August 10, 2000

Today was cool and only threatened to rain, but didn't. Nice working weather actually.

Dave had some personal business to take care of today so it was just Byron, myself and Bobbi (my girlfriend). The first thing that needed to be done was to retimber some areas near the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel so we can remove a couple of arches and use them at the face. One arch was holding a rock in place that in turn supported a timber that holds the ceiling in place. The problem was that the whole area is part of the "Crack of Doom" and is nothing but mud, the type of mud that I've been ranting about. Unfortunately, it's to far from the tracks to use the mucker so it had to be hand mucked. I nearly broke the handle of the shovel trying to pick it out of the mud, there was such a suction and trying to get it off the shovel into the ore car was yet another problem. I found that a regular garden hoe was able to scoop up enough of the mud for a comfortable load, not get stuck in the goo yet sticky enough to adhere to the hoe and it easily dropped of the hoe when pounded against the edge of the tub. Hopefully, the rock is stable enough to remove the arch without starting a chain reaction. Arches are a thing of the past around here and are extremely hard to find, if you were lucky enough to find any. So, once we are past this curve we can narrow down the tunnel and use standard 6x6 Douglas Fir timbers for support.

Bobbi helped me while I was timbering by mucking around the wooden timbers and the base of the steel arch. She filled the better half of the ore car by herself by hand. While she was shoveling I was moving various pieces of timber and miscellaneous things from around the timbers and while I was bending over a 7 foot piece of rail, we use to put the mucker back on the tracks when it jumps off, hit me square in the back. It only bruised me, but I learned not to keep things like that leaning against the wall while I working around them.

In the afternoon, Bobbi wrapped crystals, put them into containers and took them down to the car. I started up the mucker to top off the partially filled tub with the rocks I scaled from the not so good ceiling. Twice the mucker jumped off the tracks and I had to use the 7 foot rail that hit me earlier to put it back on. Not a problem, except when I had the machine on the tracks I pulled forward to release the pressure on the rail and the damn thing fell on my foot, TWICE. I think the rail had it out for me today, so I apologized to it for whatever it was I did to it and quit for the day in there. A beer at the pub never tasted so goood!

Byron worked all day in the cavity in the New Drift and produced some fine specimens. Cal was by in the afternoon and helped him dig some of the crystals and when he left he took most of them with him. When he left I saw him carrying a rather large box that seemed somewhat heavy.

Tomorrow is timbering day and most likely most of the weekend as well. The timber we ordered is to be delivered in the morning from the mill, which is only 500 feet from us, and should be precut and treated.

More tomorrow on our daily grind. Cheers, Jim

Part 2

Hi All,

The morning started overcast very cool and according to the weatherman with 'fresh' breezes -- read that as something short of gale force winds. Never really rained today, just threatened to the entire day.

About 9 a.m. this morning Kerith and I drove up to Little Allercleugh - surprise all the gates were open so no getting out of the car - and found Jonina already at work in the garage. I wanted to sort out a greater variety of stuff for Maureen, the shop manager at Killhope, to pick through to get some sort of idea of the material they have the most interest in. Kerith and Jonina worked along with me to that end till about 9:45 when the three of us loaded the flats and several bins of waste fluorite into the back of the Vauxhall and drove to Killhope. Maureen met us at the door, we introduced ourselves and hauled the flats upstairs. They purchased 470 pounds of material which we have to drop off an invoice for; since we are getting close to the end of their season that is all they really wanted to spend. Their busy (high) season is April and May with about 25,000 school kids coming through. With this in mind I proposed that Killhope pick out what they will need then and we will invoice them for April 1st, 2001, to that end she is coming up to L.A. on Friday the 18th in the morning to pick out specimens. Afterward, it was near opening time and I hauled the bins of trash fluorite around the back and dumped them and the three of us piled into the car and drove to The Weavers in Ireshopeburn to look and see how the weaving Kerith ordered is coming -- fantastic from this little educated point of view on such things. While there Michael showed us a comb they used full of dried teasel (spelling?) flowers and explained that they are still used commercially and what it is they do. (For more on this ask Kerith or Jonina).

Anyhow, back up to L.A. by 11a.m. for about 2 hours of sawing then the three of us went down to the Drapery for a lunch of lentil and bacon soup. About 2p.m. I drove on down to the Rogerley mine to see how things were coming and to inspect a few BIG boulders with pockets in them and give my opinion on how they should be handled. I hauled up the stairs the big specimen with the large 3" cube on it for Byron to chain saw up, as I got to the top of the stairs Byron was coming out of the mine with a handful of specimens sawn off the top -- must saw, high luster and some nifty good sized twins on the three pieces. I inspected what Jim and Dave have been up to in the old tunnel, rock there is definitely dropping and gaps are showing in the unsupported areas, Jim was barring down and making room for another set or two of arches. I think if we can narrow the tunnel down we can dispense with the arches and go with 5"-6" timbers for support but that time is still probably 8'-10' ahead of where they are. Bobbie was busy wrapping and carting trays up and down the stairs, a world class exercise and much appreciated by all. I went back down to the new tunnel and sort-of helped Byron saw a few specimens up and helped with move some odd bits of boulder and once this was done the two of us had a seam of mud full of loose crystals and small specimens, many coated with aragonite that I used the hose on and Byron plucked and put into buckets -- a great time had by me and hopefully Byron. Anyhow, about 4 p.m. I had to scoot out of there and get down to Stanhope and Barclays to withdraw some money and back to the Drapery to meet our friend Richard Busch who is coming in for a few days.

Anyhow, that is the new from way up here somewhere north of Lake Woebegone. Regards, Cal & Kerith

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