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Sunday was a long-anticipated day.

After we sunk the oysters for winter hibernation in December, thanks to help from a good

friend and fellow aquaculturist Erin Adams of Ocean Farm Supply, Anna and I both felt a quick rush of accomplishment, then breathed a sigh of winter relief. The physical labor was done for a season, and it was time to focus on business operations and seeking grant support.

We didn’t expect the feelings (read: anxiety) that would blanket us randomly throughout the winter – out of sight was not out of mind with our little oysters. Though it wasn’t a particularly stormy winter – sorry surfers – there were high winds at points, and we feared our buoy marking where our oyster cage lay would be taken out to sea and the whole lot would be missing from sight. We’ve also heard stories of juvenile Sea Stars finding their way into a hibernating oyster cage, calling their buddies, and eating themselves all into adulthood.

The other looming question for me personally, was, “what does the beginning of the season look like without an arm?” I decided to get my rotator cuff repaired after a long-ago injury in college in February and knew I would be relatively useless with physical labor until June. I also knew Dewdrop, the Whaler we operate off, has a temperamental 1997 Evinrude engine that has a hard time waking up in spring. The pull-cord starter is clunky and inconsistent. It proved me right again.

We decided we would go check on the setup of our farm this past Sunday to see if everything was still in place, get the season kicked off, and settle our nerves. We dropped Dewdrop in the water and Anna, alone, tried, tried, and tried again to get the darn engine started while shedding layers. We were close to giving up and asking ourselves what we do next when Anna said, “one more try.” Like butter, the engine roared (it’s very loud) to a start. YES! I'm so grateful to have a business partner that is so patient and can pull both our weight when I couldn’t.

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