In Case You Couldn’t Be There . . .

Thanks to Toby for this video of the Fenn and Preston chat before the book signing:



The following are my opinions. I have, on more than one occasion, said and written that the event on May 18, 2017 caused a change in Fenn. He was already tired of the “activity” around the effort to find the treasure he hid. May 18, to me, was the straw that broke the burro’s back. […]

via The End Has Drawn Nigh. — A Gypsy’s Kiss


How do Gemstones get their Colors ? — Know-It-All

Reblogged this because it’s kinda cool:

The most common cause of color in gemstones is the presence of a small amount of a transition metal ion. Most gemstones are allochromatic, meaning that they are colored by impurities or trace elements in their crystal structure.

via How do Gemstones get their Colors ? — Know-It-All

Catching Up is Hard to Do (hum to the tune by Neil Sedaka)

Kayak and lily pads Time on the water, priceless.  Home again?  Also priceless, but busy.  I was north.  I was east.  Was I west, “in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe?”  No, darn it.  Not yet.  But this bronze reminded me of the drawing in the Thrill of the Chase sculpture columns Another great thing about the road trip?  Listening to the audio version of The Black Count, a true story about Alexandre Dumas’ pere by Tom Reiss.  Fascinating.  The Count of Monte Cristo was one of my first favorites.  I read an old copy found in the attic.  Next best was the 1998 French miniseries of it starring Gerard Depardieu.  I didn’t mind the subtitles, it was so engrossing.  And now to learn how so much of it was based on his own father’s experiences (including hidden treasure), enlightening.  Also, it explained a lot of the history of the French revolution/devolution/rise of Napoleon, areas my education was thin on.



So, my treasures when I arrived home?  A lawn turned to meadow, wild blackberries to forage, and a garden exploding with cukes, beans, and tomatos, etc.  Now that the pickles and jams are in the cupboard and the beans and tomatos in the freezer, except for the awesome salads Caprese and salsa verdes and, well, you get the idea.

Jungle garden

Jungle garden

Intrepid came to visit and fortunately she loves to pick berries, dig potatos, etc., just happy to be outdoors.  She’s begun her fourth (and purportedly toughest) year of residency.  Six twelve hours days on for a month, then six twelve hour nights for a month, then same at a different hospital, rinse, wash, repeat….  I’d help her if I could.  The least I can do is give her organic veggies. pickle pot

Today’s Trove


(Not the treasure trove, of course.  Still working on that.)

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

Remember last winter’s blossoms? Lemon blossoms


I’ve now got a half-dozen Meyer lemons and I think they might be ripe.IMG_0146

So when life hands you lemons . . .

Hmmm . . . lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, lemon poppy seed muffins, lemon bars.  I’ll think of something.

by Christopher Idone

by Christopher Idone


Five hens, four eggs. (Or 4 1/2?)   Pretty good for cold weather and long, dark nights in the coop.


Seems to be the only nuggets I’m finding this year, but really, it’s okay.  The yolks are amazingly golden.


Pieces of Eight


The Spanish dollar was the basis of the United...

The Spanish dollar was the basis of the United States silver dollar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aaargh!  Am I the only one who thought pieces of eight were made of gold?

There’s been a lot of pirate talk on the Thrill of the Chase blogs lately, and some pirates have already departed on their quest for the Forrest Fenn treasure hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.

English: The two Manila galleons-the "Enc...English: The two Manila galleons-the “Encarnacion” and “Rosario” during the five battles of La Naval de Manila in 1646. Original illustration by John Ryan M. Debil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So while I sit patiently in the Midwest trying to decode the clues in the poem, I continue to decorate my mind with new and possibly-never-useful facts.  But then again, Mr. Fenn said nothing is too small to know  (I  still need to find his exact words on that.


I. A. Wadsworth 25 cents (twenty-five cents) p...Even though where I grew up “two bits” was not uncommonly used in place of “quarter”, for some reason I always pictured pieces of eight  as heavy gold coins.  Wrong.  The Spanish gold coin was the “scudo” or “escudo” and equaled 16 reales (royals).

English: Spanish doubloon stamped as minted in...English: Spanish doubloon stamped as minted in 1798 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Spanish 8 reale coin was silver, and sometimes cut when smaller coins (i.e., a picayune was a half reale) were scarce.  Hence, 2 bits,  four bits, etc.  One bit equaled 12 1/2 cents, which is coincidentally why, up until August of 2000, the New York Stock Exchange reported value changes in eighths.

Wait.  Why base the NY stock market on the value of a Spanish coin?

Well, for starters, the colonies were forbidden, on pain of beheading and/or drawing and quartering, from making their own coins.

Secondly, the Spaniards had been reaping(?) the silver from Mexico to Chile since at least the 15th century.  Spanish “Milled” or “Pillar” dollars were minted in places like Mexico City; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; and, of interest to seekers of the Fenn chest, Santa Fe de Bogota, Columbia.  (Quote: ” …in the mountains north of Santa Fe.”    How far north, some have asked.)

English: Detail of Pillars of Hercules from Ta...

English: Detail of Pillars of Hercules from Ta…

Holy Pompeii Pillars!  I mean, Pillars of Hercules, at the Straights of Gibralter, gateway to the New World, as seen on the obverse of the coins milled in the Americas.

Back to the stock market question.

The Spanish silver dollar/real a de ocho was the most common coin in circulation in 1792 when the NYSE was founded.  That was the same year Congress authorized the first Coinage Act, which established the mint in Philadelphia.  Since it was going to take awhile to ‘print’ a lot of money, Spanish coins were made legal tender in 1793 and remained so until 1857, you know, after the California gold rush filled the coffers.  And new regulations.

