Leaves are starting to turn yellow, and there’s termination dust on the mountains. We are trying to use up the last of the season while the gold is so good, we are getting better returns than we have ever gotten. One day has yielded what two or three days of running normally give us. No more big nuggets but we are hopeful that guy has a big brother still hanging out in there! We are hopeful for a change in the weather, but we probably have a week left in the season. Oh well the gold will be there in the spring.
In the meantime we are stockpiling this stuff up for you guys!
Back here at the claim. Now that we know our homes are relatively safe from the forest fire. Got some much needed rain, it doesn’t make it much fun to work outside, but we don’t have to worry about every little spark from grinding or welding. Campfires are still banned, so we had to huddle up by the little buddy heater in the storage tent last night.
First order of business, noticed some cracked hoses on the backhoe. Off to town to get new ones made.
Then some welding and grinding on the trommel. We are adapting the sluice that was from our old wash plant. It’s wider, deeper and longer. Should work much better. Also have to put lock nuts on the belt tension bolts to make sure they don’t rattle out.
Seems like we spend more time getting ready to run than it takes to actually process the dirt. Part of mining I guess.
Finally got up and running. Working the bugs out of our trommel. She likes to jam up with rocks sometimes right where the hopper chute goes into the trommel.
We tilted the angle of the trommel and it helped a great deal, though occasionally one works it’s way in there and then things get exciting. You have to try to clear the jam before burning the belts and fast enough that a bunch of material doesn’t build up and overrun the sluice after the drum starts turning again. Wish there were a way to avoid this but we haven’t found any so far.
We have been getting a little gold. A lot of overburden came down over the winter. There is gold in it, so we ran it.
The dig site is looking pretty promising. Just removed this huge rock. Started uncovering it last year. We discovered it had a halo of gold around it. Can’t wait to see what it has under it.
So what’s going on in this picture? Why, I am thawing out a pile of frozen paydirt that’s what! I have a big old tarp and a diesel heater and I’m thawing and screening paydirt to sell. At the end of the mining season last year, I made a pile just in case. I never thought to have to do this as we had 1500 bags in my garage, ready to go. That’s what we get for aiming low. We have been so blessed with folks wanting our paydirt to try their hand at mining in the comfort of their own home. We sold that 1500 bags by January, so every few weeks here I am, going back for more. Thank you to all of you for your support for our dream.
The other thing you may notice is there is no snow on the ground. While the rest of you are buried in snow in places like Tennessee and Georgia, we have YOUR warm weather up here. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen anything like this winter. Its gotten up to 60 degrees around here at a time its supposed to be below zero. Don’t know what is going on with our planet, but I say let’s just skip this winter and go straight to Mining Season!
Since the forest service has us effectively shut down until we get our equipment back, we went back to the beginning and dug a few test holes. Gotta have another spot lined up in case this one runs out.
Also we washed rocks and cleaned up the last little bit of the good stuff we had.
We used the homemade trommel and ran backhoe buckets full through it. First hole, nothing, second we did find some color, doesn’t look like much but it is considering that we were not anywhere deep enough and it is only one backhoe bucket worth. Hopefully you can see it in the picture.
Here is the kid holding a spruce grouse chick we almost stepped on, his mom was in the trees squeaking at us so we let him go and left the area for a while.