, Belfast, looked at the reactions of hermit crabs to small electric shocks. It was published in the journal "Animal Behaviour." Professor Elwood, whose previous work showed that prawns endure pain, said his research highlighted the need to investigate the treatment of crustaceans used in food industries.
      Hermit crabs have no shell of their own so inhabit other structures, usually empty mollusc shells. In the research, wires were attached to shells to deliver the small shocks to the abdomen of some of the crabs within the shells. The only crabs to get out of their shells were those which had received shocks, indicating that the experience is unpleasant for them. The research suggests that this response is not just a reflex, but that central neuronal processing takes place. Hermit crabs are known to prefer some species of shells to others and it was found that that they were more likely to come out of the shells they least preferred. The main aim of the experiment was to deliver a shock just under the threshold that causes crabs to move out of the shell, to see what happened when a new shell was then offered. Crabs that had been shocked but had remained in their shell appeared to remember the experience of the shock because they quickly moved towards the new shell, investigated it briefly and were more likely to change to the new shell compared to those that had not been shocked.
      "There has been a long debate about whether crustaceans including crabs, prawns and lobsters feel pain," said Professor Elwood in a press statement. "We know from previous research that they can detect harmful stimuli and withdraw from the source of the stimuli but that could be a simple reflex without the inner 'feeling' of unpleasantness that we associate with pain. "This research demonstrates that it is not a simple reflex but that crabs trade-off their need for a quality shell with the need to avoid the harmful stimulus. "Such trade-offs are seen in vertebrates in which the response to pain is controlled with respect to other requirements. Humans, for example, may hold onto a hot plate that contains food whereas they may drop an empty plate, showing that we take into account differing motivational requirements when responding to pain. "Trade-offs of this type have not been previously demonstrated in crustaceans.
      The results are consistent with the idea of pain being experienced by these animals." Previous work at Queen's University found that prawns show prolonged rubbing when an antenna was treated with weak acetic acid but this rubbing was reduced by local anesthetic. According to Queen's University the findings from both studies are consistent with observations of pain in mammals. But Professor Elwood says that in contrast to mammals, little protection is given to the millions of crustaceans that are used in the fishing and food industries each day. "More research is needed in this area where a potentially very large problem is being ignored," said Elwood. "Legislation to protect crustaceans has been proposed but it is likely to cover only scientific research. Millions of crustacean are caught or reared in aquaculture for the food industry. "There is no protection for these animals (with the possible exception of certain states in Australia) as the presumption is that they cannot experience pain. "With vertebrates we are asked to err on the side of caution and I believe this is the approach to take with these crustaceans."



     Thursday, July 23, 2009     


Crabby
A Very Lucky Hermit crab

      Crabby fans are always asking about our favorite crustacean since his rescue at the Rez. He was very active in June when Kelly was up for vacation even though he still needed his tank heater on due to temps still dipping into the forties at night even then.
      Towards the end of Kelly's vacation he kept digging under his fresh water dish and dumping all of the water out. We thought there was a crack in the dish and a leak but the little sucker was dumping it out making a cave underneath. He's quite strong. The full water dish with the rocks in the bottom to give him some traction if he falls in must weigh ten to twenty times as much as he does but he bulldozes it around like it was nothing. Quite the crab he is!
      Sunday Crabby once again emerged unceremoniously from his cave having completed a second successful molt. He was out strolling around when I returned from Kayaking Alexander Lake. He changed shells into a larger one but hasn't settled on it yet. I found him sizing up the two other spares when I noticed he was back with the living. They're very fussy about shells.
      Crabby is looking long and lean after this molt. His legs seem substantially longer than before but not much thicker. I haven't seen his big defensive claw yet but it should be getting larger. He seems to be thriving after the trauma of abandonment at the Rez so it may be time to consider a buddy for him. We didn't want to take the crab that one of the summer Russian girls at the Crabs Claw had as a pet because he might not be able to defend himself without a big claw.
      They're social little critters but can also fight viciously over shells to live in and we didn't want to risk him being injured by a "friend" until he was healthier. It might be time though. He also needs his salt water baths again. I need to ask some boater friends to brink some back for me although Long Island Sound or Narragansett Bay water is no substitute for New Jersey open Atlantic water. He seems to like Jersey Shore water in his big surf clam pool. I forgot to hook him up last trip. He's still a very lucky hermit crab.



     Saturday, July 25, 2009     


A Beach Fire
Some unfinished Business

This entry should have appeared on Friday February 20, 2009 but didn't. The pictures turned up while fixing the April, May and June archives and might be well worth getting online. Today has proven to be the warmest day of the year so far and it's getting warmer and muggier as the night progresses so it seemed like it might be nice to relive a warm day in February.


