Friday, November 20, 2009

Giveaway Time

I feel like giving something away tonight. I've been cutting Tiger Eye all day. First person who comments on this blog post gets a free slab of Tiger Eye.

If this works, I think I'll start doing it eery couple of weeks, something different every time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The beauty of Africa

What a ride the last ten days have been! Once the paperwork cleared last Friday morning, I called my handyman Steve, and he and I went for the drums of rock. When we got back to the house with them, I rounded up my son and we started unloading.

That's not as simple as it sounds. Each drum weighed about 600 pounds, and even with three of us there was no way to move them full. So we had to find another way.

Fortunately, the mine packed everything very well. All the rocks were in bags of about 50 pounds, marked and clearly labeled. They were packed in "layers" in the drums, so that we could take out two layers of three bags each, and have a relatively light load in the drum.

So that is what we did. We partially unloaded the first drum, moved it to the driveway, and then put the top layers from the next drum into it. At the end, we had the four drums in the driveway with the bags in them, just not in the same order in which they were packed.
But they couldn't stay in the drums in the driveway. And since it was clear that the entire shipment was handled multiple times by Customs in both South Africa and the US, I wanted to go through everything and be sure of what I have.
So I carefully unpacked the bags, weighed the rocks in each one, and moved them all to the back yard with a wheelbarrow. From there I put them into milk crates on shelves in the shade house. I managed to get everything moved by Sunday evening. My poor back!
Before I could cut the first slab, of course, trouble intervened. The saw blade I was using separated in a neat circle around the bushings that hold it on the arbor.
Thank goodness I order from Lopacki. I called on Monday morning and spoke to Mr. Lopacki himself, and on Wednesday at noon I had a new blade at no charge. So then I could start slabbing.
I'm cutting some of the neatest material. I'm trying to cut a little bit of everything for the show this weekend, but I'm not going to be able to get it done. I've cut some Coral Jasper and some Kalahari picture jasper and right now I'm working on some Licorice Jasper. Oh, and some gorgeous Unakite. I've seen a lot of Unakite that's kind of washed out or pastel looking, but this is bright green and almost hot pink. It's all such great stuff.
For all my friends in central Florida, this weekend I'll be at the Central Florida Gem & Mineral Show. Stop by and have a look at the beauty of Africa.

Friday, October 30, 2009

They're here!

And it is done. There are four 55-gallon drums of African rocks sitting in my driveway. Photos to follow. Right now I have rocks to sort.

On the way

Sometimes walking the dogs works wonders. I made some phone calls this morning, nudged some people along (again), and took the dogs for a walk.

When I got back, the paperwork had been completed and faxed, and now the shipper is just waiting for me to show up with dead presidents.

More later.......

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Almost doesn't count

Did I say I expected another delay? Uh-huh. Hung up in Customs for the third time.

Now I have to reschedule the trailer, the help, the the the........and I changed a doctor's appointment for this.

What is up with this shipment? And I'm not even smuggling anything!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Almost here........

The African rocks finally are here in Tampa. They're not in my driveway yet--that would be too easy--but they're at the EcuAmerica warehouse awaiting Customs inspection tomorrow.

The plan is to pick them up on Friday morning. Whether that's really going to happen remains to be seen. I've had so many delays with this whole thing since the beginning that another one wouldn't surprise me. But it sure would be nice if it would happen Friday as planned!

This past weekend, the 50th Annual Tampa Gem & Mineral Show went off without any serious problems. I don't know what the attendance was, but I was pleased with the number of people who stopped by my table.

I was frankly astonished by the number of people who asked me about the African rocks. I knew that members of the Tampa Bay Mineral and Science Club are eagerly awaiting the new material, but I had no idea they were spreading the word to other clubs in the area. Members of three other clubs all stopped to ask me when I will have African stuff to sell.

All I can say is "Soon......"

I did find out why malachite is so unavailable. According to the owner of the mining company, the mines are holding onto it and crushing it for use in copper smelting.

Malachite can be so beautiful, and grinding it up for use in an industrial process is a total waste.

Stand by for more information on the African's almost here...........

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moving in the right direction

After much pushing and shoving (on e-mail, that is), my African rocks are finally moving in the right direction, which is toward Tampa.

Customs released them yesterday, with no explanation other than that they wanted to go over all the paperwork for every shipment in the container.

However, because Customs had them in storage from October 3 through the 19, Vanguard had to pay a storage fee, which of course they pro-rated among all their customers who had shipments in that container.

I can't quite figure out the logic here. Customs detained the shipment so the receiving shipper has to pay a storage fee? I don't like having them pass it on to me, but I understand why they did it.

The bottom line, though, is that there's been way too much government interference in this process on both sides of the pond!

I sent the check for the destination fees Express Mail today, which means they should release the shipment on Wednesday. It should depart the New Jersey warehouse where it's sitting now either Thursday or Friday. Note that I said "should," not "will." I don't trust anything at this point.

Meanwhile, I continue to be glad I found some western material and all that Wyoming jade--I would be in a world of hurt for the Tampa Gem & Mineral Show this weekend if I didn't have it.

But I do wish the last two boxes from Wyoming would get here.....there's some Shirley Basin blue agate in one of them that I really want for this weekend!