The autumn is with us now on Mull, the red deer are rutting and the roaring of the stags carries for miles, echoing through the mountain glens. And to our relief it’s been exceptional weather, so far we’ve had six weeks of more or less calm dry days and on the better ones, sunrises worth getting up in the dark for.
Our harvesting of marketable mussels has all but finished for present and the rest of the year will be occupied with mussel husbandry, machinery repairs, overhauling boats and reconditioning mussel ropes for next year. On top of this, some of the older moorings on the mussel lines are around 20 years old now, and we really need to replace some of them. Plenty to do guys!
Although the shortening days and disappearing plankton which the mussels feed on will slow down the growth of mussels and also most other filter feeding shellfish, we always hope that as least it may slow down the growth of the other unwelcome shellfish visitors, which the mussels are host to. The barnacles and tube worms which can grow on the mussel shells don’t cause any harm, however they do give the cooks more work in preparing, and we are always trying to find some clever way of avoiding them when we grow the crop. Or, if they do appear we’re always on the lookout for a new machine which can remove them, sadly that machine is yet to be invented, so we can only ask for patience please, and hope that what is inside the shell is more than worthwhile compensation for the odd barnacle on the outside!