Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Greetings from Weardale.

The weather has been pretty much the same, rainy with intermittent broken clouds and occasional sunshine. Yesterday afternoon, after a mid-day downpour, the wind came up, and while this makes for a very cold experience washing and screening pocket mud for crystals out on the mine landing it did dry things out a bit. This morning the clouds are threatening but it doesnít look like it rained much over night.

The past couple days at the mine have been pretty routine. Byron spends his time digging, sometimes successfully and some times not, Dave has been busy mucking out and securing various areas of the mine, and Iíve been bouncing back and forth between screening pocket mud for little bits, helping Dave with mucking, and getting a bit of digging in when Byron comes out for a break. The area of the Dodgy Bugger we are in right now is pretty collapsed and broken up. This means that there are literally thousands of crystals and bits in the pocket mud, so weíve been hauling it out in buckets onto the landing and washing it on a screen. The take is mostly just poundage stuff but on Sunday I came up with a real nice gemmy, lustrous twin crystal about 2.5 cm on edge. Could use a few more of these!

Yesterday afternoon Lloyd and Helen stopped by the mine for a bit of poking around and some picture-taking. After a while underground, Helen got into screening pocket mud, and didnít seem phased in the slightest by the wind, which was making wet hands bitterly cold about that time. Byron, complaining of leg cramps took a break from collecting so I had a go at it for a while. I think the only thing of consequence I came away with were my own leg cramps. Feeling refreshed, Byron took one more turn toward the end of the day and managed to pull out a really nice roof plate and a couple smaller clusters from the back of the pocket. Iíll try to get a photo today after Iíve cleaned it up a bit.

At the end of the day, Lloyd, Byron and I stopped by the Grey Bull in Stanhope for a quick pint and a bit of chat before Lloyd had to travel back home to Norfolk. Seems he has a floor to be tiled and a mother coming for a visit so couldnít spend all his free time mucking about with us.

Today at the mine is likely to be more of the same. Iíve started cleaning some of the better pieces weíve come up with, and have a couple tubs of things that were left to soak in sodium dithionite overnight to deal with. Dave drilled and shot several holes in the East Cross Cut yesterday afternoon, so there is likely to be some mucking to do as well. Several days of shoveling rock and pushing loaded ore cars out of the mine are letting me know that Iím not use to doing this sort of thing. Iíve been told that after a while one gets used to it. Iím not sure if this was meant to be encouraging or not! We also will need to make a run for off road diesel (the cheaper, untaxed stuff) for the compressor soon. The problem is that since Sundayís deluge we have not been able to drive in and out of the quarry as thereís a lake in the way. Hopefully, it will stop raining long enough for it to subside. Todayís photo is of our current beach front property.

Until tomorrow,

Jesse & Byron


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