July 19, 2000
We are on a roll, the weather has been beautiful and is supposed to hold. It is noticeably warmer at night and tee shirt temperature during the day. Now that it's sunny everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, especially the farmers. They have been cutting the grass and bailing it before it rains again. I hear that they are working till 10 every night to finish.
Dave and I spent the first few hours in the morning trimming the large specimens in the tunnel with the diamond chain saw while Byron poked at the face. The seams are tight and have not opened up like on the left. I think we are still some few feet from the main part of the "flat" and tomorrow Byron wants to blast again since the rock is tight. He tried to jackhammer the face apart and only managed to remove a small portion of the rock. Around the seams of fluorite the limestone is very siliceous and harder that the hinges of hell. How Mick and Lindsay ever removed the specimens with a chipping hammer I'll never know.
Still, we were able to produce more than a car load of specimens from this zone. You might think that is a lot but we have a very small car.
We had 2 visitors up today, one had been a miner in the Grove Rake Mine, as well as other mines, and was like a kid when he saw the main seam. He said in all the years he has been mining he has only seen a seam like this once or twice before. He said most of the time they get blown all to hell and you only see pieces on the muck pile.
During the coarse of the day we installed a new water line closer to the face. The last time the water hose broke it was shorten to the point of not reaching the face anymore. Hopefully, by mid next week we won't have the problem of broken water lines anymore, we have a heavy duty hose coming in from the states.
Spent a couple of hours running around looking for fine threaded nuts to finish assembling the new set of points (the switch). Everywhere I went I was pointed back to the welding shop where I bought them in the first place, but he was closed every time I went by. On the last trip I stopped by, as it wasn't out of my way, and someone was there. I was told that the owner has been running around fixing farm equipment and everybody wants it done NOW. (The chicken with it's head cut off syndrome.) We finished the assembling part of the job. When we get the Oxy -Acetylene tanks we can cut the existing track in the right places and start the next phase of the installation, digging channels for the channel iron sleepers (railroad ties) that the switch is mounted on.
Before we drill and blast tomorrow we will try and install a new set of rail to the face. By my measurement we have 17 feet 6 inches of space to install an 18 foot set of rails. Dave said that's close enough, we'll make it fit.
Till tomorrow, Cheers, Jim