Stocking up for winter

Now that fall has officially arrived, I’ve been getting a little twitchy about stockpiling enough rock to get me through the winter. Don’t get me wrong, my shelves are anything but bare, yet I still keep asking myself “Will it be enough?” Luckily, I had a chance to do a whole lot of rock foraging this September when my brother and I, our spouses, and my parents all went up to our family cottage (up on the Bruce Peninsula) for some quality time in celebration of my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.

Over the course of 3 outings, I managed to collect pretty close to 100 pounds of stone. The first day we just stuck around the cottage, so I collected lots of really nice cream-coloured rock, which has a bit of a sparkle to it when it’s cut open, right out front by the water. Everyone was keen to help me build my pile, but I think they got a bit discouraged by my rejection rate (don’t worry, they caught on fairly quickly).

Outings two and three were both at Cape Chin, because I have always loved the blue and red rocks there. R and I both rocked a backpack on the first Cape Chin outing and were hunched over from the weight of our haul by the time we made our way back to the car, but I was flying solo on day 2 at the Cape (R came with me, but got lost in her book while I explored). The backpack I used was my dad’s totally vintage one from his European adventures in the sixties – it still had his childhood address written on the tag inside! It was the BEST rock scavenging backpack ever – I think it was the external frame (and vintage appeal, obviously) that made it so awesome. Aside from the red and blue rock, I also managed to find quite a few fossils at Cape Chin (which I’m planning on using as focal points eventually) and some really nice layered rock, which I’m guessing is limestone of some sort.

Back at the cottage, I set about giving all the rocks a good cleaning out on the deck. Everything was going swimmingly until I looked over at a pile of red rocks that I had just washed and set out to dry in the sun… What was once a pile of 5 or 6 stones was now a pile of waayyy more smaller red rocks. Just the act of dunking them in water had caused them to fracture into smaller pieces! (The same was true, I later discovered, for the blue stone.) No more washing for either of those! I later tested them to see whether the moisture from the thinset would have the same result, but luckily they held their form and didn’t crack, so I can still use the red and blue guys in mosaics <insert big sigh of relief>

It was really nice to be able to spend some good chunks of time looking for rocks and not feel rushed — really being able to feel the place, enjoy the sun and the fresh air, get to know the local stones, and then carefully select the ones that would make the journey home with me.

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