Ax-Man Surplus Store

I have discovered a new reason to visit the Twin Cities as often as I can with as empty a suitcase as possible. The Ax-Man. Yes, my boyfriend's family lives there, and yes, Minneapolis is a beautiful city, and yes there are a million lakes. But the Ax-Man is on a whole 'nother level. Apparently there are four Ax-Men scattered around the Twin Cities, but we visited the St. Paul variety. It is a huge store of aisle after aisle of surplus stuff - lots of electronic bits and bobs, but also 1997 moon posters, old oscilloscopes, a bucket of plastic figurines of gulper eels, about 50 different colors of masking tape, art supplies, well, just a lot of random fun stuff. I meandered around for awhile, poking at this, handling that, and then I got to the chemistry isle. Holy Moly! Every sort of beaker, test tube, petri dish, and flask you could ever ask for at dirt cheap prices. I started stocking up on vials and little corked bottles, wishing I had more space in my suitcase for various glass instruments when I heard right behind me Dylan's voice, "Uh...Michelle? You should come over here..." And there it was, a shelf full of botanical shadow box collections. Prices ranging $5 - $15 for the real big ones. If we thought we could get them all on the plane we would have cleaned the Ax-Man out. But we restrained.

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A shot of the loot we somehow managed to carry on the plane with us in addition to 10 days worth of clothes, a video camera, a still camera, 2 laptops, and more books than anyone needs for 10 days.

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Common Lichens, my favorite shadow box. "I lichen this" jokes were made all the way home. This was too big to put in our giant backpacks, so I carried it under my arm, much to the curiosity and delight of many a traveler.

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Types of Pteridophytes, which, thanks to wikipedia, I now know are vascular plants which reproduce using spores instead of seeds or flowers.

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A neat bottle for Benzinum - this seems to be Eastern European judging from the text - possibly Czech?

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One of my favorite finds - Slime Mold sample. There were about 7 of these at Ax-Man and great care and time was put into choosing the best one. I love Slime Molds because they remind me of Egon in Ghostbusters. He collects "spores, molds, and fungus."

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Can never have enough test tubes and tiny bottles. Now if I can find something I can get through the minuscule opening of those bottles I'll be set.

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I love this box of Soap, Surgical. Just use as you would any ordinary soap!

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A small metal box of glass-topped specimen tins - it's travel sized! I'd love to go on an expedition and collect plant and insect life and fill each one of these. It'll happen.

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Dylan's favorite is the Diseases of Grain shadowbox. Probably because he's Midwestern and grain runs through his veins. Grain Veins.