July 17, 2000

One of the most beautiful days we've had since we arrived in late May. Blue sky with white puffy clouds and around 70 degrees, tee shirt weather. I hope it lasts more than a couple of days.

The first thing we did today was to muck out the face. Not much debris since we have been sawing out specimens and not moving much ground, only 2 "tub" full. Since the right hand wall is a crack/fault and unaltered, we decided to curve the drift slightly to the left and keep that wall as something to timber against. This meant we had to lay a curved section of track before we could drill and blast.

After that was done, we prepare to drill some holes to shoot the right side of the drift, away from the on going cavity. The idea is to open up the "flat" across the entire face of the tunnel. Byron stuffed a complete roll of bubble wrap into the cavity and then boarded up the front of the zone. Hopefully that will protect the area from flying rock. We have yet to see what damage will be done by the concussion of our blasting. Obviously, we will blast lightly but for every blast there is a reverberation moving through the rock and fluorite is so sensitive and fragile. It has cleavages in 7 different directions!

Byron didn't want to go for the explosives and we couldn't reach Jonina so we will shoot the face first thing in the morning.

During the course of the rest of the day we trimmed most of the large specimens along the tunnel walls using the diamond chain saw and moved most of the new rail up to the adit level using our tugger. That was much easier that hand carrying 18 foot sections of 20 LB rail up 40 feet on a narrow stair case!

Tomorrow's priority is to blast and get into the producing zone. After that we will start putting together the new switch for moving between the main tunnel and our new drift. We are not sure yet how involved this will be since there is a 3 inch difference between the 2 sets of rail and the switch is mounted on five pieces of 3 inch channel that has to be dug into the floor. I think this will take a lot of effort to get it to work properly. Time will tell.

We have a mascot now, a Hedgehog, named Tees, who eats cat food like there is no tomorrow and snores during the day. Yesterday morning I found him asleep in my shoe when I got up and this morning he was behind the washing machine. We had 2 others who decided that we weren't good keepers and escaped during the night (they were kept outside). This one we will keep in the kitchen until Cal and Kerith arrive with their nieces who want to play with him/her.

Our saga will continue tomorrow. Cheers, Jim



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