Rough Couple of Hunts

Thursday’s hunt was trying to open up a new site just a quarter of a mile from the recent honeyhole — you figure if one site gives up 65 silvers, the one down the street might give up a few as well.  But it wasn’t to be — all I found is midrange depth clad quarters from the 60s to 80s.  Usually a good tell, but it worried me that I found no dimes or pennies.  The mineralization was brutal, and I guess I’m not seeing them, so I’m not gonna see a silver dime.  Maybe a silver quarter, but I didn’t have the patience.  I only remember this happening once before, in the red clay soil of North Carolina, where you struggle to see clad quarters, and have no chance of seeing smaller coins.  Not sure it is the case here or not, but the site is probably a failure.

Moved on to a big park in the area that I wrote about the other day where I pulled a merc, and I was hoping to open up the site with more silver, but it wasn’t to be.  The park really is pretty hunted out, but I was in a zone that had given up the merc, and it was giving up tons of clad, which is usually a good tell, but all I got was one wheatie and this sterling elephant ring.  Its such a big park tho, there is still a chance of pulling something in an out of the box zone, but again. mineralization is an issue here.

Saturday I met up with some guys at at a massively huge park for some woods hunting — last time I was here, I pulled 3 silver coins, but it was all due to sticking to an old roadbed in the woods, and I worked that paradigm pretty hard last time, so I wasn’t sure where the silver would come from this time, just randomly swinging in the woods, but guys have pulled seated halves, dimes, reales, and so forth from these woods, so you have to give it a go, and besides, its more fun to hunt with others, even if you don’t find anything.  I didn’t find anything, other than a couple of corroded wheaties.  Not sure anyone else did; if they did, I don’t know about it.

I had to attend to some errands, then had some time for another hunt closer to home, at yet another site on my prospective list that I have never been to, and I was again skunked.  This is an old school, and these can be hit or miss, but this was bad, not a single deep coin in the “obvious section”.

But the out of the box section, the corner of the property gave up some wheaties, and I was optimistic, but was not to be.  The wheaties were shallow, and I pulled 6 of em, which means I’m owed two silvers, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  The mineralization was the most brutal I remember ever seeing — I was getting an auto rec of 9 for a good part of the hunt, and almost always lower than 15.  I like to be above 21, and consider below 19 pathological.  This site is mostly a writeoff as well, except for one huge old farm field that I may wonder sometime when I’m in the mood to go for a one in a million field score.

So, two prospective sites, both dudding, as well as that park I was hoping to develop, but now looks bleak as well.  You get times like this you feel you will never see silver again — one of the downsides of working a site dry and then moving onto the next one.  One day, there will not be a next one.  Maybe that day is today, who knows?  These sorts of sites do not grow on trees, and meanwhile the competition has been at work on others with their Minelabs as well.   But, I feel like I had a good run since May 2010 if I never find another good site, but I’ll keep trying for a while, or maybe I’ll get more serious about door knocking — but that’s not my style — when I’ve done it, its generally just for the day, and I enjoy the experience of solving a site day after day.

What I’m not understanding is this all or nothing vibe I run into.  Some sites give up 20 to140 silvers, and some give up bupkis.  All basically look the same in the research.  I wonder why.  I wonder if it is about the intense and variable mineralization we seem to have around here, or if it is just the case that myself and the competition are in the process of cleaning everything up, sort of the tail end of a golden age.  Who knows?

Well, at least I won’t have to write blog entries that often, and I can learn to play the lute.

Farewell Honeyhole

Always the saddest title, even sadder than “Skunked”.

Back to this winter’s honeyhole for the Final Farewell Farewell hunt — cleaning up loose ends, wandering aimlessly around a huge field, and getting skunked (except for a nice field tell – a colonial buckle, not very deep, but there’s no reason to believe the random areas of this field are any better than the random areas of any other random field, and reasons to believe they are worse).

No more old timer’s half dollars.  No big fish.  But the site did produce 65 silver coins, including 3 silver half dollars, one of which may have been one of the old timer’s.  We’ll never know, but it made good copy at the time, and was fun to think about.  The oldest silver coin was a 1901 barber dime.  There may have been some IHs or some abused coppers as well; if so, I don’t remember them.  In any case, my 5th best site ever in terms of silver coin count, tho it did not produce a top 30 career find.  The big fish, if they were there and deep, were hidden by the brutal mineralization.

This was a bizarre site to figure out, and in fact, I never did.  It had the most dense hot zone I’ve ever hit, flanked not 30 feet away by zones that would not even give up clad.  Fortunately, it had one traditional zone that could be meticulously gridded out to get some stray silvers after the hot zone, but that was the exception, not the rule — everything was dead in other directions.  38 in the hot zone (about a half acre).  1 in the devil strip. 26 traditionally gridded out in about a 3-5 acre area.  And acres and acres of dead all around and in between.  Weird.  No doubt alot of fill and grade, incompetent competition, intense variable mineralization, and variable bedrock, and many more factors going on.  Who knows?

