Silverwork By Frank Masley

Linda Marie Plume Agate Dig (10/4/2013)

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Jake discovered this spot years ago. Jake, Linda and I staked the claim last Fall 2012.
The claim has predominantly plumes of forest green, yellow, gold, white and a new small discovery of red. Linda Marie also has white opal mixed with the plumes, mosses and a weird petrified wood looking agate too.


Jake pointing out where we should put the claim stakes.
(9/5/2012)

Here's my wife Linda doing all the work.
(9/5/2012)

Setting up the Southwest Post
(9/5/2012)

   The Linda Marie claim is more productive and a little easier to dig. The location of the agate is already known and the hole is not very big. But, this time I’m going to spend a little more time setting up the hole for future diggings. I plan on enlarging the working pad, so I can move and pull at the basalt from different angles. This is essential, since the agate veins are trending west and north,  I need to enlarge the pad on the south and east sides.  I put locators on the surface (big boulders), from last time I dug in May, marking the ends of the hole at all points.


Digging out the old and setting the pad up.

Having the hole dug out and the pad set up, I begin at the vent where I left off in May. The vent is surrounded by hard basalt, which like Feather Ridge, generally has better agate in it.  Green, gold, and white plume agate veins start appearing. So far at the Linda Marie, I find that the big veins are not as good as the smaller 2” to 4” wide ones. The large ones still have good plume agate, but it takes too much time and effort cleaning off the bad parts and you end up with less than a quarter of what you started with.  So the large ones, (20 to 50+ pounds each), I put into a small hole that I dug in the pit and save them for some other time to work on, perhaps with a small jackhammer.


The days at Linda Marie went fast, especially when the veins need extracting by hand.  The excavator is a great machine, but removing the hard basalt from around the delicate agate veins requires more of a surgical procedure approach.
 

 

 
Well, The Boss finally shows up (Linda my wife). She says, “ hi”, walks over to the excavator and gets in. “Hey! Wait a minute! I don’t even get a kiss or anything? Just a hi and get out of the way!” She gets down out of the machine walks over the rocks, gives me my kiss and then says in one sentence, “Hi honey, how you doing, been eating well? Good… Now get out of the way.” With a smile, she then says, “please”. Linda’s  not quite there yet with mastering the excavator, but she is learning very quickly. She’s wanting to get more practice, so the next few hours I spend time working with her. The time is well spent since it not only gives us great one on one together, but she can easily be my digger in a short amount of time in the future.  
   The same day Linda shows up, Jake showed up and offered to operate the machine for a few hours.  Immediately, Jake starts aggressively, ripping down the north wall with lots of banging and scraping. I’m down in the pit watching. Then I hear this yelling and whooping. Linda is sitting on top the edge of the pit, looking down watching. Jake in fast order ripping the crap out of the wall and cheering like a spectator at a bloody gladiator fight! “Yeah! Yeah!... That’s what I’m talkin about!” she yells.  Jake looks up at her and starts laughing and says, “Linda, I never knew you where the aggressive type.” She says, “Ohh Baby!”  I’m learning new “interesting” things about my wife, after our 28 years together. Kinda puts a new spin on things. 
  Anyway, soon the agate starts flowing into my buckets. Mining efficiently is a two man job, so when Jake offers to help, I jump at it. Together, in just those few hours, I get more agate out of the mine than I did the last two days.  While ripping at the wall, we expose a 15’ vertical vein reaching up to the very surface. It is six inches at the widest and 2” at the narrowest point. All of it is gem material of the gold’s, green and white plumes in clear agate. Jake says, “With that, I’ll leave you to it, I need to hit the road. It’s all yours Linda”.  Linda and I enthusiastically thank him for helping out as he leaves.

The day is getting late and Linda needs to head back home to go to work in the morning. This is my last day of digging. The sun is going down and I have a 15 foot vein wanting to be free, after being enslaved millions of years in the grip of the hard basalt.  Looks like a night dig. After eating dinner, I grab my Coleman and start heading down to the pit.  The lights on the machine do a better job of illuminating the working area, so I need to keep the engine running. It’s a good trade, burn some fuel for great agate.

 After digging a while, I notice a certain section of rock has a red cast to it. Digging out this section revealed fantastic colors. Taking one piece of the vein out, I then knocked off the edge and Wow!. Red, green, white, gold colors just in time for Christmas, but unfortunately I only got about two dozen veins out of this section. Since red is a rare color for Linda Marie, I’ll keep them for my collection. I know people might get mad because I’m not sharing, but until I get more I’ll keep these close.  However, it did get too late that night to do anymore digging on the vein. There’s a good deal left to dig out, so I covered it up until next year.

 

It was a great two weeks digging at Linda Marie and Feather Ridge. I still have two other new claims I haven’t opened up yet or told anyone about. Next year about April or May I’ll open them up. These new claims are very promising and look to be excellent plumes.  So, until the next adventure… Thanks! 

Philip-


Jake ripping it up

 

 

Mining Feather Ridge Plume!

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