First Time Clamming

             I moved to Oregon to be closer to my Daughter; the closest I could get was 2 hours away in what was to became my “Hawaii” only 50 degrees cooler! (My Oregon), Gleneden Beach. With truly beautiful people on all sides and one of the Oregon’s most capable and artistic Carpenters a person could ask for the “Dead Bird Garage” was born. The Dead Bird name came from my neighbor Jack who named it “Dead Bird Garage” and laughed about it as we all did at the time and the name stuck.

              The only thing I really wanted to do was to teach reloading something I became STUCK with at age 11. Whenever I could talk my Dad into going Duck hunting (not very hard) I was the person to reload the shotgun shells usually about 100. I don’t remember how many times I reloaded the same cases but the family had Duck and Geese for Thursday Thanksgivings and Sunday dinners more than a few times! Oregon’s Gleneden Beach being my home with reloading and the blessing of the ATF as a Gunsmith and my FFL license at age 74 here I go again; never stop!

           The nightmare we have been living in for the past 2 years finally pushed  myself, Hunter and Dazy, with the help of a warm sunny September day, into going clamming and for me the first time in here Oregon (My Oregon). Hunter knew I didn’t know what I was doing “mostly”. The Sun was bright and brilliant shining off the waning water. I started out at the beginning of the Taft Beach. Walking for me is very hard as it is for many my age of 74.  Starting out across a beautiful green lawn with a 2 year old Cholate Labrador (Crazy Dazy) and new “world” 18 year old. Someone to help stand me back up when I tip over. We were 50 or 60 yards out just before the stream flowing thru the sand out to the bay catching the Siletz River meandering out to the ocean. 

           We were digging for Purple Varnish Clams!  at 1 1/2 to 4″, definitely not Giants, mostly on the small side but with pearly white meat. Picture an old man floundering in a small puddle bare handed, covered in sand, digging as fast as he could. Hunter next to me holding the shovel. It’s been  over 30+ years since I ventured forth with this insanity to clam in sand.  We dug as fast as we could with me on all fours. Hunter standing with control of the shovel and Dazy digging like “speed dog”. Yes we were quite the sight to see on the beach. 

              After we found the small ones near the top of the sand and the larger ones deeper down; and oh yes they can move in the sand using their strong mussel (get it “Mussels”). After a hour we collected our limit of 72 claims, Yahoo! With the excitement of getting clams next was getting out off the beach.  I’m covered in mud like sand from digging. Only have a shovel to use as my leverage to climb back to the grass. 

            Bringing back our bucket of clams the pride could not have been greater. Out unto the porch went our future clam chowder where it would sit for a full day. Off I go to get all the needed extras including a loud mouth.