Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Agate Lamps for the Agate Cross B&B

For the Gitche Gumee  Museum and me -- the year 2014 has been interesting and has shown promise.  For the first dozen the years the museum did well with the business growing every year.  As many of you know, then there were three years of significant decline.  Although the number of visitors to the museum has continued to go up each year -- revenue has not.  But in 2014 the trend began to swing the other way.  Sales are on par with last year -- but they did not go down!  That is good news.  Now the challenge is to continue developing educational materials and perhaps some new types of mineral art.

Speaking of mineral art, here are photos of two agate lamp shades that I made for the Agate Cross B&B, located in Grand Marais, MI.  From what many museum visitors have said:  it is the best place to stay in the region.  According to some world-wide B&B travelers, it is one of their favorite B&B stops!  If you are interesting in booking a reservation, please call Lois and Jamey at 906-494-2990.

The first lamp is a ceiling lamp that will hang over their dining room table.  Since it is not yet installed (we will do that this week), most of the photos are shown with top lighting.

The next two photos are showing the bottom of the lamp shade.  For the first time ever I closed in most of the space with a circle of free-form agate with glass trim matching the side valance.  Notice the double-light fixture in the middle (with no bulbs).

The photo below was taken with the shade installed on a table lamp base.  I took the picture before I applied patina and installed the hardware.

The second lamp shade shown below is mounted on a wooden base that Jamey's son made.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Flowing Artesian Well

While I was visiting my college friend, Steve, in Mount Pleasant, MI -- we went for a hike at Deerfield Park.  This is a 591 acre park located along the banks of the Chippewa River.  This recreational area includes cross country ski trails, two disc golf courses, ten remote campsites, a sledding hill, fishing, boating, and more.  The park also includes a covered bridge and an artesian well.  Here are a few pictures of our hike.....

My favorite part of the park is the artesian well.  It was very icy, but Steve carefully drank directly from the well.

So just what is an artesian well?  First of all, artesian wells are associated with confined aquifers containing groundwater that is under positive pressure. An aquifer is a geologic layer of porous and permeable material such as sand and gravel, limestone, or sandstone, in which water is stored.  An artesian aquifer is confined between impermeable rocks or clay.

When the water saturated layer is squeezed between layers of impermeable rock or clay, the geometry of the layers can create positive pressure, which can cause the water to rise to a point where it can be forced to the surface either naturally, or by being tapped with a pipe.  A well drilled into such an aquifer is called an artesian well if water reaches the ground surface under the natural pressure of the aquifer, in which case the well is called a flowing artesian well.

The source for the Artesian Well in Mount Pleasant may be the Mississippian aquifer, located under the central lower peninsula of Michigan.

Andrew Dunn:

Monday, December 29, 2014

More Christmas Photos and Grand Marais Snow

Still playing catch up with the photos -- here are a few from Christmas day featuring my son and his family (Jonathan, Jessica, and Keenen).

Opening presents....


Father and son with matching shirts....

Christmas dinner prepared by Jess's brother, Ben.  Lobster, crab, mussels, shrimp, and more!  Thank you, Ben!

When I arrived home -- the snow started.  In Grand Marais we received over a half foot of new fluffy snow.  The lake effect machine is supposed to kick up today to give us even more snow!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

UofM Botanical Gardens

During the next few days I will be catching up with photos that I took while down state.  One day I went to the University of Michigan Botanical Gardens with my friend, Marsha.  First we walked the labyrinth.

Then we hiked some of the trails outside the conservatory.  On one trail there is this huge sun dial.

As some of you know, one of my favorite things is to take photos of flowers.  The conservatory green house provides this opportunity.