As you have guessed by now and with the help of this image, I wasn't talking about those HUGE stars up in the heavens. No, I was talking about these precious li'l creatures.......sea stars.
I have been researching since last night trying to discover just what type of sea stars these are. I knew they were in the starfish family and did you know that starfish are NOT fish at all? They are related to the sand dollar and sea urchin. I kid ya not!! (and my feeble mind is thinking that sometime in a past post I might have even told ya that already..hehe) They can move quite quick too by using the tiny little tube feet on their underside. These same little feet are what helps them hold onto their prey. Oh yes...they are hunters!! They even have eyes (that we can't really see though and they can't see well out of) on the ends of each arm. This particular star that is washing up here is in the banded family. Thier little legs don't curl up until they are dead. That is what caused one of the many emotions that ran through me when we found these. First I was sooo excited that Mother Nature had given us such an amazing treasure. Then right after that emotion, sadness hit me like a ton of bricks. These ancient creatures that have been around for what scientist believe is over half a billion years are dying and washing ashore in the hundreds. It's happening everywhere....not just here on our Alabama coast. They are, of course, doing research and several different theories are being bounced around
but the main cause is not known as of yet. I did sit and cry as I felt so sad for all these creatures but I was happy too that I was given a gift from the sea that I intend to preserve and they can continue to be remembered. Yea.....ya'll already know I'm a bit quirky...and now I really just proved it but HEY...it's just ME!!!
Now, in case YOU might have been walking on the beach and picked up a few I'm sure you discovered that they might not be fish but PEEEUUUUU they sure smell like dead fish. I did some research on taking care of that little problem plus asking a friend how she took care of it with hers. So here's two ways you can do it:
Friends way (which is popular on any search...so we know it works) Take sea star and place in 3 parts water to one part bleach for about 60 seconds. Take out of solution and place on top of equal parts salt and baking soda covering the bottom of a box. Place the legs in the position you want them to dry and then gently weigh them down with something. (Gently, because you don't want something so heavy it breaks the legs off) Sit in the sun to dry for at least 48 hours.
Here's my way after friends suggestion and doing some research. I love keeping the colors in anything that Mother Nature has designed so I didn't want to lose the brown bands in mine. So.....I found that instead of placing them in the bleach/water solution that I could soak them in a 70% alcohol bath for 48 hours which will kill the smell, remove any bateria (same as the bleach solution) and keep their natural color intact. After the bath solution it stated that I could take them out and place on newspaper, place legs in position, gently place something on top and let sit in the sun until dried out. After they are dried then I will seal them. Fingers crossed this works. My muse is singing up a storm in wanting to use these with some mermaid and sea horse sculpts.
Yesterday brought some shell treasures too. I love my shells but ya'll know that already too. ^_^