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It has been a while......
Topic: some days are pretty good
It has been ages. I have been hospitalized, and before that, I didn't feel well and was trying to carry on. I feel a thousand per cent better but I don't remember where I was in the blogging scheme. Mineralogy I think. Sulfides? I think I will take a break from that.

I am a big fan of dinosaurs and will probably intersperse observations from my reading on that subject with the mineral types.

I had an article accepted for publication on my grandfather's early days in the rock business. It is for Good Old Days magazine.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 6:52 AM CST
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tired of sulfides
Mood:  special
Topic: some days are pretty good
There are sssooo many sulfides. I would abandon my study of them but I am coming upon one of my favorites. The pyrite group.

Pyrite itself is iron sulfide. The proverbial fools gold. It fascinates kids and adults alike. The cubic shape of the crystals is amazing. I sell granulated pyrite masses and the perfect cubes from Logro?o Spain. Other minerals in the group are hauerite, penroseite, sperrylite (which is the only known natural compound of platinum) and laurite.

Please take a look at my website:

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 7:02 PM CDT
Updated: 11/01/06 11:57 PM CST
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under the weather
Mood:  suave
Topic: some days are pretty good
I've been under the weather and ended up in ER. Nothing life threatening. But I don't feel like reading in books of science. So I will relate an anecdote of something that happened yesterday.

I went to an art show. The featured artist was a watercolorist, but the gallery also carries the work of a friend who makes gemtrees. She buys her rocks from me. This elderly lady, who I will call Wilma, asked me, "Where do you get your rocks?"

Fair enough. I thought of all the ways one can obtain rocks. We can buy them, trade with someone who has excess, go out into the field and collect, inherit them from family....

I gave her a hasty answer and she asked, "Do you have a place you can go and gather them?"

I hesitated, because I really didn't know how to answer that. I suppose I should scout out some locations and go for it. When I have time.

She must have read into my hesitation some reluctance to share my "secrets" for she quickly reassured me that she had no interest in going there and taking all the rocks.

If only it were that simple. I didn't explain that you can't get all varieties of rock in one place. Right offhand I have access to one mine because a friend in the industrial stone business has a claim on it, and a ranch out west. It's owner wants to make a little to subsidize his farming operations. He has two or three varieties, one of which I don't think is salable. The friend with the mine claim has quite a few varieties of jasper.

I don't mind answering questions but I feel people carry around some basic disinformation or misinformation about the rock business.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 5:19 AM CDT
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getting tired of minerals
Mood:  surprised
Topic: some days are pretty good
Today I am defrosting the refrigerator that is older than I am. Somewhere in the mineral field guide, ice is described as a mineral.

Most of the rockhounds I grew up with were not terribly interested in mineralogy. A few studied geology. Others took an interest in paleontology. Most were lapidaries. Nowadays there is knapping, crafts, metaphysical interest in crystals. Truthfully, I am getting a little tired of the sulfides.

The next group the book takes up are the niccolites. These are ores of nickel and the ones listed are niccolite, pyrrhotite, and pentlandite. The pyrrhotite is magnetic. These all have a metallic appearance. Closely related are millerite, covellite, breithauptite and klockmannite. It looks like I could get some of these at Butte, Montana. If I wanted them......

I'm wondering how much interest there would be in minerals. Kids like rocks but they seem to be fascinated by "pretty" stones, and by fossils.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 10:31 AM CDT
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Mood:  hug me
Topic: some days are pretty good
The cool breeze felt good this morning but it's heating up pretty good this afternoon.

I had a headache yesterday and this morning when I got up. At present I feel ok but like it could come back. I worry that my bp medications aren't working. I brought the kittens in the house this morning. The siamese is fairly aggressive but the little orange one is holding her own. The old cat doesn't like either of them.

Concretions can look like just about anything. The ones I found in a box are irregular and very much like the Minensota concretions in the book.concretions Technically, the septarian nodules are concretions. The definition is a nodule formed in sedimentary rock when a cementing material is deposited in the spaces around grains of sand. Wish I could obtain some more.

