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One of the benefits of living in Northern California is the abundance of stone collecting locations within a 3-5 hour drive of our home.  Some of them are: Trinity River, Klamath River, Eel River, Thomes Creek and others.  This summer I had the opportunity to collect on the Little Truckee River, the Eel,  and Thomes Creek.

In today’s post, I would like to show you three stones.

Black Butte Stone with Red and Yellow Jasper

Black Butte Stone with Red and Yellow Jasper

When I first found this stone it was wet and the colors were glowing especially the red.  I actually just picked it up to show to one of the 1st time collectors with us but when I arrived back at camp Mas immediately saw a nice mountain stone!  I didn’t – it goes to show you that I need to sometimes just slow down and study the stone a bit longer.

Flaming Red

Flaming Red

This isn’t the same stone but it does show you what the red looks like when it is wet.  When I first saw this stone sitting in a few inches of water I thought of Moses and the burning bush and how the stone looked on fire.

The mountain stone in the first photo is something I would like to keep uncut but in doing so the mountain is diminished and the overall visual quality is reduced.  Therefore, I think this stone is appropriate to cut (let’s not go down the discussion road of cut or not to cut) and I thought I would use Photoshop to attempt to find the cut line.

View-3

View-3

This is view three and has the least amount of rotation on the stone for cutting.

View-2

View-2

This has just a tab more rotation to emphasis the peak a bit more and to move it just a bit to the left.  You can see the amount of rotation by looking at the bottom right corner of the photos.

View-1

View-1

View 1 is significantly rotated counter-clockwise and gives a much different stone.

So which do you like? Or better yet do you have a better suggestion?

I really like this stone with its fall colors.  It reminds me of a distant mountain stone with the tree leaves putting on its fall colors.

Close up view of the mountain stone

Close up view of the mountain stone

Stone hunting for me is like flyfishing – I go for the excitement of the hunt but expect to come home with nothing in my bag.  Note: I love to fly fish but I follow a strict zero take rule – the fish are always returned to the river.  With stones, it is much the same way – many are returned to the spot I picked them up.  I have learned that I only take stones that have a high degree of possibility of staying in my collection.

I would like to take a moment on that subject. When we first begin to collect stones, we have the tendency to pick up way too many stones and haul them back home.  I have now become much more selective on the river; however, that doesn’t guarantee that I will not still bring back  home a stone that I should have left riverside.  So what can you do to help you determine if you should keep the stone?  I use this simple process.  After you get home and have cleaned up the stone set it up where you will see it every day.  For me it is in our greenhouse where I keep accent plants and maple trees.  For you it might be your bonsai bench or in the garden.  Put it somewhere that insures you will see it most every day.  Leave it there for several months.  If you find yourself stopping to look at it everyday – that is likely a keeper.  If, however, the stone somehow disappears – even though it is in the open – then I suggest you return that stone to the river.

Our eyes have a tendency to be attracted to things but then to quickly tire of them.  The process above helps to assure you that you keep the very best stones in your collection.

The Sierras

Oh what a trip this turned out to be.  It was a one day trip that ended up costing me $800 – flat tire and bent rim.  This is what happens when you don’t pay attention and hit a pot hole on a backroad.  We were 25 miles from Truckee (Mas, Janet and myself) and while changing the tire the car fell off the jack!  Yep, I should have also paid more attention to the slope of the road.  Needless to say, the engineers had made the jack so it still could slip under the car sans right front wheel and we successfully exchanged flat for a new tire and off we went.

The Little Truckee holds a special place for us.  It is the very first river I flyfished some 15 years ago.  With zero knowledge of how to cast, mend and keep my dry fly “dry” I some how still managed to catch my first wild rainbow trout. I was hooked!

Returning to the river for the first time in 15 years it was fun to walk up and down the banks.  I must have walked about a mile of the river bed without finding any “keepers” and just before heading up the steep bank I looked down and saw this natural stone.

The dog stone!

The dog stone!

Hard to believe is what I thought when I picked it up.  There is even an eye and a bit of a mouth.  I don’t really look for object stones – not that I’m opposed to them whatsoever, it is just that often when I see them your imagination has to kick into high gear to see what someone else sees.  This stone hasn’t been cleaned yet so my hope is that it really brightens up a bit but nevertheless it is a good object stone.

Now let us take a peek at the reverse side.

Is it Dino the dinosaur?

Is it Dino the dinosaur?

Interesting enough this was the side that was up when I found the stone.  Is it a dog or a dinosaur head?  For those who are in our age bracket or who love cartoons (who doesn’t?) it reminds me of Dino the Flintstone’s pet dinosaur.

This will be a fun stone to have mounted and displayed in the house.

Eel River

This next stone I found while collecting on the GSBF trip last week.  It is the only stone I took home and this photo doesn’t do it justice. After the diaza is made, I will post this stone again.

Mountain stone with water pouring down the right side

Mountain stone with water pouring down the right side

It is hard to tell from this photograph (not enough time today to setup the stone upright to shoot) but it has a small mountain, a lake and a somewhat waterfall.  If you take a look at the white of the stone it even seems to resemble a tiger or polar bear.  Does anyone else see that or is it just me?

This is a stone I will study for a while on the garden bench.  Mas liked this stone very much – so do I – but I still want to sit with it for a while to determine how to display it.  There are three ways this stone can be seen and in one of our next posts I will do a better job of photographing it under studio lights to see all three positions.

Well, I better sign off for today.  I hope you are encouraged to get out there and do some stone hunting.  I can’t wait until 4:30am tomorrow to jump out of bed and go hunt stones.  No telling what I might find!

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