Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Crab post for Dawn

I mentioned that we caught crabs at Lawson's Landing when we were there last month and I have not heard the end of it from my friend, Dawn. She has a passion for the crab, the lobster, the shrimp and, probably crayfish, if she could find any.
So when I said that I would do a post on the crabs we caught and I didn't, I get this...
JAN 31 Charming Baglady’s comment:
Beautiful post as usual. Magnificent photo of Carl.
Now, down to the REALLY important stuff.
You left me hanging
. . . . .
did you get any crabs?????

and when I wrote back... 
From Farmlady    Jan 31   6:35pm
Yes, we got crabs... stay tuned. C.

She responded with...
A word to the wise is enough.  I hope I haven't been too subtle. A woman's word is as good as her bond.
And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd, that palter with us in a double sense; that keep the word of promise to our ear and break it to our hope.
Never promise more than you can perform.
Never...break your word or lose your self-respect.

Ok, I know it's February 18th. I know that I didn't do a CRAB post... but "A woman's word is as good as her bond."? and "Never... break your word..."?  "palter"??? Good grief! 
This gets worse. 
There was crying involved.


So, with out further ado.... 
The Lawson's Landing Crab report for our beautiful, sunny vacation in January 2014.

We caught 7 crabs the second day we were at the Landing.  You can catch 10 Dungeness and 35 Reds per day. Don't quote me on all of this information. Look it up so you don't get caught with too many... like a group that arrived in their boat, at the beach and were greeted by two Fish and Game wardens, who took everything they caught, including their boat. They were searched and everything was laid out and photographed. It was really something to watch and a good lesson about following the rules.

Dungeness and Reds have to be a certain size... so you measure them and throw back the undersized and the females. Dungeness crabs are the largest editable crab on the Pacific Coast. They are light reddish brown with a purple wash on some of them and light streaks, orange undersides and sometimes purple legs. I call them the "fancy" crabs. They stand out in a crowd and they seems more ticked off when they get caught.
This is a red crab.

 The Reds are usually smaller and they are.. well... red.
With black "fingernail polish" tips on their pincers. They have to be 4 inches across the back if you keep them.
 The Dungeness were not as abundant as the Reds that week, but there were more Dungeness "keepers" (over 5 and 3/4" or bigger) when you did catch them.
You can use a crab cage or net, or a snare ( on a fishing rod) . The cage catches more at one time. The snare required patience and you can loose the crab easily.
It was fun hanging out at the pier and watching the activity.

All those lines, below the pier, have a cage attached to them.
Saturday was a very busy day. Lots of "crabbers" catching a lot of crabs. The Prospector went down early and I would came later with the Corgi boys. The dogs loved the commotion, the people, other dogs and the fish smells. Everyone helped everyone and  gave "newbies" advise. It was a very encouraging place to learn.
In the late afternoon we laid a fire to enjoy after dark and started heating water in a big pot on our outdoor burner. This pot would be the crab's demise.
It seems that there is a controversy about cooking live crabs. There have even been studies done about Crustacea and whether or not they feel pain when being cooked. I will leave that to the experts. If you really need to debate this subject, here's a link:

As a little girl, I would go to Fisherman's Wharf, in San Francisco and look at the crabs and lobsters in the big tanks on the street and ask Mom and Dad how they ended up on my Crab Louie salad at the table. I don't remember a definitive answer. Then I saw them cooking the crab on the sidewalk and I knew... BOILED ALIVE.
OK... little pragmatist that I was, I accepted the information and moved on. It seems more humane than other ways to kill animals and it was fast, so I didn't give it too much more thought... and I really loved Crab Louie's. 

 I didn't get too worked up about the crabs this trip, but I let the Prospector do the dirty work. I guess there is a part of me that could easily be a no meat eating vegetarian. I can catch fish, cook them and eat them... doesn't bother me at all... but if I had to kill a deer, bear or elk I don't think I could do it... unless I was starving and it was the only alternative. I believe you do what you have to do under certain circumstances. I love chicken eggs but I would never kill my chickens... and yet, I go to the store and buy packaged chicken. Go figure. I guess if I was starving or my family was, I could kill a chicken. Not much of a fair fight, but I would do it.  At my age, with my limited skills, the deer/bear/elk would probably kill me. I never think about it this way. I can hear that bear now...
"What's for dinner tonight, Smokey?"
"Stupid human with loaded rifle and audacity."

So that Saturday night, we cooked the crabs,
(Yes, they are dead now.)
We cleaned the greenish brown goo out of them, washed them really well and had them for dinner. They were wonderful. I melted some garlic and butter to dunk the crabmeat into, cooked some asparagus and made a salad. OH, it was really a good dinner.
We didn't have as much luck the next day... something about the tides. We caught two big Dungeness keepers all day.
Pretty markings on the shell.
 I swear the one on the right looked at me when I took this picture. Once something makes eye contact with me... it's usually a sign that I'm loosing my distant, non caring, hard shelled attitude, so this may be the last crab I eat... especially if I have to cooked them myself or turn away while the deed is done by someone else.
 We cooked them, cleaned them and took them home with us. I made a Crab Louie with the meat and bought fresh french bread to sop up the seafood goodness. I didn't think about those eyes staring up at me in that bucket of seawater as I ate them.... but I haven't forgotten it either.
So, my "Never...break your word or lose your self-respect." friend. Are we good?
 This was probably why I didn't do the CRAB post until now. Mixed feelings. Doesn't seem that big a deal... crabs. But... I'm even getting soft on spiders. What is happening to me?



  1. Now see, I can't even handle seeing the struggling fish gasping for air (water) and not feel horrible, so even fishing is out for me.

    Signed, a happy, healthy vegetarian. ;-)

  2. ha. smiles.
    i love crab....when we lived in maryland there was a guy that would sell live crab right across the street from our church so i would repent in advance...ha....

  3. Look what I found first thing this morning. A crab post just for me. HA HA HA HA HA you funny girl!

    I understand exactly what you mean about "doing the deed". As much as I love crab & lobster, and you know I do, I absolutely can not bring myself to drop a live one into a pot of boiling water. Thank god for fish markets!!!

    Thanks for the post, excellently done and informative!! Guess what I'm having for dinner tonight! ~Dawn

  4. Very informative post, beautifully done. Great pictures. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  5. Yeah this is a tough one...my friend from Quebec showed me how she kills them...with a very sharp spade, split down the middle. It's fast and instant...we always thank the crabs before doing the deed for the food they offer us but it's still not a fun part of being a carnivore. I've killed chickens before but definitely had a super hard time with it. As for bigger animals...no way. I don't know how to separate the ethics of it all.

  6. I'm getting soft too. Can't stand the thought of killing something for food... but still pick up packages of meat in the grocery store.

    I enjoyed the post... and I bet the crab was delicious.


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