Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mississippi River (MUD)

So, why do I have a logo of the band AC/DC on my post? Weird, I know. But, the purpose in Jeremy Hanks visiting Missouri was not, contrary to popular belief, just to collect more dirt for me! Oh, HELL no!

He went there to completely and totally have his mind blown away by his favorite band, none other than AC/DC. They were in concert and while he was there getting what I am sure is unrepairable hearing loss, he snaked me dirt not only from the St. Louis Arch as previously posted but the Mississippi River as well.

The bag it came in was neatly wrapped. It was actually in 2 bags. So, suffice to say, it still contained a lot of moisture from the river.

Yes, it looked just like MUD! And not the kind of Mississippi Mud you would enjoy eating at a restaurant! *Note to self, prepare delicious dessert for family tonight. The mud has been in my possession for over a week and has yet to dry out. But, like all good, wet, dirt samples, I have no doubt that eventually it will. Here's to Jeremy and all his travels.


I will assume that the band inspired you with this song to get my latest dirt sample. ENJOY!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The St. Louis Arch

The St. Louis Arch is our nation's tallest man made monument standing over 630 feet tall. It was built to commemorate the westward growth of the United States between 1803 and 1890. So much information can be found about the arch by visiting the web site Jeremy Hanks gave me this sample along with dirt from the Mississippi River. He also pointed out that the sample was dug up from the closest point to the Arch as was possible. Jeremy does a lot of traveling to say the least, and you can read about his adventures at his blog site, Check back later to read about the Mississippi Mud he collected as well. You will not want to miss this!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brian Schweitzer and Montana Dirt

I received another WE CARE envelope in the mail yesterday. This time it was from the state of Montana. The Governor's office didn't send official Governor letterhead or anything, just a nice sample from the capitol. I decided to include a recent photo of the Governor. The web site you can learn more about the state of Montana is Talk about a beautiful state, and in my personal opinion, beautiful people. The Hampton Inn in Great Falls is wonderful and the accommodations are top notch. Hopefully, I will be able to return there again this year as the Owlz Baseball Team will be traveling to Great Falls, Helena, and Billings during their regular season.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

San Diego, California

The sample on the left was the dirt that Meagen and Christopher collected while on vacation in San Diego 2 years ago. The one in the middle is actually one that I collected over 5 years ago. The container it is in was actually a vial that my Avonex medicine used to come in. I have since then, purchased a new white plastic carrying case about the size of a teaspoon that I keep on my key chain just in case I find some cool soil and I need a place to keep it until I get home. The one on the right was given to me by a former client that I worked with in the scrapbook industry.

I have collected so many samples from San Diego, California, that I decided to combine them all in one post. You remember KK? She sent me some dirt recently from the Lake Mead area in Nevada. Well, she sent these samples from San Diego as well. I laughed when she dropped a little note in the bag too. This is not from the beach, but you can SEE the beach from where I got it! Ha ha ha. Love that line!

She also sent me some sand dollars as well. Knowing my love of the ocean she must. Those quickly went into a decorative jar in my guest bathroom. Thank you to Meagen and KK both for the samples. San Diego is so beautiful. The median temperature is 78 degrees year round! That's something I could get used to. Thank you to everyone for expanding my beach sand from San Diego.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Tale of Two Cities

Lewisburg, West Virginia and Fremont, California. ...Quick. What do they have in common?

(insert theme from Jeopardy here) Well, they both had my good friend Julie Hatch visit them recently. One to reunite with an old friend, and one to say goodbye to a loved one. Both visits, actually, were completed by Julie and once again she remembered to bring me back some soil.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Google Some Ground!

I love the search engine GOOGLE.

For several reasons.