So, that’s that.  Onto look for a new site.  We’ll see how that goes.  At least the weather is improving.  The endless winter may finally be winding down.

Devil Strip Silver

I love that term, and I guess unless you are from Akron, Ohio, or are a linguistics freak, you may not know what it means.  What it means is that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road.  Turns out its a very regionalized term, and I have no idea what the Chester County term is, so I’ll just use it, cause its cool, and proves I’m well-read on these matters, I guess (I grew up, and now live, in an area without sidewalks, so I don’t have a term, in actuality, but no doubt I’ve used “curb strip” in the past).  (Also turns out someone did a study on these regionalized terms, and published a huge dictionary on the matter.  Very cool, (but still proves many people have too much time on their hands).  Google around for it.  My favorite term has to be “zep”, a term, as far as I know, that is only current in the Schuylkill valley area of Montgomery and Chester Counties (where I did grow up and still live), which means “hoagie”, “hero”, “sub”, and the like (cool to define a regional term with other regional terms; most folks use “hoagie” around here except the true old time locals).  I love it that you can still walk into pizza joints around here (at least the old, cool ones), and see the term on the menu, even in this day and age of homogenization.

Anyway, onto the silver, and you know if the preamble is long, and off-topic, the hunt was likely lame.  It wasn’t too bad, cause any hunt with silver is a good hunt.  Back to the recent honeyhole (not the “old honeyhole”, the one before that where I’ve spent most of my time this year), to work a few undetected sections, including the devil strip along the road that runs thru it, and the first target was a ’41 merc.  Not bad.  Unfortunately, the next three hours produced bupkis (not even a wheatie), except of a gold-filled wedding band.

Hunting devil strips is an acquired taste.  Its hard.  Its trashy, and passersby (I love that word as well; a rare English word that is infix inflected (anyone still working on gender inflected interjections? :) )) are in your face from both sides.  And, not only is it trashy, its brutally trashy.  Did I mention that it is also trashy?  But often you can get silver there when the adjacent area is dead, because some people miss them, and some people hate trashy.  I remember one hunted out park that produced nothing but a rosie after hours and hours of hunting, and then in the short devil strip was a walker and a huge silver ring, so its always worth checking out if you can stomach the passersby and the trash.

As for the “gold filled” ring, it claims to be 1/20th of 10K, which I guess makes it .5K.  If that ring were gold, it would be worth about $200, so I suppose its worth about $10.  But, its someone’s wedding ring.  It has names inscribed in it.  Too bad they are common names, and there is no date.  Last time I found one with names inscribed, one of the names was uncommon, and there was an exact date, and I still could not find the owner, despite all the research tools at my fingertips and at the historical society.  The odds of me finding the owner are low, but we’ll see.

So, I think that will be the last silver from this place, as all other areas tested dead, but I will give it one final farewell farewell hunt.  After 65 silvers, I owe it that much.

But, there’s more.  Actually, there isn’t really.  I should really write about the awesome Bad Religion concert Sunday night.  It was the best concert I’ve ever been to (even better than when I saw them 6 or 7 years ago), but I don’t really have the skill, much less the time, to do so.  One thing that was kinda weird tho was that some dude comes up to me and asks how old I am (and I am kinda old to be in a mosh pit and deal with crowd surfing, but I am in good shape and have been dealing with such for 30 years), and I tell him, and he says is friend is 33 and didn’t come cause he thought he was too old to go.  Are you kidding me?  The band has been making music that long.  Get out and live.  Never let your fear decide your fate (ok, I stole that line, but I like it).  Awesome concert in any case.

Well, we got some linguistics instead of the dismal science for a change.  I guess I’m just an intellectual jack of all trades.  Maybe next time we’ll throw in some particle physics.  What is a Higgs boson anyway, and why to we care that its existence was recently (supposedly) confirmed?  Isn’t all that stuff sort of obvious?  Sort of like the collective yawn that occurred when the background microwave radiation was confirmed.  Duh.  (As an aside, I’m proud to have called that one when I was very young, we’ll before it was confirmed and while there were many theories out there that were inconsistent with its existence.  Not that it ever did anything for me — look how I ended up, a slob writing a pseudo intellectual metal detecting blog that gets really excited about finding 60 year old shiny disks.  But, there is always more to the story than meets the eye).

Oh my, that was a bizarre entry.  Should have spent more ink on the BR concert.  But what is done is done; we don’t do morning edits anymore.

