Posts Tagged With: rocks

Sweet Home Rocks! Part I – Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood, Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Petrified Wood at Holleywood Ranch

The Sweet Home, Oregon area is known for Holley Blue and other agates. But did you know you can also dig petrified wood and gather pyrite? Now I know some people say, “Pyrite?! Who wants Fool’s Gold?” Well, this is very pretty, nicely shaped Fool’s Gold.

Jerry and Jessica ready to dig petrified wood, Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Jerry and Jessica ready to dig

On this day, my little brother, Jerry, his wife Marilyn, and daughter Jessica, headed up to Sweet Home to check it out. We first arrived at Holleywood Ranch just outside of town, to dig for the petrified wood. We saw the sign showing we were at the right place, but no one was in sight. It turns out you should always phone ahead because the owners live on a hill behind the field where the digging takes place, and so they aren’t always in the field. There is a white house next to the fields but that is rental property, so please don’t bother the renters.

Petrified Wood Field, Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Petrified Wood Field

We met up with owner Brad Newport, and he showed us the wagons and probing tools and told us to head on out to see what we could find. The top of the ground was literally littered with pieces of petrified wood. It’s tempting to reach down and pick up several pieces but even more tempting to see what we could dig up for ourselves. We saw several trenches where other people had dug so we checked them out and found several pieces nice enough to keep. Most pieces were rather small, but there were some pieces in the field that were simply too big to pick up!

Jessica standing on large piece of petrified wood, Sweet Home, Oregon

Jessica standing on large piece of petrified wood

After choosing several pieces we headed back to the gate where there was water available to clean our finds and decide which ones to keep. The details really show up when the rocks are wet! Then we took them up to Brad’s house to pay for our keepers.

Petrified Wood from Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Petrified Wood from Holleywood Ranch!

When we walked into his shop, we were enthralled! Petrified wood everywhere! Limb casts, huge pieces, colorful pieces – it was a rockhounder’s heaven. We had some time to talk to Brad, an extremely pleasant gentleman, and he told us how he bought the property not knowing the petrified wood was on it. And when he did find out, he nearly wore himself out digging every day after work. I could completely understand, I would have done the same thing!

Brad Newport, Owner of Holleywood Ranch, Sweet  Home, Oregon

Brad Newport, Owner of Holleywood Ranch

He didn’t plan to open his property to the public until the Travel Channel Cash and Treasures show called him and wanted to visit. One of their requirements is that the property be opened to the public so he decided to try it. He had a great time telling us the story of the filming of the show, and some of the funny highlights. Holleywood Ranch has also been featured on Grant’s Getaways!

Holleywood Ranch is open for digging every day (weather permitting), just make sure to call ahead to 541-401-0899 or 541-409-6047. The digging is easy, the ground is soft and flat so no hiking, just a simple walk out into the field. You only pay $1.50 per pound for the pieces you choose to keep.

 

More gorgeous petrified wood! Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

More gorgeous petrified wood!

You can find Holleywood Ranch online at http://holleywoodranch.com/

The link to the episode on Cash and Treasures, as well as Grant’s Getaways can be found here: http://holleywoodranch.com/claim-to-fame/

Come back next week to find out more about how Sweet Home Rocks! Part II – Pyrite.

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Categories: Oregon, Outdoors, Roadside Attraction, Rockhounding/Gold Panning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For The Kid in All of Us: Rock and Gem Shows

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OAMS Rock Show

Besides actually going out and collecting rocks, rock and gem shows are a great way to get kids interested in rockhounding. They can see all the different kinds of beautiful rocks and the variety of colors. That can help them visualize what they are actually looking for when they are out collecting.

Over President’s Day holiday we went to Portland, Oregon to check out the rock show sponsored by the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society. We took my grandson, Anden, because he likes rock collecting and it has been the joy of my life to share my passion with him.

The show was held inside the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) hall and admission was free. While it was probably the smallest show I have ever been to, it was still packed with amazing specimens to see, rock-related items to buy, and demonstrations.

When we first walked in we were greeted with a “food table” – every item on the table looked like food but was actually some sort of rock. It was quite impressive. At another table young girls were making painted rocks and creating other crafts from rocks. There was a table with various rocks on it called the “Touch Table” to let kids know they should pick those rocks up and touch them all they wanted!

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Rock “Food”

The table with samples of meteorites was a new experience for us. We had never seen one and were able to touch them and feel how heavy they were. There were little magnets available so we could see how magnetic the rocks were. They really looked quite different than I expected and I’m not sure I would recognize one out in the field if I came across it.

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Meteorite with Magnet

At the back of the room were the demonstrations. That’s where we met 11-year-old Zach Taylor. He was making cabochons for guests. A cabochon is a piece of rock that is most often formed into an oblong piece that is then polished. It can then be placed into a necklace or other piece of jewelry. It was impressive to watch Zac expertly run the “Genie,” a grinding and polishing machine that has six wheels of varying roughness to shape the rock, then polish the scratches out, then finish polishing the stone. The finished product is truly a work of art.

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Young Rockhounder Zach Taylor

Zach has always been interested in rock collecting and joined the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society about three years ago. One of the other members worked with Zach for a couple of months teaching him how to use the equipment and Zach has now been making cabochons for about two years. The field trips or “expeditions” as they call them, are what really get Zach excited. Zach and his mom, Mary, are excited for the next club field trip which will be to Lincoln City, Oregon to collect agates. This club really knows how to involve the kids!

slabs

Josh’s Finds

Moving on in the room, down the outside row of tables were vendors selling small slabs of various specimen of rocks. Josh had a great time picking out some great pieces to add to his collection. Another activity for kids was the “wheel” and for 50 cents kids could spin the wheel to win from a selection of rocks or rock pieces of art. Both Josh and Anden, spun the wheel several times. Anden was thrilled with his winnings but also “needed” to buy something. All those beautiful rocks are hard to resist! He saw a quartz crystal that he really wanted so of course Grandma bought it for him.

Anden

Anden and His Crystal

At the far side of the room were display cases with gorgeous collections. One of my favorites was the picture jasper just because I think it is amazing you can find rocks, cut and polish them, and they really do look like intricately painted pictures!

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Picture Jasper

My other favorite collection was the sunstones. Sunstones are the state rock of Oregon, and there is land set aside in the southeast part of Oregon, outside of the town of Plush, where you can go to collect them for free. They are quite abundant so I would say you are guaranteed to find stones.

Sunstones

Rockhounding is a great way to connect with kids and to get them outside. It’s great for the kid in the rest of us as well!

There are many rock clubs all over the country, several in every state. And there are many rock and gem shows that you can attend.

Categories: Oregon, Outdoors, Rockhounding/Gold Panning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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