Just look at those crabby women!
Not in the way you might think, though. Five adventurous ladies from four states showed up on a Friday afternoon ready and raring to get started on their bayou adventure, even without knowing what that entailed. I was hoping they would be “all in” with whatever I would throw their way, and they didn’t disappoint!
Old Classmates from Back Home
Connie and Sharon are school mates from Bossier City whom I hadn’t seen in 39 years! It was a new and fulfilling experience to have them here and get to know them better now that they are all grown up! Sue and I go back about 28 years or so, having become friends through a mutual friend. We have managed to maintain a long-distance friendship all these years even though we have never lived in the same town. She came a couple days early to hang out, visit, and help with BWA preparations, and I was thankful for her help. Heather, or Lil Sis as you know her, took time off from her busy life of real estate and taking care of her grand daughter to be with us, and I’m so glad she was able to be part of the first BWA. Amy, the daughter of Sharon, brought a younger element to the group, and it was really neat to see how she interacted with us old fogies. She picked at us, and we picked back at her, but she really fit right in with the group.
Let’s Go Crabbing
After taking a little time to introduce ourselves and get to know each other better, we rolled up our sleeves and got down to the brass tacks of learning how to catch blue crabs. We chose three teams of two, each with our own crab trap to take care of. We decided to set them out in the bayou overnight to see what they might produce. They jumped right in baiting the traps with fish carcasses and tossing them right into the bayou like old pros.
Once the traps were in the water, we cleaned up and enjoyed a supper of shrimp stew, French bread, and a wonderfully different Asian broccoli slaw prepared by Sue. There was plenty of food, drink, and conversation to go around. Because we wanted to get an early start next morning, we called it a night around 10:30 or so after talking and laughing till our sides ached.
Stopping in the Swamp
Saturday morning, bright and early, we launched the boat and checked our crab traps to find the most caught was 4 crabs in one trap, so we put them in the boat and took them to three new and different locations. Each team picked a spot for their traps, rebaited them and tossed them out, taking note of landmarks so they could find them later among all the other crab traps. Then, we were on our way to the distant swamp, where we hung around and enjoyed the beauty, solitude and bird songs for a good while.
Crabbing with String and Nets
Our next stop would be a canal where we would catch crab using string and chicken necks. Only one problem – the chicken necks were nowhere to be found! But Connie offered up her bag of round, gummy Life Savers to use as bait. As they each tied one to their strings, (with lots of giggles, jokes, and jibes) two men idled by in a boat recommending we move across the way and take the spot where they were fishing. I wasn’t interested in doing that but instead asked them if they had some dead shrimp to spare. They gladly shared their shrimp bait, and that made them the Lifesavers! We swapped out the quickly-dissolving gummy Lifesavers for dead shrimp and soon the competition was on to see who had the knack for finding and netting the most crabs.
They soon got the hang of crabbing, with one woman holding the string while the other netted the crabs as they took the bait. I loved hearing the shouts of “I’ve got another one!” each time the blue wonders hit the basket.
On the way back in, each team checked their prospective crab trap, leaning way out with a gaff, snagging the buoy, and pulling the trap up to see what they caught. They dumped the crabs into the ice chest, emptied out the old bait back into the bayou, and neatly stacked their traps in the boat. Between the two methods, we ended up with a nice little mess of crabs. Truth is, though, we caught more on the strings than we did in the traps!
The ladies then helped me get the boat out of the water and then back to Camp Dularge to unload the boat. It was great having their help with all the tasks and made things much more enjoyable for yours truly. After a regular charter trip, I’m left alone to do all the cleanup myself. Their help made short work of unloading the boat, and I was very grateful!
Let’s Boil Our Crabs
Everyone did their part preparing the boil, and we relaxed with some cool beverages, talking and laughing some more while the water boiled.
Some of the ladies had never eaten boiled crab before, but they caught on very quickly as I showed them step-by-step how to break off the shell and get to the delicious white meat. If you’ve ever eaten boiled crab, you know that isn’t an easy task for a newbie.
The Rest of Our Journey
After we ate, we rested and then got cleaned up for dinner. I think they were happy and suprised when I presented them with their “I am a Bayou Woman” t-shirts. They gladly donned them before we headed out to visit my friend Etta down in Cocodrie at their old family store–Lapeyrouse’s Grocery.
Less than twenty-four hours after their arrival, these adventurous women had successfully caught, boiled, and eaten about two dozen crabs, and now they have the t-shirts to prove it!
With our newly-earned Bayou Woman shirts on our backs, we headed to Eatta’s and then to dinner at Schmoopy’s in Dulac, where our shirts drew quite a bit of attention!
A couple ladies had their famous whole friend flounder.
