Friday, November 20, 2009

October Already


Wow, I can’t believe it is October already! Right now I am sitting next to a bunch of piles of dirt and rock mounds. Everything is orange, including me! I have learned a lot about gold mining, especially about panning! I have become an ‘expert’ panner! I am sitting watching Gordon’s plant in action. Lot’s of red dust is in the air. I am watching the big escavader as Gordon maneuvers it to shovel dirt into the plant. In action it looks like a giant dinosaur; a robotic dinosaur. It’s like the ‘creature’ drops it’s head down to eat some dirt and then lifts it’s head back up to ‘spit’ it out. The dirt that is shoveled up is emptied onto a grate with a pig funnel under it. The grate keeps the very large rocks out and allows the rest to go through the funnel and onto the belt. The dirt is taken upwards on a belt and through a grate, which spits out the medium sized rocks (the oversize) and the rest of the dirt goes down a ‘staircase’ thing. Each ‘step’ is a little compartment that traps the dirt. Under the staircase there are two tires that act as a pump. Air is pumped into the tires, making the staircase gently shake. This allows the heavy pieces (hopefully gold) to get stuck in the compartments on the staircase and the light pieces (hopefully not gold) bounce down the staircase. The dirt that goes down the staircase is taken up on a belt and dropped down onto a big pile (the discards). The oversize will get metal detected eventually, but the discards of course will not be.

Meanwhile I have been panning dirt/rocks from the old gully. After clearing off the top layer of rocks, we used a pick to loosen the hard dirt. Then shovel it into a bucket. We only dig until we get to this grey dirt which it granite that has turned to dirt. There won’t be gold in the ‘soft’ granite because when the gold was flowing through the once flowing stream the soft granite would have been hard rock. I have only found a small amount of gold from the gully but it has been good practice panning. It takes a lot of patience. We have found a lot of gold on the plant though!

Boof is so cute; he is taking a nap right next to the plant. With all the racket it makes you would think he would go further away under a tree somewhere to take a nap. I am trying to call him to come over, but it is too loud he can’t hear me. We gave him an old sandwich Gordon didn’t eat from yesterday. We broke off little pieces of the sandwich and fed it too him. We would hold up each piece above him and he would spin around on his hind legs like a little ballerina keeping his eyes on the treat, then we would feed it to him. After a few pieces he started to get full so he started taking the pieces somewhere where we couldn’t see him and buried them. He is not very good at burying the pieces but he remembers where he puts them. I went over to where he buried a piece and found the piece of sandwich. Boof was acting like, ‘you stole my food’. I gave it back to him and he found a better hiding place. Anytime we went near it Boof would go and protect it.

I am still feeling very fatigue and light headed. We are going to Charter’s Towers tomorrow and I am going to get checked out. Hopefully they can tell me what is wrong and what I need to do to get better. I don’t like not having energy to do things. Leah thinks it might e a virus but I don’t have a headache or a fever or any other symptoms.

I have had a nice time in Pentland. I am glad I stopped here. I had a feeling there was a reason for me to come here. Almost time to hit the road again though. Well looks like Gordon is taking a break. Maybe we will check the plant for gold.

Still In Pentland

4-10- 09

I am still hanging out in Pentland!! We have found lots of gold! I am developing a good eye for spotting gold., even when it is covered in dirt. If I am not sure I put it in my mouth and then if you feel a cold hard rock in your mouth you know it is gold. It has been nice hanging out with a family. I enjoy being with the girls. It reminds me of home when I was a kid.

I just finished learning to use the ‘back hoe’. I sat in the drivers set and steered the tractor with one hand and controlled the ‘lifter’ with the other hand. I used the lifter to smooth out the ground so that we could metal detect the area Gordon just finished digging. I go forward while the lifter is on the ground, scooping up the dirt, and then stop and ‘lift the lifter’ up and dump the dirt onto a pile. Hopefully we will find a BIG piece of gold! Yesterday I found a 1.5 gram piece with the metal detector. Not bad for me! Although, Gordon has found a 5 ounce piece before. That is the biggest he has ever found though. I saw it and held it; it is stunning and really heavy. We are going to detect the oversize piles as well.

We went to Emma and Kate’s grandma Bonnie’s house. They were staying there for their school break. It is like an animal farm over there. There are 7 dogs, 20 cats (plus all the wild ones that come by), 2 chucks, 2 ponies, a horse, a goat that just had a baby the day before we came there, and a Joey (baby kangaroo)!

Continuing The Blog

Since I ‘discontinued’ my blog I have still kept up a journal. So…since everyone wanted me to continue my blog, I decided it would not be that bad of an idea to just copy down what I have written in my journal. It will be a good way to reflect about what I have done. I like reading my journal anyways so now I will type and read at the same time and maybe add bits and pieces here and there.

29-9-09 First Day On The Road!

