Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

If We Were Having Coffee Saturday September 20.

If we were having coffee, you’d walk into the café and say, “Hey, Maggie, how are things?” and I’d say, “Can’t complain, but that doesn’t stop me.”

You’d laugh and change the subject. Good thinking. I knew you were a smart cookie.

I’d tell you, “Fall is here,” and how I wore my mittens when I walked to the coffee shop earlier this week. It had been nippy overnight! I’ve seen turkey vultures staging in preparation for migration, and the butternut squash is curing, and I’m gathering ingredients to make a huge vat of tomato salsa.

Then I’d tell you about why I was at the coffee shop the other day. I had a meeting with Kate – she’s the executive director of the Federation of Women’s Institutes of Canada. I’m researching grants for non-profit organizations.

At first I wasn’t sure that I’d have time to take on this volunteer work, but as luck would have it, my school work is a completely different animal this semester. First of all, the really difficult courses (touch wood) are done. The “bird” courses are all that remain, except for surveying, which, so far, isn’t too bad. Second of all, the online delivery system of the material has been upgraded, and the Profs are having trouble with it. I’m waiting for material for two courses. Hurry up and wait. Grumble.

Next I’d say, “OK, enough complaining, let me tell you about our latest quarry visit!” You’d get all excited and listen attentively, because you are a good friend that way.

My Kind of WalMart - one with a Quarry out back

My Kind of shopping mall – one with a quarry out back

Reiner was searching Google Earth for a quarry about thirty minutes from home. “Look at this,” he said. “There are walking trails throughout. We should check into it.”

And so we did, this morning. It turns out that the City of Hamilton has reclaimed the old limestone quarry and transformed into a wetland/hiking/biking/take-your-dog-for-a-walk park. It hooks up to the Bruce Trail, too, so you may be familiar with it.

We had perfect quarry weather – overcast and breezy. Temperatures can get rather uncomfortable in a pit with light and heat bouncing off the stone walls.

We found some calcite crystals and some gypsum and rusty pyrite and marcasite – the usual suspects found in the limestone formations of this region. Reiner has to clean the material first, before I can take photos of the keepers. But here is a picture of the calcite “in situ.”


This is a vug. A vug is a geology term meaning smaller than man-sized. Otherwise, it would be called a cave. And well, that would be just wrong, wouldn't it?

This is a vug lined with calcite crystals. A vug is a geology term meaning “A hole in the rock, smaller than man-sized”. Otherwise, it would be called a cave. And, well, that would be just wrong, wouldn’t it, especially since the field of view here is about 20 cm.

Here’s a picture of the calcite collector in situ, too.

The spokesmodel sitting in situ with the vug to her left.

The spokesmodel sitting in situ with the vug to her left. No, my mistake. Your left, her right. Sheesh.


I’d take the final gulp of coffee, and wrap up by telling you how I just about lost the bedspread I had hanging on the line. It’s a terrifically breezy day. There’s a cold front moving in and thunderstorms are in the forecast. Corn on the cob for dinner.

And that’s the news.

What’s happening at your end of the planet?

Categories: Blog Blog Blog, Mineral Collecting

Tags: , , ,

64 replies

  1. I love quarry visits! Geology student in a former life, me… seems like such a long time ago. But the bad habit of staring at rocks till they almost crack will stay with me forever. Yup.


  2. I’d tell you I Iove the photos! — and that I have the same hat 🙂
    Mittens? I’d tell you we’ve had some cool evenings, but I had to turn the air back on today, as it’s warm and sunny. Blarg.
    I’d tell you that we’re going to a dinner and dance at our church tonight, and I have no idea what to expect. I’d also tell you that I don’t know what to wear, and ask you to pick something for me. lol


  3. Lovely. Hope you enjoyed your java and your rocks!
    We did family photos earlier this week in the woods, near Albion Falls. That all connects up with the Bruce Trail. Looks like we were in the same neck of the woods. Lol.


  4. Looks great where you are at. It rained most of the morning here. Did some reading and some writing today.


  5. I’d tell you coffee with you feels like we’re longtime friends and let’s do it again!


  6. You always illustrate your world so beautifully, determined to visit Canada one day!


  7. I love the hat! I am a big fan of hats like those 🙂

    I love the pictures at the end too! The only thing I have going on is that I spent way too much time out of the house today and I am tired. Plus, now it’s warm after a brief “cooler’ spell the last few days. Figures, right?


    • ooh, hope you get a chance to rest and regain some energy today?

      Yeah, tis the season. Actually it IS the first day of Autumn! Boo! or not. I’m torn. 🙄

      I love my hat, too, thanks. I bought it years ago when I moved to the country and was gardening like a maniac. I needed something to screen the sun, but had the darnedest time getting a hat to fit. I have a large noggin. This fit, it’s sturdy canvas, and it looks halfway decent. It’s become my trademark, too, in the mineral world. People see the hat and ask, are you Maggie? Ah, celebrity!


  8. Did you notice I didn’t say we’re ‘old’ friends?

    Love your hat.

    And have you ever heard/seen the joke about “Where’s the fox hat’?” Not one I can explain in public so will save for REAL coffee :-).


    • LOL – I’m almost afraid to ask, Sammy, my (old) friend! Let’s save the fox hat for our face-to-face coffee meet!

      Yes, I’m particularly fond of the hat, too. As I mentioned to Jennifer in the comment above this one, it has been with me for quite a while. Not only does it do the job, but it’s Made in Canada, you know, patriotism and all…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Now I know where all my missing energy is … you have it!!!

    Love, love, love having coffee with you!!! … but I’m totally jealous of the pictures you are able to take with ‘our’ camera. And I’m thinking that walking the Bruce Trail would have been even more interesting with someone like you and Reiner who actually know something about all the fabulous rock formations 🙂


    • See? That’s the beauty/mystery of social media… many words somehow translates into much doing.

