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Rocks In My Head

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Rock Shop
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Life in Helga Township

 These pics show citizens' reactions to the ruling (and a lawsuit) that says you can't sell rocks off your property in Helga Township (Hubbard County, MN).  My own reaction was to post a Genuine Helga Township Field Rock For Sale notice on my Facebook.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 12:54 PM CST
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Quartz Crystal

Quartz Crystal 




Video I made about rock crystal (semi-steampunk). 

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 2:12 PM CDT
Updated: 02/17/13 4:30 PM CST
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According to the book I have resumed reading, Minnesota Geology, the Cenozoic was the era when Minnesota began  to achieve its status as the “icebox  of the nation”.   The Rocky Mountains had formed, changing the climate.  Dinosaurs had disappeared and small mammals predominated.  Remains are found in the Badlands of South Dakota which  unfortunately are not found  in Minnesota.  Glacial drift covers evidence of activity.   Of course, subsurface exploration may one day reveal some of the specifics. 



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 2:15 PM CDT
Updated: 09/20/12 2:21 PM CDT
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 I haven't done much with my rock business this summer.  I was flea-bitten (or something) and I didn't print up new business cards as planned, or place ads in the local shopper.  I did, however, sell a couple of articles on birthstones and I made a handful of infomercials in the virtual world called SecondLife.  Those were fun to do!  I also acquired inventory through purchase and trade.  I chose stones with an eye to jewelry making next winter.  And the trade was great!  Also, I now market Thunder Bay amethyst. 



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 4:53 PM CDT
Updated: 08/15/12 5:03 PM CDT
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things not to say to the sole proprietor of a rock shop


Some day, when I have time, I’m going to take up a fun hobby like this.  Maybe after I retire.

Allow me to throw a bucket of cold water on your  life too.


Do you polish your own rocks or do you just buy and resell?

I have all the equipment to do the processes  but there wouldn’t be enough hours in a day to create this much inventory.  Not that it’s any of your  business.


Do you find all of these rocks around here?

Sure.  We live in an area that abounds in precious metal ores, azurite and malachite, aquarmarine, rubies, emeralds.  Just dig right in.


I should stop in and take a look at your rocks.

I’ve been here for decades.  Why bother now?


I’m bringing the kids over to look at rocks.  Kids just LOVE rocks.

This isn’t a toy store.


Do you have a rock polisher?

Yes  I’ve got an all-in-one machine that tumbles, makes cabochons, facets and does the whole operation.  You just press a few buttons and let ‘er rip.


Are these rocks basically what was left over from your grandfather’s business?

Are you a rude SOB who never learned any manners?


What is this specimen?

It’s an ugly gray rock.  Why do you want to know?


Do you buy rocks?

Leave your number.  If I want your damn rocks, I’ll call you.


My uncle used to polish rocks.

Bless him.


Where do you get all these rocks?

I pick them off from trees.


Have you been to Duluth?  They have a nice BIG rock shop over there.

F*** you.



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 7:16 PM CDT
Updated: 06/14/12 7:21 PM CDT
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One of my grandfather's old customers stopped in to see me.  He brought soapstone.  Of course, my immediate question was, what should I do with this?
 The scientific name for soapstone is steatite.  It is composed mainly of talc, which gives it a "soapy" feel.  Soapstone has been used for aeons and in many cultures.  In fact, it is still a favorite carving medium.  Some of its uses are architectural features, counter tops, coasters, "surrounds" for stoves, sinks, tombstones, ceremonial carvings, bowls, goblets, cooking pots, boxes, vases, paving stones...  If I want to make something, I have a lot of choices.
I just realized that an object I have owned for years is most likely soapstone.  It is a scarab amulet, dyed and glazed, in the Egyptian style.  



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:21 AM CDT
Updated: 06/01/12 8:47 AM CDT
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The Diamond Trade 



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:01 AM CDT
Updated: 05/09/12 8:19 AM CDT
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A story about bloodstone, the alternate birthstone for March

The Bloodstone Tale 



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 7:55 AM CDT
Updated: 05/09/12 8:20 AM CDT
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A poem about March's birthstone, the aquamarine



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 7:56 AM CDT
Updated: 05/09/12 8:21 AM CDT
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Jurassic and Cretaceous in MN

TThe Jurassic period of the Mesozoic left discoverable rocks in NW Minnesota, known as the Hallock red beds.  They are known from drill holes and do not contain fossils.  Nearby evaporites in ND and Manitoba suggest that the climate was hot and semi-arid.  It is likely that dinosaurs wandered across Minnesota but no remains have been found.


The Jurassic was followed by the Cretaceous when the seas advanced upon North America.  The eastern shore of this Cretaceous sea was located in part of MN.  Sediment deposited in this sea was mostly siltstone.  Conglomerates made up of hematite pebbles are found, which indicates that the hematite must have been formed quite some time before it was weathered and broken up.  The entire world most likely experienced warm climate.

Some coal has been found in Minnesota from this time, made up of conifers.  It is likely the landscape was swampy.  Weathered granites and gneises have left behind kaolinite, which is used in ceramics.

Dinosaur remains in Minnesota may lie under glacial drift.  A few cretaceous fossils have been found, including a marine crocodile, sharks teeth, ammonites and snails.  Also the variety of plants include flowers, ferns, conifers and deciduous trees. 


Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 10:35 AM CDT
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Black Onyx
A video made in a virtual world called Second Life, about the alternative birthstone for February, the black onyx.



