rik-rat corn pile

Friday, September 28, 2012

Interesting use of Animal Parts, sonny.

I was in a pawn shop the other day and came across something interesting...can anyone guess what the framed art is made from?  I doubt it, although many of you may come close to the correct answer.

It's made out of turtle toes. 

I will never look at turtle toes the same way again...but now that I think about it, I've never really thought much about turtle toes to begin with.  Way to be, random Outsider Artist.  I wish you weren't dead so I could talk to you (I know he's dead, this item was part of his estate that was purchased by the owner of this particular pawn shop.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa: Deer Knuckle Bone Fossil.

I found a few more things while walking through the skunk river.  This deer knuckle bone was one of the first things I picked up from the dry river bank.  One will come across a plethora of bones while hunting for fossils.  Most bones are just bones, nothing too special.  This one struck me as odd...deer have run around Iowa since the ice age ( http://www.uiowa.edu/~osa/Silos/Ice_Age_Residents.html  this is a nice little article that describes the time, it's short so don't be afraid) and a fossil can be made in about 200 years in the right conditions; pressure, amount of water it's exposed to, the type of soil it's in.  It looked old.  It looked very old.  Like Discovery Channel old.

The bone struck me as odd because of the color, feel, and heaviness of it (there hasn't been water in the creek for a month, so the heaviness was not from being water logged.  Which is the case in most bones found in water).  So, I did my "tooth tap test."  Bone will make a hollow clunk on the tooth while a fossilized bone feels like tapping a rock on the tooth.  It felt like a rock.  The I did the "tongue touch test".  If you stick your tongue to a fossilized bones, all of the little porous areas will slightly stick to the tongue (yuck, but a paleontologist suggested the test).  It slightly stuck.  So, in my pocket it went.  I did some research on the internets the other day and it does appear to be a fossilized deer knuckle bone.  Which is cool.  A week later it's still heavy, rock like, and still gets an A on all the gross fossil on mouth tests.  I think it's a fossil.
I did not take this picture.  It just shows you what parts of the deer knuckle bone look like when they are fresh. http://rs.leaftradingpost.com/images/thumbs/0000000047852_600_0.jpg  This is where I borrowed the image, thanks Leaf Trading Post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Glass Artifacts. Des Moines River.

We returned from Ames and decided to go to the camp spot and search the river bank for more treasures.  The water was even lower than it was a month ago...more things were showing. 

Left to right

1. An old half pint milk bottle from the 1940's.  It still boggles my mind that something could exist in a rocky river with a current for so long and barely break. 

2.  A broken bottle from the M & M Star Bottling Company.  We actually found this a week ago but the scanner didn't do it any justice, it needed to be photographed.  It's a pretty cool li'l bottle.  The company embossed a star on the bottom.  I have no idea how old this bottle is but people from around the area say it could be from the 1890's.  Who knows?

3. This is a telephone pole insulator from the Bushwick Glassworks Company in New York.  This piece was made somewhere between 1864 and 1923 according to the internet (which never lies). But my guess is closer to 1923 because of the color of the glass. http://www.myinsulators.com/glass-factories/brookfield.html 

4.  An old ass Pepsi bottle.  It still has some of the paint from the 40's or 50's stuck to the top but when I washed it with Dawn Dish Soap my dumb ass scrubbed off the ancient paint.  Le Sigh. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Skunk River. Fossil Hunting in Iowa.

It was an Ames, Iowa kind of a weekend.  The Skunk River runs through the town and there have been rumors of a dry river bank.  A dry river bank makes for good fossil hunting so KP, the dog, and I decided to check it out.  Lo and behold, that damn river was dry.  We counted 2 puddles in a 2 miles stretch.  There were hundreds of minnows and frogs in each patch of water.  It was an interesting microcosm if not a little crowded for the poor guys. 

Here's one of the pieces I found on the river bank.  I believe it to be a solitary coral of some sort.  It looks unlike the other solitary corals I've found in the past (see horned coral).  I know it takes a lot of pressure to make a fossil so perhaps it's just a squished horned coral.  I'm not an expert, I'm still a novice but none of my fossil books have a picture of this fossilized fellow.  If any of you know anyone I could ask that would be great.  Maybe I'll put the image on a fossil forum website later today and get back to you.

