August 3, 2001

Hi Gang:

Now that my nose is back to smelling and my clothes are clean again, I thought I would write. You know..there are things in life that determine a person's boundaries. Well I have once again pushed mine. First let me back up and define life in the valley.

Ayla, Richard and I have been madly cleaning minerals. Cal has been sawing continually, and Kerith has been packing frantically. We are almost caught up. This of course is making Byron think that he is not producing enough. We have a ton of rock already boxed, so we are doing well.

Two days ago, after Ayla and Richard had been gunning minerals continually, I joined in to help. When Cal, Kerith and Richard went to meet some visitors at the mine, we continued. We got this irrational thought of trying to clean half of the minerals on the table. Mind you the table is a garage door. So lots of minerals. Anyway, I kept smelling something. I thought it was the garbage from the barbecue on Sunday. We were two days out from trash day. But when I went to check, I realized that it was not the problem. Then I got a scary thought. I went and checked the freezer in the garage. In the UK you have switches on the plug outlets. So you can have a plug in, but not turned on. Somewhere along the way the plug to the freezer had been turned off. It is the last plug, all the way at the back, but still managed to get turned off. I made the strategic mistake of opening the freezer. To say the least it had been off awhile and was quite ripe. Cleared us out of the garage.

Ayla and I decided that a walk to the pub would be a great idea. I was not looking forward to telling Phillippa and Jeremy what had happened. Nor was I looking forward to cleaning up this mess. By the way there are wild raspberries along the walking path to the river. They are ripe and they are ours! I told Byron and then tackled Jeremy. Jeremy took it rather well. It turns out that neither he nor Phillippa had a clue what was left in the freezer, and wouldn't have used any of it either. So I turned the freezer on, and made plans to clean it out the next day - the day before trash pick-up. Hopefully, it would all freeze up and be easier to handle.

The next morning I told Cal and crew what had happened, and my battle plan for the clean up. Later that afternoon around four it began. Cal had gone to look at a drill. Kerith, Richard and Ayla were done, and it was time. I donned my gloves and opened the freezer. Up to this point we didn't have a single fly, within seconds every fly from miles around was in residence. Richard who thought "it can't be that bad', and had vague thoughts of continuing gunning while I did this, ran to the other side of the yard. And I went in. It was truly bad. Kerith gamely tried to make a list of the contents so that we could replace them, but Jeremy showed up and said not to worry. So here we are. I have two sets of gloves on and Kerith is trying to write. Ayla took one whiff and ran. I'm trying to read labels and weights. I have triple bagged garbage bags waiting, and flies everywhere. My nose was running and .......

It took two sets of bags and a strong stomach, but we got it bagged. I then started cleaning. Did you know that a chicken can completely turn to liquid, including the bones? UGHHHHH! Richard has a magic formula that he uses for cat smells. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and soap. It eats smells. It amazingly ate most of the smell in the freezer. Will take a couple of applications, but I was amazed at how well it worked. Mind you I still couldn't quite tell how bad it was, because my nose had died. I took a shower and changed all my clothes and dumped them outside until washing. This should have been the end of this story, but......

Jeremy usually picks up our garbage on Wednesday nights, but the Land Rover was in the shop. We had to get the bags to the gate for pick up. Cal hadn't shown up and I needed to take everyone down the hill. So I told Kerith and Ayla to walk to the gate. I loaded all of the normal garbage in the hatch of the red car. Richard and I then tried to think of an effective way to get the smelly garbage, and I was hoping the flies, to the gate. We decided that if we put the bags on the hood, it wouldn't smell up the inside of the car. So bouncing down the track we went with these bags. About 50 yards from the gate the first bag gracefully rolled off the front hood and under the front tire and out the back. GROSS!! So I hit the breaks trying not to run the first bag over and the second rolled off and under the car as well, but not under the tires. We get out and go look at the first bag, which is squashed flat and once again open to the air. Richard was very good. We opened another bag (luckily we threw in gloves, just in case) and threw everything in the bag. We then walked the bag the remaining distance. Yelling at Ayla and Kerith to get up wind and open the gate. Tied that bag up and went back for the last one. Let off the brake and rolled the car back. The last bag appeared to be whole. We plopped it on the hood and drove the rest of the way. By the way the sheep had fled by now. Even they showed signs of intelligence. We dumped the last bag, only to discover it had a small leak, and had decorated the front hood of the car.

We all piled in and ran for the pub. Isabelle has a hose with a nozzle. We washed the front hood, which smelled. We had driven down the hill with the windows closed and the vents sealed. That is how bad it was. It was smelling up the yard at the pub until we got it washed off. The dogs loved it and kept getting in the way. We left a smelly puddle, had a beer and went out to dinner. No one had chicken.

Other than this we are doing well. The mine is producing well and everyone is happy with the production. Ayla is getting her fill of rock talk. And we are going to have fun in Denver and Tucson this year. Hope everyone is well. No I don't hire out to clean fridge's.

Cheers, Byron, Ayla and Jonina (and soon Veronica)

Part Two

Greetings from the Pennines,

A beautiful if somewhat windy day and a bit 'fresher' as they say here - read that as quite a bit cooler though temperatures did rise to about 72 today, absolutely balmy for this region.

Not much on our agenda today; about 10 we left to take Richard Busch back to the train station in Darlington. Always an adventure and we have yet to visit that town and its convoluted sphagetti like streets without getting lost. We dropped Richard off about Back to Burnbrae about 2:30 and Kerith opted for a nap and I went up to Little Allercluegh to fight the saw. Ultimately I had to disassemble the blade and housing, tighten everything up and put it back together so that it will work again - at least for the next couple of weeks.

Back to Burnbrae and over to the Golden Lion about 6:30 to see what Byron had been up to at the Rogerley mine. He had spent the day cleaning up the face at the front of the west adit and Dave and Lofty had spent a trying day mucking out the West Crosscut so that Byron can get in and get the nifty large plate of gem crystals that is hanging down.

Anyhow that is all the news fit to print from this place way north of Lake Woebegone.

Best to All, Cal

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