Thursday, March 21, 2024

Preparing and Preserving a Columbia Mammoth Skull Fragment

The time to buy something is when you first spot it. Not the best approach but someone else will probably want it. At the Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral show, three of the twenty-seven dealers were retiring and selling off their fossils and cabochons. It was pointed out that one dealer had a fragment of a Columbian Mammoth Skull, that had been found in a Texas streambank, (I also bought two dinosaur eggshell fragments from the same booth). At half off I just had to buy it! It is the only piece I have ever seen for sale. The fossil is at least 13000 years old, which is the time when the last Columbian mammoths died off, (or slaughtered by early humans).
As we are getting ready to migrate north, I decided to clean and preserve the delicate skull parts. Luckily, I have dental tools, paint brushes, and foam brushes in my jewelry making work box and so I began to slowly remove the sand grains, rock pebbles, and bone fragments, keeping all of the loose material for a future display.
It took about ten hours to remove the loose material, (regolith), and as I cleaned each area, I applied two layers of Mod Podge. It’s similar to Elmers glue, which is often used after diluting with water, to preserve delicate fragmented bones.
Some small bone fragments came free, and one large piece, which I was able to reattach to the skull. When I finished the cleaning, I applied another two coats of craft glue. I am happy with the results! Now if I can just find more!

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Blue Lagoons Round Robin Pickleball Tournament

It’s been a great winter and we have had 26 people who have played pickleball on our court! Most of the players were just learning to play and so Renita and I volunteered to teach the fundamentals. Our first and most important rule was, “It’s just a ball don’t fall! Several ignored this rule but luckily we have not had any long lasting
injuries or trips to the emergency room. As our winter friends are starting to leave, we decided to hold two round robin skill level tournaments. Most of our players are now capable of playing others with a skill level of 3.0. Four of us have played for years and so we held a separate round robin. The day arrived and the weather cooperated. The order of play was decided by the order in which they had signed up. We had six who felt comfortable playing and we started our first, round robin with a rules meeting. Barb volunteered to judge the games. Her task was to keep and say the score, call any side outs, and to watch for foot faults in the kitchen and over the baseline.
Renita also kept track of the book recording the scores and I determined the order of rotation for the players. Everyone loved the positive atmosphere and we had quite a few people show up to cheer their favorite players. We encouraged the spectators to be quiet during the play and to only cheer for positive points! The players changed sides when one side reached five points and we played each game to nine. Of course you had to win by two. After each game the sides rotated so each player was able to partner with everyone else. Both players on the winning side scored a point and the tournament was decided by who had the most wins. At the end the players with four wins were Laurie and Del. Third, fourth, and fifth place were lee, Patty, and Maureen. All played well!
Prizes were donated by our friends Zita and Alan and by Mark and Renita. We also purchased brand new balls for the games. The top two winners received a new pickleball paddle and the next three had their pick of new grip tape and wrist bands. All the players also received a pickleball.
As you can see our players were all smiling and can’t wait to get back home to continue their learning against other similar ranked players. Two days later the weather held and we were able to play our 3.5 round robin. The format was the same for the 3.5 round robin. As there were only four players it only took us six games to decide the winner. I took first, Barb, second and Dan third. Renita was the anchor, she had some bad breaks during play. It was fun and challenging to play against better players and we held nothing back. Finally a thanks to Blue lagoons for building the court and to Gordo and Babs who bought the nets. Clear skies and of course game on!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

The Sixty-First Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society Show

Each year we only sell at six shows. One of the biggest is the Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Societies, (GCJMS), annual gem and mineral show. This year the show was held at the usual site, the Fair Grounds, in Robstown Texas. This year twenty-seven dealers showed their fossil, mineral, rock, and gemstone creations. It so nice to see so many of our friends in the Society and to reconnect with other dealers. Last year the show’s attendance had dropped a little and so we were concerned about the numbers that walked through the door. We should not have worried!
Both Saturday and Sunday’s sessions were well attended. We make virtually everything we sell. Each summer I saw grind and polish the cabochons and in the winter months I wire wrap the pendants and bracelets. Often, we compete with booths in which the dealers don’t make any of their wares, (resellers). One of our friends, Cecil knaps and makes arrowhead, knifes and other Native American artifacts. His work is exceptional!
Our niche is that because I am a geologist, we aren’t just selling jewelry, but we are telling the story of almost every one of the stones. We even prospect some of the materials! One of my favorite stories involves a rattlesnake that Renita encountered while hunting Sweet Water Moss Agates. That time she spotted the snake and told me to get a good picture of it. The prairie rattler had just shed and was a beautiful greenish color! As I neared the snake it rattled and reared up. After taking a couple of pics she yelled at me to get closer, and I always do what she says. Happy wife happy life! I could fill the blog with stories but back to the show.
My cousin Angie and her husband Pete traveled down to the show and helped us both days. Pam and Roy, Renita’s sister and her husband also attended and helped us on Saturday. Thanks to them and all the GCGMS members who worked at the show! It was a good two-day show, and it met our expectations. Not only do we sell but we also buy supplies and fossils for our own collection. This year several dealers were retiring so we purchased larimar, red tiger eye, dinosaur eggs shell fragments. We also bought a large fragment of a woolly mammoth skull for our private collection. Now we are preparing for the summer shows in Wyoming. Maybe we will see some of you down the road, (full time rvers never say goodbye). Clear skies