Seamless Appreciation for the Seamstress and Garden Woman: Soozee McIntyre

Soozee is the vivacious woman with two green thumbs to whom everyone is mailing their finished tapestry sections for final sewing together.  How can we thank her enough?  Soozee works with the Far North EnviroCentre and not only helped get me into several of Northland’s EnviroSchools, but also worked with me and the kids each day.  As I fell asleep each night, at her home along the Peria river, I could hear her sewing machine running….. There she was, stitching the tapestry sections together for the teachers to save them the work…. Amazing woman!!!  In addition to walking with me at the base of the sacred 90 Mile Beach, Soozee let me forage daily in her lush garden (even giving me the season’s first ripe fig…YUM!), and showed me the value of spending an entire day with just one group of kids and studying and sewing and searching a creek for eels all day.  Quality.  That’s Soozee.

Soozee has helped many schools, like Oturu, create their own gardens!


Before dark: Shamus tries to coax one of the longfins out for a quick feed.

While staying at Soozee’s, Shamus, one of Peria School’s students had us out for a dark night of eeling along his family’s stream out in sweet-as Honeymoon Valley. I noticed how one big eel, after being gently handled a bit, liked to go under a certain fallen log and stir up the mud with her tail.  She then would swim away hidden in the created cloud like a squid in it’s ink.  It seems there is intelligence there in the old eels.

Shamus’ dad has been feeding a couple of the big girls for the last 15 years!  After a beer or two, one might even find him feeding the eels strips of bacon from his own mouth.

A while back some commercial fishermen set eel nets in several spots along their section of river.  The family pulled the nets, returned them to the fishermen, and told them they do not allow commercial eeling.  “Good on ’em”!

Thanks for the adventure and for being a good care-taker of the eels in your stream Shamus!

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