Old Honeyhole

Haven’t been out since Wed, and was itching to get out, and despite another cold, dreary day here in late March, got in a rare weekend day hunt.

Went to an old honeyhole — the last time I was here there was 4/24/11, and it turns out its my 4th best site, having given up 65 silvers.  I’ve been thinking about it alot lately, given that my current site, which I will probably close this week, weather permitting (and that is supposed to be even worse next week), is at 64.

I wondered, since I’ve improved so much in two years, whether I could coax a few more out of this site.  This site had one hot zone that gave up 19 silvers in a single day (and it would have been 20 or 21 if my battery didn’t die), and I was wondering if the big unit would help.  And besides, its pretty close to where I live.

But the site was pretty dead.  Alot has happened in 2 years, including, I reckon, the competition buying Minelab machines.  I think I went over it pretty well that spring I was there, but not this well.  Pulled a total of 6 coins in 3 hours.  Are you kidding me?  Just one clad coin, 4 deep greenie meanie wheaties, and a 1946 rosie.  Woohoo.  Any hunt with silver is good.

I passed on three other wheaties, and only one clad dime, so this site has been slammed in the meantime.  It still needs a hunt or two to formally close it off, as there is still silver there, but it is very sparse.

Well, off to see Bad Religion now at the Factory.  One of my favorite bands.  Hard to believe they are still kicking after over 30 years.  Wonder how I’ll hold up in the pit?

Third Site’s a Charm

Back to the honeyhole to work on one of the two remaining small zones, the first of which gave up a wheatie spill last week, but I had no other intel on it.  A couple of wheats in there today, but no other good tells, and it didn’t have the best sound.  It was cold, and the wind was biting (this is an exposed site, and its always biting, but biting less when the silver is flying).

As much as I would have loved to remain to clean up this section, I decided to cut my losses and head for a nearby site which is more protected from the wind.  Before doing so, I pulled a pocket watch, too bad its base metal.

The second site was where I found just my 12th career silver, way back in the fall of 2009, and I have not been back since.  Its a 50s park in a very old town, so its a mixed bag of expectations.  I’m not sure if my expectations were dashed or not, but it was quiet as a church mouse — not even a wheatie, and I did all the right things, like working the edges, out of the box sections, and so forth.  Obviously not the right things today.

Decided to go home, but that takes me past another old site, a site I’ve hit many times, but have only a rosie to show for it, which I found in 2010.  Everyone claims its hunted out, but its too big to be hunted out.  Its true its hard to find silver here, at least for me, but I’ve always felt the problem was that the mineralization was too extreme, not that there isn’t silver there.  I’ve never had good luck here either, but this was my first hunt at the site with the big unit, and I pulled a merc and a wheatie in the 45 minutes I had.

If I can make this site sing with the big unit, that would be awesome, cause it looks like a 50-100 site, but I’m not too optimistic on that score.  This is my 5th or 6th hunt there, with just two dimes.

Lucky Mo-Jo

Lots goin’ on here tonite.  I feel one of those “story” posts coming, but I think it’ll be all good.  We’ll see.  Lets roll it.

Back to the honeyhole of recent entries was the plan — to regrid from a different angle the extreme 2 per hour hot zone, as we started to last hunt.  Weather was rainy, and as I pulled out of my driveway, it started to pour.  Almost turned around, but its a half hour drive, so maybe it would clear.  It did, just as I got there.  Day was actually nice for a change.

So, first, check this out, heart pounding tone coming in as a beautiful 09-48 at 8 inches.

Lucky Mo-Jo.  GOOD LUCK.  Are you kidding me!  “GOOD LUCK” would have been a SLQ.  “Lucky Mo-Jo” would have been another old timer’s silver half.  Its not even a copper.  Its an effen token with a hole in it.   Silver halfs come in at 3-5 inches at this place, and I dig 8 inches for some Lucky Mo-Jo.

But its cool in its own right.  Check this out.  It never ceases to amaze me what people put on the Internet, and what you can find out there, with just a few clicks of a mouse.  Some dude actually has a blog with scans of a vintage catalog with all sorts of snake oil and whatnot for sale, and this thing is in there –

The full blog post is here, but its very pic heavy.  Its basically a scan of the whole catalog.  Is that catalog cool, or what? As near as I can tell, this thing is from the ’30s or ’40s, which would be consistent with the other coins I’ve dug here.  Hopefully, it will bring me some Lucky Mo-Jo, but I wonder if it brought its original owner such, and how the lodestone and John the Conqueror root worked out for him.

But hey, its cool to kinda think about the person who carried and lost this, in the context of the place, what their life was like, getting such a catalog in the mail and spending a buck’s worth of silver for this stuff, (which could have been lost instead for me to find), and so forth, but lets move on (oh, and as an aside, I had no idea “mojo” was current in the 30s.  I thought it was a more modern borrow.  One more thing to research).

