Sunday, August 19, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Growing mussels..."

One week ago, my husband and I were visiting my parents at their cottage in Prince Edward Island. I had been there recently when he was in Hong Kong, so we wanted to make another trip this summer (if you missed that blog, it was posted July 22). It was another relaxing time that we were able to share together.

Our cottage view of the ocean
One thing I always find interesting to observe from the front windows and deck of the cottage is the mussel farmers. For those who are unfamiliar with this type of farming, it takes place out in the water, rather than a field. Wherever you drive in PEI, you usually see a mussel farm just off-shore or in a cove or inlet. In fact, PEI produces 80 per cent of the blue mussels in North America. So, if you order a plate of them in a restaurant in this part of the world, chances are pretty good they came from the smallest province of our country of Canada. We went to a lobster dinner while on the island, and they bring you mussels by the bucket as an appetizer! My husband loves them and I’ll eat a few if they bring you those lovely little pots of melted butter for dipping. Some people will even eat them raw, but I’ve never had an appetite for that!

PEI mussel farm
By the time I get up in the morning at the cottage, the mussel farmers are already out in their boats hard at work and have probably been there since dawn. They usually head back home late afternoon. Sometimes people have wondered what those boats are doing out there just circling around or standing still. Depending on the lighting, you can’t always see the long lines of buoys floating on the water’s surface. Occasionally, they look like dark little dots, while other times they shine brillianty white in the sunlight. A few years ago, my husband had the opportunity to visit a mussel farm in another PEI location (where these pictures were taken). While this production appears rather idyllic and tranquil while viewed afar from on shore, he found out just how hard the work can be!

Harvesting mussels in PEI
While my husband was on the boat, he learned much about this industry. To grow mussels, the mussel farmers begin by placing larvae into a long sleeve or “sock” which is then attached to a long-line. The socks are then lowered into the water several feet below the surface and suspended above the seabed. This helps protect the larvae from most predators and provides them with nutrient-rich water from which to feed. It also reduces the amount of grit in the shells and keeps them much cleaner. These are “cultured” mussels. Every day, the socks must be inspected by divers who remove any predators, mainly starfish, clean out any debris, and ensure the water is clean. It is tedious work requiring much patience, dedication, and care. Without this daily attention, their whole operation could be lost. When harvesting the mussels, they are pulled to the surface with a winch and stored in large containers on the boat until they come ashore and are sent to a processing plant. Once there, the mussels are removed from the socks, graded, inspected, and packaged for transport to a restaurant or grocer near you! PEI mussels are sent all over the world as they have a reputation for being some of the best tasting mussels anywhere.

It's hard work being knee-deep in mussels!
I was thinking about how much more attentive our Heavenly Father is to the daily work He performs while growing us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul was confident that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV) It’s not an easy work as He often has to clean out our sinful ways, protect us from the attacks of our enemy, the Devil, and make sure that we are feeding on the richness of His word, the Bible, and following His wise instructions and commands. He patiently guides us through the often murky and rough waters we navigate in this life and turns our stubborn willfulness into ready submission to His will.

King David often sought this kind of direction from the Lord. In Psalm 139:23-24 he prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (NLT)

As I faced some disappointing and disheartening news this past week, I’m thankful I was under the constant watchful eye and care of my loving God! No matter what you may be enduring right now, I pray you will also be comforted by the abiding presence and nurturing of our faithful God.

Until next Sunday,



  1. Your message was just what I needed to hear. A little refreshment for my spirit and much better for me than the raspberry shortcake that I refreshed my body with a little while ago.

    I was out surfing the sites that some of my followers go to, and that is how I found you.
    Your posts are so informative and your tablescapes quite unique. I love how you displayed your dessert dishes. I never in a hundred years would have thought of doing that, now I can not wait for an opportunity to use your idea.
    I am your newest follower, and it would tickle me pink if you visited and choose to follow me back. Have a lovely day and thank you for this great read. Connie :)

  2. Hi Tanya, Thank you for the lovely visit and the sweet comment. I love using my cricut for stencils, in fact that is what I use it for more than anything else. Have a great week, Connie :)


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