1. They are so creative with the lettering

2. They are so fast

3. They always answer my questions

So I recently googled the words 'collected dirt'. UNREAL... 8 million sites came up for me to research. So here they are:

1. NO WAY! I wouldn't do that to you!

But, in doing all that research I did discover that Dirt, truly is the great connector in our lives. I was amazed at all of the things in this world associated with dirt. Here are a few of the things I discovered:

Dirt in the diet:

Nasa and Dirt:

Dirt the movie:

Family and Tragedy:

Urban Dictionary: (and one of my personal favorites!) SNOWBO

Collection of Exotic Dirt:

How to clean your carpets:

Dog Grooming:

So there you have it. From appliances, to anacondas, to dog grooming and on to minerals and Mars. The fact that dirt touches all of our lives is wonderful! Enjoy these web sites, and should you find anymore creative places on the web to visit, do send me the link! Of the first 50 sites that I went to, 4 of them were for none other than...

Dirt Travels

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Surf and TURF

Sand from Surf Beach in Lompoc, California. It's located next to Vandenberg Air Force Base. This dirt was obtained after testing of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile. This is the missile that defends our nation from missile attacks. The only other detail I can offer (Top Secret means Top Secret) is that a newly acquired friend named Lance saved it for me and sent it my way! The texture is very similar to sand I have also recently received from San Diego.

Surf Beach is located not far from Highway 1 and 240 where the road dead ends at the Vandenberg Base. Amtrak has even recently just opened a stop there letting you right off at the beach. And you know how I feel about Amtrak! Ride the rails, and then the tide! Sounds like the perfect vacation to me! There is also an Embassy Suites near by. Remember, staying with a Hilton property is always the best way to go.

Thank you Lance! I appreciate you thinking of me during your recent JOURNEY!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chester J. Culver and Iowa Dirt

My dad is from a very small (or what used to be small) town in Iowa named Red Oak. I have a small sample of dirt from there but was still very excited to receive this sample of dirt from the Governor, Mr. Chester J. Culver. He had collected it some time ago but was waiting for it to dry out a little. I had to laugh, in his letter he even mentioned that is was muddy, "But it is that time of year here in Iowa." he said.

The day I received this sample, Orem received a foot of snow. I guess Mr. Culver, it is that time of year here in Utah as well. To obtain more information about Iowa, he suggested going to this web site:
Thank you for the sample! When it dries out, it will be placed in another glass vial provided by specialty bottle and added to the collection.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Daytona Beach, Florida

Shawnnee and her husband Troy did a lot for us. Not only did they offer a home away from home to Holli when she was in Boston, they also "traveled" me some way cool dirt from Daytona Beach, Florida. The sand was just like I remembered the sand in Key West. Baby powder consistency and the little extra they brought me was cool too! Sea weed that looked like it had pyracantha berries on it. I am glad that blogs don't have smell a vision too! Oh my, let's just say, the sand was so (smelly) beautiful, it took my breath away! They brought me such a large amount that I even had some extra that I could add to my salt water fish tank. The fish were in heaven. I will post about that later. It was interesting too that they brought it to me in a water bottle. I imagine that most people take bottled water with them to the beach and that is the reason that most people send me samples using them. Thank you Shawnnee and Troy for sharing your adventure with me! And just a side note: Troy, you gave her the "words of encouragement" when she needed it the most in her life, and those words will never be taken lightly, and too, will never be forgotten. You (and the sample of sand) are appreciated!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

M. Michael Rounds and South Dakota Dirt

I think I may have found a closet "dirt digger" in my new friend Beverly Mickelson. I received my letter from the Governor's office quite some time ago, but wanted to do a little more research before posting.

First of all, Beverly's letter was written with such enthusiasm I could tell, this wasn't just another assignment placed on her desk to complete. Or if it was, she made it a mission! A very big thanks goes out to her for the great letter and the sample that she collected in Pierre, South Dakota - specifically the Capitol Complex. Here too, is some awesome info she shared with me.

South Dakota has named "houdek" as the state soil. OKAY, you had me at houdek! To honor this natural resource, the South Dakota Legislature made houdek (pronounced hoo-deck)the official state soil in 1990. Houdek soil is not found in any other state. It was chosen because it and closely related soils occur on more than 2 million, (yes, you read that correctly) 2 million acres across South Dakota.