Anyway, onto the silver, and hoping I would have some lucky mojo on that front, going over an area I had already done.  This is the first time I have ever done this to a serious degree, and I was curious how it would go.  On the one hand, you want to find lots of silver, cause you always want to find lots of silver, but that would prove you sucked the first time.  OTOH, you don’t want to find any, cause that would prove you have some skill at working a site, but not finding silver sucks.

My goal was to simply go slow and carefully from a different angle to see what I had missed.  It was sort of an experiment; given that it was such a hot zone, and I had previously found 2 silvers in this section after I had already supposedly finished it. It seemed worthwhile.

And I ended up finding 3 silver dimes and 10 wheaties (the oldest being a 1919), as well as 2 deep clad quarters and the mojo token.

Not bad, or not good, depending on how you look at it.  The first silver was sort of straightforward, could be clad, could be silver, could be a wheatie, but I was pretty sure it was a silver before I dug it.  Other than the somewhat ambiguous TID, there was nothing hard about this one, and I should have gotten it the first time.

The second one was one of the toughest silvers I’ve found in a while.  In all honesty, it may have been a benefit of experiment bias.  It was a deep, iffy, iron false sort of signal, often the sort of thing I don’t dig, as it didn’t pinpoint great, but the second time around, when targets are thin, you may be more likely to dig it.  This was a dime at approximately 7 inches, I’m guessing. with a large piece of iron.  I may not have even heard the dime, just the iron, and got lucky.  As it worked out, I’m diggin’ diggin’ down for this thing, and it seems way deeper than it should be, and I check the tailings on the dropcloth, and there it is.  The thing I was actually going for was the iron hunk, after I had already pulled the silver out unknowingly.  Note to newbies — be aware of this possibility.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes what you think is the primary target, may not be, and the good target could always be in the tailings or the plug.  Its part of my protocol to always check this when I think the target is too deep.   In any case, I don’t feel bad about missing this one the first time.  We just had alot of rain, and many other factors could have been different as well.

The third one was a unique experience, and also may be a bit biased.  I hit a shallow canslaw, a big one, and those things sound awful and obvious on the E-Trac, and are easy to ignore, so no doubt I heard it the first time thru.  But this time I thought I heard the sweet sound of silver in the racket.  Was certain there was a silver quarter in there as well.  Couldn’t separate it, but I felt I heard it.  Pulled the canslaw, rescanned, and there it was, a barely legal 64 rosie.  Amazing.  It wasn’t directly under it, but it was close, a little off to the side.  Don’t think I’ve ever found one affected by a huge canslaw before.

As for the wheaties, I expected some, as I generally don’t dig ‘em unless they are iffy, but most of these were iffy.  So I missed 10 wheaties, 3 silvers, 3 others the first time, at least that I know of.  In addition to the rain, I do know that when I first started at this site, and I believe the first day and second day in this zone, I was using the pro coil and not the ultimate 13.  So, as an experiment, in terms of controlling variables and whatnot, this doesn’t come close to qualifying, but interesting nonetheless.

Total hunt time today was 5 hours, so it was still not a bad run rate.  Original silvers in this zone was 33, plus 3 more today, and 2 on other days when I thought I was done, for a total of 38.  According to Google Earth, the area is about 100×200 or about half an acre (the site is at least 50 acres, and goes much faster, and much as been written off, and accounts for 26 silvers).  Of course, it was alot faster working it the second time, less targets, and you knew the bounds of the hot zone.  Imagine the run rate you could get if you knew up front exactly where the boundaries are.

So, as an optimization/economic problem, I’m prolly very unlikely to rework a zone of a site I’ve been over carefully, unless it is really dense, and really hard (where there may be benefits from seeing it from a different angle), as this one was.  But, it worked out for me in this case — I’m glad I did it, and glad I took these notes for future reference.

Anyway, enough data, lets see them dimes all shiny’ed up, so I can test this auto gallery update thing.  My hope was to find just one silver coin today, so I can test that live for the first time.  Here goes — we’ll see this pic and Lucky Mo-Jo in the gallery if all goes well.  If not, I’ll be hacking code all night rather than watching basketball.

Gallery Programming Project

Took advantage of the down time from the bad weather and being sick (the former which seems to be ongoing indefinitely; the latter mostly passed) to finally do a programming project that was on my list, my gallery of finds from 2012 on.  (Its also under the Galleries menu above).

The idea is that when I make a post, the pics automatically get loaded into the gallery (so long as they silvers, more or less).  Hopefully it works, and hopefully I’ll be finding some more silver to test it on an ongoing basis, we’ll see.