Next question:  so why are old reales showing up in fields, clay pots, and creekbanks in Illinois?  Like the 1/2 reales minted in Lima in 1755 and Nuevo Reino de Granada (Santa Fe de Bogota), and the 1702 to 1733 (?) vintage two bit piece.

(Hint:  It’s good to look near really old tavern sites with a metal detector.)

Again, a couple answers.  This was the frontier back in the day.  Even before the War of Independence, the French, Spanish, and Brits were all over the place trying to plant flags and claim what wasn’t theirs.  And up the Mississippi were the Spanish Mines—lead, not gold or silver.

And then, consider the sheer number of reales produced—between 1732 and 1821, 1.3 billion eight reale coins were minted at Mexico City alone.  And they didn’t all make it to Madrid.  The Manilla Galleons took them to Asia, as silver was the only commodity the Chinese accepted in trade.

1748 Seale Map of the Pacific Ocean w- Trade R...1748 Seale Map of the Pacific Ocean w- Trade Routes from Acapulco to Manila – Geographicus – Pacific-seale-1743 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Shipwrecks.  Pirates.Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

“Pizzas at eight!  Pizzas at eight!

So, Dal, maybe you should go back to scuba diving for treasure and leave the Rocky Mountain treasure to us landlubbers.

  Just kidding…..

Related articles


Enhanced by Zemanta

Cabinets of Curiosities, and Serendipity III

Fertility Frog Pipe Bowl

Fertility Frog Pipe Bowl

Yesterday was annual artifact ID day at the local museum.  My last springs finds were designated likely Matanzas of the Mid-Archaic age, pushing 6,000 BP (before present).  Curiously, the older the artifacts, the fancier the stonework.  Mostly I had a lot of flakes and some ‘blockies’, a new term for me, meaning just a rock, not a prehistoric artifact.

As I browsed the museum, lots of things reminded me of Forrest Fenn and the Chase.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

No surprise there;  it invades the mind.   [Not unlike the virus in the Preston/Child book I was in the middle of reading.  More on that in a moment.]

The frog, of course.

The stone faces — think one of his bronze jars.Stone Faced

Mackinaw Cache

Mackinaw Cache

A cache, not the Fenn Cache.

Red ochre…..

Red Ochre

Surveyor’s Compass…Surveyor's Compass

This strangely shaped stone piece…….

Curious Stone

And, okay, not a Clovis in a Mammoth (on Forrest’s bucket list), but how about a spear point that nicked a bison’s rib?

Bison Kill found in Illinois River at 'water low'

Bison Kill found in Illinois River at ‘water low’

Lots of interesting maps and letters on the walls, showing the moving Indian boundaries, the Military Land Grants on the (then) frontier, settlement of Illinois from the south toward the north.  (I’m awaiting a copy of An Illinois Reader, editor Walton.)

Cover of "Fever Dream"

Cover of Fever Dream

Back to the book —  Fever Dream — the finding of which was in itself, serendipitous.  Think second-hand shop.  It was an advance reader’s copy.

I was most of the way through the book before yesterday’s outing.  When I came to this cabinet, I did a double take.

Carolina Parakeet

Carolina Parakeet

Yes.  The extinct cornuopsis carolinensis, or Carolina Parakeet.

What were the odds!  The bird and the artist Audubon play an intriguing role in the thriller, which I went right home to finish.

Happy hunting!  Or should I say Chasing…..

Audubon's Parakeets

Audubon’s Parakeets

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cervalces in Iowa

English: fossil of alces (cervalces)

Thrill of the Find

Cervalces in Iowa.

English: Life restoration of Cervalces scotti

English: Life restoration of Cervalces scotti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Science Daily

Clovis Points

When I find the picture of a spear point found in the skeleton of a bison on the Illinois River during low water, I’ll post it.  It was on display at Dickson Mounds Museum in central Illinois.  They have great displays of artifacts.

Didn’t Forrest mention that finding a Clovis point inside the skull of a mammoth is still on his bucket list?

English: Museum at Dickson Mounds, Illinois.

English: Museum at Dickson Mounds, Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A map showing the Hopewell Interactio...

English: A map showing the Hopewell Interaction Sphere and various local expressions of the Hopewell cultures, including the Laurel Complex, Saugeen Complex, Point Peninsula Complex, Marksville culture, Copena culture, Kansas City Hopewell, Swift Creek Culture, Goodall Focus, Crab Orchard culture and Havana Hopewell culture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A map showing the various Mississippi...

English: A map showing the various Mississippian cultures, including the Caddoan Mississippian culture and the Plaquemine culture, as well as the other cultures influenced by the Mississippians, the Fort Ancient culture and Oneota peoples. Also shows a few important sites such as Cahokia, Moundville, Etowah, Town Creek, Spiro, Kincaid and Angel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Season Ends

In the heartland

In the heartland

Frost on the pumpkins, color in the trees.  The pears are canned, the garden is empty.

heavy loads ....

heavy loads ….

Maybe now I can get back to the Chase!

Someone else’s find:   From Science Daily   —-

I Know You’re Out There Somewhere, Somewhere . . .

nursery rhymes4

Now playing on a continuous loop in my head—

The Moody Blues

Oh, yes, I know you’re out there somewhere, somewhere, somewhere,

Oh, yes, I know I’ll find you somehow . . . .

They’re playing in Peoria next Monday.  Yay!

The Best of The Moody Blues

The Best of The Moody Blues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next up:

Once upon a time

In my wildest dreams . . . .

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

Today Show TTOTC Clue Update

It sounds like Forrest and the Today Show people have been in touch.  Just waiting on Matt Lauer for the timing of the next clue.  Getting ready . . . .

People playing Cluedo, a deduction boardgame

People playing Cluedo, a deduction boardgame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)