August 24, 2000
Another beautiful day in the Dale, maybe the other day was a fluke. Last night the sunset was absolutely breath taking. When I first looked up the puffy clouds were a kunzite color, lilac-purple and quickly changed to burnt orange and then faded as the sun went down. Well worth just standing out there watching the sunset and listening to the baahing of the sheep. It really is beautiful here.
My intentions today were to muck out Mick and Lindsay's tunnel for the last time. Dave wasn't here so I would be doing the job myself, time consuming but not impossible to do alone. I first went to inspect the timbers hoping that we didn't blow them out, we didn't, so I looked at the on going pocket on the left side thinking that it really should be dug out before we leave for the winter. So instead of mucking the tunnel out I spent the day digging the pocket, the first I've dug since I arrived here in May.
The pocket is right next to the water course and fault. That has caused a lot of turbulence in the pocket which is apparent. Portions of the pocket have been ripped up and broken into pieces. A lot of the fluorite had chipped corners. This is an unusual pocket in that there are several layers of growth. The first layer was a zoned fluorite and dodecahedral galena. This has been over grown with a layer of druzzy quartz and then later another fluorite episode where the fluorite is green in color along with more 12 sided galena. The whole pocket is surrounded with a 2 inch wide band of galena, lotsa lead here. Near the floor of the pocket are chips of mud that are scattered with no apparent layering. At first I thought it was chips of shale from a higher formation that had washed in, but as I washed out the pocket I discovered that they were just fragments of mud. Above the jumbled mud chips is layered mud, more commonly found in the pockets. The layered mud is as tenacious as it comes and was a bitch to dig out. It did, however, protect the crystals to some extent. The first growth of fluorite is zoned having a clear to a light yellow and often clean outside layer over a light green center. They are bright and shinny crystals where the quartz coating comes off easily. The largest one was about 2 inches square. Finding unbroken crystals was rare. I did find several coated crystals that weren't yet broken open and several that are stalactites, they should clean up well. The galena was different being dodecahedral, no where else in the mine had I found galena with that crystal shape. Most of the galena is 8 sided, dipyrimidal, in shape. Some of the galena was so etched that the only way to know it was galena was by their weight. Others were nicely crystallized and some were more than an inch across. The later fluorite is the uglish green that I had talked about a few days ago. They ranged in size from small, < 1/4 inch to several inches across. A few of the pieces that I dug out had all three growths on them and were completely undamaged. Hopefully, they will clean up to be fine specimens. At least this will give us a variety of material to add to our collections and if we have more than we want, to add to someone else's collection also. In all, I collected 3 tubs of specimens and a tub of mud containing small crystals and at least a dozen large cabinet sized specimens, most of which just need trimming. The pocket is still going and disappears into the face, but it will have to wait for the time being. This was a nice way to spend the day, digging a pocket. That is what this life style is all about!
Tomorrow I should drill some holes for Byron with a small hand drill so he can gain access to the back portion of his on going cavity. This should be fun since the drill doesn't have a leg to push with so I have to push the thing into the rock while on my hands and knees. We have a few more sticks of powder and a few caps left that we need to use up before we leave for the year.
Stay tuned for the final chapters in our on going saga, "As the Mine Turns".
Well, two days in a row of great weather. Not to be believed up here in the Dales. It actually got hot here yesterday afternoon -- probably close to 78 which is a blistering heat wave here.
We awoke to a bustle of activity in downtown St. Johns Chapel, their 210th annual Agricultural Fair is being held this weekend and what little vacant area there is downtown and around the school has been filled with circus-type tents and tiny, almost grocery store style, kiddie rides. It is like a throwback to small small circuses of yesteryear in the United States. A whole section of one tent is being devoted to penmanship by local school children - I considered entering to give them a comparison to how bad it can get.
I drove up to Little Allercleugh about 9:00 a.m. while Kerith stayed behind to begin cleaning the Drapery and packing our gear. We leave Sunday after lunch to drive down to London and fly out on Monday back to San Diego and Fallbrook -- that is if the United pilots are running at all close to schedule which looks doubtful at the moment.
Jonina was just getting things started and I changed into my wet weather gear to begin sawing. First attempt with the new modified pulley assembly -- not designed for the saw and we all had our doubts it would work well, if at all. It sawed slower and I occasionally had to put the belt back on but overall the saw performed well. I left about noon to go down and have lunch and afterwards Kerith joined me up at Little Allercleugh -- she to pack specimens, me to saw and Jonina to water gun. About 2:20 p.m. Jesse and Joan showed up and helped by beginning to unpack all the tubs from the day before -- we had just about caught up by that point. However, we hardly made a dent the Wednesday's production before 5:00 p.m. showed up and we quite and Kerith and I along with Jesse and Joan drove down to the Drapery and cleaned up a bit and then down to the Golden Lion for a pint of Black Sheep for Jesse and I and Kerith's traditional ginger beer with, that rarest of commodities up here -- ice, and Joan a bitter lemon, whatever that is. Byron and Jim did not show up till about 5:40 which is quite late for them. Both had spent much of the day collecting and after getting their beers we sat around a table and went over their day. The Puegot was full of tubs -- one from the vein out of a large nearly 6' pocket that has appeared in the old tunnel -- and a number of tubs full of specimens that Byron collected. He said it had been a very good day then pulled a 'pocket piece' out that had come out of the bottom of the pocket -- one of those 1" gem glassy twins that is unlike anything we had last year and said there some specimens, as good a day as we have had. Will have to take his word since any chance of getting to those pieces and seeing them water gunned and unpacked before we leave on Sunday is about nil. About 6:20 Byron and Jim drove back up to Little Allercleugh and the four of us went back for potty stops and off to Romalkirk to the Rose and Crown -- one of those gastronomic jewels in the middle of nowhere. A leisurely 3 hour dinner and we got back to the Drapery about 11:30 p.m. and collapsed.
This morning, it appears to be another glorious day, already warm, no wind and only the contrail of a jet or two in clear blue skies - the only discord in our harmony is that this has been the week the lambs are separated from their mothers so there are a lot of bleating unhappy sheep as soon as the sun rises about 5:00 a.m.
Anyhow, that is about it as we near the end of our stay up here in the Dales a way way north of Lake Woebegone. Regards,C&K