Keweenaw - Collecting Copper Replacement Agates
Another good time in the UP!
Friday, Sept. 19th
Ted and I headed to Minocqua, WI after work. We arrived at Reed's home around
6:30, this was the pit stop for food, fun, and sleep. Not necessarily in that order. We ate
dinner and then quickly cleared the counter to make room for the little trim saw that
I brought a long.
Jan, Mathew and Valerie had some nodules from the mine dumps in the UP that they
had collected, that needed cutting. So we got right to it. This was the first time that I
had the little trim saw in a house. I told Jan it was messy, but she said not to worry.
(Sign of a true rock hound, clean the mess later!)
I use water in the little saw and a super thin 4 inch blade, so it cuts clean and fast,
and we just flew thru them nodules. 7 blades, 5 hours and over 100 nodules later,
there were quite a few nice agate and even a couple pretty little copper included ones.
There were plenty of oos and aws.
After hours of laughing, cutting, fun, and friends we headed for Kristin's room to fall
a sleep under the stars.
Saturday, Sept. 20th
Up at 5:00a.m. We tip toed as not to wake anyone. We had to get an early start, 'cause
once we cross that eastern time zone we loose an hour. We needed to be at the Super 8
parking lot in Houghton, MI at 9:30 am to meet other rock hounds that were going to
participate in the field trip to collect copper included agates. Jan and the kids were
going to drive up late morning to collect with the group. Once at the super 8, we were
greeted by Ken and Jane in the parking lot when we arrived. They had spent a few
days prior, collecting rock on the beaches on Lake Superior. Ken said he thought they
had about 200 lbs of rock in the back of the car, and Jane showed me a few of the
rocks they had collected til it was time to leave and head out to the mine dump. We
were out on the pile of basalt by 10:30am, and we wasted no time climbing the pile
of basalt and pounding out them little nodules.
It wasn't long until Jan and the kids arrived only to tell us the funny story about how
they cooked a 4 star breakfast for there house guests, (Ted and I) bacon and eggs with
all the trimmings. Kristin explains how her and her mom tried really hard and keep
the boys quiet as not wake us til breakfast was ready. I suppose Jan didn't realize that
if Ted would have smelled the bacon, he would have come running with cowbells on.
At this point they hadn't notice that our truck wasn't in the driveway. Jan finished
the wonderful breakfast and sent Kristin in to wake us, and much to her surprise,
her bed was made. Kristen went back into the kitchen and told her mom that we
weren't there, and her bed was made. Jan said her and Kristin quickly looked out the
kitchen window and realized that we were gone!
I give them an E for effort, and an A+ for the great breakfast that we didn't get to eat!
Jan did however bring along the fried bacon in a baggie. So Ted got his bacon and
ate it too!
There were so many rock hounds out on the pile, that with the ping of the hammers it
sounded like we were all working on a chain gang. There was an occasional thunk
and holler. Mine was the first. I managed to bruise my thumb and index finger in
the first 2 swings. The blood blister and throbbing thumb was sacrificed however, and
did not discourage the collecting. We had lunch on the tailgate around noon'ish, and
got right back at it. By the end of the day everyone had collected a good number of
nodules. The only thing left to do of course was to go get dinner and then have a
cutting party in the hotel room. Remember, I brought that handy dandy little trim saw.
I figured it worked out ok on Jan's counter top we could use the desk in our hotel
room. Don't panic, I went to Wally World and purchased a plastic table cloth for a
buck. I mean where else can you find a dollar table cloth. Oh yeah, the dollar store
has em' too.
Any who, I use a couple of band aides to tape the plastic table cloth to the wall over
the desk, and I put the clean side of the towel down on the chair that we used the
night before at Jan's. Oh and by the way Jan, I have your towel! Well, I started
cutting mine first. I wasn't taking cuts to the head of the line. I was the first one to my
room. It pays to throw the party. That was short lived though, by the time I was on my
fourth nodule, Jan showed up. So I started cutting the ones that she collected. We cut a
couple dozen of hers, then Joan showed up. Joan said," she just wanted to watch, but
I told her she had to bring nodules to the party. She said," she only had 4 in her
pocket the rest were in the bottom of the bucket. So we cut those four. The first 2 were
humdingers, Joan was thrilled and Jan was jealous. By the time Ken and Jane
arrived we were down to the last blade. Jane handed me a nodule and said," this
ones Ken's. I knew it had some copper cause it would occasionally want to bounce in
the saw. Jane waited patiently, while Ken and Ted were talking rock and stuff in
the back ground and the rest of us were gathered around the saw is suspense. Jane
was hoping she and Ken had found at least one agate. As I finished cutting her first
nodule, I took a quick peek. I just could believe it. I started to laugh and said, " Jane
its amazing! She said," did I get an agate? I said," its more than just an agate, and
handed it to her. This nodule was an amazing copper included agate. Its what we all
wish we have collected, and if that wasn't enough. We cut Jane's next nodule and it
was even better! Hello! There was a copper eye and an eye agate. We all were jealous!!!!
and drooling!!!!!!!!!Ken and Ted took a look and Ken said "I guess were gonna go back
tomorrow." (they were going to collect on the beach) All of us couldn't wait to get back
on the rock pile in the morning.
All of us but Katie was on the pile this morning. Katie left around 2 ish' on
Saturday. She was going to head for home in Stevens Point, WI. She had collected
many nice calcite specimens of and many nodules that she is going to cut and
polish at the first rock room workshop. The weather was again super for collecting.
The hammers sang all morning long. It was right at noon, and Ted found me on
the pile to see how many nodules I had and to show me his finds. He had a several
pretty pieces that you could see some quartz or calcite with copper that glistened in
the sun. They looked like they had potential. We both climbed down off the pile
and joined Jan and the kids by the van. After almost an hour of discussing all the
different ways to collect an agate, (that sorta' sounds like it could be a song) we
decided we were going to head for home. Jan said her and the kids were going to be
heading out soon too. Just as we were ready to say our goodbyes, I noticed Ted had
the camera hanging off his shoulder and quickly realized we had not taken any
pictures of the agates that had been cut. We just couldn't leave without snapping a
few shots for the field trip report. So we call Jane and Ken off the pile and told
them to bring over those 2 humdingers. They did, and we did..........take a few
pictures. I was in the shade which didn't help hand holding the camera with a
close-up filter attached. The pictures do not do them justice! They are so pretty in
person. When they come to the rock room workshop in Nov. to polish them, I will set
up the copy stand and take some really nice photos to replace these bad ones. But for
now they will give you an good idea of what a Copper Included Agate should look
like. Dan came driving in during our goodbyes, so Jane and Ken showed him
there 2 Copper Included Agates and Dan was impressed to say the least!!!
Jan asked Dan how much he thought they were worth and with Dan's reply? Lets
just say it paid for there trip!!!!!!! Very Way Cool!!!
| Ken and Jane's humdingers!!!
(About the size of a nickel for reference)
Taking a break
|Jan's collection of her favorites
|Looking down at
Ken from the top
of the rock pile
|The fall colors on the way home were beautiful, so I couldn't resist taking a few pictures.
Sandy's finds. Some
Copper and Agates
|The scenery from the top of the rock pile
Jane and Ken
Busy Rock Hounds
Ken & Jane
Katie sent this photo to me. She
caught Ted taking a nap, or is he?
Jan & Jane
Maddie & Jan