Sunday, May 25, 2014

Living on the Edge

One of the things we learned about in permaculture class was wild harvesting. I needed some borders for my garden bed, so this Saturday, my new friend (name withheld to protect the innocent) and I decided we would drive down the Turnagain Arm to harvest some wild rocks. I mean after all, why buy rocks at the store when you can get them for free in the wilderness?

I didn't take any pictures on our drive, because ho-hum, same old Turnagain Arm (ha!). That's how you know you've been in Alaska for a good little while. Also, it was super hazy because of all the smoke from the Funny River Fire down on the Kenai Peninsula (now at over 123,000 acres). But it was still a good day for a drive.

We drove all the way to Portage, the site of a once-visible but now disappearing glacier, and found a stream bed with lots of beautiful round rocks. We gathered a whole bunch of rocks, and were just deciding whether we wanted to try to collect some lupines or some fiddle head ferns when a man pulled up. "Are you two removing those rocks?" he asked. "Uh....yeah...." we responded. "Hmmm. Okay." He glared at us and drove off.

Now, I'm not sure if we missed some sort of rule about rock collecting. But the stream looked like this (not my picture, but this is a very similar stream in the area).

We followed the rules of wild harvesting, which state that you shouldn't collect more than 30% of what you're harvesting to allow it to recover. Obviously, there's no way we collected 30% of the rocks. But additionally, even if we had collected all the rocks (which would have been a feat!), guess what? See those mountains in the background? They are made guessed it...rock! More rocks will come from the mountains to replace the ones we took!

I'm not sure what that guy's problem was. Maybe he was mad because he just paid a fortune to have a company in town deliver rocks to him (as my friend pointed out "Where does he think those rocks come from?"). But anyway, we decided not to do any more wild harvesting and call it a day.

My rocks, awaiting placement around the beds.

Now I have a yard full of wild rocks lining my new native flower bed I want to create. And somewhere out there, there's an angry man telling his friends "I saw two ladies stealing ROCKS from the river!"


Anonymous said...

So my daughter is not only a thief but is leading others astray as well.
Your fire pit looks great with the rocks in it. Are they lava rocks? ;) People here pay a bunch for lava ricks for grills and fire pits.

Anonymous said...

Just don't use sedimentary rocks!


Anonymous said...

I think you got cleared of there just in time! The Rock police were on their way!

Uncle C

Anonymous said...

ummm, you cleared out of there just in time, I mean. They should have a preview thing. Oh, wait, they do!