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Curling the Birds

February 12, 2018

Even bird mavens may not know this.

The rock, the house, the island, the birds (

Americans love sports, especially winter sports, and above all, Americans love the winter sport of curling.

Didn’t know that, did you?

Who can not love the sound of the rock gliding houseward o’er the pebbled sheet, the sound of the sweepers brushing madly, like the guilty scrubbing blood from their clothes as police pound on the door – “Open up! We hear you in there!” The curler screaming invective at the sweepers. Ah, the soft camaraderie of teammates, bands of brothers and sisters in this gentle sport.

curling Stone

Well, maybe.

But this story is about those stones. These pucks weight 38 to 44 pounds each, and the World Curling Federation uses only stones made of blue hone granite, cut from the small island of Alisa Craig, found off the coast of Scotland. Why, of course it had to be Scotland, origin of many odd, yet beloved, ways to waste one’s time. Scotch and golf are two such pastimes.

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica, Machias Seal Island, New Brunswick.jpg

Atlantic Puffin on Machias Seal Island, New Brunswick
(Judy Gallagher, Wikimedia Commons)

But the Atlantic Puffins disappeared from the island by the 1990s, their eggs eaten by rats introduced (accidentally, one hopes) by the stone miners. The government stepped in, the rats eliminated and the terrifically cute puffins (inspiration for the “porgs” in The Last Jedi) returned to nest. The RSBP now manages the island as a bird reserve, and Kays of Scotland – the company who owns the rights to blast loose the granite –  is forbidden from doing so. They say they have enough granite in stock to last “a long time.”

The unutterably cute porgs, apparently in their positions for the bowling tournament about to begin. (LucasFilms The Last Jedi – from Dark Side of the Force Blog)

And there’s more. Much more. Read all about it here.

Be warned. A single stone can cost up to $1400. A set of 16 competition quality stones will run around $4000. How much the shipping costs on over 700 pounds of granite, no man can say.  [Chuck Almdale]



One Comment
  1. ethanski permalink
    February 13, 2018 6:05 am

    Very very interesting.

    Gracias (as they used to say in this country!)

    Sent from my iPhone: No puppies or trees were harmed by this e-mail……. ….have a marvelous day!



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