Thursday, August 15, 2013

Let's talk about seaweed

We went to a talk on seaweed at the historic Cataumet Schoolhouse given by local expert Gilbert Newton. The one room school dates back to 1894 and was recently restored. It was very "Little House on the Prairie," down to the lunch pails left hanging by the door. You might not think a talk about seaweed would be very interesting but practically every seat was filled and the boys stayed interested for most of the hour-long talk.

Gil is very enthusiastic about seaweed and gave a great talk. We found out that nori, which is the seaweed that's used in sushi and roasted seasoned seaweed (the boys' favorite food), can be found in the Cape Cod area. Matt was online later that evening looking up where to harvest the stuff.

We also learned about killer seaweed, which is not in Cape Cod, but is a terribly invasive species that wipes out whole swaths of ocean floor and is just about impossible to control as nothing eats it. The most interesting thing about it to me was that it was created on purpose (for aquariums, with involvement by Jacques Cousteau, no less) and then got way out of hand. It's yet another instance of humans trying to mess with nature and having it turn out really badly.

Afterwards, we tried to get ice-cream from the little gift shop at the marina (um, oh yeah- the reason the kids made it all the way through the talk and walk home may have had something to do with promised ice cream if they behaved). As we walked in and headed towards the ice-cream case, the friendly owner/manager took one look at us and said, "You're not here for ice-cream, are you?" You could literally see confusion, followed by dread, descend on they boys' faces as they sensed a disturbance in the ice-cream force (sorry, the kids' obsession with Star Wars is rubbing off).  Apparently, someone had accidentally unplugged the ice cream case and everything melted and was now in the dumpster.  Luckily, the manager took pity on us and gave the boys some half-melted Dove bars for free. Although they were wearing most of it at the end, they were happy. So we were happy.

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