A couple of us had the grilled tuna, and it was good, too. Amy ordered their bacon-wrapped oysters, which were delicious!
After dinner, we returned to Camp Dularge and talked and laughed until way too late. Connie and Sharon brought out the Bossier High School yearbooks, and we had the best time talking about old classmates and sharing old stories. Sue and Amy were really good sports about indulging us while we did so. Thanks, gals!
Best Crabby Woman Award
I’m sorry to say that I forgot to hand out the “Best Crabber” award before everyone left on Sunday morning. And the winner of the first ever Crab Whisperer award goes to Lil Sis. She just had the magic touch when it came to snagging those crabs on a dead shrimp at the end of a string! Of course, it was a team effort with her partner, the netter, but we all had a great time, no matter how many crabs we caught!
Everyone left Sunday morning saying what a great time they had! I know I certainly had a great time. I just want to say how proud I am of how these five women stepped out of their comfort zones into Life in the Louisiana wetlands. They never once complained and their enthusiasm about being here once again reminded me what a wonderful life we have down the bayou.
Tired but happy!
Coming soon: Cajun Caviar a new super easy dip recipe that was a hit this past weekend! Great for summertime appetizers!
Happy to hear the weekend was a hit. I was keeping my fingers crossed for y’all that the T.S. would move slowly through the Gulf.
What states were represented?
Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana. The storm did hold out but the lake was pretty rough!!! No rain, so it was good.
It looks like you had a great time.
Your business is very unique & I am sure very rewarding to you. I am happy that you can do this.
Thanks for your kind words, Glenda. I know you from another life which seems forever ago, when we were homeschooling moms in the same support group! That is, if I have the right Glenda G.? Thanks for stopping by and I hope life is treating you better.
You have the right Glenda G. All 5 of our children have graduated as of this year. We no longer live in Gray, but in the Northern IN. I am enjoying reading your blog and viewing your photos. Makes me want to go fishing very badly though. I am LA born & bred and will always miss the fishing. I am glad I found your blog.
I’m glad you found it, too. How DID you find it? My last one is 16 and will be starting his fourth year in public school this August. Life changes, and so must we, right? Thanks for signing up to read the blog! I hope it makes you feel like home is not too far away.
I think that someone we both know from the Houma area had you on their Facebook wall. I was curious and clicked on your wall if I remember right.
Ah yes, that would make sense. I don’t have much connection to our old homeschooling friends any more, though, sad as that sounds : ( Life takes different paths and friends are for a season sometimes.
So glad it went well for all of you. I enjoyed reading this.
It was really a blast, Brenda! Glad you enjoyed it.
oh heck yeah … and spiffy too….
Yet to eat a hard shell crab and barely remember the soft shell I ate like 55 years ago.
Settling into retirement might look for work someday.
Does Dularge need an official greeter?
fishing early then heat settles in. 104 forecast high for Thursday…
Did you actually retire? REally?
Too sore to continue plus had my 30 in and stopped caring long ago….
Well, then, congratulations are in order! Sure hope they didn’t give you a watch so you could watch the rest of your time pass away : ) Some new flies maybe, huh?
Oh yeah I still got to go on line and pick my retirement gift. rumor has it there is some nice stuff.
Looks like a wonderful time! I was fussing on your behalf a little while Debbie was still making up her mind, but it worked out – at least for those of us not in Florida!
The photos are great – and now I want lunch at Schmoopy’s! Let’s see… if I started driving right now…
Did you just change your avatar? Maybe it’s been a while, but I like it!
It was a wonderful time! Looks like Debby listened to you, Linda! Yes, I changed the avatar yesterday. That is the head shot cropped from a photo the Exec. Producer took at the beginning of the La. Outdoor Adventure TV episode we shot a couple weeks ago. I always put my hair under a hat when I run the boat, so that’s what folks end up seeing on TV! So, I asked him to get one shot before I put it under the hat. He obliged, and turns out it’s a photo that I kinda like (a rare thing!). So, it is slowly becoming my icon photo. Much ado about a picture, right?
Looks like all of you had a great time. Can’t wait to hear more about it when I get back to the states.
Dinner at Schmoopys without me??? NOOOOO!!!!! I know I should have gone! When’s the next one????
Looks like it was a great weekend! Glad you had a good experience with the first one, hope it leads to many, many more.
I’m hoping for September! Schmoopy’s was delish honey. I thought about you, though! Looks like you had a great trip!
Wendy this looks like sooo much fun. I really really would like to come to the next adventure that you have. I miss you and would love to get caught up on each other’s lives. I am sorry we have lost contact with each other. You always have made me laugh! Your blog is wonderful and I enjoy reading it.