It was a pain in the ass, and took way longer than I expected it to (3 days).  But what’s done is done.  Prolly infinitely many bugs, including not working on browsers other than mine (and certainly not on mobile devices, cause I don’t even have a mobile device, and who’s gonna dial up my finds on their iPhone anyway?), but letterboxers who view my site are used to that :)

All the pics are on one page.  But, I like the impact of seeing all the silver at once.  Its my site, after all, so bring a hispeed connection.  TODO tho may be to break it into years, especially if I import my pre 2012 gallery that is still on FMDF.  TODO is to also put my best finds in a Gallery format.  That could look cool.

So, one thing that was kinda sad — I had to read thru alot of my old entries as part of this project, and aside from the fact that I didn’t take a pic of every silver I found (too bad, cause each is hard fought, and it would make the gallery even bigger), was that this time last year I was writing about how the grass was growing too thick to detect at the site I was working. No such luck this year, as the weather remains cold and miserable, with no prospect of improvement in the foreseeable future.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get out this week anyway, assuming the current snow doesn’t amount to anything, we’ll see.

In any case, feel free, if you see an obvious bug in the gallery using a browser I’m likely to have, to drop me a note.

Miserable Week

What a miserable week.  I got sick with some sort of fever, cough, sore throat kinda thing.  Went out anyway on Wednesday to my honeyhole, in the gray, cold, chill wind, and was skunked again.  Cleaning up loose ends at the site, and trying to expand a couple more directions from the hot zone that was giving up 2 per hour back a month ago or whenever it was.  Hard to believe, just 30 feet away, I couldn’t even get good tells.  The direction into the field seems played, and while I was getting good tells in some of the loose end sections, no silver.  It was a miserable day.

I couldn’t bring myself to get out Thursday, as the wind was even worse, and I was even sicker, but I did get out today, even tho I am still sick, and got more of the same.  Bupkis.  The site seems played.  Too bad, cause finding new sites can be a struggle.

But I did something I haven’t done much before, and that was to start regridding the hottest zone after I had already covered it fairly thoroughly (at least in my mind).  And I got one.  Gotta do a pic with the dirt on cause even I don’t believe I dug it.  First silver coin since last week.  It was deep and iffy.

What I did on the regrid was grid diagonally.  Most people grid parallel/perpendicular to the edge of the site, but going diagonally may be a good idea, especially if you know it has already been gridded out at traditional right angles.  I didn’t do much of it, so I may regrid the entire hot zone on diagonals very carefully next week.

In addition, there are two other sections I have not spent much time in, and one gave up a wheatie spill during a quick prospecting run.  That said, I don’t think these sections are very promising (which is why I’ve left them to last).  I’ve closed off all of the other paradigms, so this honeyhole is just about played.  Looks like a 61-65 silver site.  Its just the strangest site, with a really hot patch, a traditional density patch just one direction from it, and then huge absolute dead zones right next to it where it should be promising.  Some may have been filled, but old trees and roots in others suggest that that is not the whole story.  Who knows?

One silver this week, I was sick, it was cold, and the honeyhole played out a bit sooner than I had hoped.  What a joy. Hopefully next week will be better.

So, lets see that beautiful rosie all shiny’ed up.  They are exciting, especially if you only get one once a week.

Skunked Again

Back to my honeyhole today, no coil issues, no cops telling me about my competition sneaking onto private historical properties (which, if you think about it, is actually a good thing, cause they ain’t at my prospective sites), plenty of iron falses, no bad stream of consciousness writing (at least we hope not), and worst of all, no silver.  I had to endure the silverless drive of shame home, as they call it over on American Detectorist.

Did pull a 1901 IH and 6 wheaties, the oldest being a 1910.  I know some people feel pulling an IH isn’t being skunked, but we all know how I feel about them.  This one is actually one of the better ones I’ve pulled, tho.

So now I have a huge site that appears to have stopped producing — just 1 silver in the past 8 hours, and we really like to be at 1 per 2 hours at worst to continue with a site  — but this site has been so good to me, so I think we have to consider giving it a few more tries.  The direction I’m going in seems pretty played out (tho I didn’t even make it to the road bed yet), but there are plenty of other sections.

Its now back to either prospecting mode here, or trying to find another site.  I guess we’ll see how it plays out.

Lots of Words

This is gonna end up being lots of words for a hunt that did not produce one goddamn coin.  But that’s cool, isn’t it; isn’t that what blogging’s all about?  Its not about the shiny or otherwise material success in your endeavours, its about the drama.  Not so in my world, and I rarely blog without the shiny, (and I very rarely hunt on weekends either), but I think this post actually has a chance of working, so we’ll see.

