Saturday, October 31, 2009

Agate Hunting + Fall Colors

After Jill and i went to the Tiger-Twin one game play off game, we drove back up to our motel room in Carlton County. That gave us an opportunity to agate hunt one last time. It was VERY muddy, but when the sun popped out, it gave us the opportunity to test the "glowing" translucency theory. Although we could not see the banding of agates, due to the mud, we were able to see them glowing and speaking to us "here I am -- I am an agate!" Here is a photo of us muddy agate hunters.

One of our friends in Minnesota is leasing storage space for the new pipeline that is being put in. In August, the US State Department issued permits for the multi-billion dollar project to Embridge Energy. They are building a 1,000 mile pipeline, called the Alberta Clipper, that will run from Hardistry, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline will carry crude oil extracted from he oil sands of Alberta. It is expected to carry 1.8 billion barrels a day starting in 2015. Considering that the permit was just issued in August, a lot of work has already been done on the pipeline.

Through out the trip, we enjoyed the fall colors. The second photo below was taken on the hill going into Ishpeming. You can see the mine hoists.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Baseball Tiebreak Game

After we left the Cranberry Festival Show, on our way to agate hunting, my friend, Jill, asked me how far Minneapolis is to our favorite gravel pit. You see, we are both Tigers fans and Detroit played the Twins in a one-game play off to determine the winner of their division. When we realized it was only a 2 hour drive, we went on the Internet for tickets. It was not an easy task, but we were successful. Good thing we purchased tickets in advance, since the game sold out. That means that more than 54,000 tickets sold in less than 2 days.

Our seats were in the upper deck, behind the left field foul pole. I have never been to a baseball game inside a dome before. It certainly seemed like an intimate setting -- very loud, at least when the Twins executed a good play. When the Tigers did so, we were the only ones cheering. In total, we only saw a few other Tiger fans.

Although Detroit lost the game, it was a terrific game to watch -- going into the 12th inning. It was also interesting to attend one of the last baseball games to be played in the Metrodome. The Twins had another playoff game at the stadium against the Yankees, who swept them in the best of 5 playoff. Next year, the Twins will be playing in a new outdoor stadium.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Agate Hunting

After Cranberry Festival, I told my friend Jill that we could do what ever she wanted for a couple of days, since she helped me in the booth. Of course, she wanted to go agate hunting. We called friends in Minnesota and decided to head west. Here are a few photos of a couple of agates that they found. I wish I had photos of similar agates that I found. In a few hours, I did find nearly 50 agates, but nothing too large.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cranberry Festival, Eagle River, WI

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your understanding regarding the lack of blog updates this month. As many of you know, I have been travelling this past few weeks to shows, speaking engagements, and family events. I arrived home a couple of hours ago. Yea! This time, there were 1,350 miles of driving. That amount alone is enough, but when you add to it 1,600 other miles I drove the week or so before this past two week trip -- it adds up to a lot of driving!

In the next week, I'll try to catch up everyone with the various photos I've taken during all the excursions.

This posting I am including a few photos from the Cranberry Festival in Eagle River, Wisconsin. It is located around 4 1/2 hours southwest of Grand Marais. Eagle River is just over the Wisconsin border in the center of the angular slope that represents the Upper Peninsula's western junction with Wisconsin. The show was held on October 3rd and 4th. It takes place in a community of around 2,000 residents that is inundated by around 40,000 festival goers. The weather was rainy and cold, but the people showed up and were quite tenacious with their rain gear, umbrellas, and winter clothes. I want to thank my friend, Jill, for helping me yet again at another show. Her husband, Gerald, is still teaching. But since Jill is retired from teaching, she gets to go on a couple of extra adventures a year. I could not have handled the crowd on Saturday, without your help, Jill. I'd also like to thank my sister, Sandra, for driving up from Wausau, WI to help and visit on Sunday.

Below is a photo of some of the fair workers. Aren't they cute!

The focus of the festival is the art. It is a juried show that features a lot of talented artists. I'm not sure the total number of booths, but there must have been at least 300 or 400 artists! There were also several booths that sold various cranberry products.

