We were up at the compost site getting a load of woodchips the other day when my daughter noticed some truck-sized mounds of green stuff and went over to investigate. It turned out that the mounds were pond weed cut from the lake down the hill from us. A county park truck had been trundling back and forth all morning, but we hadn’t realized what they were doing until we saw the weed dumped at our compost site. (By the way, this water weed makes great compost because it is full of nutrients but has no seeds that can germinate in your garden. I will be going back up to the site to get some of this stuff once it has broken down–if they don’t push it over the embankment first!)
It wasn’t long before she was yelling, “Hey, look at all these crayfish!” I grabbed an empty five-gallon pail and walked over to her. Sure enough, there were at least a dozen crayfish of varying sizes (the longest was about 6 or 7 inches long with beautiful blue claws) crawling groggily out of the mounds of cut vegetation. They had the disoriented air of crustaceans who were looking around and saying to themselves, “What the heck? What HAPPENED? Where ARE we?”
My daughter loaded them into the bucket while I finished filling our containers with woodchips. After that, we dug through part of the load of weeds and found a few more crayfish to rescue. We ended up with about twenty-five crawdads from this and the next load (we went back for a second load of chips) and a very wet leather wallet I found perched atop another load of weed.
I was surprised by how few fish and crayfish we found stranded in the load. The floating machine they use to cut the weed makes a lot of noise and splashes a lot of water around. I think that most creatures are frightened away or make it back into the lake and don’t need rescuing.
We repatriated the crayfish to the lake (with my daughter squeaking “OW! It pinched me!” every so often–the crayfish had a healthy pinch even through garden gloves.) flipping off the log we were using as a launching pad.
The waterlogged wallet I decided to turn it in at the police station, thinking it was possible that the kid who lost it had given his parents a different explanation about it’s disappearance than that it had gone missing during a party down at the lake! Begonia