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Coffee and millions-of-years-old dead things

January 29, 2013

UPDATE: the Pick N Hammer has closed. 😦

Back when there were raspberries still to be had, Bugman and I had roadtripped to Windharvest Farm.

On our way west, we finally had the opportunity to stop at the Pick N Hammer – that beautifully-painted building on the north side of the highway in Mitchell.

pick n hammer

As you can imagine from the exterior, the interior is filled with rocks. All kinds of rocks. Including “Mexican coconuts” and “thundereggs” (Oregon’s state rock). Who knew such things existed??

Many of the rocks are displayed in old freezer cases. How clever!

Many of the rocks are displayed in old freezer cases. How clever!

I had wanted to post about Pick N Hammer before Christmas (bummer that I did not get around to it) because they have gifts that would made a sci-curious kid drool.

It should have a hazard label: "warning: geeky coolness inside!"

This fossil kit should have a hazard label: “warning: geeky coolness inside!”

They also have kitsch for the tourists.

Out here in the West, we prospect for gold!

Out here in the West, we prospect for gold!

But the rocks were not really the reason we stopped.

Pick N Hammer is also a cafe/coffee shop. I’m always game for checking out a coffee shop!

The day we stopped was rather warm, so Bugman and I got blended sweetened coffee drinks. Mine was the best I think I’ve ever had – nice, smooth consistency without the wateriness/ice chunk conundrum that is all-too-common in blended coffee drinks.

But the coffee is not the reason I am writing this blog post now.

The rocks are.

Or, more specifically, some millions-of-years-dead critters that got turned into rocks that got turned into jewelry.

I shall ‘splain.

Some years ago, Bugman got me an earring rack as a gift. I told him it was a great gift because it meant he got to fill it for me. He’s been working to that goal ever since.

At Pick N Hammer, he saw me eyeing some jewelry. A month later, this is what I got for my birthday:

ammonite earrings

Wearable ammonite fossils!

This past weekend, I attended a fundraiser event to which I wore this jewelry set. I got a lot of compliments. To those who wondered where I got them (say this in a 1950s radio ad voice): Pick N Hammer in Mitchell is my number-one source for ammonite fossil jewelry.

But, as usual when I sit down to write a blog post, I got lost in an Internet wormhole. (Which is why I often put off blogging – I know it will take me hours to come full circle back to my original topic.)

I started trying to find out how old my specimens are, and discovered the terminology for the fascinating pattern on the back of my pendant.

These gorgeous leaf-like patterns? These are called ammonitic sutures.

These gorgeous leaf-like patterns? These are called ammonitic sutures.

And learned that scientists don’t know for sure how this extinct critter formed those patterns in its shell. (Is it reaction-diffusion, viscous fingering, or a response to hydrostatic pressure? The world may never know.)

And learned that there are much weirder ammonite objects out there.

In summary, Pick N Hammer blended coffee = tasty, rocks = geeky cool.

Oh yes, and they have assorted gift items for sale, too.

Update: Good heavens! I almost forgot to include my gratuitous cephalopod photo!

This is a young cuttlefish I photographed when I visited the aquarium where my sister works. Cuttlefish and ammonites are both cephalopods. Bingo! Opportunity to post super-cute cuttlefish photo!

This is a young cuttlefish I photographed when I visited the aquarium where my sister works. Cuttlefish and ammonites are both cephalopods. Bingo! Opportunity to post super-cute cuttlefish photo!

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

3 Comments leave one →
  1. suemommy permalink
    January 30, 2013 5:21 am

    Geeky-cool AND interresting too! The ammonitic sutures are beautiful, and the little cuttle fish is very cute. Remember when we used to get something called “cuttlefish” to hang on the side of our bird cages in the olden days? Was this the product of that same cuttlefish? You never see that anymore. Hmmmm……

  2. Karol Nyquist permalink
    January 30, 2013 7:49 pm

    The little coffee shop there worth a bike ride to Mitchell from Scottsbluff. There is a group of locals that meet there usually every morn. So the town’s problems are being solved there. Nice gift shop along with the rock shop

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