August 7, 2000

The weather here over the last few days has been quite lovely. A little of everything except snow which, thank you very much, we could do without. We had a little BBQ on Sunday evening and of course it threaten to rain but didn't. It did, however, rain both up the dell and down at the mine on Sunday. Still it has been quite nice.

Byron and Dave worked all weekend and were able to erect 2 steel arches in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel near the face and put in a new set of track curved slightly to the right. They used the steel arches that had been installed just 15 feet back down the tunnel. Where they had been installed they were actually useless since the ceiling was some 4 feet above them and there was no cribbing between them and the roof. Byron had installed timber in and around them last year to stop the roof from spalling.

Dave took Monday off for personal reasons, so, I drilled 2 holes on the left side of what is going to be our tunnel to face it off. We seem to be following a water course and we probably could bar the tunnel instead of blasting. But the left side is a bit stubborn and needed to be persuaded with a bit of explosives. The shots produced an enormous amount of muck since the water course provided an open area to break to and most of the rock there is just held together by mud.

After the smoke had cleared I started mucking. Some of the rocks are about the same weight as the mucker and one in particular I had trouble with the rear end of the mucker coming off the tracks. I had it in the bucket once and as I started back for the ore car the bucket slipped down and the rear of the mucker came up throwing the rock out and the mucker off the tracks. I'll leave that one for Dave to play with since he's good with wind instruments.

There is an enormous amount of galena in this area and I collected quite a bit for Killhope down the road. They said they would come on Wed and pick up some of it, as we are running out of room for it. In the face, just left of the water course I found a pocket of fluorite with cubes up to 2 inches square. They are green but the color isn't that great and they aren't clear, but nicely formed. The pocket was still going at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, in the new drift there has been more spalling from the roof and tomorrow the priority will be to start timbering the area. The saw mill is open again after a 2 week vacation so we can get the timber there. And, since the saw mill is open we are able to drive into the mine again so we loaded up my car and Jonina's car with specimens that have lined the tunnel for the last couple of weeks. We still have several car loads left that need to be moved up to the house for cleaning.

I had a nice couple of days off but it's nice to be back. More on the life and work of the fluorite miners tomorrow.

Cheers, Jim

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