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.
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.
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.
Types of Pteridophytes, which, thanks to wikipedia, I now know are vascular plants which reproduce using spores instead of seeds or flowers.
A neat bottle for Benzinum - this seems to be Eastern European judging from the text - possibly Czech?
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."
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.
I love this box of Soap, Surgical. Just use as you would any ordinary soap!
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.
Dylan's favorite is the Diseases of Grain shadowbox. Probably because he's Midwestern and grain runs through his veins. Grain Veins.