The following entities have additional general and / or technical information on South Dakota Soils:
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, South Dakota

The Professional Soil Scientists Association of South Dakota

Soil and Water Conservation Society

And let us not forget, for more information on South Dakota

A final note added to the letter makes me want to go there for a personal visit as well, to experience "houdek" in person. Wow, to think, someone used the word experience in the same sentence as soil. Again, you had me at HOUDEK.

My most sincere thank you to Beverly and Mr. Rounds.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The United States Postal Service

What would the holidays be without mail coming in and mail going out. Now that the holidays have past, I think about how amazingly efficient the United States Postal Service really is. Sure we complain about the price of a stamp going up. Sure we complain when something gets damaged here and there. And of course, we all complain when something gets lost completely!

But for me, to have someone pick something up at my house, and within a week or so deliver it to another person for me for under a buck... It's still a bargain. I have gotten a few dirt samples in the mail recently, that made me giggle when they arrived. I've posted some pictures. The funny thing is, the one that says we care was delivered with a bag of dirt in the envelope inside of it. Apparently, it traveled so far on it's journey, that it just got all messed up. Even funnier? It came from Salt Lake City! The State of Arizona wanted to be sure that I got my dirt sample in very good condition and didn't take any chances with theirs. They even went as far as labeling the envelope FRAGILE! Now that's a new one. Dirt being fragile. Thanks to the USPS for delivering my dirt to me in rain, or snow, or sleet, or sun, or ...

Monday, January 5, 2009

2 of My Favorite Angels

A late Christmas gift, an early Mother's day gift, a Congratulations on no longer being sick and going back to work gift...I don't know, pick a reason, but my extended "family" from Alabama could not have picked a better time to send me a little sample of dirt from where they spent their Christmas this year. Joplin, Missouri. This is Beau Brooks and his grandma Donna Boyd. Beau was one of many players that we were a host family to. Donna and I became email buddies when I was lay ed up and in bed for a month during December. She was so great about emailing me each morning. Donna also commented on my blog quite some time ago and told me about her sand collection from Destin, Florida. This sample from Joplin, Missouri arrived along with a beautiful hand thrown bowl. I included a picture of it because of it's "organic" nature. The potter who created it is from Alabama.

Her name is Tena Payne and her web site is She describes her pottery style as "randomness under control with a subdued sophistication." I just love the fact that she has taken different earth elements, mixed them together in the right ratio and placed it in the fire. All I know, is it turned out beautiful! I can say without hesitation, my "family from Bama", they could be the nicest people I have ever had the privilege of being associated with.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Churchill Downs

Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Churchill Downs is situated on Central Avenue. This place has been around since 1875 and is said to be the best thoroughbred race track in the world. It was renovated in 2005 for a cool price of $121 million dollars. It is most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby. It has also hosted the Breeders Cup 6 times over the past years. It is said that this event is one of the most exciting in sports history to watch. I don't know about that, but the hats that the women wear whiled in attendance are amazing! Thanks and a shout out to Julie Hatch for "kickin up her heels" to get me this sample. And I am really glad she didn't have to "pony-up" her phone number to repay the guy that went down to the track to get this for me!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dave Fruedenthal and Wyoming Dirt

A BIG SHOUT out to the Governor of Wyoming for making sure I got some dirt from his great state. I bet you are thinking I got the sweat shirt from him too. THAT would have been a great story to tell, but no, I just finally found a use for that sweat shirt and it really lets you see just how big Wyoming is! The dirt sent was very rich in color and the state capitol that it was gathered from is located in Cheyenne. You can find out more about the state of Wyoming by going to their official web site.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Las Vegas Strip and Lake Mead

I was saving this post for a later date in hopes that more samples from this person would come in. My enthusiasm prevents me from waiting any longer! Here are samples from another person whom I have never met in person, but we have a mutual acquaintance. Her samples are unique in that they are both dirt, gravel, and rocks all in one! The samples were taken from the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lake Mead, Nevada and another sight just outside of Lake Mead. The thing about dirt from Nevada is that no matter where it is sent from, it always seems so dry and crumbly. These samples are no different. I actually took the rock she sent and made it part of a planter decoration in my home. Her name is KK and she also sent some really cool samples from San Diego which I will post about later. THANK YOU! Keep the samples coming!