I really do not know for a fact about how to create a Blog. Hell, I did not even know just what a blog was!
After reading the tutorial I figured that maybe it is just an area where I could tell my story of how long I have been collecting "stuff" and just what I consider collectable and how I got myself and my wife into this.
Why I am getting started here and now is only that I felt compelled to put it down into words.
Or it could be somebody once told me:
"There is a fine line between Hobby and obsession"
While I attended school, elementary through middle school, most of my teachers would anticipate just what I would bring to school on Monday morning. My collecting took a hyatus durring high school "opposite sex thing" but re-emmerged after I found out that girls sure cost a lot of money, and they would still be there tomorrow. They cost even more now days.
I do not remember exactly when I found my first arrowhead or my first fossil. I was a child and just had a habit of bringing home all kinds of stuff. My two big brothers could not go exploring or fishing without me and or my little brother in tag (Baby sitters). We shadowed them everywhere.
Our Parents took us to shelter digs from my very first memories. My brother and I mostly just got into trouble throwing dirt clods and rocks but on occasion when the digging was easy we got to get in there with the family.
My mother really did not appreciate me bringing back snakes and other creepy crawlies but that was just a part of who I was. I have a story on a Red Tailed Hawk for later.
I do remember my first sharks teeth. My brother and I got the dubious chore of scraping up the sand and gravel from the road in front of our home, that had washed out of our access drive to our backyard. While doing this I noticed that some of them looked like a teeth! That got me looking for them on a regular basis. I found out where the sand and gravel came from (Woodbine aluvial gravel) and that began a whole new collection.
Living in a smaller town between Dallas and Ft Worth Texas, I was availed the opportunity to explore the many fossil bearing deposits all around me over the years.
After I got my drivers license I began to explore out further and further on my own and had the time of my life, and still living it. I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself.
I usually had my little brother with me most of the time and he too found stuff, we were looking for arrowheads together one Sat. morning "known surface" for awhile when we came across an old private dump. The first thing we found was bottle neck poking out of the ground an amythest tinted whiskey flask.
That got us scratching at the surface and things just started popping out bottle after bottle and an assortment of items that was very intresting. That started me into bottle dump digging and that was back in the early 60's.
I have dug in many sites that date to the late 1800's but not many. Most of what I have dug date from WWII to turn of century.
I will not go into any detail on digging in old dumps primarily because this is an artifact related web site that caters to artifact "Finders" with a slight dip into fossil collecting.
My dad purchased one of the early models of metal detectors "figures" in 1966.
A "D-Tex" Mfg by Bill Mahan in Garland Tx. "A non-descrimination type". The very first coin we dug was a silver dime, right at our front poarch!
Since it was in 1966 I would venture to say that the majority of the dimes and Quarters in the ground were silver.
That got us out when it was just too hot to dig for arrowheads and my dad needed somebody to dig the targets. Most of the targets that turned up were either the old style soda-pop tops or nails. Huumm..... A lot of unwanted stuff to be sure.
Over several years I accompanied my dad out treasure hunting, I'd be willing to bet we dug a ton of scrap metal for every coin we dug. My dad insisted on hunting areas he was convinced would produce a cache of treasures. Not sure why he picked the worst places I could imagine but we rarely found much more than a few cents and sometimes a silver quarter or dime. I can recall just one solitary adventure that yielded what could be considered a good location.
My dad had purchased another detector and I got to use his older model. Immediately upon turning on our machines, finds just started popping.
Found so many coins that one of my pockets was full and I began to fill the other.
Every coin predated 1960 totals of copper cents was not even counted but totals of silver was something else...........mine, my big brother and my dads finds over a three day hunt.
2 Walking Liberty Half dollars
80+ silver quarters "No Clad"
200+ silver dimes again "No Clad"
Several NI/Silver Nickles "WarTme"
Bunches of regular Jefferson Nickles
10+ Buffalo nickles
And the prize of the day......
A hole in the floor of the house, between the front room and the kitchen, yielded an astounding 300+ steel cents (All steel no coppers) cache and one aluminum token "Good for One cake of snow white soap". The cow pie sized mass of coins were rusted together from being subjected to moisture comming through the hole. After three days of pounding that site the finds began to thin out to a point of giving up for what it was not worth. On last hunt day there my dad found two copper cents and I found nothing. That, I have to say, was the most productive metal detecting site I ever had the pleasure of hunting out. Still though I'm sure we missed some nice targets there. The site is now a retirement village.
My dad passed away many years ago but he did leave me with the desire to use one of these machines and now they have the ability to mask out the trash.
From the early 80's I was absent from the metal detecting hobby "marriage, fossils and arrowhead hunting" left the metal detecting in the dirt so to speak.
My success with a detector has over shadowed my dads in that he only found one gold ring through the 10+ years he swung one. I on the other hand have had phenominal success in finding gold and silver jewelry beginning in 1998. My wife purchased me a metal detector for my birthday "a Garrett 350", if she had known that I would spend more time with that machine than I did with her I would have had to purchase one myself. On the very first weekend I took my new machine to a baseball field.
