Friday, June 13, 2008

Greetings from Weardale.

This morning dawns much as yesterday, overcast and still. Yesterday, it was quite chilly through much of the day but the temperature seems to be up a little today. This, coupled with the lack of a breeze will, no doubt, create the optimal conditions for millions of midges to swarm about in dense clouds, looking for prey. I have a feeling that it will be a good day to be underground.

Yesterday at the mine Dave continued his campaign of drilling in anticipation of our first round of blasting next week, and by the close of day four faces had been seriously perforated. Byron spent much of the day washing and poking at various favorable places around the mine, looking for something good. Upon arriving at the mine, my first chore was to check in with our landlord, Alistair, who operates the sawmill in the Quarry to the east of us. He comes and goes a lot and I had been unable to find him at the mill since our arrival, but was successful this time.

Arriving back at the mine, I found Byron busy washing and moving rock in the East Cross Cut. This area is just to the north of the Black Sheep Pocket, our original area of workings back in 1999-2000. This area has always been a tease in that there is a nice-looking layer of bright green fluorite extending across the walls, but it has rarely opened up enough to give a good specimen. Byron had exposed an area that looked promising but has so far only produced some mediocre specimens of cloudy fluorite and a little altered galena. Mid-afternoon he decided to take a break from it, and I took over. After a couple hours I had managed to remove one promising roof plate, which showed some sizeable crystals around the edge but was completely mudded over. The mud was so tenacious that is refused to come off under the water hose, and I was afraid of damaging anything underneath if I scarped it off. At the end of the day I left it in a bucket of water in hopes that an overnight soak will loosen the coating a bit. Byron had a bit more luck elsewhere, and today’s photo is of one bit getting its first washing.

Dave is off today getting ready for a bike race up in Scotland this weekend. This is his “shake-down” for the bike before going to a major event in Belgium next month. I sure hope he doesn’t crash the thing or blow up the engine. I guess the fact that things like that happen fairly regularly is what keeps him working for us each year. We have our “money pit” and he has his. But like I say, it sure beats staying home and watching television in one’s spare time.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron

Nothing like a cold shower to wake you up.

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