Where do I begin?

“Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.” Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)

As a child, my family was fortunate enough to spend our summers on an old farm in northwestern Wisconsin.pump The farm was no longer functioning as such, however the barn, chicken coop, and outhouse were still intact as well as the farm house and even a miniature kid’s playhouse added character to the property.

There was no plumbing or electricity in the house. We obtained water by using a hand pump outside, took baths in a lake, and even getting the mail was a ½ mile walk down a dirt road to our mailbox.

Ah, the walk down the dirt road!
Quartz stones were abundant and always beckoned to me along these walks. Of course, at the time, I didn’t KNOW they were quartz. They were shiny, clear or milky rocks that glistened in the sun like glass. I marveled at their appearance and made a habit of filling the pockets of my sweatshirt or bib overalls with these precious finds.

As a young adult, and as our family was growing, my brother, Patrick (a wonderful Architect), designed a new building to be built on family land not far from this farm. It rained a day after the hole was dug for the foundation. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to meander the site and inspect newly washed unearthed treasure that have risen from the depths by the excavating equipment. I collected colorful quartz and some Jasper.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, something truly wonderful and unique caught my attention. This stone, barely showing, had displayed similar characters as quartz however contained multiple colorful bands of red, orange, brown, and white! As I dug, the stone grew in size and more and more banding became apparent! What was this marvelous rock? Very excited at my find, I rushed to show my mom and hopefully learn the identification of this new discovery. Unfortunately no one I asked knew what it was.

Laker1I brought the rock home to Chicago and displayed it on the mantle of my fireplace. This 2 1/2  inch diameter stone drew the attention of many visitors, however, not one person could figure out what it was. My brother suggested that I ask his friend, Izzy, to see if he could point me in the right direction. Izzy was fond of Geology and was happy to oblige. Izzy examined the stone and said it was definitely sedimentary. He went on to explain the differences between sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock classifications. Izzy’s passion for the subject sparked something inside of me. I wanted to learn more and my thirst for knowledge on this subject grew exponentially!


That Christmas, my brother, gave me a gift that would change my life and world forever. He gave me a book and a fossil. Rocks & FossilsThe fossil is that of a sand dollar, and the book (the first of many in my library) is Rocks & Fossils (The Nature Company Guides) by Busbey, Coenraads, Willis, and Roots. It is a Time-Life book and can be purchased on Amazon right now for just 1 cent (used). ISBN 0-7835-4803-6

I cracked the book open. Chapter one pulled my right in; “Rocks are the pages of Earth’s diary, and fossils are the words on the pages, recounting surprising details of the history of life.” For the next three days, I read this book cover to cover. I read it again, this time marking pages and locations close enough to visit. It explained formations and timelines, mineral identification and properties, gemstones, mining, fossil identification and dating, paleontology, prep and cleaning. It detailed rocks, fossils, and minerals on how they form and where to find them. My mind filled with visions of excursions to dig sites to find these items for my very own! Music from Raiders of Lost Ark echoed in my head as I will become Indiana Jones (in a rockhound sort of way) !


And then….there it was. In the section on Agates, I finely learned what my very special rock sitting on the mantle is. It is an Agate. A Lake Superior Agate to be exact. What is mind boggling is that this rock was formed more than a billion years ago! Time and erosion against its host rock (basalt) allowed it to be freed, wander from its original location with the help of a couple of Ice Ages, eventually unearthed by manmade machines, and in my hand ……. A Billion years later! Wow!

I’m hooked (line and sinker)!
My love for rocks, minerals, and fossils are no longer a hobby. They are a mission!

In the blogs that follow, I will share the many rockhounding trips I have embarked on and include my trials and tribulations in the hunt for many rock and fossil treasures.


  1. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recapturing of your developing passion. Follow your passion from the depths of the earth to the mountain tops!

  2. What a great start! Keep it up!

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