Hi y’all! It’s Fall, and with the cooler weather comes opportunities to hunt for agate and other collectible rocks in the Big Bend Region.
In a “normal” year I’d be attaching a schedule of my field trips to this email. But 2021 is not a normal year. COVID is still with us, and it’s still killing people. And we have no clue to what the long-term aftereffects of even a mild case may be.
I came out to California in May. Here in California there’s a mask mandate, and the rate of COVID infection is 25 people per 100k. In Texas, it’s 56 people per 100k. Since my #1 goal this year is not getting COVID, it makes sense for me to stay where the infection rate is much lower. So as of now I’ll stay out here. I’ll check in the middle of October whether the rate in Texas has gone down, and then decide if I’m coming back for November.
So while I may get back to Texas in time to lead field trips in November, it’s also possible that I won’t come back this Fall and Winter at all.
By the way, the photo above is from Patrick’s Point State Park in California, where they encourage you to pick up the agate and jade you find on the beach and take it with you. But you have to hike back up a cliff with it, so you end up being quite selective.
Until then, please consider Aaron Thomas’ field trips to the 06 Ranch, the Larremore Ranch, and Needle Peak. They are wonderful. I’ve attached his schedule to the bottom of this email and will put it on my website.
I’ll also be selling rocks when I get back there. I have 400 or so buckets yet to sell or sort through to pick out the best material to sell. I hope to make several more sorted Singleton buckets and Walker Ranch buckets out of the things I have left. Then I’ll sort and sell some smaller lots of things and perhaps special individual rocks, and the equipment I decide not to take with me to California.
I hope all of you are healthy and doing well in this unsettled year. I’ve done some rock hunting in California, and had fun, but a lot of the places I’ve wanted to go have been closed due to the wildfires or the concern that new wildfires could break out and there would be no firefighters left to put them out. The largest fire, the Dixie fire, is almost a million acres, and has been burning for over two months.
I miss seeing a lot of you and keeping up on what’s going on in your lives, going out with y’all to the beautiful ranches, and getting to see the lovely things you find. But when COVID recedes and we can gather in groups again without concern, the rocks will still be out there, waiting to be discovered. I look forward to that day.
Tired of being unable to go outside and hunt rocks? Would some good agate from the Big Bend help
you fight the “stay at home ‘til further notice” blahs? And what better present for Mother’s Day than
a few buckets full of agate?
I’ve spent my quarantine time learning how to
successfully ship agate, and reconsidering some of the prices on my agate
buckets. So here are the deals:
FIRST, $50 SHIPPING.
I can send you a bucket’s worth of agate via USPS for $50. Your rocks will arrive in 3 or 4 days in in 2
large, USPS flat-rate boxes. It takes me an hour or so to pack a bucket’s worth
of rocks into the boxes and tape it up with enough filament tape to make sure it
will get to you in perfect condition. So
far, I’ve shipped out more than 40 boxes, and all have arrived safely with no
damage or loss to the rocks.
SINGLETON RANCH AGATES ON SALE! Unlike the Walker Ranch buckets, where I
separated specimens and cutting material, the
buckets of agate from the Singleton Ranch are completely unsorted. That means you’re apt to get specimen
material along with the cuttable agate. In order to make sure you feel like you’ve
gotten a good idea, I’ve lowered the price of a bucket of Singleton Ranch agate
to $125 for an unsorted bucket. Or you
can spend $250 for a bucket where I’ve combined two of the unsorted buckets and
removed most of the stuff that won’t cut.
OTHER CATEGORIES STILL ON SALE: In my first email about selling rock buckets,
there were several categories of rocks that were at a low price until I could
get around to sorting them. But with the quarantine, people haven’t been
able to come out rockhunting and pick up their buckets, so I’ve been spending a
lot of my time packing and shipping rocks. Since I won’t get to sorting those categories
of agate anytime soon, the lower prices are still in force. Those categories are:
Buckets of agate either sorted by color or marked ‘mixed’ or ’misc’. $150
Buckets of Rocks that Aren’t Agate or Jasper $150
Buckets of agate from Margarita Gardner $175
I have only a couple of buckets of Walker Ranch cutting
agate available at $250 per bucket. I have
had the chance to look at the contents of some of these buckets as I packed
them, and I was amazed at what wonderful things were in there. Lots of red
plume, black plume, flower garden agate, pastel fortification agates, and very
amazing moss agates. There are occasional
Native American artifacts (mostly scrapers) in there, too, and a few geodes. Once these last buckets are gone, there won’t
be any more available from me, unless the ranch opens up for rockhunting again
in the future. Better order one right
now if you want it! Those of you who
have reserved buckets already don’t have to worry: I’ll keep them for you until you can get here
to pick them up, or decide to have me mail them!
