Friday, June 27, 2014

Well, good morning,

Thursday was overcast, breezy and mild. That was the good news for the day.

Our blast at the face had produced a goodly pile of debris including a few honking boulders, perhaps the larger near 3/4 of a ton. To start the day, things went smoothly with our using the tugger (winch) to pull enough timber after the face was mucked out.

Dave set to on the Eimco, Jesse ran the loco and I stayed outside to unhook the full tub from the loco and help push it to where we would dump the load. Since some of the boulders were sooooo big Jesse and I opted to dump them on the west side just outside the portal. The first couple of tubs included some huge boulders, which gave us quite a show as they plowed their way through the hackberry trees at the base of the tip.

On the downside for the day, if something could jump the rails it did. By my count the loco came off about 6 times, three in one go and the tub went off right at the end, nearly going to the bottom of the tip but leaving all four wheels off the rails. This required some extraordinary levering with a good size fulcrum and a 14' timber. Even that was only good enough to get one set of wheels on at a time. Once that was accomplished Jesse and I were physically busted only to have the loco decide not to go around the curve at the portal... off three times.

Finally Dave came to our rescue and dumped a bit of old oil on the rails and that seemed to do the trick.... greasing the wheels so to speak. The muck pile was full of really mucky mud and huge boulders, a combination born in hell for dumping onto the tip. Every load required the use of a hack to move the pile of s..t out of the way, a good 15 minutes and all you accomplished was just enough space for the next load to repeat the process. By days end I was flat busted, not sure about Jesse or Dave but lots of groaning around the cottage before we headed off to the pub for some liquid anesthetics.

Friday was overcast, cooler and very light breezes, in most cases not strong enough to keep the midges away.

Kerith and I left before 8:00a.m. to make a run to Newcastle to redo our car rental contract. In most cases we can do this by phone from the cottage but no such luck on Thursday so off we went. Got it all straightened out and then a quick trip to CostCo in Gateshead and back at the mine by 11:30a.m.

Dave was just going up the stairs with the last stretcher board on his shoulders. I quickly changed and went up to see Dave and Jesse finishing up the timbering. Dave went downstairs for an early bait while Jesse and I attacked a small pocket in the face. These are not usually of any note being untwinned purple cubes for the most part, often etched. Still it is the first new fluorite we have seen so we had at it.

We had visitors from the Firearm and Explosive Licensing group who had hoped to see a blast but were treated to our digging mud, splashing muddy water on ourselves, and a few bits of fluorite. We gave it a rest after about an hour and opted to let Dave go ahead and drill the face. From today's picture you can see a blue bag in place protecting a good looking knob of purple cubes with aragonite. We hope it survives the blast, if the fluorite fairies are good to us it will. In the course of drilling Dave put a six-foot hole in the right side of the face and found that it passed through the very end of the Bluebird's pocket so we know we are very close. The blast went off without a hitch. Jesse and I will take a look at things on Sunday.

Cheers, Cal & Kerith & Jesse



Getting ready to fire the face, again.

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