Sunday, March 12, 2006
Out of bed. I was expecting some blessed relief from the 120 degree heat today. Peeked out door to see how wet it was outside. No problem. Hardly a spit. All that thunder and lightning last night and there was only enough rain to wipe out the tracks in the dirt. Just like me sorta. All that talk about opal and hardly enough opal yet to fill one jam jar. After brekkie, (breakfast) I sorted two sand bags full of dirt from my mine that Cliff and Pat and I had trommeled together a year ago. No flashes of opal fire that we call “free color” came of it. We call “free color” because the nut in some way has been opened and the inside shows opal as opposed to full nuts that still need to be sawn open to check for opal. I've got to go to the shop this morning to order my fish and chips, a regular lunchtime Sunday event and special treat here in town. Fish and chips didn’t used to be available at any other time. I met some friends there who had been celebrating with a rare visiting chum last night. They were very hung over and sooo quiet I said, “The girla are so quiet that they are invisible!” Everyone barely laughed, more like a whimper actually. We all left the kiosk store/mail drop/snacks takeaway to meet at the JoJo mining area to show their visitor the dirt we have been removing and processing. At this stage in the mine, I consider it really mining “hopal” (as in hope) not opal. Traff was in the mine removing the huge rubble pile of overburden with his excavator so we can begin to tear up the two feet left that is over the opal bearing level tomorrow and hunt through that patch of rubble for full nuts and color. We still have to rip out the remaining old shaft full of backstow that is sticking up proud in the air tantalizing us. We left the backfilled shaft standing up surrounded by four feet of sandstone level so as to keep it separate from the plain non-opalbearing sandstone level overburden around it. Backfill from a hundred years ago usually carries a few good opal bearing matrix nuts that the old timers used to throw away as only the gem centers were marketable back then. When the tower comes down, that truckload won’t go to the other side of the open cut where the overburden is being dumped to fill in that part of the finished with mined mine. That truckload of tower and shaft dirt will be piled up top nest to the trommel to be further processed and all the ironstone nuts removed. Went home for the fish and chips and sent email to m sons in USA by using the RTC (rural transaction center) cyber café which costs 2.00 per fifteen minutes then went back to mine just in time to help spot ironstone for Trafford while he digs and to again check out some more of the clay that carried the pretty pipe opal on Friday. Two hours in the now muggy heat for nothing. Anyway left Traff to go for second time today down into my tiny cut at the other leg of my boomerang shaped mine to tear out a nutband I found near a slide that is carrying color and silica. Using my pick, as the nutband is close to the surface, I got one stone out of all that I ripped out and took it home to hatchet open. Took an exhausted shower and dressed up a bit. It was four o'clock so went to check on how Pat and Cliff were and had a glass of water with them. Left them to rest up while their grandkids were away at a birthday party. Caught Kaitlin and Geoff at home and they want me to consider having Gerawin stay in my home for next six weeks at thirty dollars a week and she pays electric …. Well I guess as I usually turn the electric off as well as the phone. I must think about it. I drank water with them too in their new brightly colored TALL plastic glasses. Aussies love and use many different wildly bright colors in their home décor. It is important to stay hydrated here in the heat. They gave me a heap of tiny tomatoes from their garden and two zucchini along with a can of three beans that they got for twenty-five cents at Crazy Clarks in Charleville. I went home and fixed a cold lamb chop sandwich for diner. I threw away my bread as it tasted moldy although I couldn’t see the mold. I made a microwave lemon cake and tried to read the murder mystery Kaitlin had lent me tonight. I proceeded to write this in my onagain-offagain diary instead. Tomorrow will be exciting so it was hard to fall asleep. It didn’t help that I am sick and tired of all the insects dropping into my cooking, my drinking water, and on me while I try to sleep. It’s so warm the sweat is trickling down the back of my skull and I can feel the dropped insects crawling UP the back of my head in my hair.. I have the fan on high and pointing directly at me. Only way to feel semi-comfortable. The fine hair I have is tickling me about my fan blown face. My insect bites are itching me, my fingernails are worn down by the sandstone rocks I have been sorting…just like sandpaper. Hope I can sleep tonight. I rub myself down with insect repellent and spray my bed. I direct the fan on me as it helps blow away the weaker mosquitoes. I hear the winds caused by the sun having set and the dark cool of evening. We will need good sunlight tomorrow to spot the ironstone in all the dust coated rubble. I saw some gem opal someone else found today and it blew my mind. If only…. www.ParchedEarthOpals.com
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Someone today at the coffee shop said about me, “she’s not interested in a man, only opal.” Is it that bad? Perhaps. I used to have both but there just aren’t many here that are single and are my age and mining. Simple, I am here only three months out of the year after all so put all my energies into the mining and processing and buying that I must do. I feel frozen with so much to do before I head back to USA again for a year. Only twelve days till I leave…eeek. What do I do first? I'll have to bag all the bedding in plastic garbage bags, and tip the mattresses and cover to keep clean of all the varmit poo that will acrue while I am gone ten months. close off the water out of toilet to keep the frogs from taking up residence and again, filling it full of poo. My mind is full of thoughts about poo and rocks...how lovely. I better start getting my “ Yowah and Koroit nuts” in a row. Day after tomorrow I ride into Eulo and Cunnamulla with Kaitlin and Geoff. I need to pay on my back rates and pay the Eulo store on my grocery tab. Perhaps there is something there among his opal for sale that I would like to take to the USA? I need patterned rough stuff for Ron. I need partnership rough opal for Jim. I better take a few finished stones too but I see the locals are charging more for their stones than I do in the States! Guess they look at the internet opals and think they can get the same prices on the field in Australia. The market is always changing and everyone trying to find what works for them. I need to also pay Gwen her share for that opal in the book in Hunter’s jewelry. Cheesh. I need to get a book for Lyle too. He welded the new gidea handle for me on my pick that Des cut from a branch for me. It’s my favorite lucky pick that I used for gouging underground for ten years in Lightning Ridge. I used it to knock out some nuts in my small open cut today to see if the luck was still working…NOT. Lyle was doing welding repairs today on the trommel. Traff and Val put in more pipe for the water and set up at the agitator site. I did two more loads of laundry by hauling eight buckets of water twice for each load and pouring into the washer (need to get the hose connectors in Cunnamulla Wed so won’t have to do that anymore). Ate lunch at Traff’s and Val’s today…fresh slaw salad minus dressing as the Aussies like it, two huge slices of homemade bread and juice cordial (similar to our kool aid). Lovely, and of course, we talked of mining and opal our favorite subject. I got a saw blade from Therese today (you go thru one ten dollar blade a day when sawing) and need to give it to Des to start sawing some nuts. I brought some peanut butter cake I made in the microwave (in this heat, sometimes 120 degrees and more a day I prefer not to use my gas stove and the propane bottle is running low anyway) to Therese and Charlie for a snack in the mines. They broke thru another drive right into my wall of solid ground. There was backfill there, too. Very good. More stuff to process for next year.
To see what I do and why I do it, go to my website at www.ParchedEarthOpals.com
To see what I do and why I do it, go to my website at www.ParchedEarthOpals.com