June 24, 2000
Well, it's Saturday and Dave doesn't work the weekends so it's just Byron and myself today. It's a perfect day to work, cloudy, not much wind and only an occasional drizzle.
Some of the holes that Dave and I drilled yesterday had caved in and it took us hours to clean them out for the explosives. Jonina left around 9 AM for Kendal and didn't arrive till sometime after lunch. Of course, the holes needed cleaning again by the time she arrived.
While we waited for the explosives Byron went to the purple pocket to dig and I cleaned and organized the portal area for tools. I found tools that I knew should exist but Byron hadn't seen and tools that were made by Mick and Lindsay, for what purpose I don't know. I also found some carriage bolts we had been looking for that bolt the rails together through what they call fish plates. Now we have more room for tools and can actually find them. The hoses are hung up and the drill steels are all together. I didn't know we had so many sizes of drill steel, from 1 foot to 7 foot in 1 foot increments.
Byron found a few more specimens some purple and a few pastel zoned yellow and green ones. These zoned fluorites don't daylight fluoresce and within a couple of days they fade to colorless. Some of the purple fluorites are completely coated with druzzy quartz that makes them appear to be sugar coated. These are quit nice. Unfortunately, the pocket appears to have collapsed sometime after mineralization so a lot of the specimens have damaged corners. The largest single cluster to date weighs about 120 lb. and is composed of three inch cubes of fluorite coated in druzzy quartz. A local collector is waiting till the cleaning process is completed to make us an offer.
After setting off the charges, Byron and I waited around to see how the shot went. Perfectly, of course! Still no sign of fluorite in the face but we could only see the upper 3 feet of the face, the rest is buried under the muck. Monday we will see. I believe we are now 29 feet from where we started.
The first round we drilled and shot when starting the new drift didn't fair so well. When we went in after the smoked cleared there was the face with the 12 holes we drilled still staring at us, that's so frustrating. Then we had to redrill the fractured face and shoot it again. But now, we understand how the rock breaks. Instead of drilling 12 holes we drill 16 holes and instead of trying to break 6 feet we only drill and break 4 feet. It's all a part of learning to mine in a new environment.
The Midges, a tiny flying insect that bite like mosquitos, were especially bad today. Apparently, they like cloudy, windless days with little rain. Until now I haven't been bothered by them but while rolling newspaper for stemming they ate me alive. After work we stopped at our favorite pub, The Golden Lion, and everybody complained that the Midges were bad today. Isabel said she had to give her dogs a bath because the Midges were driving them crazy and she had them in her hair, up her sleeves and pants. One guy, can't remember his name, came in and said he was trimming trees and every branch he lopped off left a cloud of Midges. His arms, neck and face were covered with little red bumps and he looked like he had Chicken Pox. An interesting note, while visiting Vindolanda, a Roman settlement, we saw a wig made from what the call Hair Moss and this is said to drive the Midges away. But nobody, so far, knows what Hair Moss is or where to find it. We'll keep looking.
Tomorrow is our day off and I'm not sure what is planned except for some needed R&R.
Till Monday. Everybody have a good weekend. Jim, Byron and Jonina