CLAMS AND OIL LAMP - STUFF FROM THE BEACH
We found an oil lamp on the beach.
There are a lot of rocks with holes in them, from where pebbles have been worn out of the hard bedrock. This one had a perfect hollow connected to a hole that allowed the use of a cotton wick. The first photo shows the rock by itself, with the 1/2-teaspoon of oil it can hold. I think the Clallam people who had their village on this beach here used stone oil lamps with seal or bear oil; who knows if this is a worn-down remnant of someone's household lamp? I pretend it is, without making any historical claims. We keep the beach clean; it's the least we can do.
This is the lamp propped upright by another pebble in a Pyrex bowl, filled with plain vegetable oil. The bowl has a delicate pattern around the rim, which projects this beautiful little sunburst. It uses about a quarter-inch of oil in 12 hours.
This basket of shells helps us identify different species. From left to right, they're: Eastern Softshell, Cockle, Native and Butter. Butter clams hold onto Red Tide toxins for two years, so it's important to know which is which.