This is the back of the same solitary coral (or what I believe to be a solitary coral).  It's about the size of a dime.

Left to Right: 1. a rock that looks like a silly profile. 2. This fossil was odd, I'm not sure what it is.  If you hold a magnifying glass up to it it has a pattern like some kind of a dense coral.  Lots of circular patterns. 3. A piece of a fossilized bone (the outside). 4. A piece of a fossilized bone on the inside, you can see the marrow. 5. A piece of a fossilized tooth.  This one was a heart breaker because it would have been so awesome had it not been broken.  The enamel of the tooth looks like pottery glaze.  Sigh.  Oh, well.  At least I still found it. 6. A piece of native American pottery.  This piece was found in Marion County.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lunchtime Ditch Adventure.

It's a nice day.  I just finished walking a ditch and it's about 1:01 pm.  This is what I found.  The glass is pretty old and I'm almost positive this is an old raccoon jawbone.  Hooray for lunchtime adventures.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Axe Blade.

I did more than just find fossils this weekend.  While digging through sand and rock I happened upon something metal and heavy.  I pulled the object out of the ground and realized that I found an old axe head.  I have no idea how old the thing is, it's heavily pitted and covered in rust.  The wooden axe handle has long since rotted away. 

We made a hot fire and threw the blade in in an attempt to burn away the old, chunky rust (and yes, this does work in many cases).  It sort of worked.  But when I took it out of the fire it still looked like an old ass rusty axe blade.  It's shelf worthy, however, and really pretty cool.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fossil Hunting in Iowa.

Left to right: 1. a layered fossil of tiny shells.  2. I believe this to be a part of coral, it has a hole in the center and is fossilized. 3. this one I'm not so sure about.  It branches like a coral but plants also do that.  Any ideas, readers? 

This is the single best example of a horned coral I've ever seen.  It was 100% there.  No chips, no dings.  Very nice.

I found this in a ditch.  When I busted a certain type of rock in half I would find these plant like pattens in the center.  I am so unfamiliar with this type of fossil that I purchased a book written specifically about fossil hunting in Iowa.  Pretty soon you'll have to call me Professor Jane. 

This appears to be another type of plant fossil but there looks like there is some type of circular shell in it and some type of crinoid in the very center.  Someone help!  I feed feedback!  It looks like a layer of ocean trapped in a smallish rock.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Goodbye Summer Birds

It's getting late in the season.  All of my hummingbirds are going to migrate back to Mexico soon.  This summer I learned that hummingbirds are a lot more aggressive than one would imagine.  There was a male that patrolled our feeder all season. He would attack any of his hungry hummingbird contemporaries the second they perched on "his" feeder for a drink.  Oh, little birdy-helicopters.  I'm going to miss you guys.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Iowa Football Rivalries.

Iowa vs. Iowa State! 

Well, I've never been to a football game in my entire life and a fierce rivalry game is taking place at Kinnick Stadium tomorrow between Iowa and Iowa State.  I am proud to say that I'll be attending my first game tomorrow.  Let the debacle begin!!!  Go Iowa?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mushroom Hunting in Iowa.

This bad boy was growing on the Mulberry stump in the backyard.  If there's an oyster mushroom in the backyard then there are oyster mushrooms growing in the forest.  We suited up the dog, hopped in the truck, took a hike (literally), and found two more pounds of mushrooms.  And I found a lot of mosquitoes, sadly.

 Oyster mushrooms are an underrated delicacy and we ate them three different ways.

1. Floured, dipped in eggs, rolled in Ritz cracker crumbles, and then deep fried.  Oh god, salivating over here.

2. Simply cooked in butter.  You could really taste the mushroom.  So fresh.

3.  Lightly sauteed and then decorated with lemon, cocktail sauce, and horseradish.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Terrible Taxidermy Tuesday

I think the acorn is nailed to his decrepit paw.

I found these beauties in Ottumwa, Iowa.  God bless amateur taxidermists.  Without them life would be less beautiful and hilarious.  I hope that the spirits of these animals can see the humor in this.