A Black Onyx Gothic

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 10:20 AM CDT
Updated: 04/04/12 10:30 AM CDT
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Here is a video I produced in the virtual world Second Life, about the amethyst, the birthstone for February  



Amethyst Mystery 

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:56 AM CDT
Updated: 04/04/12 10:33 AM CDT
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Rose Quartz
Mood:  celebratory


Here is a video I produced in the virtual world Second Life, about the alternative birthstone for January, the rose quartz.  



Red Hats and Rose Quartz 

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:22 AM CDT
Updated: 04/04/12 10:31 AM CDT
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The Permian Period of the Paleozoic Era, like the earlier periods alas left no rocks behind in Minnesota.  But in the western US there are evaporites left when the seas dried up.  The interior of the continent was hot and dry, with periodic rains that left mud in low places.  There were quite a few reptiles, including finbacks, and considerably fewer amphibians.

As we measure geologic time, the Paleozoic Era was followed by the Mesozoic, the first period of which was the Triassic, occurring 225 to 190 million years ago.  Again, Triassic deposits are not found in Minnesota.  In the western US there are some, which are red from hematite in an oxidizing atmosphere.  The continent slow moved north, so the equator was around by Texas and Florida.  Life forms included some dinosaurs, flying reptiles, and small mammals. 

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 7:40 AM CDT
Updated: 04/04/12 8:35 AM CDT
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Here is a video I produced in the virtual world Second Life, about the birthstone for January, the garnet, and its association with Greek and Roman mythology. 



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 11:40 PM CDT
Updated: 04/04/12 8:54 AM CDT
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In Europe and elsewhere there's a Carboniferous epoch.  We in the U.S. divide the Carboniferous into the Mississippian and the Pennsylvanian.  Like those of the previous periods, the Pennsylvanian rocks have been eroded away in Minnesota.  However, elsewhere the landscape was dominated by swamp, tree ferns, and horsetails.  Compaction turned the vegetation into bituminous cole.  During this time the Canadian shield was uplifting.  The entire continent was tilting westward.




Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 2:41 PM CST
Updated: 01/05/12 3:18 PM CST
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minor disappointment
My grandfather liked to grind opals.  He also enjoyed experiments, gadgets, discoveries.  How jubilant he would have been to learn that his daughter, my mother, had created cabochons that resembled opal, out of casting resin and Christmas glitter flakes.  But he was gone by the time of her discovery, and now she has also passed away.  I don’t think her cabochons resemble opals that much, but Grandpa and my mom would have pretended.  That’s the way they were.  I have an entire drawer of her creations.  Opal-like or not, these ovals and shapes are attractive and lovely.  I wear them in the jewelry she made, and I give them as gifts.For some people, lapidary meant grinding shapes, mostly ovals, and setting them in mass produced rhodium plated mountings.  Then there was a movement to learn jewelry making with precious metals.  That meant shaped, handmade mountings and freeform stones.  I would like to learn wire wrap but until I do, I am clearing out the mountings and findings that I inherited from my family.  My collection goes back a half century, back to my earliest memories.  I have a webpage where I sell these metal pieces and other craft supplies at rock bottom prices.  Sometimes when I box up these pieces of my past and ship them off, I feel sad.  But space is precious, confusion is counterproductive, and sometimes I have a cash flow problem.At one of these times I decided to sell my already severely discounted findings at half price.  I got a few orders, including one that I had second thoughts about filling.  One woman sent me 12 emails regarding a very small order.  She wanted to make sure she got her money’s worth.   I should have seen the writing on the wall.  This interaction was doomed from the start.  I boxed up her stuff, being very generous about enclosing extras.  Extras from my cache of precious memories.Was she satisfied?  No.  She said she could not “selvedge” any of the stones from at least 60 sets of my mother’s jewelry.  Had she removed them from the cards and gave them a swish through jewelry cleaning liquid from the dollar store, she would have had at least a $300 collection of costume jewelry.  There was something wrong with the blanks for making cross necklaces.  But then, she paid about $1 for the entire bag of 50 pieces.  The items she admitted liking were my free gifts to her...including hand painted tree rounds.  Dozens of them.  She said opening the box was a grave disappointment.  And the items smelled like mildew, she said.  The odor was overwhelmingFor that I am truly sorry.As somebody who grew up in the lapidary culture, the odor of mildew is something I take for granted.   Rock shops were housed in outbuildings, sometimes with leaky roofs, and specimens stored in broken down cardboard boxes.   The email from that customer was a disappointment to me, too.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 9:30 PM CDT
Updated: 10/29/11 9:34 PM CDT
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I bought another geology book by the same author as my last purchase.  A customer stopped by and gave it a high recommendation.  Reviewers complained that much is repeated from the author's other book.  I did not find this to be the case.  Of course, I am the one who still reads from the book my uncle used at the U of M in the 1950's.

Some day soon I want to go on a rock hunting trip.  This can take one of three forms. Either I will go somewhere that has geological features I can photograph.  Or somewhere I can pick up samples in the field.  Or, somewhere that I can visit a rock shop.



Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 12:54 AM CDT
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Adventure Publications

Adventure Publications continues to send me nice gifts.  I will handle their products when it's feasible (when I get my road signs back).  In the meantime, I can recommend them heartily. 

Here is their information.



Adventure Publications, Inc.
820 Cleveland Street South
Cambridge, MN55008 

(8-5 Mon-Thu, 8-4 Fri CST)

1-800-678-7006 (toll-free)

Fax: 1-877-374-9016 (toll-free)


 In addition to nature books they sell mysteries, cookbooks, Scandinavian humor, children's books, memoirs, poetry, history......


Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 1:49 PM CDT
Updated: 08/23/11 7:04 PM CDT
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Another nice surprise from Adventure Publications!

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 6:53 PM CDT
Updated: 08/23/11 7:07 PM CDT
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