July 27, 2000

The weather couldn't make up it's mind today. It started out with high clouds and partly sunny, then white puffy clouds with patches of blue sky and as the day progressed it got more cloudy and then it rained. It rained enough to get everything muddy again and then the sun came back out. At least it wasn't a cold rain like we had in June.

The gate to the saw mill was open this morning so we took advantage of it and filled up our car and Jonina's car with specimens that have been accumulating all week. Now the tunnels are clear of specimens awaiting to be taken to the house to be cleaned.

Well, we got two rounds in today, one in each tunnel. As Dave and I started drilling the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel I was thinking this is going to be hard drilling since the formation here is full of vugs and cracks and you end up having to re-collar the hole several times and while you're doing this you have to be careful not to get the steel stuck. Of coarse, it's never as you expect and the drilling went on without a hitch. In all we drilled 7 holes in this tunnel to start a right hand curve and to even up the floor with the face. The shot broke out a mess of galena that we will try and sort out to give to Killhope Mining Museum down the road. Until we get past the end of the original tunnel the ceiling will be dicey and will need to be timbered. I think we will have a tunnel about 12 feet wide before we are out of the immediate area and have solid rock to drive a narrower tunnel through.

In our new drift we drilled 4 holes in the right hand wall to increase the width at the face. The tunnel had become to small to accommodate the mucker and a man standing beside it to operate the machine. Here Dave and I thought that the rock was solid and drilling would be easy. Wrong. All four holes had problems with stuck steels and it actually took longer to drill these holes than the seven in the other tunnel. We also drilled one small hole under the pocket on the left side to open it up, allow drainage and to see how the blasting effected the fluorite.

Both faces were fired around 1 PM and we then broke for lunch. After lunch, we inspected the shoots in both tunnels and then started scaling the roof in the new drift. When it was deemed safe to start mucking we did so even though more scaling was necessary. What we wanted to do was be able to move the mucker near enough under the section where the roof needed more work. It was easier to scale the roof nearer the same level than to scale it from the floor of the drift. Another large rock, like the one from the other day, was loose but wouldn't come down. Dave suggested drilling and shooting it so we set up again to drill. For this operation we use a 6 1/2 foot steel, we didn't want to get any nearer to the rock than we had to. With Dave behind the drill and Byron and I on either side we started drilling. Within 30 seconds the tunnel was so filled with a misty fog you could barely make out the end of the rock even with all three head lamps pointing on the same spot. After a minute or so of drilling we saw the end of the rock drop about 3 inches. Both Byron and I jumped back but Dave increased the power to the leg to push the rock away from us if it did drop. It didn't so he continued to drill with all lamps still trained on the small section of the rock we could make out in the fog. All of a sudden we could see the rock coming straight down the drill at us and we all jumped back. Dave still hung onto the drill but stopped drilling. A section of the rock had broken off and acted like a ring on the steel vibrating straight down towards us. In the fog you couldn't make out what was happening and we all had a good laugh at this. Dave said he had seen this happen before. That was the key, he said you could actually see what was happening, not like our case drilling by Braille.

With what hole was left in the rock we shot it and ended up with a good arched ceiling. By then it was time to pack it in and head for the pub.

Priority is in the new drift for the greens, so tomorrow we will finish mucking out and then let Byron dig a while to clean up any pockets uncovered. Then we can put in another round to push the tunnel a little farther. While Byron is working in the new drift Dave and I will then move into the other tunnel and start mucking there preparing for another round. On it goes.

Till tomorrow, Cheers, Jim

Part 2

Hi All,

Yesterday started out beautifully and warm but by 2:30 the clouds came, temp dropped and a few brief scattered showers. Am currently coughing up a storm and bringing up unmentionable colors from the lungs but I believe that is good.

I took Marc and the nieces about 9:00 a.m. down to Teesdale to take the short walk to High Force -- an impressive waterfall and well worth the visit. Since we were there prior to 10 a.m. the carpark and billet kiosk were closed and all was free. Got back to The Drapery about 10:30 when Kerith and Jonina headed off for Consett and some grocery shopping. Jonina had already made a dynamite run by then.

I corralled the troops and we went down to the Rogerley to take some pictures of the pocket protected from the blast, also a few of drilling but that will probably be very surreal due to the drilling fog. Came back for lunch and about 1:30 I took Sarah and Liz to the riding academy near Killhope for a one hour pony trek -- at about $25 for the two of them I thought it a good deal. Marc and I went back to LA to do a bit of sorting and found Kerith and Jonina having a late lunch. They started wrapping up whatever purples were around, I picked out a couple of low end flats to offer the gift shop at Killhope. About 3p.m. I went back to pick up the girls who had a great time but since neither has ridden for more than a year -- truly sore butts.

Kerith informed me she had put 2000 pounds into the UKMV account here, not sure how many dollars that is until my bank statement rolls around but will inform Lisa then.

I took all back to The Drapery -- the girls really needed a shower, in my humble opinion and my nose is still stuffy -- Marc wanted to mail a box back to Vista and I needed to lay down and close my eyes for a bit. Got a phone call from a Paul Deakin who works with/for the Church Commission who offered to come up next week and do a professional shoot of the mine pockets for free and send up pics. Trevor said he would hold the copyrights since he is trying to document the various mines and the decline of mining for an exhibition at some future point but if good enough he would let us publish for an article.

We are planning on going up to Hadrian's wall today, weather permitting. Will drop off Marc in Hexham where he will take the train to Newcastle then on up to Edinburgh where an old girlfriend has offered to give him food and shelter till he has to fly back.

Anyway, that about all from this place somewhere way north of Lake Woebegone. Cal

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