Friday, December 26, 2014


Packed up the RV and the Tzus and I went to the State Park in Grand Isle for a few days.  My friend Pat told me that he had a bucket of oyster shells for me that was given to him by a friend of his named Ronnie.  I was hoping they were the large shells which I like to decorate and gift wrap for selling.

It was really cold when we got to the beach but we enjoyed our first day there.  The second day it rained.  The third day was pretty nice. 

Cha Bu Khan trying to give me little wet doggie kisses.

Xi Shi Quan giving some love too.

Our usual spot number 29.

On the second day, Pat picked me up at the park and we went to Ronnie's house.  The plan was to go to a spot in the marsh where Ronnie goes fishing and had discovered an old Indian Mound that had lots of very old oyster shells that he claims are over 100 years old.   

He wore rubber boots and loaned a pair to Pat but I had on regular dress boots as that was all I had in the RV.  When we got to the spot and I saw how wet the ground was I didn't think I was going to be able to walk the distance necessary to get to the shells.  Ronnie said, "Just follow me," and took his first step into a ditch along side of the road.  

Well, I couldn't believe he expected me to walk into that ditch after the big rainfall we had the night before.  However, I took a couple of steps and began to sink into the mud.  Didn't take me but a second to realize that I was not willing to go any further with the boots I had on so I climbed out of the ditch and stayed near the truck with Ronnie's girlfriend Suzanne.  I got teased alot about that but didn't care.  I was not going to go into that marsh. 

After about a half hour, Pat and Ronnie came out of the marsh with 2 5 gallon buckets full of shells.  You can see their red shirts in the distance.

Now that's what I call going above and beyond the call of duty for a friend.  Ronnie's pants were wet up to mid calf but he was smiling.

Ronnie and Suzanne.  They met on and are now engaged.  Ronnie took us all out for lunch.  They shared a roast beef po-boy. 

Pat had a shrimp burger.

We all shared onion rings.

I had the hamburger steak with onions and mushrooms.  We all enjoyed a Coors Light.

We ate at the Starfish Restaurant.  

Here is Pat holding Ronnie's little dog.  He is so cute and very smart.  Performed all of his tricks for us.  Cool little dog.

Got back to the park and took the dogs for a walk.

Cha Bu is feeling a lot more confident about going into the water.

The beach was full of shells which is not usual for Grand Isle.  I picked a few nice ones.

The park is nearly empty.

There I am in the center.

One of my interesting neighbors.  He is from Garyville, LA.  He purchased an old school bus for $2500 and then invested another $60,000 to renovate it into this RV.

He had a cute little dog named Bandit.

Here is another doggie we met on our walk named Jake who is from Indiana.

When we left the park to return home we stopped at Pat's house and had lunch.  Then he took me to another friend's house named Norris who had a large pile of oyster shells in his back yard.  He said we could take all we wanted so we picked a large cardboard box full and thanked him.

Then we rode to the Wildlife and Fisheries Research Center and found some discarded shells near the bay.  We found some shells with both halves still connected and empty of oyster.  They will be fun to craft with.

Spoke to one of the researchers who shared some knowledge about their research with the oysters.

The $23 million, state-of-the-art lab supports resource sampling and research work performed by Office of Fisheries staff, which drives the decision making process for management of the resources within the entire state.  Biologists based in Grand Isle study a variety of marine species including finfish, crab, shrimp and oysters and their associated habitat, which are all vital to the economy of Louisiana.

Oyster culture research is conducted at the hatchery’s demonstration farm, located adjacent to a new operations center which opened in 2012 to replace a building lost during Hurricane Katrina. The operations center provides a farm service area downstairs, and upstairs living and office space for graduate students.

A diploid oyster (left) and a triploid oyster (right).

Triploid oysters have three sets of chromosomes – unlike normal (diploid) oysters that have two – and triploids are sexually sterile. From June through November when diploid oysters are expending energy to spawn and shedding fat stores, triploid oysters remain meaty – creating a possible summer crop for Louisiana oyster growers.

Triploids can be created artificially in the lab by manipulating oyster chromosomes, which has been done, but that process is not 100 percent. However, chromosome manipulation can also be used to create tetraploid oysters, which have four sets of chromosomes and can sexually reproduce. When bred with diploid oysters, tetraploid oysters produce 100 percent triploid offspring. The goal is to create a broodstock line for annual triploid production.

I'm learning so much about oysters.  However, I have my own observations made during the process of crafting the shells.  They are indeed primitive but are coming from a layperson's point of view.  There are some oyster shells that I refer to as skirts, some as half moons, some as flat heads, some as blues, some as blacks, some as wines as they are red and are wild oysters, some as striations which are age lines used to tell how old they are, some as flats for holding candles, some as deeps for holding designer soaps, some as piggy backs, and some as clusters - my favorite.  

Now that I have made contacts with people who can supply me with shells, I will concentrate on making my cement and shell sculptures.  This is exciting and I can't wait to get started.


  1. Very educational post. the food looks so good too.
    You sure had a very good trip I'd say.

    Happy New Year!