      A trip to the Beach always seems to have infinite possibilities. While there, a trip to Island Beach State Park seems to step it up a notch... Like when we found the Shotgun that afternoon at the park. The Connecticut version of the park is the Rez... A.K.A. Wauregan Reservoir. An event of similar magnitude would be finding and rescuing Crabby at the Rez.
      In any case... The reason for the fire tonight was to celebrate an interesting day at the park. The shotgun was just part of the reason. We also collected about five or six pounds of fresh mussels from the banks of the island that border the clamming area. The mussels grow in the nastiest blackest mud well above the water level but they are always sweet and plump and tasty and never the slightest bit gritty. They are a special treat during times when summer and clamming are months away and an attitude adjustment is necessary. We had a fine mussels Marinara before heading up the beach in the cold and wind to build the fire.



     Thursday, August 6, 2009     


Crabby
A Very Lucky Hermit crab

      Crabby fans are always asking about our favorite crustacean since his rescue at the Rez. He's been very active since his last molt and quickly shuffles over to his food dish (clam shell) to check out any new offerings. Hermit Crabs are scavengers in their native Jamaica so they will eat most anything. Crabby eats what I eat when it's appropriate for him and also shares food with Zbigniew the turtle who dines on Stop & Shop salad bar fixings more often than not. Hermit Crabs are not particularly fussy but have definite preferences. Their choices involving food and shells to live in would seem to indicate there's more intelligence there than we might assume from a little critter like this. When there are one or two choices of food he simply chooses one and begins to eat. When confronted with a large number of choices he will check out one or two and then scurry around the food dish in a bit of a tizzy and sit off to the side for a bit before deciding what to eat first.
      Tonight's dinner seemed to send him off in a huff. He has potato, carrot, cabbage, spinach, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberry, ham, chicken, imitation crab meat (Oh the irony) and pineapple. The pineapple was his eventual first choice. After a lap or two around the dish he bellied up to the clam shell and chowed down. He's still a very lucky hermit crab.



     Saturday, August 15, 2009     


   Crabby In Better Times   
Click here for a high res picture of Crabby
Click here for a high res picture of Crabby
Crabby
An Ailing Hermit crab

     Seems like only yesterday that Crabby was thriving. I came home tonight to find the little guy out of his shell and barely alive. I misted him repeatedly and helped him into a shell. His tank smelled a bit musty and may have a mildew problem from the damp sand. I hope that's all it is. I set him back up in his original quarters (a dish pan) with clean sand and fresh water and New Jersey ocean water and new food. He seemed to rally a bit and was walking around his pad last night leaving tracks up to the water dish and his saltwater bath. I hope the poor little guy bounces back. He's had a tough life but he's a very lucky Hermit Crab.


     Monday, August 17, 2009     


   Crabby Takes A Turn For The Worst   
Crabby
A Very Sick Hermit Crab

     Last night when I got home Crabby was out of his host shell again and wandering aimlessly around his home. I misted him and got him back in a shell and when I checked on him later it seemed like he had stabilized. He had walked around his new home and found the fresh water and taken a saltwater bath and checked out his food. This morning he was looking very bad. His host shell had tipped backwards and he didn't seem to have the strengh to turn it and was hanging out of it looking barely alive. I misted him a few times and helped him slide back into the shell. I hope the poor little guy bounces back but it's not looking good for him. I don't know what else to do for him. He's had a tough life but he's a very lucky Hermit Crab.


     Friday, August 21, 2009     


Crabby died Friday morning, August 21, 2009
 

Crabby

Thursday August 21, 2008
Friday August 21, 2009

Crabby was rescued from certain death at Wauregan Reservoir a year ago to the day he died. Like a true little beach person he seemed happiest when he could crawl through beach sand and bathe in ocean water. He was a pretty lucky hermit crab for a year but his luck has run out.

 


   Crabby Dies   

     Crabby struggled with his infirmity all week. When he was still out of his shell in his new home Tuesday morning I jumped online and after some diligent research found crabdr.blogspot.com which seemed to have information regarding treatment of Crabby's issues. I set him up in a container to try and rehydrate him and get his salt balance corrected and he responded well initially and seemed on the mend after 24 hours. I helped him back in his host shell and kept him in the treatment container over night with just enough fresh water to keep him moist and by morning he was out of his shell again. This happened twice more this week.
     This morning I was so sure he was dead after minutes of checking him that I set him on a piece of paper until I could decide what to do with his "body". After loading laundry on the truck and a few other chores I noticed he was crawling for the edge of the box he was sitting on. I ran to Big Y to get more sea salt for him. I thought there might be an issue with the salt that I had. I mixed him up a new batch of "Sea Water" and placed him back in his treatment container with enough of the new water to wade in and he seemed to perk up immediately. I covered the container with a box to keep him dark so he could de-stress and went off to do laundry. By time I returned two hours later he had died.
     The receipt for his mineral block and crab food from Rumford Pet Center is dated August 22, 2008. I'm almost positive I bought the supplies the first day after we found him at the Rez. That means we recued him August 21, 2008... A year ago to the day. That's probably just a sad coincidence. After a few more hours of chores today I decided to cool off with a paddle at the Rez. The wind was blowing strongly from the south an whipping the Rez into little whitecaps. It was almost a little challenging paddling into the wind and chop... compared to normal there any way. It was a little sad passing the spot where Crabby was found. It's just a few yards south of the ramp so that will be a regular occurrence. He was a pretty lucky hermit crab.