Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Greetings from Weardale,

It’s actually sunny this morning. Yesterday, however, it rained pretty much all day. We’ve had so much rain lately that the lake in the low spots of the quarry rose to cover part of the road and driving out yesterday afternoon was a bit of a trick. Thinking something like this might happen, I parked at the top of the track from the main road and walked in to the mine. Byron, ever the optimist, drove in. On the way out the water was only a few inches below the top of my wellies, and I think the Peugeot almost floated. While the rain has stopped for the moment, the waterfall cascading into the quarry has likely continued to feed our lake overnight, and I will assume that I will be walking in again this morning. Today’s photo is of the waterfall, located just to the west of the mine.

Despite the rain, we had a full crew at the mine yesterday, including our washer women, Shanade and Claire. Those two are quite proficient at the routine by now and spent the day scrubbing tubs of bits from the mine and bopping about with their i-pods. By the end of the day, the tables in the container were full of demudded specimens, which I will undoubtedly spend a good part of the day today wrapping and packing in blue bins for shipment.

Dave spent much of the day drilling both the West Cross Cut and a new exploratory cross cut near the face, and the West Cross Cut was shot at the end of the day. Byron spent much of the day at the face collecting. The exposed area currently is a jumble of rock, mud and fluorite, and looks to me like a completely collapsed pocket. Where before we had discrete layers of fluorite, bits are now being found in a fairly random fashion throughout the mineralized zone. Many are crushed or damaged in some form, but surprisingly, some good pieces continue to emerge (along with a lot of broken bits of fluorite). One particularly large rock came out mid-afternoon, which when trimmed will yield a particularly nice plate of crystals. There’s another very large, fluorite-coated rock exposed at the face, and if Byron manages to get it out today, perhaps we’ll have to take advantage of the momentarily rain-free weather and get out the chain saw this afternoon.

We were shorted on an order of crucial supplies last week, and I am hoping that delivery will be made this morning. This entails waiting at the cottage for a phone call from the driver and arranging where and when to meet. All this could be avoided if only there was mobile phone reception at the mine, but such is not the case. It’s now 9 AM and no phone call yet, so I guess I’ll have another cup of coffee…

Until next time,

Jesse, Joan, and Byron

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