Abby and I spent another weekend in Ryan, visiting with Abby’s father’s widow Ethel, who is really enjoying our company lately. Aside from bringing lunch and visiting, the only thing we did was go through a few more of Hershel’s things. Among the tin cans full of buttons and envelopes full of old hunting licenses, I found, and was given, possibly one of the oddest and least useful things I have ever owned: a bottle of elemental mercury. I don’t have a scale, but I would guess this is about a quarter pound of the element, in a bottle that stands about two inches tall. (Any chemists can chime in here and tell me how much I really have.) I don’t want to pour it out because, aside from its toxicity, I have no way to get it back into its bottle.
I don’t know if Hershel used it in his reloading bench, though it seems doubtful since we didn’t find it there. Maybe he just thought it was cool.