So, alot goin on here.  First, I didn’t expect to find a single coin.  This is what we call a throwaway hunt — I had a couple of free hours late this afternoon with the family doing other stuff, and the thermometer with a 6 handle — are you kidding me?  which hasn’t happened since the month started with an O, so you gotta get outside, even if it is to do yardwork (and my neighbor, who I nickname “Flanders”, actually was, except he was paying someone else to do it, so I guess I’ll call him El Flanders (nevermind)).  In my case, I blow off the yardwork til it actually needs to be done (which is when the grass is actually growing, and the weeds are actually sprouting), and hit a local field about a half a mile from my house.

Like I said, I didn’t expect to find anything.  This is a field that recently became township property (and the corruption involved in that process is fodder for another blogger on another blog), but, as a tip to newbies, paying attention to what goes on in the township w.r.t to land can be valuable.  Too bad it wasn’t today.  But, it is this huge field.  Recently became township property.  Not signed as such.  You never know what you’ll find in an old, nondescipt field that may have been lightly detected.

In this case, not much.  The first looks find ike an old copper, and I found it in the first 3 minutes, but it rings in at a CO 27.  That’s button territory, but it has no shank.  Its not a button.  I have no clue what it is.  The second treasure rang in as a wheatie, so it is obviously copper, but there is no way to score it as a copper.  It is random copper trash.  So that’t that for this hunt in this random, nondescript field.  It could have ended better, but there was no reason to expect it to.

But, there’s more.  And its all interesting, IMHO.  In fact, this entry would not even exist were it not for the following.

First, its the cop.  As a bit more background, I just pull into this field and park, cause there ain’t no beautifully lined-striped macadam parking with those blue handicapped spots where obese, but otherwise able-bodied folks park their Lexus’s and Benz’es with their handicapped placards (and yeah, as an economist with a severely handicapped mother, I specifically observe this phenomena, and an contemplating a paper on the subject), and after about an hour I see this cop pulled up next to my car.  Of course I stop what I’m doing an go over, and he asks if I have permission to be here, and I say I have permission to detect any township property (which is actually true, and he’s impressed that I actually know its township property), and he chats me up, telling me he’s thinking about getting a machine, and asking me for recommendations, and so forth, and that all goes well.  And I tell him, don’t detect here, cause there ain’t nothing, but I do give him the location of a 41 silver site honeyhole on township property.  The advantages of office.  Ok, too much background for the punchline.

And the punchline is simple, and is this.  He’s telling me that he sees people constantly detecting a private property site near the police station.  Its a rather famous site in the area (even I know about it, and I’m clueless), and I’ve even asked permission there.  They said NO with a capital N, and told me stories of all the detectorists they chase off the property.  I guess some things never change, and while I’m saddened by the lack of ethics by my competition, I take solace in two probabilities — a) its likely hunted out by the parade of assholes who didn’t get caught, so the modern assholes are in a bad risk/reward proposition, and b) once again the predictions of the Dismal Science are affirmed.  Its nice to know that you are in a line of work that will never fail, so long as humans (and hence human nature), exists.

But there’s even more, and that’s story #2 from today’s hunt.  Its about the Big Unit (the Detech Ultimate 13), and software.

I’m hunting this dead field, pulling the random thing that looks like a copper but isn’t every half hour, but otherwise having nothing but pure boring threshold (which is actually rather soothing when composing cop-related blogs in your head) to listen to, and all the sudden things get all wacky.  All sorts of low tone sounds both when the coil is on the ground and when in the air.  The exact same symptoms when my first Big Unit went bad.  Are you kidding me?  All I need is another bad coil.  I noise cancel every three seconds, and it ain’t fixed.

Then I turn the machine off, and on, and it is fixed.  Are you kidding me?  I remember an entry from quite some time ago where I write about improved success after lunch (where I always turn off the machine), and I said I wasn’t gonna attribute anything to turning off the machine (if I was a real blogger who cared, I’d link to the entry, but I ain’t and I don’t (more likely, it was one of my “stories” on American Detectorist; it was a long time ago)), but now there is no question in my mind that it matters.  I’m an ex software guy (and good riddance to that life).

Software guys have a fancy technical term called “waxy buildup”.  In layman’s terms, what this means, is that the longer a software program runs, even if it is essentially doing the same thing (“running the main loop” in software guy jargon, which no doubt the E-Trac is doing), its performance may degrade (there are technical terms to throw about here as to why, but nevermind); as time goes by.

The solution to waxy buildup, other than find another software guy, is to reboot the program or system.  The fact that rebooting the E-Trac fixed this problem is suggestive of a waxy buildup problem in the E-Trac software.  This is the second observed instance of improved performance after turning off and on, and sadly, this will now have to become part of my hunting protocol.

