Wednesday, June 5, 2002
Yesterday was one of those ambivalent "good news/bad news" type days. The good news is that all the equipment stored over-winter in the mine started up and worked without a problem. Anyone who has experienced what can happen to a diesel engine that's sat idle in a cold, damp environment for nine months will appreciate that it was quite a relief when the hydraulic power unit started up without a problem.
The bad news is that we still have no word from Lofty and our back-up plan has fallen through because the fellow won't go underground. Dave says he knows of a few blokes in need of work, but says that they're not the sort he would want to hire, so I guess we're operating with a two-man crew for a while.
Oh, and I almost forgot the other piece of good news - it didn't rain much.
My first chore yesterday was to bring Jonina all the accumulated tubs of wrapped specimens from the mine so she could get on with the cleaning and sorting. That accomplished, I headed back to the mine and arrived in time to help Dave and Byron muscle the hydraulic unit from the flatbed car it was stored on onto its pad outside the mine entrance. After a test firing to make sure it was running, the guys set to mucking out the east face. This is largely a two-man job, so I spent my time taking photos and trying not to get in the way of progress. Eight tubs of rock and mud later, the east face was again exposed. The fluorite seam that produced the real good Birthday Pocket specimens last summer appears to be continuing high on the current face. Byron says that as soon as we get out blasting permits for the season he will shoot a light round low on the face and work upward into the seam. All of the paperwork for the local permits has been filed with the proper authorities so all we can do is wait. If last year's experience wasn't just an anomaly, the process should go quickly.
Last night we were invited up to Jeremy and Phillippa's for dinner. Had a good chat, got a chance to enjoy the view on a clear evening, and everyone went away well fed. Today we have a local fellow with a backhoe showing up to move the rocks blocking the western entrance to the quarry. Dave has finished construction of our new gate and will be delivering it to the mine. Hopefully the measurements (taken last week by yours truly) were reasonably accurate and the thing will fit without too much bother. I have an appointment with the Beamish Museum photo achieves to look for old mining photos, so I will not be present to share in the recriminations should something have gone amiss.
Today's photo is of Dave becoming reacquainted with the Eimco.
Jesse, Byron and Jonina
Putting the Eimco 12B through its paces.