The sulfides in the chalcocite group are a bit more familiar as they occur with malachite, pyrite, milky quartz, etc. They are related to the argentite group. They are important ores of silver and copper. Names of some of them are chalcocite, acanthite, stromeyerite, digenite, and berzelianite.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 3:24 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:01 AM CST
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Stories I am dying to write :)
Topic: some days are pretty good
Today wasn't a good day. Spilled coffee into a keyboard so it doesn't work, forgot to take my meds, it was hot. But there are two or three confessions I just have to write.

The galena group of sulfides is a little more familiar to me. Galena is the chief ore of lead, and often occurs with pyrite. It's cleavage is cube shaped and so are some of its crystals. Some minerals in the galena group I am not so familiar with: altaite, clausthalite, alabandite, oldhamite. I've seen galena with pyrite, and with dolomite.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 11:54 PM CDT
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cats cats cats
Mood:  flirty
Topic: some days are pretty good
I brought home another kitten. Now I have a geriatric alley cat, a Siamese, and an orange striped cat. All female. The old cat doesn't like either of the kittens. The Siamese, about 12 weeks old, bullies the tiny kitten, about eight weeks old, something terrible. I can't let a flock of cats rule my life.

Still reading in the Minerals of the World book and discovering how many common minerals are missing from my collection.

There are many families of sulfides. The stibnite group includes stibnite, bismuthinite, and guanajuatite. These are similar in appearance but bismuthinite is rare. According to the book, stibnite is spectacular in appearance. A must have if I ever have a museum. Bismuthinite is rare, and guanajuatite is poisonous. I will let that one go.

I'm writing a mystery for a contest. It's a shortie. First prize is one thousand dollars.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:46 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:02 AM CST
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back to blogging
Mood:  energetic
Topic: some days are pretty good
I am going to put aside the book I was reading about Minnesota geology for a while and take up that study again when I get a more current text. Not that I regret reading this one. Just because Minnesota doesn't have a lot of gem material doesn't mean there isn't a lot to ponder. I love mysteries. A big one is, what's under all that glacial drift? Diamonds? Maybe something we can't even imagine.... But now I think I will scan the field guide to minerals for a while, and maybe later read a book about tektites.

I am thinking more about purchasing molds for making fossil replicas, and growing crystals.

Most "rockhounds" (there's that detestable word again) have a special field of interest. I guess I like odd things. Curiosities. Fossils, crystals, rocks used for tools by human beings. I am not completely turned off by the metaphysical aspects. Some beautiful objects have been made or discovered that satisfy the natural healer's needs. And sometimes I think it would be challenging to pound rocks and glass into little pieces and make mosaics.

But the average person (and I'm quite average) needs a grounding in the basics, and needs to review now and then. And so I open this book called Minerals of the World....

The first few chapters are about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, crystal habits, atoms, and lunar rocks. I am more interested in keeping the nomenclature straight. It has always confused me.

The chemicals that occur in pure, uncombined form in the earth's crusts are called native elements. These are divided into three groups: metals, non-metals and semi-metals.

The metals considered in the book are gold, silver, copper, mercury, lead, platinum, tin and iron. The non-metals are carbon (both diamonds and graphite are forms of pure carbon) and sulfur. The semi-metals have properties between metal and non-metal and include antimony, arsenic and bismuth. Have you got that straight? I am considering what I have in my collection that falls into the native elements category. I sold my silver ore but I can get more...somewhere. I have gold and pyrite in a polished slab. Some copper ores. No platinum, plenty of iron but perhaps not the native iron except in one meteorite. I don't know where my mother's diamond ring went to but it might be around somewhere. It was small and not worth a lot of money. Sulfur crystals would be a fine addition to my collection, as would synthetic bismuth crystals (they're cool) and botryoidal arsenic. Time to get cracking if I want a comprehensive collection......

I went to a church meeting last night to propose a writers' workshop facilitated by a professional outsider. The idea was ok but there is no money for it except if the participants pay tuition. One person said he hated poetry. Somehow I have the feeling that even after the church loan is paid up, there won't be money for anything that "they" don't feel is important....

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 9:16 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:05 AM CST
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A Sunday Alone
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: some days are pretty good
I got tired of that Minnesota geology book but I'll go back to it later. Right now I'm reviewing a field guide to mineral identification. That's akin to a bird book for rockhounds. Not that I appreciate the term "rockhound" In many instances, though, it is apropos.