Since it looks like most of us will be staying home for
the foreseeable future, these prices will be good through the end of May. In June, if we’re free to travel, I’ll go to California
for the summer and won’t be back for a while…
I have a lot more types of agate for sale than I‘ve
mentioned in this email. I’ve updated
my listing on my website to show the number of buckets of rocks available in
each category now. Some of the smaller
categories are sold out. To see the
complete listing follow this link: http://terismithrockhunts.com/rocks-for-sale/.
Well, spring is coming, and it’s time for me to start selling my agate
collection. I have not even gotten halfway through a detailed inventory
of the whole collection, but I know enough of what’s there to begin
selling what I would consider to be some of the most desirable agates in
the collection: those from the ranches now closed to rockhunting.
This means cutting material and specimens from the Walker and Singleton
In the Fall, I sent out an email asking those on my
email list how they would like to purchase the agates, and almost half
of those who responded said they would like to purchase the agate in
5-gallon buckets, unsearched since the time I filled them. So that’s
what I’m going to start with.
Full 5-gallon buckets of Walker Ranch or Singleton Ranch agate will be $250.00 each. These buckets will contain a mix of cutting material and specimens, but most of the material will be for cabbing or tumbling. When I filled the buckets, I packed them, so most of them will weigh about 50 lbs., and have a mix of larger and smaller pieces. If you only want larger pieces that you can slab, these buckets are not for you, since I filled in the spaces left between bigger pieces with tiny ones. My philosophy is that if you can make a nice cab or tumbled stone out of it, it’s a keeper. The Walker buckets can also contain a few Native American artifacts or reduction chips, including scrapers of various sizes and materials.
Many of these rocks were collected quite a while ago, while others came from the most recent years when the Singleton and Walker Ranches were open. Most of the buckets are not marked as to date collected and packed, but some are. In general, those collected earlier may have bigger pieces in them, since there were more big pieces easily available in the first seasons the ranches were open. But agates collected later may be of a generally better quality since I learned as I went along and only picked up the best things I found every time I collected. If you have a desire for material collected early or late, let me know and I’ll try to get you buckets from the time frame you wish. I can generally tell when things were collected by their location in my yard, even if they don’t have dates on them.
Right now I probably have 30 – 40 buckets from each ranch ready for pickup, out of a total of over 150 buckets from each ranch. And I still have over 150 buckets where the identifying paint has faded and I’ll have to open them in order to determine what they are.
I also have buckets available of specimen material from the Walker and Singleton Ranches. These buckets can contain quartz and calcite crystals, in small and medium pieces, or geodes, saginite and calcite pseudomorphs, tube agates, botryoidal pieces, and pieces of plume or bouquet agate where the background has not yet filled in. Walker Ranch buckets can also include pieces of a flint-like material that is often pastel and can have very interesting shapes, and perhaps a bit of amethyst. Singleton Ranch buckets may also contain brecciated opal pieces that can be spectacular, and an occasional piece of basalt with tiny bits of moonstone in it. Specimen buckets are $150.00 each.
I have one huge specimen lot that came from Telephone Hill on the Singleton Ranch. It’s a huge botryoidal geode in at least ten major pieces and more than 4 5-gallon buckets of minor ones. After you put it back together, it will be spectacular! I’ve figured out how seven of the major pieces go together, basically, and it will have a curved bottom and a diameter of probably 3 to 4 feet. The colors are blues, grey and white. The whole thing would make a great display either as separate pieces or put together. All of it is for sale together for $750.00.
I have also had many requests for geodes, and I have probably 30 5-gallon buckets full of Mexican geodes that I purchased over the years. They are in sizes ranging from a chicken egg to bigger than an emu egg. I’m willing to offer these by the pound as well as by the bucket, since not everyone wants a whole bucket of geodes. But the general consensus was that grandkids loved geodes, so it’s good to always have some around. I’ll sell any quantity of a pound or more at $3 per lb., no matter what size they are. Buckets will generally weigh light, because geodes leave a lot of air space, so I’ll just weigh the full buckets and sell the whole bucket at $2.75 per lb.
