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Well Deal Island always has a way to melt away stress. Just coming over the harbor bridge you feel a deep breath inhale and exhale out the stress. It was no different this time. The dogs were ready to get out and explore the farm. They chased chickens, met Pony, Jack kissed a llama, and they eat deer poop, and just created chaos on the farm. I am excited to be here, I always manage to capture wonderful photos for my collection. I am happy to say Deal Island has proved to be a great setting for photos once again. I captured a great dragonfly and his majestic colors along with a great fiery sunset yielding vibrant orange and pink hues with an old crab shack operation with old crabbing boat in the foreground. We are now beginning to get our inventory for the upcoming Crisfield and Deal Island festivals. People anymore just seem angry. Like it is always just below the surface and they need very little for it to boil over. Now do not get me wrong I am guilty sometimes of getting mad also. But today a woman who was going fast through Wal Mart parking lot came up on my butt so close because I was not going like a bat of hell to the exit. I waved, half heartedly saying sorry and I noticed in my rear view mirror she was flipping me off and yelling at me. So what do i do… I go slower :) She then got up next to me and starting yelling at me, I rolled down my window and asked, “Is it really worth getting this mad?”. As she flipped me off and said something about going too @#$!ing slow I noticed she had her kids with her in the back seat and husband in the passenger. All I could say is, “Classy lady, real classy” as I chuckled, she got irrate at that point, I thought her head would pop off, now the husband was flipping me off. So to fuel the fire more. I replied once again. “you both are a class act, way to set an example”. This time she sat looking for a response, something that would get to me and cut me to the bone and all she could think of in that sophisticated mind was “you are a $@#*ing loser buddy.” Rrrright, I am the loser :) This was now entertaining, but the light now turned green and as I laughed and started to move on, all i could say was “nice” in the usual sarcastic tone. I am just amazed at the way Americans are acting these days to fellow americans. Why is it again that this is the best country in the world? Well I went crabbing with Sharon’s father AKA “pops” today. There is nothing like it, it is both exhilarating and excruciating at times. The day went like this… The alarm from the cell phone begins beeping at a ripe early 3:00 a.m., still dark but not really night nor morning. I walk into the house where Dave, a.k.a. “Pops”, sits at the table with a look of barely awakeness on his face drinking a fresh cup of coffee, the first drink of an endless cup throughout his day. We pack up the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that my mother-in-law Diane made the night before, two for each of us, with water and sodas. He pours the rest of his third pot into his thermos and we then head to the truck to go to the marina. The air is totally calm and still moist from the humid day before, it has a feel that stirs memories of fishing trips back in Florida. It feels comforting. The stars are so numerous and bright, almost too much to look real. The water is so glassy that it actually reflects those stars on its surface which gives you a sense of being in outer space drifting through the milky way. We chug very slowly out of the marina and into the darkness of the bay. The only light is the stars and the glow of the instrument panel on Dave’s face. I watch as hee sips his coffee and focuses on the channel markers and the task at hand. The water is a minefield in a sense, there are literally hundreds of crab pots with floating buoys out there waiting to get snagged on the prop and put us out of commission so he has to be very alert driving out to Monie Bay. We just chug along for over an hour at a very slow methodical pace. The marine radio crackles awake now. The other watermen of Deal Island are beginning to chatter. About what? I have no idea. I barely understand every tenth word they say. “eydare danksbuns fo resippee ah tellya wut you go outen chainshole be en sader where Terry sunken his boat findum bumo sooks…” [silent pause] “I got-cha.” Between the thick accents and static of the speaker it is almost incoherent. But none the less I like the sound, I can hear the comraderie in their tone. It makes you feel not so alone in the darkness of being on the water before the sun rises. I remember Sharon packed me my favorite granola bar and I grabbed the O.J. I sealed in a mason jar. I lean my head out and watch the wake from the boat and the phosphorescents glowing, shooting back through the water like a meteor shower. I kick back and enjoy the cruise on this glorious morning. We arrive at our destination. Dave begins putting down the trot lines. I put on the thick rubber gloves and begin readying to sort crabs. If you have do not know how trot lining works I can try to explain the best I can. The lines you set out, baited with chicken necks every 3 feet or so through the braids of the rope, are attached to lead weights of some sort. Dave happens to have a couple of old car crank shafts on his that seem to work perfect. A bouy is also