Thursday, June 12, 2008

Greetings from Weardale.

Yesterday the weather changed for the cooler. The wind was up, and while it was blowing some dark clouds in from the West during the afternoon, it did not rain much at the mine. This morning the wind has died and we have a heavy overcast. The ground is wet so I will assume that it rained overnight.

Yesterday morning the compressor arrived at the mine, so we are pretty much in business now. The compressor was a different model than we have had in the past, and did not have a 2-inch outlet to match our air hose. Fortunately, amongst all the bits we inherited from Lindsay and Mick when we took over the mine, there were enough pieces that Dave and Byron were able to assemble an adaptor. Todayís photo is of the two lads fretting over the job.

Being now fully powered, the first order of business for Dave was to muck out the front end of the mine at the Jewel Box Pocket. Between our digging there last November and Byronís collecting the past few days, a serious pile of rubble has accumulated, which needed to go before Dave could drill for the next blast. My morning was spent helping Dave with this, largely pushing the ore car in and out of the mine. I only managed to jump the car off the tracks once, and Dave was quite conciliatory, telling me that it usually happens when the rails are still covered with a winterís worth of muck.

Byron set to the hydraulic power unit for the chainsaw, which usually needs all itís electrical contacts cleaned of corrosion that has built up over winter. About the time we were through mucking the face Byron had the thing running, so I spent a while with him trimming up some of the larger pieces he has recently collected. A nice lot of specimens emerged from it all, and after a bit of water-gunning to remove all the mud from the cracks and crevices they should look pretty good.

After lunch Byron spent his time with the water hose, washing the blast dust off the walls in one of our northern cross-cuts and looking for favorable signs of mineralization. Dave got to drilling the main face, and gave me a lesson in drilling technique. Drilling a muddy, brecciated face with a jackleg drill that must weigh close to 100 lbs isnít easy work, and Iím sure glad we have someone with Daveís experience to help us with things like this. By quitting time Dave had 18 holes in the face, and hopefully we will be able to shoot it early next week.

Back up dale to St. Johnís Chapel for a quick pint at the Blue Bell and then supper on at the cottage. At the pub we ran into Jeffery, who use to work at the Golden Lion when Isabelle owned it. Seems she has taken over the Weardale Inn, a large place with a checkered recent history, which is just up the road toward Ireshopeburn. Jeffery is now employed there so weíll have to stop by and catch up with some old friends.

This morning I have a few more phone calls to make to various suppliers, and a few errands to run, but hope to get to cleaning up some of our recent produce so we can show it off.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron

Why one never throws out old parts.

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