The Sands of Oysterville

Mar 29, 2013 | 0 comments

Sand Piles at Tucker'sScratch the surface – any surface – in Oysterville and you are likely to find sand.  That’s not surprising when you consider that we are perched atop a 28-mile long sandspit created by the constant outflow of the Columbia bringing bits and pieces of the inland downriver.

At the river’s mouth, those millions of tiny once-upon-a-time rocks take a right turn and are pushed northward by off-shore currents.  They deposit themselves along our little section of the Pacific Coast.  Over the centuries these sands have accreted and eroded by turns, gently shaping the shoreline and working in concert with the winds to create our undulating dunes – many of which have been removed, or at least tamed, by developers and homeowners.

Wachsmuth PlaceIn Oysterville, we bring in topsoil and other ‘amenders’ for our garden beds so that we can grow things that Mother Nature doesn’t allow in sand.  But, for all our efforts, only a few inches below the surface… there it is!  Sand!  It drains our soil and keeps us from drowning in an accumulation of winter rains.  We are grateful that it is there, helping to keep us above water.

Sand is the reason for our lumpy lawns, too.  I’ll warrant that every lawn in Oysterville began ironing-board-flat, but as the years go by, the sand beneath begins to drift.  I’m not sure what causes that.  You wouldn’t think that wind is the reason.  Nevertheless, in the ten or fifteen years since we rolled our yard flat, the dunes beneath the lawn have returned – a constant reminder that the sands are shifting beneath our very feet.

There is sand beneath our wall-to-wall carpeting in the house, too.  I know that because when we replaced the old carpet years ago, I was amazed to see the accumulation of sand that had filtered through that tightly woven surface and was deposited on the fir floor beneath.  Now, once again, that unseen sand is gathering itself into miniature dunes.  We remind people to walk carefully, indoors and out!

You’d think that we have enough sand in Oysterville without bringing in more.  But, in the last several weeks, there have been piles and piles of it trucked in – to Tucker and Carol’s place and to Cyndy’s lot to our north.  That’s one advantage to construction projects here.  Beach sand, which seems to be a requisite building material, is just a mile or so distant (though there are regulations and permits to consider.)

When the loads came into Tucker and Carol’s, I feared that their little house, new addition and all, would be buried in the stuff.  I was amazed to see how minimal the impact appeared once it was spread around the site.

The sand at Cyndy’s lot is still piled up and a huge backhoe (or is it a loader?  Anyway, it’s a big piece of equipment.) is poised to doSand Pile at Cyndy's intriguing things.  She has told me that some of that sand will be used for landscaping after the new septic system goes in.  Though she won’t be building for a few months yet, she wants to put up a picket fence along the Territory Road side of her property and plant a lawn and flower garden – “so it will look nice during the summer months.”  Now, that’s what I call “being neighborly” with your sand pile!


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