As I wait for the snow to melt so I can set about tilling my yard in preparation for planting, I’m trying to find ways to make progress in other ways. One of those is collecting materials that I can use for landscaping.

We live near the ocean, and one of my favorite free materials to use in my yard is drift wood. The coastline is laden with it, and I like the unique character of each gnarled piece of wood. It also harkens back to my roots on Cape Cod, so it compliments the style of our house as well.

I kind of roll my eyes whenever I read how one of the major benefits of permaculture techniques is to reduce the amount of physical labor required from the gardener/farmer. I understand that the principles that allow for this are all great — a well-designed garden places the most frequented plants closest to the house, appropriate plants keep down weeds and reduce the need to lug heavy bags of fertiliser around for spreading, healthy soil doesn’t need to be tilled, etc. Not only do I embrace these attributes, I hope to achieve them in my own garden.

On the other hand, one of the things I love most about gardening is that it gets me out of the house and allows me to toil in the dirt, sweat my ass off, and get some exercise. That’s as big a benefit to me physically and mentally as is growing healthy, delicious food. So the idea of going down to the beach and scavenging several hundred pounds of wood is right up my alley.

Today as I was roaming around with the sound of crashing waves in the background, I kept hearing loud ‘booms’ from time to time. At first I assumed it was the sound of waves impacting the concrete jetties, but when I caught sight of a lightning bolt out at sea I realised I was on borrowed scavenging time.


Today’s haul was modest, but I have plenty of time to make more trips down to the beach.


Another, slightly more labor-intensive material I like to use is river rocks. Our local river, the Tedori-gawa, is laden with beautifully round rocks of all sizes. I must have carted 100 buckets full from the river bank to my car last summer for use lining my lawn and walkway. However, I’ve heard the legality of taking these rocks is murky, as silly as that seems to me. Probably not worth getting in trouble over, at any rate. I still need few more, but when I stopped by my favorite rock-collecting spot on my home from the beach, it had been barricaded with construction gates. I’ll take that as a sign!

Currently there’s a steady rain melting the snow away, and I’ll take the dreary conditions if it means I’ll be able to break out my hand tiller soon. Unfortunately I think we’ve got more snow in the forecast, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Kanazawa’s infamously fickle forecast will bring warmer temps and maybe even some sun.

For now, I need to figure out who to change my WordPress preferences from British English to American English. It keeps putting ‘u’s in everything!


6 thoughts on “Scavenger

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