those of you who don’t live in Texas, Friday, May 1 was when some restrictions
on travel ended. Hotels and motels in
the Big Bend can open back up at 25% of their capacity, and restaurants can, as
well, if they have room for social distancing.
However, the nice spring weather happened while we were sheltering in
place, and now it’s pretty much summertime conditions: very hot, often windy,
sometimes rainy, with occasional thunder storms which can bring lots of hail,
or perhaps a tornado or two.
of the weather conditions, Aaron and I have decided that we won’t be leading
field trips again until Fall. We
have lots of people tell us that they can take the heat because they’re from
the Gulf Coast. But the heat we have here is very dry heat, and
you can get dehydrated here very quickly.
The combination of the elevation, the dryness, and the heat with
no shade has sent many people to hospitals with heatstroke over the years, and
we won’t lead field trips in conditions which may permanently injure your
health (or ours!).
another topic, my rock sales are going well.
All of the Walker Ranch cutting agate buckets have been sold, as well as the buckets of agate nodules. But there’s lots of other good agate still
available. Both the Singleton and
Stillwell Ranches are great locations that are not open to the public any more.
In my last email, I detailed the reason that I dropped the price on the
Singleton Ranch tock buckets, but I’ll repeat it here: 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 deal, 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
Singleton material has some bouquet agate in it, and in general those pieces
run fairly small. Many will make only one cab, and to do that you’ll need
to hold the piece in your hands while you grind a flat spot to glue the dop
stick on. The colors are usually
pastels, and there’s also quite a lot of black and white plume agates there, as
well. There’s also water-level agate, which is where the silica that
formed the agate was dissolved in ground water flowing horizontally. The
different minerals in the solution at different time made different color
bands, mostly blue, grey, black and white. The bands are absolutely straight,
so the material looks great if you cut diagonally across the bands for your
cab. There are moss agates and occasional tube agates, and some very neat stuff
that is brecciated common opal with a background of chalcedony. The opal can be
any color from white through the buff, pink, and red colors into brown, and the
chalcedony background can be clearish, white, light blue, dark blue, or
black. The buckets of Singleton material are $125 each, since I
never separated the specimen material from the cutting material. Or, I
can send you a bucket that I’ve “curated”, taking the best cutting
material from two Singleton buckets and putting them into one bucket, for
$250. that saves you shipping cost for the second bucket and doesn’t
leave you with a bunch of specimen material you don’t want.
The Stillwell Ranch had a whole bunch of different types of agate,
jasper, flint, chert and petrified wood. Pieces can be quite large:
perhaps the size of a brick. I am continually surprised at the variety in
the Stillwell agate. In one afternoon a couple of years ago I
found agatized petrified wood in nine different color combinations. The
pieces appear not to have grown in the location where they’re found.
There are several hills on the ranch that are actually just giant rock piles,
deposited there in prehistory when the Rio Grande was many miles wide.
There are plume agates, mosses, fortifications, tube agates and some others
that I can’t begin to describe. There will also be colorful petrified
wood, and perhaps some flint and chert that were exceptional for some
reason. They may have originated any where along the course of the Rio
Grande, from Southern Colorado through New Mexico and the Big Bend of
Texas. Because this ranch is now closed to rockhunting, the buckets are
The South Larremore Ranch is very interesting. It has gravel piles
sticking up above ground level. These piles were the bottom of an ancient
lake, and they have some incredible agate in them. It also has the
creekbed for Calamity Creek, which is the creek that goes through the former
Woodward and Walker Ranches, and picks up pieces of plume agate on its way
down. So there’s material there that looks like what you would find on
the Walker and Woodward Ranches, in addition to the pieces in the gravel piles
that can look like the spectacular fortification agates from Mexico. There’s
also agatized wood, and perhaps some flint and chert that were exceptional for
some reason. Pieces are generally small. South Larremore Ranch
agate is $200 per bucket and the South Larremore Ranch is still open for rochunts
in fall, winter and spring.
free to look at my website, http://terismithrockhunts.com/rocks-for-sale/.
other rocks for sale, and email me if you have any questions.
Teri & Aaron