Of course, there were fresh cranberries for sale!

I chose to pay extra this year to move inside one of the "circus" tents. That was a good decision. The wind and rain would have been more of a problem if I had my own pop-up tent that would have been even more vulnerable to the weather. Here are a few shots of the new lamps I brought to the show. Although I had a run on selling lamps out of the museum gift shop in September, I still have not sold these two lamps. If you are interested, send me an email to to ask me more about these two lamps. I also still have the tower lamp plus a couple others in inventory. I will offer free shipping or delivery (if you live down state near where I'll be travelling in November), to anyone who sends me an email mentioning this blog posting.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Whitefish Point-- Post 2

Although I usually do not get over to Whitefish Point much, I went there for the third time in a little over a month with my sister, Diana Mavis. For the past nine years, she has come up to visit me the end of September. We've decided to explore different corners of the Upper Peninsula. Last year, we went to the Keeweenaw. This year, we went to Tahquamenon and Whitefish Point.

The first photo is of sunrise in Grand Marais. The shot was taken of the inner harbor lighthouse. We decided to get an early start so that we could thoroughly explore the eastern U.P.

Next, we went to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. The state park, which is located around an hour from Grand Marais, comprises 50,000 acres stretching almost 15 miles. There are 35 miles of hiking, including the North Country Trail. The upper falls are 200 feet wide and 50 feet tall. Although the record peak flow was 52,228 gallons per second, the flow the day we were there was only 1,997 gallons per second.

From the falls, we drove to Whitefish Point. We didn't take time to go through the museum, but we did enjoy taking a few photos.

Next, I wanted to show Diana one of my favorite beaches. We hung out at Vermillion for a few hours to look for agates and enjoy the sunset.

The next day, we spent a lot of time at the Lower Tahquamenon Falls. I had been there one time in the winter, but never when it wasn't frozen. Both of us were impressed with the beauty of the area. I think most tourists go to the upper falls. However, the lower falls should not be missed. We rented a rowboat and rowed over to the island. There is a 3/4 mile trail that goes around the island, providing a fantastic view of all the cascading sections of the lower falls.

On our way back to Grand Marais, we stopped by the Oswald Bear Ranch. They have 29 bears in large enclosures. Some of the acreage has forests, so we didn't see all the bears. I swear that some of them are assigned duties to entertain the tourists, especially the young bears. The ranch started raising bear in 1984 and openned to the public in 1987. The bears hibernate between November and mid March. They are around 8 ounces when born and live between 25 and 30 years. The last photo is of a huge bear that sat between two trees in a sort of makeshift thrown.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Muskallonge Lake State Park Rock On Agate Show

It has been a little crazy this week -- even more than normal. Not only was it the last week of normal museum hours (most of which I worked), but I have been busy trying to make product for the Eagle River, WI Cranberry Festifal. I have a back log of pictures to post on the blog, most of which I'll get to when I return from Wisconsin. But for you rockhounds out there, I figure it is time to post some pictures of agates.

At the Rock On Agate Show, I was glad that I had my friend, Renee Beaver Stocking, to help with the booth. I don't think I have ever looked at as many rocks as I did on that Saturday. All day long people were bringing their rocks and/or agates by for me to examine.

I scribbled notes as to who found which agates. Hopefully, I have figured out my handwritting and have given credit to the correct people for each of the photos below. If not, I'm sure you will let me know.

First of all, Susie Hales from Clare, MI started off the parade of rocks with this 10pound agate. She calls it the Brain Agate.

Donna Sheehan from Cedar, MI showed me this incredible peeler as well as what we called the dudad agate.

John Marchese from Newberry, MI had several agates including this nice paintstone agate, an interesting moss agate with banding and boytroidal formation, an incredible peeler, and the yellow and red moss agate.

Dick Wheeler from Pike Lake, MI came by with this nice three pounder.

Finally, Sally Ahrndt from Skandi, MI was wearing this 100 year old scottish agate broach.