Just as we were about to close up shop on Saturday morning along comes the TV camera. The camera woman starts shouting, “Prospecting! I grew up on it in Basin and did it all my life. It is a cultural tradition.” Man o man, do I agree; it is our basic gift from our ancestors who traveled out west in search of treasures.
Rachel Crow Spreading Wings took shots of our booth with all things rocks and materials just to put out there on the news with KFBB news station, a Fox Network. Gotta hand it to her, she is native and working with excitement and gusto. When the stations got rid of the camera people and made the reporters film their own sites, it made multi-tasking a necessity and she did it with enthusiasm and delight. She can talk prospecting any time with us.
And then Barb Murfield, Director of the Great Falls Farmer’s Market came along to take snapshots of our prospecting product. Of course we had fun things to offer, namely new finds around the state of Montana in our travels. We get exposure on the web with the displays from the market as well as free TV advertising. Just being there makes Montana prospecting visible.
When you have yourself out there for the public to talk shop, such as our prospecting booth you have all kinds of people share their experiences. The Farmer’s Market is just for that kind of experience.
Eugene Hodge from Helena, flashed his pack of sapphires he had cut and had in his pocket. Such dandies so we learned about the value and process of cutting cabochons. It is not always easy to find someone to cut your stones so a card is hand to have. People share them readily.
Jeff Brown came by and talked yogos. He explained how his son still has the opportunity to dig yogos just near the game range where we had just dug for them in old tailings. Got his contact information. Nice.
Jerry Wilda, a realtor, shared his story of bringing home buckets of geodes recently from Dugway, Utah. He said that a guy gave up his claim and
therefore it is open for people to go find and take as many geodes as they want. He said anyone can go get them without a permit. Might be an interesting place to go fetch some.
It is the volunteerism of ideas and experiences from people that makes the market experience so valuable
In a bowl out on the table, these little garbanzo beans of a rock, are great to finger and ask, “What are these?” Montana diamonds are unheard of to many, but I bought a bag for $5 in a Billings garage sale Labor Day so I would know what I was looking for on top of the Judith Mountains.
Even though these diamonds are really not found like these balls, they are encased in a rock matrix mostly in a sea of polka dot rocks on the hillside. Some can get fragmented off and be processed into balls, but the smoky crystalline type consistency makes them soft and not so shiny when polished up.
Montana diamonds are a hexagonal pointed at both ends type of stone which are not valuable like a diamond, but they are just cool to hold and know they are produced in our state. Montana diamonds are a signature stone to tout the beauty of our treasure state. Kids love them too.
Since whacking geodes was popular at our booth, the idea of seeing what was inside a Montana diamond had its allure with Chris Pyne. He set himself up to whack this mini rock ball and see what was inside. He took a Montana diamond and whacked it, just to find what we could see in the matrix, a shiny crystal like stone. He was happy with the results of his mini Montana whacking at our booth. Fun stuff.
In the process of the market we soon learned that passing out a gift of a Montana diamond was a happy thing as many people want something to put in their pocket and delight in getting something free. Now people say, “Look what I got at the prospectors’ booth! A Montana diamond.”
Gushing is a fun experience to observe. People come to report a variety of things with rocks. The geode guts are discovered and described in unusual ways. Some have sparkly, others are colorful, and some have bumpy gnarly segments. Any way they come, returnees come to share what they find with glee from their purchases especially from their garnet bags. Discovering hidden treasure is always fun.
Reports were provided that Mary Wilmore had come to show off her rock necklace she had made from our rock necklace packets, but we were touring the Chokecherry Festival and searching for yogos that weekend. Shucks, heck and darn, wanted to see it. Sometime soon.
Another vendor, Diane Wilson, stopped by to help set up, share her latest painting, and before you knew it she became well aware of the elements of prospecting promotion along with the story of a real black lab.
But one of the surprise visitors was a guy who grew up in Great Falls and was home on vacation returned to our booth as he was spouting out quotes about love and we had to get more information. He was from New York City and thought our geodes would be fun to take home to his kids. Rocks are always a surprise!!
Soon into the market realization hit, “We should have had a copy of our class schedule from the Creative Center of 4 West.” Some people wanted to know about sapphire and gold panning classes coming up. Had to verbally share the schedule. But for sure it will be in the newspaper, that is if people read it anymore.
Part of the prospecting experience is talking with people about all kinds of topics. We all have background and can connect with people about other topics as well. Former fudge lovers are always divulging their lament they can’t get their favorite cherry amaretto or penuche. But some talk art and we share our upcoming “50 Shades of Orange” event at the Creative Center of 4 West for the First Friday Art Walk.
We talk rocks on the radio with Tammie Torren when she comes to the market and on the air when she mentions her visits to our booth.
Prospecting booths are a great means of getting the word out about lots. We share our own favorite rocks like Barb Oler who lives right upstairs from the market. She had to have her husband go retrieve her petrified sponge and clam along with her seahorse, just so we could see her mini rock collection. We petted her rocks! Lovely.