My husband was away last week (he had a teaching gig) and my daughter and I reveled in the culinary freedom that his absence gave us. He’s a picky eater, see; fortunately for my garden, he likes vegetables, but all fish and all cheese are just plain not eaten by the guy. While the seafood thing isn’t such a hardship for us, we do have a home dairy and…I do make a lot of cheese. His loss.
So, we had a fish and cheese vacation ourselves. The kid loves lobster so I figured it was time to teach her how to cook, pull apart and eat one…and those red shells make a fine stock for some of the week’s fishy dishes. We did the usual biology quiz too (crusacea, exoskeleton, decapods, 10 legs, etc.) and I reminded her again about our yard crayfish, the land lobster.
You see, crayfish (crawdads, etc.) don’t just live in streams. Some species find the clay soil of our land quite hospitable, land that is hundreds of feet from any standing or running body of water. These are the digging crayfish. They reside in burrows, never actually needing a stream or a pond.
This of course got her wheels turning. “Can we bait a hook and catch them? Can we dig them up? Can I put some food out and catch them with my butterfly net?” I said they didn’t come out during the day, but she was welcome to feed them, so we found the two known burrows and left some fish skin at the mouths of the holes. It was gone the next day. She now has visions of feeding them so they’ll breed more and we can then harvest them.
I suppose this isn’t so far-fetched. It’s her daily experience that our land feeds us, with our help (fruit, veg, eggs, poultry, milk…and foraged items like bolete and morel mushrooms, rose hips, elderflowers and berries, sassafras, sumac and maple syrup) so why not add mudbugs to the list?