(As an aside, when the Big Unit coil did go bad a few months ago, I did lots of turn off, turn off tests, and waxy buildup was not the problem.  The coil was genuinely bad, as apparently verified by KellyCo.  Hopefully that is not the case this time, and it is a software issue).

But, there’s even more, if you can believe it!  As I said, Lots of Words.  One further wonders how I could write so much when I found not one f***ing coin.  The answer is simple — I like to write.  You obviously like to read, but as Umberto Eco (my literary hero) says, “who needs readers?”.

But here is story #3, and its about iron falses.  I’ve always wondered about iron falses.  I’m detecting this park, and that park, and got the sens cranked at 30, as always, and of course you get your share of iron falses, and the deep iffy ones you dig, cause you have to, cause once in a while its a deep barber or seated, but more often than not, its a rusty nail, and we all know how VLF machines love to false off the ends of deep iron nails.  We’ve all been there, haven’t we?  (And if you haven’t you ain’t gonna find all the shiny).

Every park I go to, I come back with piles and piles of deep iron nails that were probably iron falses going in, but you have to dig em.

And the one question I always ask is this — why are there so many nails here, deep in the soil of this old park or school?  Did people carry them in their pocket?  Did people bury them as good luck charms?  Were all parks and schools sponsored by a nail manufacturer who gave out free samples?  Did students and teachers at that 1930s schoolyard that has been giving up the shiny and the occasional iron false also smoke iron nails on their cigarette break?

Who knows?  Why so many iron nails in parks and old schoolyards?  They are just everywhere, at every such site, even when most such sites have no evidence of old buildings or other structures which would generate said nails.  I always figured it was from before the park or school use, like from old wagons or other farm equipment that plied the site before it became a park or school, where iron nails would not seem to be really prevalent.  And I just accepted that, sort of an Occam’s Razor explanation.

But, in today’s old farm field, there were no deep iron nails, or deep iron of any kind, despite it being farmed since the 1700s.  So the old farm equipment plying the land before it was a park or school theory just doesn’t wash.  I have no answer as to why there are deep iron nails that sound like silver and silver sites.  Maybe its a semiosis, but I don’t think so.  Maybe an intelligent gamemaster f***ing with me.  Who knows?

Nailed it baby.  Exactly what I wanted to do, especially for an entry that described a hunt that produced nothing.  Just goes to show what the constant drone of the threshold does to your brain.

Silver Quarter Today

Pulled a silver Q out of the loose end section from yesterday.  It was in the hole with a huge chunk of high tone sheet metal.  How I heard it, I have no clue.  More likely, I heard the sheet metal, and simply got lucky.

This is the 60th silver pulled from this site.  Are you kidding me?  That’s alot, as these things go.  Next stop is at 65, which would tie it as my 4th best site.  Next named level, “Monster Site” is at 100 silvers (good luck on that one, tho I’ve had 2 sites get to that level).  I never figured this as a 60 silver site, and given that I’ve only covered 30% of the area so far, who knows how far it could go.  You just get the sense, however, that each hunt will be the last to produce, yet each one produces as you move into presumably less and less likely areas.

But, the Q was right on the edge of the presumably filled area.  What if I’m wrong about it being filled?  If I am, there’s 50 silvers in there.  But I’m not.  There’s two at best on the fringe, and that’s it.  But I’m gonna waste a day trying to make that putative filled area produce.

Couple of Mercs

Nor’easter dudded.  They were calling for 4-8 inches in some reports, and we didn’t even get flurries.  Hardly any rain either.  If I were that bad at my job, I’d be out on the streets.

So, take advantage of an unexpected detecting day, and back to the field. Slow going for a while, fewer wheaties, and no silver until about 3 hours in, when I got a ’17 merc.  Quite tarnished, but otherwise would prolly grade VF-XF.  Interesting that at this site, all the silvers and wheaties/IH’s older than 1930 seem tarnished or badly abused, but those newer than 1930 are shiny and clean (even the wheaties, which is rare around here).  Maybe around 1930 they stopped putting fertilizer on the field, or there was some other chemical event.  Who knows? — I am certainly clueless about such things.  I don’t even know if they used chemical fertilizer before 1930.  Observing things like this, and thinking about them will occasionally lead to useful insight into the site — too bad it ain’t happening now.

One thing I discovered in the field today was an old road bed.  Didn’t see it on any old maps, but I’m certain its very old.  Last time I found a road bed in a field, I scored a barber half along it.  I’m having my doubts about getting a big fish here tho; it is so quiet that such seems unlikely, but when I get to the old road, maybe the sound of the site will change and I will get lucky with that big fish.

With about 20 minutes left before I had to get back, I didn’t have enough time to do another rank along the field grid, so I worked on one of the loose end sections right by the supposed filled section; its just a 10 foot wide strip between that section and the field, awkward with trees, and right by a tree pops out a 44S merc, nice and shiny, at only 3 inches deep.   Always be anal and clean up the loose ends at a good site, you never know.