I’ve got lots of other categories of agate and other materials in my collection, but I needed to start somewhere. While the rest of my collection will be available once I have finished my inventory, some other things can perhaps be made available this spring if you let me know in advance so I have time to locate and pack them for sale. These other things include: agate from all the ranches I currently lead field trips on, and miscellaneous U.S. agate for $200.00 per 5 gallon bucket; agate from Mexico either organized by what it is or where I got it at anywhere from $200 to $600 for a 5-gallon bucket; and large agate and petrified wood pieces (from about 10 lbs to over 400 lbs) at $2 per lb.
And there’s also over a ton of beautiful slag glass in all colors at $6/lb for up to 20 lbs, $5/lb for 21-100 lbs, and $4/lb for 101 lbs and more. The sooner you let me know what you want, the more likely you are to get it this spring. Send me an email stating your name, cell number, what you want, and when you are going to come to get it. I’ll reply letting you know the agate is being saved for you. You can either pay in advance or when you pick it up. I’ll accept both cash and checks.
Now, as for delivery: right now I’m hoping that y’all will come out for rockhunts this spring and pick up your purchases then. If you can’t do that, please still let me know what you want to purchase, and I’ll put it aside for you. Perhaps we can make some arrangements for delivery. My son lives in Kerrville, and he could probably take a bucket or two home with him when he comes to visit, so that might be an option if you live near the Hill Country. I’m not able to lift a 50-lb bucket, so if y’all need help with moving them, perhaps we can split them into more than one container to lift.
If you have any questions or comments, please email me.
I’ve scheduled on extra rockhunt for Monday November 12, at 8 a.m., to the South Larremore Ranch. Please let me know if you’d like to attend.
The following rockhunts DO NOT have people signed up for them:
Thursday, 12/13: South Larremore Ranch 8:00 a.m.
Thursday, 12/20: East Needle Peak 8:00 a.m.
Friday, 12/21: South Larremore Ranch 8:00 a.m.
Saturday, 12/22: Stillwell Ranch 8:00 a.m.
Sunday, 12/23: Ritchie Ranch 9:00 a.m.
If no one has signed up for these rockhunts two days before they are to occur, they will be cancelled. Since at least one person has signed up for each of the other rockhunts on my list, they will happen.
As many of you know, I don’t get paid in money to lead the field trips, but I get to pick up rocks. This has resulted in my having a collection of well over 1,000 5-gallon buckets full of agate, specimens, and other rocks. It’s time for me to downsize my collection to include only the things I’d most like to cut and/or display. I’d like your opinions and comments about how I can best facilitate the sale of most of my collection of 40,000 lbs of agate, specimens, and other rocks to rockhounds such as yourselves. The collection is 90% Big Bend material, with the other 10% consisting of saleable, cuttable rock (geodes, lace agate, chevron amethyst, etc.) from the US and Mexico. I am going through it right now to catalog it completely and decide what I want to keep.
There are five basic ways I can sell the collection: as a complete collection; by the category; by the bucket as they are; by the bucket after I’ve curated the contents; and by the pound. This list begins with the least expensive cost per pound and progresses to the most expensive one, because each succeeding option requires more of my time and effort than the previous one, thus adding to the cost.
The material includes just about everything that can be found at the ranches I’ve led rockhunts on, including the Walker and Singleton, which are now closed forever. There’s material from the Woodward Ranch, and from a couple of ranches that were never opened to the public. There’s old Mexican material from the estate of a man from Presidio who bought and sold agate by the ton or truckload, and from a couple of other estates of local rockhounds. There’s some unusual material from the Gila National Forest in New Mexico that I can’t legally sell but can give to those who buy other stuff. And there’s also over a ton of slag glass.
There are also several methods I can use to sell the rocks: my website, www.terismithrockhunts; another sales channel like eBay, or the Facebook rock pages; via emails to my email list; or at sales at my home here in Alpine.
I would appreciate you letting me know whether you’d have any interest in purchasing rocks from me, and what option and method would work best for you. I’ll take all that information into consideration as I decide what to do. Obviously, there’s no obligation on either side…