Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Gitche Gumee Lectures

I have spent the past 3 weeks conducting research and creating a Power Point Presentation on GITCHE GUMEE GEOLOGY. The complexity of the Lake Superior basin made it a challenge to develop a presentation that effectively communicates what has happened in this region during the last several billion years. As many of you know, I also have a presentation on UNDERSTANDING AND FINDING AGATES.

The plan is to hold lectures in the building behind the museum three days a week. Thanks to Kathy and Steve Correll, we have cleaned out the old garage. Axel and his family never threw anything out, so that created another challenge. However, the building is now cleaned out. We used all of the old lumbering, fishing, and other artifacts as decorations. Thanks to my sister, Diana, I was able to acquire a Power Point Projector. So the show begins on July 2nd.

I am still finalizing the schedule, but i think the Gitche Gumee Lectures will be on:
Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays in July and August at 6:30 pm -- when I am in town. I'll post a detailed schedule when it is finalized.

The lectures will last around an hour, which will include time for questions. I'll start with a donation only charge and see how it goes. I'll also start by letting those who show up vote on whether they would like to hear the agate talk, or the geology talk. At some point in the future, I'll develop more presentations and also arrange for guest speakers.

Hope to see you at a Gitche Gumee Lecture!

Grand Marais Garden Tour

The Grand Marais Garden Tour took place yesterday. Since I decided to open the museum for the tour, I did not get a chance to see the beautiful gardens around town. Before I openened the museum, though, I went around the corner to see my friend, Kim's new art studio. She is a multi-media artist with a lot of interesting gift items. Many of you who have been in the museum have met Kim. She has been helping out the past couple of years. She is still deciding on her hours, but if you come by the museum -- walk west and then south around the corner to see her studio/gift shop.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wierd Agate

While at Muskallonge, a couple of people headed over from the museum to show me this wierd agate. The variety in the banding beats any agate I've ever seen. One of the other vendors thinks it is man-made. I'm not sure that I agree. Although I didn't take a picture of the top of the specimen, it appears to have matrix. Also, some of the bands are clearly translucent chalcedony, while others are macro quartz. My guess is that this is a natural specimen formed in a marine environment, probably in a sedimentary rock seam.

Have any of you ever seen a rock like this? Any ideas or opinions?

State Park 90th Anniversary

This past weekend I exhibited and spoke at the local celebration for the 90th anniversary for Michigan State Parks. The event was held at Muskallonge Lake State Park, which is located 20 miles east of Grand Marais. There were civil war reenactments, sled dog information, fly tying and casting demonstrations, and agate vendors. I would like to thank my agate friends, Gerald and Jill, for helping me out with the booth. Although I only agate hunted for a little while, in that I was busy with the booth, Gerald and Jill were able to spend more time on the local beach and found a few good agates. The weather didn't cooperate on Saturday: it was foggy and chilly most of the day, but fun was had by all. Pictured below are some of the agates that were for sale or on display, as well as some photos from the event.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Article about the Gitche Gumee Museum

Last year I had a great visit with a high school classmate, Kath Usitalo. I just received an email from her today. She has posted a very nice article about our "reunion", and about the museum. You can view the article at:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beautiful Spring Hike

Friends (Kathy, Kim, Sandee) and I went hiking today. It was around 60 degrees with a slight breeze. Since the bugs were out of control, we dressed appropriately.

We hiked from H58 West down the Masse Homestead trail, and then up into the dunes. The forget-me-nots were in FULL bloom.

Once into the dunes, we headed west, north-west toward the Log Slide. It is just an amazing section of the dunes that is not enjoyed by many people. Notice the clouds in the one photo. The shot was taken looking south at the intra-peninsula convergence clouds. When we were almost to the Log Slide, we stopped and had lunch -- and then took a rest before continuing on.

Once we reached the log slide, we headed down the Masse Homestead Trail back to the car.

By the way -- here is a shot I took yesterday, just after sunset.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Morning Hike

Kathy, Kim, and I went on our daily hike this morning. We try to go in the morning when we can since this just seems to start the day out right. Plus, for me, it is best because I get my exercise out of the way before I start my workahaulic ways.

This morning we hiked the Masse Homestead Trail from H58 West, and then went up into the dunes. The wild flowers were in full bloom, with the Trilliums at their life cycle end and others just starting their blooming period. The bugs, unfortunately, were also in full bloom. But if you kept walking they were not too bad.

When I arrived home, I decided to document some of the hummingbirds. I had to put out another feeder because sometimes 10 or 12 birds are fighting for the 4 feeder spots. Everyone agrees that the hummingbird population, and thus their antics to fight for the feeders, is more incredible than it has ever been.

I received correspondence from Muskullonge Lake State Park yesterday. Their event to celebrate the state park system's 90th anniversary is in full swing. The Gitche Gumee Museum will have a booth, along with other vendors. There is a horseshoe tournatment, kids games, campfire cooking demonstrations, sled dogs, civil war reinactments, fly fishing demonstrations, 4-H rock club crafting, cake cutting ceremony, and much more. I will be giving my Understanding and Finding Agates power point presentation at 5:00pm. The event takes place at Muskallonge Lake State Park, located on County Road 407 around 20 miles east of Grand Marais. For more information contact Jim Dzelak, the Unit Supervisor at 906-658-3338.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trip to Marquette

Yesterday, I went to Marquette with friend, Kim. In addition to getting the brakes fixed on my car fixed, I also purchased materials needed to make billboards for the museum as well as plants and other items for my garden. Thanks to friends, Jimmy and Helen, we were referred to a mechanic who saved me quite a bit of money on the car repair. Thank you Jimmy and Helen! We stayed at their house and enjoyed a competitive game of ping pong, as well as one of Jimmy's gourmet dinners, and meeting a friend of theirs, Kawami, from Ghana, Africa. Thanks Helen and Jimmy for a terrific time!

I'm looking forward to helping to make the signs for the museum. Although Grand Marais is not a big town, I am hoping that the billboards will direct people to the museum, which as many of you know, is located a block off main street. Kim is an artist and has significant experience making signs. I've hired her to design and hand-paint 3' x 4' signs to advertise the museum. A friend (Georgina) is letting me put one on her property at four-corners between Sable Lake and Sable Falls. Another friend (Patsy) is letting me put one at her lot line on M-77, a couple of miles south of town.

While in Marquette, I also met with a rockhound acquaintance, Jeff, and his wife. Although I didn't really want to spend any more money on rocks -- I did. I bought a 29 pound piece of Ocean Jasper as well as a whole pile of Argentina agates. Some of the Argentina agates are shadow agates. So for any of you rockhounds that want to add some high quality agates to your collection -- I have quite a supply right now of the Chinese Rain Flower agates I featured the other day, as well as these and other Argentina agates, and much more.

Jeff also donated some datolite nodule halves, and a copper crystal specimen that is coated with datolite.

When Kim and I were driving through Munising, I asked her if she had ever been to Memorial Falls. She had not -- so we doubled back and went for a short hike. The property is owned by the Michigan Nature Association. It is located a mile or so east of Munising, across from Sand Point. There are grottos with waterfalls. To get from the first to the second grotto, you have to crawl through a hole in the rock, as demonstrated by Kim.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rain Flower Agates

I just received a shipment of 25 Chinese Rain Flower Agates today. This is a terrific batch. They range in size from 26 grams to 153 grams, with 14 of them in the 50-80 gram size. A few have terrific eyes, and even though these are just river washed, a few have shadows. Prices range from $25 to $50, plus shipping.

Notice how many of these agates from the other side of the world look a whole lot like Lake Superior agates.