Picking Rock

Like many farm girls, I ‘earned my keep’ by picking rocks in the spring.  Here in southwestern Minnesota, there are rocks but the rocks are nothing compared to back home.  In central Minnesota, where I grew up, you could literally walk across a field and never step on soil.  A few times, on particularly rocky acres, we wouldn’t plant them and then the rock-picking could continue all summer.

Somehow or another, I have pretty fond memories of picking rock.  My brother, Aaron, would always drink gallons of water (there is nothing so quenching as a long drink of cold water during a hot and dusty day in the field) and that is how I nicknamed him ‘Camel’.  Every now and then, I will now call my 7-year-old son a camel as he reminds me a lot of my brother.  Another fond memory is the family picnics my mom would prepare for us to eat in a grassy area near the creek.  The woodticks probably enjoyed the noon picnics as much as my brothers and sisters and I did.

These memories came to me when reading an article in the Minnesota Farm Guide recently.  It was titled, “Rocks in producer fields may be from out of this world”.  Meteorites!  A Kansas farmer found one in his field when he got out of his tractor to do a little fixing.  It was worth thousands of dollars.  Better yet, a Missouri farmer found one valued at $850,000.

I get it…my dad was giving me the opportunity to find treasure.  It wasn’t actually to remove the rocks so they wouldn’t damage equipment.  Maybe.

Think you could spot one?  I read they have dimples like golf balls and will be heavier than expected.  Most are small:  fist-size to basketball-size.  They are black, and have a charcoaled or burned appearance.  Usually they are magnetic.

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Do you think there might be some rocks of value resurfaced by the road grader?

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I realize there is danger in letting a young kid operate machinery, but I would argue it is even more dangerous to let a kid spend their days watching television.

I plan for my kids to spend some time picking rock.  It is certainly a job that you can look back, see your progress, and the impact your effort has made.  If I asked my son, he would assume the best way for him to do it was with the mini-ex.  He would probably be disappointed to hear that all he would need was a pair of gloves, farm boots, and a jug of cold drinking water.  A good attitude wouldn’t hurt, either.  Regardless of meteorites or not, there is definitely great treasure to be gained by spending day after dusty day in the field, picking rock.

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7 thoughts on “Picking Rock

  1. Nothing wrong with kids learning to farm. Codie drives the skid loader and tractor. I helped out on my grandparents farm. My sister and I would ride the bean buggy and spray the weeds in the bean fields. Awesome stories.

  2. I did lots of rock picking in my day too – and when we were done at our place (but were we ever REALLY done?) we would head to grandma’s to work on hers. My cousins picked rock and sold them by the truckload to landscapers in the cities – enterprising they were!

  3. As you can imagine, I never have picked rock, nor, actually, have my kids. I’m not entirely certain if they’d even be willing! However…when you look at it as “treasure hunting”…well…that’s a whole different kettle of fish!

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