Column: Beachcombing for fun and profit


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Since the beginning of time, the waters of the earth have deposited debris of all kinds on their beaches. Before man appeared, the items littering the shoreline would be plant material, driftwood, bones, teeth, and other remains of flora and fauna. In the past 10 centuries or so, the findings on the sands have changed dramatically.

After man actively started building boats and ships and sailing the oceans and lakes of the world, flotsam and jetsam started showing up on the beaches.

In more recent years, trash has been a common find on the beach. Aluminum cans, broken glass and plastic bottles litter almost every shoreline. Fishing line, often with hooks still attached, is usually present. On rare occasions, depending on the area, a bale or two of marijuana may wash ashore. Fortunately, there is also a lot of interesting and even profitable (while being legal) items that can be found.

One of the most common finds along any body of water is driftwood. It comes in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. While it can be found on saltwater beaches, especially after big storms, the quantity there is low compared to freshwater lakes, perhaps because more trees grow near fresh water. The shores of the Great Lakes and the many smaller lakes of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota are favorite spots of ours to collect driftwood.

I use driftwood in my rock garden, as ornamental displays in our house, or it can be sold at flea markets or rummage sales if you find yourself wanting to get some money for your excess wood.

 

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