Dear Journal: In the NW, abundance can comes in a shell

Editor’s note: Karen Harris Tully is a writer who lives in Raymond and has agreed to keep a journal to share with Daily World readers during the odd and uncertain time we’re all navigating.

Dear Journal:

We’ve been clamming, twice now! As a man in Dennis Co. said skeptically when I bought my license, “Did you say clamming?” Yes, I did. Not for razor clams, of course. Wrong season for that. We got manila clams or littlenecks, or maybe a combination, I’m not totally sure. I know we didn’t find butter clams, and the state site says varnish clams (which I did find a few of) are not as safe to eat due to a higher toxin load. There’s so much new to learn here! And why have we never done this before?

After checking the tide tables, my son and I went to Rhodesia Beach, which was rustic and gorgeous. And, I found out my rubber boots have a hole, but one wet foot, oh well. The driftwood was epic, whole uprooted trees at the edge of the beach, bleached white by sun and surf. And so much seaweed covered driftwood that we had to be careful walking to the beach. There was one other clam digger there who I asked questions of, one determined jogger, and the rest of the beach was gloriously empty. We stayed till the tide started coming in.

I also got to meet up with friends for a second clamming day, this time at Tolmie State Park near Olympia. It was beautiful, and easier to access than Rhodesia, with picnic tables and bathrooms. Plus, it was in between me and some of my best girlfriends who I’d been sorely missing seeing in person.

Digging for clams with small shovels and hand rakes was a surprisingly easy treasure hunt. Dirty, yes, and good, wet fun. My son LOVED it. After we’d been at it for a while that first day I remembered about limits and size requirements, which I finally found online. Forty mixed clams (not razor clams) or oysters.

Manilas and littlenecks have to be at least 1½ inches across. After looking up a recipe online, and how to clean them, we had clams with linguine in butter and garlic sauce, and clam chowder a few days later. As my son said, “we just came out here and got dinner!” Yes, we did. The Pacific Northwest is a pretty cool place to live.

Song of the day: “Island in the Sun” / Weezer