I found a few coins here and there nothing spectacular but then I hit the pitchers mound and found a pocket spill. This guy musta had a hole in his pocket.
I dug out better than two dollars in coins and my very first Man's gold wedding ring and it had 5 small diamonds. My first thought was wow this is going to be easy pickins!!! It was 3 months before I found another man's wedding ring with three diamonds. Since then I accumulated many more gold and silver objects many with diamonds, rubys, emeralds, CZ etc... I have also found a lot of costume, children's, & counterfeit jewelry.
When gold pricing went through the roof I put my found stuff to work for me. Sold it.
Did you know that when you sell gold with or without gem stones the price is the same.
The larger diamonds are the only ones that would escalate the value.
Small diamonds do not matter, unless you try to buy one.
Then while you are standing there, they pull out a diamond check device,
to see if they are diamonds or cubic zirconium.
That seemed a little hypocritical to me.
That's the game though.Like I said go and buy one.
I presently own 6 metal detectors "one of them is the original still working D-Tex from 1966" and three pin pointers.
I have not found any of the fabulous treasures they have shown in the news.
Don't mean I didn't try.
I still do from time to time get out with friends and some times I go alone.
Enough about metal detecting.
I have always gottten such a thrill from finding a nice point that it was my favorite hobby for many many years. I had a pretty good collection when I met "the one" I would eventually marry. She was very interested in what I was finding and wanted to go with me. Boy did she catch on quick. There were a few times when she blew me out of the park with what she was finding and did not mind hard work at digging and found lots of points. We hunted for many years till she got to the point that her back could just not take it any more. Slinging that shovel takes a lot out of you. She makes a big deal out of it when I bring home some nice points.
We surface hunted a few spots, one of which was close to our home, It was there that we made a discovery that was a first for me and her. North Texas had experienced some intense flooding that wiped out a few bridges in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and we decided to check on our favorite surface haunt. With that much rain there was bound to be some major points out there.
The access road was where heavy trucks loaded with sand and gravel made it's way in and out of the area, was allready hard red pack sandy clay but trucks made it even more so.
Just below this hard pack is a deposit that is known as the Shuller formation known to produce pleistocene material. Mostly horse teeth and the occasional piece/fragment of mammoth ivory/material.
We had only made it half way to the producing area when we practically stumbled on a cache of blades next to a large fire ring. Neither of us said a thing we both just dropped to our knees and began tugging at these enormous blades poking out of the ground.
They were not budging.....Christina (My wife) ran back to the pickup and got the Army pick. We dug at that area for near an hour and found the largest points in our collection, ever.
11 blades total , all preforms. The largest was just under 10 inches in length and near 2 inches wide at it's base with a thickness of about 1/3 inch (Monster)
The next was just under 8 inches but much wider at near 4 inches across and much thicker at near 3/4 inch thick. In my outstretched hand, it completely covered my hand.
The remainder of the cache respectivily:
Three 6 inch blades and the rest at or near 3~4 inches. All were percussion flaked out of the same Olive Green flint. This color and grade of material had not previously been found in this area before at least not by us. We unfortunately have no photos nor proof of such a find and they are in the possession of a collector living somewhere near Glen Rose Tex.
I sold them and a few other choice items to pay off a hospital emergency. That was over 20 years ago.
We had never found any points or any indication of occupation at that particular
"twenty ft square spot" and never found anything else there again. Fortunately the rest of the search area produced for about 10 more years. Exploring all the area over a 30+ year span was envaluable in that the area produced Early Archaic to woodland within a half mile area finding several sites of long term encampment.
I learned a lot about the cultures that called that place home just from what we found
there, and from other sites I have found in The Arlington/Grand Prairie/Irving/Euless areas.
The entire area that had covered over 4 acres is now an industrial complex.
I could go on and on about arrowheads because we have so many tales to tell. The camping, friends going, what was found, how different sites produced differently, how deep we dug, general site beauty, the water sources............Stories that could fill a book!
Our collection now has dwindled down to a minimal amount that will most likely be given to one of my nephews that has just begun to carry on the legacy of our families arrowhead collection heritage.
My fossil collecting has and will always be a matter of opportunity. Most of the exposures around the DFW area are temporary at best. Road cuts and construction sites are the prime target.
You get in find all you can and then it's gone. I got my wife involved in fossilizing simply because she could honestly see things others could not. Sure it was a "rock" but upon closer inspection it was a specimen......that happened a lot and we sure got a lot of attention at the Dallas Paleo Society.
My wife found the first nano crab in our collecction. When she found it she let out a yell held it up and said what is this? 10 yards away and this item was the size of a fingernail.
Well I don't know, I can't even see it! What does it look like? IT LOOKS LIKE A CRAB! I run that 10 yards in a couple of seconds. Steep hillside too!
She not only found our first fossil crab but she taught me what to look for! Now the teacher becomes the student!!!
