Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Greetings from Weardale.

With the exception of one cold, rainy day last week, the weather has been remarkably summer-like here in the North Pennines. Without the near constant rain we have experienced some summers here, the quarry is almost completely mud-free, and the local midge population appears pleasantly low. I haven’t been swarmed by the little buggers, yet! As for the mud, there’s still plenty to be had inside the mine.

Our powder delivery, which was scheduled for Friday didn’t happen until Monday. As a result, after drilling the face on Thursday, there was little to do at the mine. With Joan and Di only here for a brief time, we decided to have a tourist day on Friday and headed up to Hardian’s Wall for some sight-seeing. The weather was about as good as it gets in these parts, and everyone had a good afternoon of wandering around amongst the Roman-Era ruins.

Sunday morning we dropped Joan off at Newcastle airport for her trip back to San Francisco, and then delivered Di to the Durham train station to return home to Cardiff. Not long after getting back to the cottage Cal and Kerith arrived, so we now have the full, if somewhat reduced crew in residence.

Yesterday we had American collector Gene Meieran stop by for a short visit while in route home from a business meeting in Ireland. After suiting up he and Cal spent some time digging in the East Cross-Cut, which borders the northern edge of the Black Sheep pocket zone. While this area has never been fabulously productive, it does yield specimens from time to time, and after a bit of digging and washing away the ever-present mud they were able to reveal a decent pocket. Cal, Gene and I took our turns at digging and managed to turn up a number of specimens, including a fairly large plate of untwined crystals, much like what we found in the Rat Hole pocket a few years back. The crystals are generally somewhat cloudy and not of the best quality we’ve gotten from the mine, but it was satisfying to find a pocket this quickly in the season. The pocket looks like to continues, so we’ll be back at it again today. Today’s photo is of Cal and Gene, suited up in our standard underground costume and showing off a green bit from the mine.

In the afternoon were finally able to shoot the face, so along with some digging we will have a good bit of mucking to do. Dave drilled and shot both the main face and a new cross-cut heading east a bit back from the face. As a result, I am expecting a fair amount of mucking will awaits us today.

More soon,


Jesse & Crew

Cal and Gene dressed for the occassion.

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