attached near the ends to keep the rope on the surface there so when you motor up to it you grab the line with a hook and set it up on a pulley type contraption jutting from the side of the boat. Work boats have secondary controls mounted on along the back right side so that the captain, Dave, can steer the boat along the line. All the while holding a net out to catch the crabs that are clinging to the chicken necks on the line and riding to the surface. As each neck comes to the surface there is an unsuspecting crab for the netting. Some big and some very small. This is where my job happens. Dave then empties the net into my holding bin, The crabs fall in and scramble in the chaos of trying to figure out what happened. One minute they are enjoying a delicious chicken neck breakfast and then next thing they know there are being picked up and measured, if they are lucky and small, or have their points broken they are tossed back overboard. Where I am sure a few go back to enjoying their chicken neck breakfast for a bit until it all happens again. Picking the crabs up by the way is no easy task. Blue crabs are very pissed off when disturbed while eating it seems and have very strong claws, hence why I wear the big rubber gloves :) This process of running the lines goes on for hours, hopefully filling the bushels we have with us quickly. For us on this day we ran the lines for six hours yielding a modest 2 and 8/10s bushels of 1’s, half bushel of 2’s and half bushel of sooks. We also nabbed 27 peelers. What I thought was amazing is how the 2’s grew into 1’s after sitting in the bushel for a bit :) The day was highlighted with a few breaks to eat our sandwiches and throw the crusts to the ever present seagulls. I think they know Dave and follow him just to get the crusts. Finally we start to pick up the lines and get ready to call it a day. I grab my MP3 player and a plastic chair to sit back at the rear of the boat, kick up my feet and lean back for the hour ride back. It was a gorgeous day on the water, light breeze, sunny blue skies and warm sunshine on my face. I think I dozed off once in a while. Feeling I deserved it after the long day of crabbing. I could almost taste the steamed crabs already. That evening out on the porch we picked crabs, Aimie, Pops, Sharon and I, to our hearts content. There is nothing better than fresh steamed Maryland “Jimmys” and a beer after a very long day. Except if Pops would have come out and played his guitar and sang for us. It was one of those days that gets burned into your memory as if it were always just yesterday. We went looking for some mountain bike trails in Salisbury but ended up riding a gravel path along a nice flowing river. It eventually ended up going through the Salisbury zoo. We saw two Jaguars feuding over turf, saw monkeys, otters and more. It was a nice zoo, very clean, and well landscaped. It is a donation-based zoo so please donate if you go. It was time explore things on the water a bit, we grabbed the 15 foot boat from the farm and headed into the marsh, literally. After wandering through the thick reeds and grasses in the marsh around Deal Island and coming to dead end after dead end we gave up finding the ditch we have been told exists. The beach at Sandy Point became our destination. We played with Jack and Jinjer on the beach for a while and then had an uneventful ride home. Jinny had a bladder infection we thought. After going to the vet, him sticking his finger in her butt, testing urine we had to collect and shooting her with antibiotics we are now $114.00 poorer. What a rip off! Continued on Baltimore entry Back to the island now. Amy came back down and we went out to Mcgurdys (or something like that) to play pool, drunken pool that is. but that is another story. Drove to Chincoteague Island. Found a place to eat, Bustin Britches. Decent food. Took some nice photos of the old ship out back. Finally we checked out Assateague National Seashore, saw some ponies, biked a bit and headed back to home. Tropical Storm Ernesto had its sights on the Chesapeake Bay which was very bad since we had bought alot of inventory for our Festivals on Labor Day weekend and it is now threatened to be canceled. Ernesto came in with a roar on the eastern shore. Trees snapped and were uprooted, the tide rose to engulf roads and marinas, it was worse than I expected. The winds roared and rain poured for around 8 hours. And of course, the power went out. Not good at all since the Crab festival was the next day. Well power was still out the next morning, but i decided to go to Crisfield and do the show anyway, full beard and all :) I was disorganized to say the least. Met some really nice people at Crisfield and did well in sales also. It was now saturday night, and still, no power. Please note that without power the water pump on the well does not work. so therefore…no showers. If it was not for the generator on the motorhome all would be lost. We would not get power until 11 p.m. that night. Right after my mom and sister arrived. It was now monday, time for the Deal Island festival. I managed to get my mom and sister on pops workboat for the skipjack race. We once again did well at the festival. Sold alot of photos. Seems dragonflys are hot items. Met fellow photographer E.Hayden Hastings, nice stuff. I was exhausted, with a capital E! We are now off to Virginia