I started my ‘solo’ road trip yesterday. I left Airlie Beach around 11:00 am. I made it to Pentland just after dark. I parked near a public bathroom on a side neighborhood street away from the streetlights. I am glad to be gone from Airlie beach. I spent to long there, but that’s ok, I have plenty of time. I have a strange head ‘ache’ It doesn’t feel like a ‘headache’. I feel dizzy. I can feel my heart beat on my head; it pulsates. Originally, I thought it was due to being on the Internet for such a long period of time two days in a row catching up on my blog. But it has now been a couple of days and I can still feel it. I hope it goes away soon, and that it is nothing serious. Mason thinks I am growing a third eye!!

Today has been spontaneous. I woke up and had a mission to find the family that I met on ‘help-x’. I remembered that they lived in Pentland but I lost their name and address. I stopped at the gas station and asked the people there if they knew a Toni that owned a farm with a wife and a few kids. Pentland is such a tiny town I thought they might know who they were, but I wasn’t sure about the name Toni. There was a friendly man in a navy blue ‘working uniform’ that I thought worked at the gas station. But he was just helping an elderly couple check their oil. He didn’t know anyone named Toni in town, so I thought I probably have the name wrong. I asked if there was any Internet I could use in town to find out what their names were. The town is very small, so there aren’t any ‘internet caf├ęs’! He said I could probably use the Internet at the gas station. Gordon asked Bill, the man that owns the gas station if I could use the Internet to find these people. It only took a second. I found the family on help-x. Their names were Bill and Yvonne Schaefer!! I can’t believe I would have forgot their last name; it is basically the same as Schaffert!! They have 4 kids and own a BIG cattle farm. Gordon, ironically, happened to be on his way to their property. He has a lease on their land to mine for gold. However he said he was pretty sure Bill and Yvonne had left yesterday evening to ‘go fencing’ for a week. They put up fences for people as a side job to make more money. He had their phone number in his phone and gave them a ring. No answer. Gordon asked me if I wanted to come along with him to his lease and see what gold mining is like and they could stop and see if Bill and Yvonne had left yet as well. Well I couldn’t say no to gold mining!! Especially because where ever I have gone with Josh he say’s ‘we are going to get rich mining for gold here!’ So I hoped in his ‘yute’ with his little dog, Boof. It was nice to be around a dog. I miss Lucy.

We drove past Bill and Yvonne’s house; no one was home. Then continued on a dirt road, through a few cattle gates, past a lot of Wallabies and Wallaroos (small kangaroos with Big arms, i.o.w. a kangaroo on steroids). We almost ran over a big black snake. We eventually made it to a very orange dirt area. Gordon had just finished building a Gold Mine Plant. It’s is quite a sight to see. He made it all from scrap metal and parts. He ran the plant the past two days for the first time. Loading dirt into it nonstop. He was anxious to see if there was any gold in it. So we climbed up on the plant and started searching for gold that the plant had ‘sifted through’. We found gold right away! Considering I have never seen gold in my life, this was a lot of gold!! We vacuumed up the dirt off the plant slowly while looking for gold. Then emptied the dirt from the vacuum in to a couple bucket’s. Filled up a big bucket full of water and ‘panned’ the rest. I don’t think I have ever been taught how to pan for gold, but it is quite an art. Gordon taught me how to do it and we found a bit more gold.

After we panned all the gold we sat and heated up some water in a ‘Billy’ on a fire and had tea and ‘sang-as’, Sandwiches. We talked about global warming. Gordon seems to think it may not all be due to carbon emissions and is part of the earth’s natural course. He just would like to see that the scientists consider other possibilities. He doesn’t like how the only thing he ever hears about is how carbon is causing global warming like it is a fact and not a theory. I didn’t really know what to say to all that, because I don’t really know all that much about how the scientists have come to the conclusion that too much carbon in the atmosphere causes global warming. Anyways, we talked about other things too, I can’t remember.

Then Gordon dug big amounts of dirt with an excavator and loaded them into the plant. The belt broke after a while and we had to stop. We then metal detected the area where Gordon was digging. We didn’t find any gold but quite a few steel slivers that had come off the plant. I learned how to listen to the signal to locate metal and how gold makes a slightly different sound then steal or other metal.

After we were done we packed up and started to drive back but stopped at an old dry trench where at some point people had mined for gold. We took off a small layer of rocks in the trench and shoveled up some dirt and put it in a bucket for me to pan later. Not expecting to find anything, but just for the experience of panning dirt that hasn’t gone through a plant. We drove all the way back to Bill and Yvonne’s and back to the road and to Gordon’s block of land where he had cattle and a bunch of “junk”. It is where he built his plant. There we sat and panned the dirt in some water. I learned how to shake the pan in order to allow the water to push off the rocks on top, then letting the water pull the sand out leaving the gold at the bottom. I found one tiny piece of gold in three pans! But it was all mine!! Maybe I should try and mine some more tomorrow!! I can’t wait to tell Josh! Well now I have taken a shower at Gordon’s. I was completely orange! We will eat dinner shortly; Gordon is fixing pork chops and eggs. I should go ask if he needs a hand. I am staying in Emma, his daughter’s room tonight.