Dad And His Dirt/Rock Collections

Sometimes something catches my eye on my Dad shelf and I think HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! I have never appreciated that before just now. Today was one of those days when I caught a glimpse of Dad’s…um…Dirt/Rocks/Stuff collection? Basically…Anything That Can Fit in These Tiny Test Tubes That Might Resemble a Mineral of Some Sort Collection.


Also…Please note the dust. I don’t lie when I say I don’t dust but when people come over. And even then I might not dust this thing because it’s kinda hidden on a shelf where no one looks.

This collection is stored EXACTLY how it was stored at Dad’s. In those little tubes which he probably stopped from getting thrown out when he worked in the Biomedical Engineering department at the hospital. He couldn’t stand for things to get wasted. He even salvaged shipping containers and made furniture out of them. He was the Upcycling long before it was cool. (And – honestly – he didn’t have much of an aesthetic so while the stuff was FUNCTIONAL, it wouldn’t have gotten many repins on Pinterest.)

So! This tiny grid of tubes. What’s in it? Luckily…some of it’s labeled!

Jonko Ping? Obviously Sweden…someone help me out…
Sequoia! I may have been there for this one


San Diego!



photo 2
Wave Desert Something?


photo 1
Mount St. Helens!

And then there’s this one which he didn’t label himself because you can see the rapper edges. Thank GOD, if he had used erroneous quotation marks I would have struggled a bit.


And then here’s an old necklace of mine which I remember I stopped wearing because it kept kinking up. I asked for it for Christmas one year and I think he got it for me, but after several years it just looked awful and I guess he saved it because A) 14K gold…MINERAL! and B) It fits in the glass tube.


And then, this one. I’m pretty sure this one came from these pencils he used to let us buy at the Student’s Museum in Knoxville. The top half was a tube filled with tiny pretty rocks. This looks EXACTLY like the mix in one of those pencils. I hadn’t thought about them in decades but when I saw this tube (and he had a few like them) I thought, “ROCKS PENCILS!!!”

photo 3

So, yeah. This is probably one of those entries that will only appeal to Me, My brother and his wife, and my kids when they want to trace their weirdo genetics. But still! NABLOPOMO!

14 thoughts on “Dad And His Dirt/Rock Collections”

  1. Long time lurker, but I just HAD to help with that first label. I’m from Sweden, see. 🙂
    It’s most likely from the city Jönköping, which lies quite prettily by the lake Vättern. Took me a minute to figure out, though. 😀

  2. Yep, Jönköping is a city by a lake in Sweden! My mom was Swedish. and I loved reading this post because it reminded me of her myriad little collections of awesomeness, There was sand from different place, little rocks, as well as a pronter’s type box filled with lapel pins and buttons and tiny things. I have that, and need to hang it on the wall!!

  3. I love that collection! I learned a little more about your dad even though I’ve never met him. Every part of it is awesome and speaks to your dad’s personality and life. Never let it go.

    It’s very cool that someone from Sweden was able to help identify what is in the first little jar, too!

  4. Can’t stop smiling! And I can’t stop laughing about the silica gel. Chris and I laugh and reminisce when we look through the rock collection we have from your Dad too. Another fun thing… Jack reminds us of Grandpa everyday because for some reason he loves to flip through the pages of the four National Audubon Society books from Dad. We have the Night Sky, North American Weather, Rocks and Minerals and North American Trees. Your Dad had lots of post it notes in the Tree book and Jack likes to politely take each one of those out and play with it. At first, we were going to put the books up so Jack couldn’t get to them, but then we decided that Grandpa would be happy he’s getting some use out of the books. Everyday we smile, watching him learn about this great world. And so wish that Grandpa was here to carry Jack and point out fun cool things. Thanks so much for these stories about your Dad.

  5. Ha, in Feedly, the text is next to the Mount St. Helen’s photo so my mind was trying figure out what rapper edges meant in relation to soil; thought it was scientific phrase I didn’t know. All became clear as I read on and gained context.

  6. love this post.

    also wondering about the ring on your middle finger…tell me about it, please?

  7. That’s a super cool collection. What a fun keepsake of all those places/memories.

    Also, can’t you totally see Pinterest being ALL OVER something like this? I’m imagining spice racks hung on the wall to display old spice jars filled with rocks/dirt from various vacations.

  8. It’s got all three kid’s names on it! I bought it on Etsy pretty soon after Wes was born. I never take it off!!

  9. Yes! He did! I’m almost positive the Sweden dirt came from his European backpacking trip he took in 87 (or 88?). He went with Amy’s Mom – did you know he used to date her when Amy and I were in middle school? They took like a 3-4 week backpacking trip around Europe I think the summer before 8th grade. 🙂

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