Further into the Field

Continuing the gridding of the site of recent entries further into the field, and I finally got a field tell, an old buckle.  Also got a couple of rosies and another sterling ring.  Things are getting thinner and thinner, including a 45 minute stretch without a coin of any type (except a couple of zincolns, and they don’t count), and not much junk either, but experience says press on, and eventually I got the rosies.

The buckle was deep.  I will never hear an old coin at the depth this buckle was, unless it is a half or silver dollar.  If I get a big fish here, that’s what it will be.  We can dream, and that’s what I did, thinking of the flowing hair halfs flying into my pouch.

The weather was beautiful today, 48 degrees, no clouds, no wind.  But a nor’easter is on the way, anywhere from 3-8 inches coming.  Glad I got out today, and toughed it out yesterday; nice to go on hiatus knocking down the silver.

Sadly, there isn’t more. Gridding out a proven site is boring (at least to the reader), but boring is actually good in most endeavors.  Maybe I’ll post that big fish after the snow melts, but I’m not too optimistic on that score.

Today’s Hunt

40 degrees and a fierce chill wind.  I shouldn’t have gone out, but I needed a shiny fix.  Despite wearing 7 layers, it was still miserable, but I toughed it out.  Not the best decision of my life, but what’s done is done.  At least I am able to hunt, and we have to look at the positive.

And it wasn’t a bad hunt — I pulled 2 dimes, 11 wheaties (the oldest, one of the abused greenie meanies, being a 1913), and another abused Chester County IH (on the right — as near as I can tell, its from either the 1800s or the 1900s, but who knows? :)   I do know that it has a 1 in the date; unlike most IH’s I pull :) ).  Also pulled a sterling silver pinkie ring.

As for the site, it seems to be thinning on clad, but today produced alot of wheaties, more than usual, it seems.  Too bad the silver didn’t keep up with the normal ratios on the wheaties.  Still no field tells, other than the IH and the greenie meenies (I’d like to see one buckle or button or somesuch to think I have hope for a big fish here).  Site has now given up 55 silver coins, which ties it with my 5th best site all time (that would be the one from last fall).  I guess when you have a site like this, you fight the cold to get there every chance you can.

But, there’s more.  There often is.  Just this.  Imagine seeing this at 9 inches (without the hole).  Figured I had myself a deep copper and legitimate field tell, but it just says GHH 683 in big letters on the otherside., That may mean something to someone; too bad that someone isn’t me.

More Silver

So, back to the project, expanding the grid even farther into the field.  At this point, it becomes a simple statistics game — so long as one in 20 coins is a silver, and so long as for every 2 or 3 wheaties or so you get one, keep grinding for the tells, and so long as they continue to come, the modern silver will continue to fly into your pill bottle.  So that’s what we did, and that’s sort of what happened.

But, there’s more.  There always is, except, in this case, there really isn’t.  It was the most grind it out, uneventful hunt that you could ever imagine.   That’s good, at least IMO, as the hard work to prove the site is long done, and the peaceful experience of grinding out a proven site and pulling a random silver is quite pleasant, at least to me.  I know some others would not have this kind of patience, but to me, it is quite soothing.

Except, of course, in this case there really is more, and that is this — no matter how much we have, we always want more. (We economists have a term for this: “human nature”).  And in this case, its about the field.  We think we have a golden site, grid out for the modern silvers, over a 1700s field, and pick up the old silvers as well.  Given that the parts of the modern site seem to have been lightly detected, it seems reasonable to expect that huge sections of the field have never been detected, so we should be expecting to see the capped bust quarters flying into the pouch from the field, shouldn’t we?

But the tells just don’t seem to be there.  I’m in this 1 silver per 2 hour field now for the big fish, but have not gotten great field tells.  No buckles.  No buttons.  No crotal bells.  But I do take the copper from a couple of days ago, and yesterday’s barber dime as a possible old field tell.  But I’d love to see more field tells.  I see a chance at not only another old timer’s half, but a special big fish here.  This field is huge, near an old town, and probably not skillfully detected. But its hard to tell when to suspend the site for greener pastures, or to keep looking for the big fish here.  I guess so long as this one is giving up the modern silver, you press on.  At least that’s how I’ll start next week.

As for the pic above, that green treasure is an IH.  Once again, a reason why I simply do not care about Indian heads here in the acidic soil of Chester County.  But, maybe its a field tell.  Who knows?  Also dug a 1915 wheatie.  Maybe there is hope for the older silver here, but I think it may be too deep for the mineralization.   Three pre 1916 coins, all in one specific area of the field.  Here’s hoping.