Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Morning,

I have been quite remiss about sending out an email, Byron's death left a large void here and between Jesse and I picking up what he did, guests and striving to find more material in a lean year there has been little time left for other obligations.

Saturday and Sunday were nice weather days and today's picture shows a view of the West Quarry about a quarter mile from the mine. You capture some idea of the steepness of the quarry walls in this area. We spent much of one day scrambling down to the Sutcliffe vein and moving rock and found some small pockets of amber and purple banded fluorite, quite lustrous and an unusual color combination. If you have a fear of heights this is not a area to work.

Much of the past week BBC1 has predicted sharp showers, lighting and thunder and fairly heavy winds. I am happy to say they were wrong the first three days of the week but weather did deteoriate markedly on Thursday and the afternoon left much of the quarry bottom a muddy gumbo. This morning dawns to blustery winds, rain with occasional downpours and the threat of flooding according to the BBC. A fitting match to Friday the 13th.

We continue to nibble at the columns in the West Crosscut and have extracted some nice pieces and some large ones which prompted a morning of diamond chain saw activity, this went much quicker than normal due to the new saws increased power. Dave and Joe finished mucking out the face and timbering and set to drilling a new cross cut to the east not far back from the face in an area that has some promise. Jesse and Ian and I spent quite a bit of time collecting in the old West Crosscut and accumulated a decent number of specimens and the area continues to give us material though we are getting close to having another 'nibble' at the columns blast.

Wednesday afternoon we took a trip down to Bishop Auckland to rent an electrical hammer drill. Outdoor electrical equipment here runs on 110 instead of 230 and our generator has a switch to go from one to the other so we thought we were in business. Sadly the bureaucrats here have diddled with the type of plug required making it necessary to adapt our perfectly good leads with new plugs. This, in my opinion, to prevent some bottom of the gene pool fellow from committing a Darwinian suicide and helping raise the quality of intelligence. Jesse spent some time getting the electric system running and happily it turns out the drill is capable of putting a nice hole in our silicified ironstone. To test this out we have a small but attractive pocket of purples in the mine that the electrical leads just barely reach so Thursday he and Ian spent quite a bit of time drilling and shooting the rock around the pocket. This morning we will see the result of their efforts there and Dave's efforts on the new Crosscut to the east near the face.

We ship specimens out next Thursday so we are getting down to the proverbial wire, with luck we will make three pallets.


Cal and crew

The West Rogerley Quarry and Sutcliffe vein.

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