Friday, August 10, 2007
Another beautiful day in the Dale, a bit cooler but temperatures still in the upper 60's and a bit breezy to keep things drying out in the quarry. Some of the quagmires left over from all of July's rains have begun to disappear and our road is actually dusty .
I started my morning confirming with Schenker a pickup day if not a time; followed by a phone call to Alistair Ward to check on our timber order and to see about the use of a forklift and driver on the 22nd, then another phone call to set up a pickup date for the compressor and arrange for a last invoice then another call to Aid Pack for more bins and bubble wrap. Peter arrived about ten, his last day with us, he is off to Lords today for a cricket match, however, we are supposed to have the possibility of rain today and tomorrow.
Byron and Dave and Peter left at ten stopping at Fairless' yard to check on or order of ear plugs which should be in early next week. Kerith and I stuck around till nearly a quarter to twelve hoping to catch Bill and Ann Robson but still had much needed errands to run in Stanhope, arrived at the mine site about 12:30 to find Peter trying to get a couple of fish plate bolts that had rusted themselves into place perhaps 50 years ago or longer -- these are needed to attach sets of rail to each other and not easily found. Kerith and I set to packing up specimens till about 1:30 when she left for a shop in Barnard Castle. I finished up packing bins at number 46 leaving only one bin at the mine and number 48 already full at Burnbrae and Byron obviously busy in the 'well' section of the Rat Hole Pocket producing away.
Wednesday's blast at the face had made a real pull and it was not until late on Friday that Dave and Peter got most of it cleaned up -- 20+ tubs of muck and Dave says likely two more but no more work there till we get the timber sometime early next week. Between that and cleaning up and scaling in the second exit area Peter had a real work out his last day. After lunch, I went up and started sending bins down. Sinead had cleaned up everything I had sent down on Wednesday but a tub full of hundreds of single crystals. I got to ten and figured that would be enough. We have made arrangements to have Sinead next week every day but Wednesday, since without Peter it will be either Byron or I helping move the muck etc so one less to clean and pack.
Byron had really plugged himself into the Rat Hole area, he had lots of rock and mud in the tunnel,5 gallon buckets full of useless but very heavy mud and several bins of wrapped specimens in the crawl hole. By the time I had cleaned all this up and moved the bins out of the way he needed a stretch and I got a look into the 'well' for the first time in two days. Byron had managed to open the left side of the entrance enough so that you need now only put a head and shoulder through then pull your other shoulder through. The 5 gallong bucks are just large enough not to fall down this vertical solution cavity so he fills them with mud and debris then crawls out and pushes them down the crawl of the Rat Hole by foot then goes back and collects a few pieces and repeats the process.
I wish I had taken my camera up yesterday afternoon; when I got a chance to look into the area there was a foot long rib of large crystals -- perhaps 2" on edge or more -- stuck vertically above the solution cavity with tree roots tendrils circling the piece. Definitlely know you are close to the quarry face at this point. About 5:00 p.m. Kerith got back and sorted little crystals into bags or carboard boxes for about an hour and I cleaned up a few more pieces and set them to dry.
Today we are going up, just the three of us. Byron and I to do some sawing in the Rat Hole and try and extract a some pieces and Kerith to pack the remaining bins. Tonight we are having a BBQ no matter what the weather with our neighbors Kristie and Simon -- Kerith has the steaks and has made Boston baked beans.
Today's picture is of Joan's visit to the mine one day this year, or at least I hope it is, I hope that is the picture I clicked on.
Cheers, Cal & Kerith and Byron