Barite Thundereggs

  Early Saturday morning I went online to the Richardson's Rock Ranch website and started looking around hoping to find the opening date for digging at the new "Pony"agate bed that they just opened. I found the Ranch's phone number and hours and gave a call (they open at 7:00 AM 7 days a week). To my delight they were digging on a day by day basis depending on the weather, and the weather was good. After loading tools and packing coolers, three of us left Sisters and headed toward Madras, Oregon. The weather was clear, sunny and brisk, promising to be in the 60 degree range by afternoon, so we were all dressed in layers. The new find of incredibly rare blue barite chrystal in thundereggs had been found at the Pony bed, and we were curious.
  We made our way from the sign-in at the ranch up to the digging location. We were the first ones to arrive that day so we took a good parking spot next to the bank. We scouted around and started digging a little and started finding eggs. The ugliest and roughest looking ones are best. After looking awhile we met at the tailgate to talk a bit and just for the heck of it I took my pick and knocked a group of eggs. Just then my mother, Lynda yelled "Freeze"! I stopped, and she pointed out the egg in question. I flipped it over. It had blue barite crystals filling its center! It was so beautiful it was hard to believe it was real! We kept picking up broken eggs and looking until we hit another find. It was Shirley this time with a gorgeous egg full of incredible sprays of barite. We kept at it and each of us found at least one more good specimen. They were few and far between and took a lot of patient work to find. We carefully wrapped each delicate specimen so as not to damage the fragile crystals. We wished we had brought an egg carton or newspaper to help wrap them, but all we had were paper towels. Aside from getting a dose of sunshine after a long winter, we were blessed with some great finds. We wrapped up around 4:00pm and headed to the office to weigh in and pay for our treasures. What a great day!

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