scratch about(for something) and scratch around (for something)
1. Lit. to hunt for something in dirt, gravel, rocks, etc. The prospector spent the day scratching about for signs of gold. The chickens were scratching around for something to eat.
2. Fig. to look very hard for something. The children were scratching about the kitchen for something to eat. I've been scratching around for a new assistant for months now.
See also: scratch