She also found the first recorded find of a regular echinoid (Sea urchin) from Dallas Co. Tx.
"Phymasoma Bybei". Six of them on one palm sized stone with a Prinotropis ammonite on the stone with them.
The presence of the ammonite gave positive presidence.
I was pretty proud of her when it was announced at the Glen Rose Fossilmania show.
A lot of people I know, who collect fossils collect mainly one, two or three types of fossils.
This guy goes mainly for trilobites that guy goes for ammonites. I on the other hand have been diverse enough to try it all.
And to be honest I still think that special find is out there somewhere.
One find comes to mind is of a trilobite I had found.
Some friends who were "Crystalers" in lieu of a better word asked us if we wanted to go look for some...Well hell yeah, I always wanted one of those!
While the others were crawling around on the hill side I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck, making a sandwich....Rocks..... potentials everywhere.
I spotted what I thought one might look like..
Laid down sandwich tools and other stuff.
Picked up said stone, picked up another stone, and "SMACK" hit that stone and there was my first Trilobite. Without really knowing what I had found I almost destroyed it!
I did what I could to restore as much of it as possible but some of it was beyond repair.
I sold it at a fossil show after finding others, awh it don't matter.. Later that year it wound up on the front cover of a book.
Just one of our nephews has jumped in and has taken the artifact/fossil bug to heart.
He and is wife has already been given a "Museum quality" Calycoceras Ammonite, by my wife and I, that has been cut and polished for it's asthetic properties. We decided to give them this as a wedding gift. It was hysterical watching his new bride and him taking it away from each other durring the reception to show it off! There was no other gift on that table that got as much attention as that fossil ammonite.
You can't imagine how we felt about what was going on that day. More recently we gave him one that is not cut. That one is on his desk at his work place.
Since twenty years has passed and my wife has experienced health issues her participation on fossil trips has dwindled to only if she is with me when the oportunity to take a look at some recent exposure presents itself. This makes for some lonesome time in the field but then there are times when I am out and someone sees me and joins in on the hunt. This does happen and when it does occasionally, I get leads on other areas, and sometimes my best find is a new friend.
Enough about fossils for now.
Now about critters.
Snakes, spiders, squrills, opossoms, racoons, birds.
Out of all the critters I have taken in the racoons and my favorite a red tailed hawk.
My brother and I were out with my dad near Granbury.
While he was metal detecting, where an old home had burned down, we were watching some men cutting up a pecan tree they had felled.
They were clearing the area for a new residence.
They told us about two hawk chicks, that were in a nest, in the tree they just cut down.
The two men apparently cared but did not see it before taking down the hawks home.
Now there was no way we could return them to the nest, it was scattered about the area and the chicks were laying out where they were doomed.
My brother took one and I took the other.
My younger brother stayed out in Granbury and I raised mine in Grand Prairie.
His died, as to how he never explained. I think his fell victim to a Ferrell cat.
I not only raised mine successfully to an adult Red Tailed, I trained him to capture his own prey.
I raised him on fish, snakes, rats, deer meat, just about anything I figured he would enjoy.
Once "Red" was capable of flight I began training him by hiding some treat across the yard or down an alley.
The treat was tied on to a piece of monofiliment string. I would pull on the string as fast as I could and he always managed to catch it before I got to the end. As soon as he pounced on it I would tug a little then a little more then let him have his reward.
It did not take long for him to figure that something small scurring along on the ground just might be edible.
My dad was into leather work and a leather sleeve was childs play, so to speak.
A hood kept Red from taking to flight without my releasing him.
On my second day at school 8th grade, I took Red with me. I had most of the school out there watching as I removed Red's hood and released him to fly. My head was so big that day there was not a cap in the world that would fit me. I allowed Red to circle a few time before I called him back down.
I gave him a treat and released him again.
All those teachers and other students were very interested. I wonder why?
Then the Principal told me I would have to take him home.
I told the principal that I did not have to take him anywhere, he knew his way home.
I would squeech my lips hold up my arm and Red would return. I treated him released him again and went inside to school.
I talked up raising Red for two days to class after class.
Later that day when I got home the police showed up!!!!!
I put on my sleeve called Red down from his telephone pole, and showed the police he was harmless.
Red had attacked a Pomeranian and I was informed of the law concerning "birds of prey".
I would require a license to keep Red. Even though I was successful at rasing and training, I was told I was not qualified. Bull hockey!!!!
That weekend I had to do something that really broke my heart..... Knowing he was able to provide for himself offered little comfort.
My dad drove me out near the area where Red had been accquired, I removed his leggings his hood stepped out of the station wagon raised my arm for him to take flight..... I did not look back.
I cried for two days. My mother tried her best to comfort me but without Red I just did not feel right. He was my best friend all that summer and now I would never see him again.
Now everytime I see a Red Tailed Hawk I just wonder is it Red?
I know it's not that experience was over 45 years ago.
I never thought about taking a picture but in retrospect,I wish I had....
I could at least look back and feel that moment when I realized he would be allright.