Friday, June 4, 2004

Good morning from Weardale.

Yesterday was windy and rainy most of the day, though the two never seem to coincide so we didn't get that wonderful horizontal rain I remember from our first couple of years here. This morning it is still heavy clouds and wind, so I suspect we're in for more of the same. The nice thing about the wind is that it dries up the mud in the quarry fairly quickly. Today's photo is of the quarry from the mine landing between showers.

Yesterday was a day of labor at the mine for Byron and I. Byron, almost single-mindedly, spent most of the day with the chain saw in the west cross cut, turning large specimens into smaller ones. Cold, tiring work after a while of pushing the saw through rocks perched on a muddy surface with water spraying all about. I spent most of the day at the face of the northwest crosscut moving rock, with the occasional break to pick up and wrap some of Byron's produce. We now have a seam of nice bright green fluorite exposed all the way across the face at the head of the tunnel, which I am angling from directly E-W to a NE heading toward the area of the 2001 Solstice pocket. Conveniently, the fluorite seam is just about at eye-level. Unfortunately, the level changes as the pile of muck accumulates on the tunnel floor. There is also a second, intermittent layer lower down in some areas of the face. After a day of work I had accumulated a fair pile of potential specimens, including one very large rock that has one face covered with fluorite. None of the specimens are yet what I would consider anything other than wholesale grade, but the area is developing and will hopefully keep doing so. The color and clarity is quite nice, and the occasional large single crystal has been found in the mud, so there is hope that we will find them still attached to the matrix as well. My one prize for the day was a very nice miniature, which consisted of a well-formed twin, close to 2 cm on edge, with a small skirt of little crystals and a little matrix at the base.

Dave had the day off for school business. It is a recess week and tradesmen have been scheduled for maintenance at the school where he works. He had hoped to get everything taken care of yesterday, but evidently one of the contractors failed to show up. I got a call from him last night explaining that he now has to go back this morning and wait in hopes of the guy showing up.

Jonina made the trip to Penrith to file our forms successfully. There was an accident along the way so she also got a chance to see some small villages and Cumbrian countryside while trying to negotiate a poorly marked detour. The fluorite processing factory in the garage is now fully equipped with the delivery of David Rennison's loaner saw, so after returning she got to some more cleaning.

David stopped by in the evening to pick out some possible purchases, which will be priced and negotiated as soon as we've cleaned the mud off and can get a good estimate of the quality. No one had the energy to cook anything, so after the fallback crackers and cheese dinner everyone turned in.

On today's schedule, it will be another mine day for Byron and I. I have one and maybe two local collectors showing up at the mine for a visit so will be in tour guide mode for a bit. Dave may be free by noon so either Jonina will bring him in or I will have to make a trip up the dale.

Until tomorrow….

Cheers,

Jesse, Byron and Jonina



The quarry between rains.

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