      Mostly I’ve been on my butt this week. I’ve been “experimenting” (a euphemism for being lazy) with not walking. Ooooh, bad move. The bathroom scales prove it.

      Seriously, the camera did most of the work. I set it on “auto” and crossed my fingers. Like your cappuccino the other day? I did not expect that the camera could take a close up shot, hand held, in dim light – but it did!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Coffee with you was fun! Of course we did that after I lead my team on a 3.1 walk for American Heart Association this morning. Walk was totally along with water, temp was in the 60-70’s–picture perfect weather. No idea why but that picture of the calcite reminded me of dentures. You know, someone biting down and they’ve not seen the dentist in a long time. Maybe I walked too early this morning….


    • 3.1 miles is a longish walk. Sounds like you had a good day for it. Tell me more about your “team”?

      I swear, one of these days I’m going to run a series of Rorschach mineral photos – and ask readers to tell me what they see and then we can analyze the commentator’s deep-rooted “issues” and predict the future. For you, then, and the calcite teeth… let’s just say, make sure you floss. 😉


  11. If we were having coffee, I’d first of all have to buy you another cup because you drank all yours before I could get a word in edgewise. I would buy three for me because at the time you wanted to have coffee it was 6am Sunday morning here and I had a house full of teenagers last night and I’m still recovering. After drinking all three cups, I’d ask you to tell me what you did again because I wasn’t listening the first time.

    After you’d repeated yourself (probably over yet another cup of coffee and possibly some chocolate cake) I’d tell you I love the word ‘vug’ and I’m going to use it one day.


  12. Exceptional photos, MCW! And if WE were having coffee? My treat and I’d be a very happy camper no matter what spilled out of ya!


  13. And knowing me, I’d probably make a rude remark about that bloody HAT. I might say “Maggie, for crying out loud ! – isn’t it time you bought a slightly less daggy hat ?”; and you’d give me That Look …

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Looking into grants for non profit organisations should prove to be very interesting! That should make fascinating reading when you’ve finished! Loved your photos Maggie, and I think your hat has character! 🙂 Chris and I always wear, what other might consider, eccentric headwear! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • You got that right, Barbara, about the grants. It’s like trying to gain access to a secret society. I’ve spent only a few hours at it and already I’m learning LOTS!

      My hat does indeed have tons of character, and it suits me. When I go to mineral shows, people ask, “Are you Maggie” because of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey Maggie – I would also tell you that we had corn on the cob this week – and How I am shucking some of the corn off to add to my tortilla soup. I would also ask you if you wanted a sip of my Pumpkin latte – which is tradition to get in late September – and marks the entry of Fall for moi. Then I’d say – glad you did not lose the bedspread – and then I would go back to look at your cool rocks images. nice indeed. and have a good week! 🙂


    • Delighted to hear from you! Yes, please, don’t mind if I try the pumpkin latte – haven’t had the chance yet to taste it!

      Do you know what we discovered to use on our corn on the cob? Tandoori seasoning… Reiner can eat it because it doesn’t have dried onion or garlic powder. It is a bit heavy with salt, so he uses it sparingly. Very tasty.


  16. I would tell you I think a mall with accompanying quarry is just too good to be true. And I love your chapeau de carrière!


    • Thanks, my dear.

      I do not care for shopping and/or shopping malls. I let my hubby take care of all of that with pleasure. But this mall? I might be inclined to stroll around while he’s inside, though I daresay he’d want to join me!


  17. That was an engaging post, Maggie, I felt like I was in the coffee shop with you. Is it an indy shop or is it one of the mega-chains? I was at a bridal shower yesterday and ate too much cheese so am a tad under the weather today, thus, no sunday post. I think it was the Wensleydale that did me in.


  18. I’d tell you what a bummer to loose a blanket. I’d love to go to all the places you visit. We’re rock nuts ourselves. Then, I’d shut up and listen to everything you have to say—you’re so entertaining.


  19. I enjoyed reading this, and the captions were especially witty. I’d love to explore a quarry sometime.


    • Hey, thanks Noah!

      I hope you get a chance to see a quarry, too. For the most part, there are only two legal ways to get in, other than as a guest or employee of a quarrying operation. You either join a mineral collectors group and hopefully they are active enough to go on field trips, and hopefully the quarry operations are agreeable to having visitors. Many are not, for safety and liability issues. The other way is to find a reclaimed operation like this… though the rehabilitation will leave the site looking anything but the wasteland it once was.


  20. I love your kind of shopping mall!! That made me smile. We had an ‘open doors’ week here in Oxfordshire and as part of this you could do a geology taster session in an old cemetery. It was fascinating to get an insight into your world Maggie! The day just flew by, it was so interesting to know how old these pieces of rock can be. I am glad I have your blog to learn more form 😉 Beautiful crystals!! They are shining brightly on my screen.


  21. Outstanding! I so enjoyed my cup of coffee with you. And the walk, and the geology notes, and… Now I’m as snug as a bug in a vug.


    • I have NEVER thought of saying that! How is that possible? Even when we look at our minerals under a microscope and a bug crawls out, I have never thought of saying as snug as a bug in a vug! You are brilliant. I bow to you.


  22. Delightful! I can feel the changing weather in your post! So glad you found a quarry so nearby! Enjoy! 🙂


  23. I’m in Texas where we’re still in a drought. So my days are spent trying to eliminate cracks in the dry ground and pulling up weeds, which are the only things that grow during a drought.
    When I’m not doing that, I’m prayerfully looking to the sky for “rain drops falling on my head.”


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