Now that the cabin is gutted out and in the process of repair, I have a perfect rough workshop for doing neat things like growing crystals, or pouring plaster of paris replicas of fossils. I could even have a dinosaur party.

There are a lot of interesting fossils for sale online, and in all prices ranges. I can envision starting a museum or interpretive center. Using my grandfather's collection as an anchor, I would add new items and show how the rock business has evolved, including my own involvement. I even have the building picked out. It's a small trailer or modular home that looks like a log cabin with a verandah. I wouldn't need plumbing in it and I think they can build them to specifications. I'm not yet brave enough to inquire about the price. I wouldn't need a building permit because it's not a permanent structure.

More later......Hoffs Rock shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 10:08 AM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:08 AM CST
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Independence Day
Mood:  cool
Topic: some days are pretty good
I haven't been reading any geology the past few days and I also have neglected this blog. But I am still thinking in earth science terms......

A customer visited my "real life" shop and selected, then rejected, a very nice brazil agate slab because, in her words, "it looks like a uterus". I got a big kick out of that one. When I get my computer back I am going to photograph it and post it online as NFS.

Yesterday I purchased a siamese kitten. That's all I need. My old cat has become senile and/or incontinent and she doesn't like the newcomer. She used to be quite a hunter but with age she has hung up her rifles, I guess.

As far as writing goes......I submitted my article (with photos) about how my grandfather was a rockhound. I missed the deadline on a short story contest (again) but I can write it as a confession. It's half finished. And the pastor of the church where I work has given me an idea for another story. The problem is, I feel like I've already written that another form....

My penpal who was born and raised in England and now lives in a commonwealth nation, says of our July 4, "not that the date is of any significance." :)

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 12:55 PM CDT
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veering off the trail
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: some days are pretty good
I was reading about the Gunflint Trail. What a rugged, romantic, wild west name. Another place in Minnesota that I have not visited. A place for canoeing, hiking, fishing, skiing, picking berries, watching birds and animals and wild flowers, discovering the history of the area which was used by the Native Americans to find food, the voyageurs in their fur trade, and would-be miners who found the iron ore too difficult to remove from the rocks. I will return to the subject, but I have been sidetracked from Minnesota geology for a day.

I am thinking about another kind of rock. A stone. It is called rok. My great grandmother's church parish in Sweden. So named because the stone from pagan times was used by early Christian builders in the construction of their church. I have named my little handmade-on-my-computer book enterprize Rok Press. I have in my possession a New Testament given to my great grandmother from church. Somehow, in my mind I could see what was written on the frontispiece of that little book. I thought it was Rok, and I thought the date corresponded to her confirmation at about age 14. But I ran across the book recently, and I discovered I was wrong. The parish name is not mentioned. Doing my math, I figured out that the Bible was given to her at age 21. And someone has left a bookmark, a newspaper clipping of a poem in Swedish. The title is G?. Maybe it was given to her when she left for America.

There is a new book about the Kensington runestone. Fascinating stuff. Think...Da Vinci Code. Knights Templar. Cistercians. :) I expect a novel to come out of this. I wonder who will write it.

I think I need to concentrate on the music and literature portions of my website. I have to work at the church tomorrow, I suppose. Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:38 PM CDT
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A lot has happened.
Mood:  chatty
Topic: some days are pretty good
It has been over a week since I posted. A lot has happened. I entered the sonnet in the writing contest and got good reviews (one bad review). We had the poetry reading in the barn but I did not read. Since I didn't take the class, it would not have been appropriate. The participants are hoping I either take the class next session or at least visit, and they are having their next reading here July 14. I went in and bought the other sherbert colored blouse. So now I have three.

I am working on the next contest, to write a story mentioning the picture posted on the site, which is a night time shot of the MGM Grande Hotel in Las Vegas.

Found out today that the acid a friend used to enhance his septarian jasper (muratic) is an ingredient found in meth labs.

My computer died but a friend said he can put the hard drive in another machine and I can get by for a while.

Was late with the church newsletters (some of them) and I am trying to think back to what happened. I guess in part it was confusion....worried sick about my computer files, worried about not hearing from my penpal who was sick, worried about what will happen with the mammogram I cancelled. Will that doctor want me for a patient if I refuse to take one? I guess it will all work out. Also I perceived that saving money on postage was more important for the church than getting the newsletters out in a timely fashion. Sometimes I try to read between the lines and I miss.

