Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plow Day & Gold in Them Thar Hills

Friday morning we all headed out to North Carolina for a plow day and to visit the Reed Gold Mine

When we first arrived at Riverbend Farm we couldn't help but notice the buffalo.
 While dad got settled and unloaded the boys and I roamed around a bit before heading to the mine.

"Running" errands for dad.

Some of the tractors that were there for the 'show' part.

The boys were THRILLED to see a bald eagle, especially Fireball Coyote!  It was his first "grown up and not a child."

Playing on the slides getting energy out. ;-)
 Now on to the Reed Mine tour! :-)
An ore cart at the entrance.  You go into the gray building at the upper left corner and get the self guided map.  Then come out in the trees to start the tour.

We start out at Little Meadow Creek and the bridge where in 1799, 12 year old Conrad Reed, son of John Reed, discovered a 17 lb. "rock" that they could not identify, until 1802 by a jeweler.  It was said that they used it as a door stopper till he sold it for a weeks worth of wage, $3.50.  It was worth $3, 600. 
 John Reed and three friends began placer, surface mining.  In 1803, slave, Peter, found the largest nugget found east of the Mississippi, a 28 lb. nugget.  This was the start of the first gold rush.
Along the path we saw a cradle rocker for the gold,

and a boat rocker.

The entrance to the mine.

The stope and vein of white quartz where gold can be found.  The average tunnel height was 5 feet from floor to ceiling and 3 feet wide.  The cart shown is like the one used in the Reed Mine.

Walking along the path of the the miners, Pumpkin and I were awe struck.

 Pumpkin could not stop saying, " I can't believe I am walking and touching things people did in the 1800's!!!"  I told him a word for that could be surreal.  He was still amazed and beside himself.   :-)
The Morgan Shaft is 50 feet below the surface.

Pumpkin was frustrated because the mine showed tools used to mine that were not part of the Reed Mining process.  I tried to explain to him that it was showing how others mined, but he wanted what the Reed Mine used ONLY.

The Morgan Shaft headframe and kibble (Cornish word for bucket).  A kibble bucket was used to carry things from above ground to underground.  (Yes, it is above the 50 ft. Morgan Shaft we were standing under.)

The Engine Shaft is the deepest shaft.  It was deepened to ~150 ft. after the water table was removed in 1912.  The sides have give way making it about 35 ft. deep.  The white line of rock near the middle of the picture is the original portion of vein 1.

A 24 lb. nugget was found on the Reed Mine property.

"Digging about three feet below teh surface here in "Dry Hollow," Jacob Shinn found the Reed's last largest nugget.  It weighed almost 23 pounds.  ..."

They had two of these,on one on either side of the bridge.

Now it's time to pan for our own gold!!!
Washing the pre set pans.

When you get down to a handful of sand they check for gold.  Our first set of pans for each of us had no luck. 

On the boys second set, Pumpkin had success!

We toured the museum.

Pumpkin got gold, Fireball Coyote got a miners hat, all were happy.

Back to the farm.

After plowing they took a break for lunch and looked around the farm some more.
ALL those eggs!!!  Mom and


Having fun with the apple shooter.

What they aim at - a bus or target sign.  Fireball Coyote hit the bus 3/4 times.  I think Pumpkin missed all four times or hit it once.

We'll be back next year to mine and plow.

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