Thursday, September 20, 2007

Grapes and Hawkwatch

Today I helped load 4000 pounds of grapes on the Martha Lewis. She was transporting grapes from the local Mount Felix vinyard to the St. Michael's Winery on the Eastern Shore. In the warm months when skipjacks couldn't oyster, their captains shipped whatever they could get, typically produce and lumber. Skipjacks were just like semi-truck owners today -- whatever load they could get that would pay, they would take. Back before the Bay Bridge and the excellent highway system, it was cheaper, easier, and faster to move freight by boat.

It happened that the Mount Felix winery has its first harvest this year. They sold them to the winery, and the winery owner stipulated that they be shipped by boat, was traditional. The Martha Lewis was going that way to the Cambridge skipjack races this weekend, so a deal was struck. Martha will deliver the cargo on her way down.

There are only three skipjack races and they're popular with the volunteers, so I couldn't go this trip since I went to the Deal Island skipjack races over Labor Day.

watching the boat
sail away without me,
somebody else
going to adventure
this autumn morning

After Martha sailed away I reminded people on the dock, "Don't watch her out of sight. If you do, they won't come back." It's an old Irish superstition handed down in my family.

I drove to the other side and joined a friend and fellow crew member for the Hawkwatch on Turkey Point at Elk Neck State Park. We didn't see very many birds, but did spot a couple of vultures, an osprey, and a sharp-shinned hawk. She helped me identify some other birds. Leaving Elk Neck, a kestrel was sitting on a powerline crossing the road, counting cars I presume.

We hiked an alternate route back and found a pocket beach with plenty of clamshells and sea wrack washed up on it. It was paved almost as much with shell as with sand and pebbles. I wrote poetry and she took photographs. It was a rather long hike back to the carpark :)


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