Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Greetings from Weardale.

The weather so far this week has remained sunny, breezy and cool. Good for both drying out things and keeping the midges down. The road into the quarry is almost solid now, with the exception of a few persistent mud holes. This morning it looks like we are in for another day of the same.

Progress and organization of efforts have been impeded a bit for the past few days as the company car has been out of action. Over the past weekend Byron began having trouble getting it started and come Monday morning we had to jump it. After getting it going I followed Byron down dale to Watson’s Garage in Wolsingham. After a few minutes fiddling about under the hood, John told us that it needed a new alternator. After a few minutes on the phone he told us that the part would be in by afternoon and we might have it back by end of day. Sadly, this was not to be. Evidently the new alternator was defective, but another one was soon had and by the end of the day Tuesday Byron had been restored to totally mobile status once again.

At the mine, the front end face remains rather dodgy, and no collecting has been done there while awaiting Dave to do some blasting and stabilize the area. The plan for today is to drill the face and floor below the pocket zone and shoot it. Hopefully we can get back there soon as everyone is anxious to find out if the zone develops into a true flat to the east. With the slow-down in collecting, everyone spent much of Monday cleaning and processing the backlog of already gathered material. On Tuesday Byron finally got back into the Rat Hole, which is still showing some good material. The problem with working in there at this point is that Byron has dug himself a nice chamber to work in at the end of the crawlspace. Specimens have been coming from the floor of the chamber so there is now a depression for water to accumulate in, requiring anyone working there to sit in a small lake. To effectively do any more collecting in there we’re going to have to lower the floor in the crawlspace so the chamber will drain properly. None the less, Byron did manage to get several more good specimens from the place.

Today is my last day on the job this summer. Tomorrow Joan and I will be traveling to Kendal for a visit with Lindsay and Patricia before heading south to London where we will meet up with a music tour group for Joan’s vacation this summer. Cal and Kerith will be handling close-down this summer, for a change, so I am trying to put together a detailed list of things to remember. I’m sure I will forget something, but hopefully not something important.

After nine years of digging in our muddy little mine I am astounded that it continues to produce so well for us. The material collected so far this summer has been the highest quality we’ve seen in a number of years. Cal will have some at the Denver show in September, and I will be posting some to the internet upon my return home later this month. As always, most will be shipped back and ready for sale at the Tucson show next February. For today’s photo, I’ll leave you with a shot of Byron carving up the vary large bit we pulled from the pocket in the main face.

Until next time,

Jesse, Joan, Byron, Cal & Kerith

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