Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MOST MEMORABLE DESERT CRITTER

One of my most memorable encounters with a desert creatue was when I prospected the Mineral Mountain area east of Apache Junction, Arizona.
I spent a few weeks as watchman on a mining claim, where I stayed in a little camp trailer provided by the owner. It had sat idle for quite some time and a packrat had obviously decided to set up housekeeping.
Now, packrats are interesting desert critters. Aptly named, they collect and save anything and everything. They are also noted for their tendency to barter and trade items of interest.
My first day on the job, I knew a packrat was somewhere, as I spent a good part of the morning picking up silverware that had been strewn around the ground near the camper. When I opened the sillverware drawer, sure enough, it was crammed with cactus beans, twigs, acorns, and various pieces of ribbon and cloth!
Late in the evening I would start the generator to freeze water in the fridge to keep my foodsuffs fresh, watch a little TV or read, then fall asleep. Around 2:00 in the mourning I would feel the thumpity, thump, thump of this packrat running around this big 6 foot long pillow that I had, on his early morning rounds. This didn't bother me too much, and went on for about a week.
Then one night, the packrat had begun his nightly run, and I just happened to roll over at the same time. He zigged, I zagged, and this rat, about the size of a housecat went right to the bottom of my sleeping bag!! I'm here to tell you, there was a flurry of activity for the next couple of minutes as I gouged, he gouged, and a race ensued as to who was going to get out of that sleeping bag first!! It turned out to be a tie. He went one way, I went another. I don't know what that rat was thinking, but I decided then and there that one of us had to go, and it wasn't going to be me!
Well, to make a short story long, I bought the biggest rat trap I could find, loaded it with peanut butter, and just knew that I would be awoke when that thing slammed shut, and my rat problem would be solved.
The next morning, the trap was still set, but the peanut butter was gone! Now, I'm dealing with on smart rat. So, I loaded the trap with a real fine "dagwood" sandwich, stacked high with peanut butter, cheese, and bacon. I'm surprised I didn't lose a finger, caus this thing would go off with the slightest breath!
The next morning, the trap was still set, cleaned right down to the shiny brass! Now I wasn't so interested in trapping this genius of a rat as I was more interested as to how he could possibly clean that trap without setting it off.
Once again, I used the last of my fixins to build a larger dagwood, a really "hair" trigger and fell asleep. I woke when I heard some rustling around the trap, and sat mesmerezed as, using the very tip of his tongue, oh so gently, this rat polished of the last of the dagwood, cleaned the trigger bright and shiny, and didn't set the thing off!
And then, as quickly as my packrat friend had come into my life, he was gone. I guess when he figured I was out of sandwiches and silverware, it was time to find more suitable living quarters!!! BUDDY.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"WHEN YA GOTTA GO-YA GOTTA GO"

From the story, Living And Learning From The Desert, Buddy has added some details I left out! Here is his story!
I had decided to up-grade our situation a little, and build us an out-house. After all, I did have the material just laying around, a tree saw and a hammer.
After a few hours work and no major incidents involving gushing blood or smashed fingers, I stood back to view my work of art. This was a thing of beauty. Solid 2x4 construction, with plywood flooring, and I had gone so far as to buy a padded seat and cover.
One day while I was enjoying a cup of coffee, an SUV vehicle pulled up in the wash, and a little old gent jumped out and made a bee-line up the path to our little building. "The nerve of some people, not even the courtesy to ask if they could use the restroom!"
I watched with some amuzement as he opened the door and stepped in. Now, give it a few seconds, the door opens, and there's no way to describe the look on this old gent's face, as he waddled back down the trail, mumbling to himself as he got into the vehicle and headed out across the desert.
You see, I had'nt "QUITE" finished the thing. I had yet to find the means to cut a hole for it.
I'll leave it to you to wonder, as I did, the conversation that took place in that vehicle. "It's not my fault, ETHEL, there was no hole in that outhouse!!!" BUDDY.Puma_English_Banner_468x60_10_19_06

RUN IT! GRAB IT! PAN IT!

The total take for the day!
After we detected the .6 gram piece of placer gold we used our sluice box in the one day excavation.
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Videos filmed by our son, Chris. BUDDY.

DETECT IT

Using a metal detector can greatly increase your chances of finding placer gold. I use the Fisher Gold Bug with the small coil, which is good for narrow and tight spots with-in the bedrock. You can see in the video, that the coil comes in handy again for reducing your dirt material you grabed from the ground. "ZIP and FLIP" I call it! At the end of this dig, there it is in my palm! It is a .6 gram nugget. This is the first video in our instructional set of Gold Prospecting Videos.
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Video filmed by our son, Chris who is also helping with the digging! More to come! BUDDY.

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