And what about geology? I think perhaps I should purchase a more current book (although the old books are valuable, too). I am considering Minnesota's Geology by Richard W. Ojakangas, Charles L. Matsch sold on the Amazon site. It looks intriguing and is an affordable paperback with quite a few used copies available.

Hoffs Rock Shop

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 8:10 PM CDT
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I don't think anyone reads this blog but someone might someday
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: some days are pretty good
I felt oddly euphoric earlier today but now I'm on an even keel. I have been thinking about celtic theology. There has to be a point at which the metaphysical and physical mysteries of the universe converge. I wonder if I could interest either Arlen or Peter (the two pastors I am in contact with) in a celtic liturgy service for the summer solstice.

I had a bad dream that went on and on. I had set up a craft display at the local school and the craft show was attended by a homicidal psychopath who stole my (empty) purse and my digital camera with important pictures on the memory stick. I didn't care about the camera but I was concerned about the photos. And I took grave risks to try to retrieve it but was unsuccessful before I woke up. :(

Searching for argentiferous galena......

I've been reading Minnesota geology again. The Archeozoic and Preterozoic eras were mind boggling in their length. But the Paleozoic, which means "ancient seas" was only 300,000,000 million years. Various plants and animals evolved and their fossil remains can be found here and there, although Minnesota isn't particularly well known for its fossils. The early Paleozoic, the Cambrian era, produced brachiopods, trilobites, sponges, worms, snails, algae an seaweek. The Ordovician produced cephalopods, crinoids, and later, fishes. The Devonian period is known for bony armored fish. Before the Paleozoic, Minnesota was at the epicenter of geological violence: mountains uplifting, volcanoes and earthquakes. But starting with the Paleozoic everything has been pretty quiet except for erosion and deposition. And, of course, glaciation.

I have felt the impetus to write a sonnet and enter it in a sonnet contest.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 2:27 PM CDT
Updated: 11/02/06 12:10 AM CST
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I saw the moons of jupiter last night
Mood:  amorous
Topic: some days are pretty good
I didn't think with my nearsightedness that I would enjoy looking through a telescope. But it was....quite an experience. I even saw the pinpricks of light around Jupiter, the moons. Although the terrestrial enthralls me more than the celestial, I have an appreciation for the cosmos and for the realization that everything in it is made of the same elements that make up the earth.

Speaking of which....I was always told that stromatolite is a two billion year old Minnesota fossils. This is true, but there are older rocks in Minnesota. There is the ely greenstone, which is a metamorphic rock altered from lava flows of basalt. In the Soudan formation, it is interbedded with jasper (formed when iron oxide and silicas were precipitated out of the waters of the Archeozoic seas). There is graphite present in some of these rocks, usually indicative of plant life. I wonder if I have any ely greenstone in my possession? I don't remember what it looks like but to my recollection it was greenish gray and not all that attractive. According to a book I once read, it has air bubbles in it formed from gas trapped in the molten lava, and large egg shaped formations typical of lava flows that solidify under water.

I need to get back to writing. I am thinking of a confession. The germ of an idea is forming. What if there lived a woman so lonely and desperate to meet someone she resorts to.....but I cannot say it here or else I will never write the story.

It's garden planting time.

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 6:41 PM CDT
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Terrestrial, celestial, it's all good
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: some days are pretty good
I prefer articles on earth sciences but if I find a good site about any of the other hard sciences...well that catches my interest, too. I think this is natural. We all have or should have curiosity about the natural world and the universe. You never know where surfing takes you. I have a link exchange with Meteorites Plus (see my link page) and that site has a section called Astronomy Picture of the Day (scroll down). Some of those pictures are...may I resort to a pun?....out of this world. Not all are of the heavens. There's a startling photo of a rock slab growing out of Mt. St. Helens volcano. Do take a look.

Tomorrow is Syttende Mai. Norwegian constitution day. The above mentioned site has a good picture of Norway and the aurora borealis. Reminds me of opal.

I gave up on the hard boiled detective story and I'm back to the article on Grandpa Was a Rockhound. In the meantime, I started reading thrillers. A new experience for me.

Who the heck reads these blogs anyway?

Posted by oh5/ojhoff at 6:50 PM CDT
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