Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Know or Not to Know

Suppose there was something big, really big...life-changing in fact, about to happen --- but the outcome could go several ways.

Would you want to know?

If you thought you were powerless to affect it in any way; would you still want to know?

Would you run to a psychic to see what they might offer you in the way of comfort?

Would you poke your head in the sand and plug along, waiting for the inevitable?

How about running away and pretending it just can't happen to you?

Would you busy yourself shoveling sand from one pile to another?

Would you let your imagination run wild with anticipated ecstasy or pain?

Would knowledge help?  Could you learn as much as you can about suspected change and how it could affect your life?

Would you change everything in your current world in anticipation of it?


Would you just enjoy life as it is and enjoy what you have up until it changes?

Just curious...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Digging for Diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

So, if I had a bucket list, which I don't, I suppose spending a day a Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas would be somewhere on it.  I know when I was planning to move to Arkansas, more than a few years ago, I was intrigued with this place.  Imagine it, open plowed fields from a defunct privately held diamond mining operation where one can search for and keep any diamonds found.  Many sizable ones have been found too!  The largest on record is the Uncle Sam diamond which was found in 1924 and weighed in at 40.23 carats. This year, so far, the largest recorded find is the Illusion Diamond which was 8.66 carats.  See, you get my drift...or sift...you can find really big stuff here!  But don't get too taken by the history...mostly what is found is pretty small, about the size of a match head

I arrived mid-afternoon Monday and registered at the visitors center...if you wait until 4:00PM you can buy a ticket for access to the field for today and tomorrow.  They give you your first hour free if you do it this way.  After pitching my tent, getting my stuff organized and having some lunch,

(never let it be said that camping has to be Spartan or unappetizing!)

I made my way back to the visitors center to be first in line for the the four o'clock rush.  Turned out it was a line of one...me.  Am I the only one that excited about this place?  Anyway, I went out and walked the fields and discovered it was pretty hot and the sun was quite strong.

I also noticed that there are three distinct ways of searching for diamonds.  The first, which is what I was doing is just walking around the field, poking here and there with a stick and picking up what you find.  The second way is dry sifting.  You bring or rent a sifting contraption, hand shovel and a bench of some sort, pick your spot and begin methodically sifting and looking for your treasure.  I quickly discovered that you get your dirt from one place and sift it into another place.  Don't mix them up or you will be working with the same dirt over and over again.  So I found a spot and started sifting first thing Tuesday morning

Here is the sifter that I rented.  I had not really sifted it enough to say there was nothing in that batch but I think you get the idea... try to get in down to pretty much all the small stuff, if a diamond is not waving at you, try again with another batch!

The third method is wet sifting.  That requires a 5 gallon bucket and a strong back.  You fill the bucket and bring it to the wet sifting stations located throughout the park. and begin a rather arduous task of dipping, turning, jiggling and continuing that for a bit.  Then when the stuff is arranged just so in your sifter, you bring it up and flip it over on a flat surface and see what has accumulated in the center of the batch.  It seems this is the most difficult and strenuous method.  Since the field was very dry I stuck with the dry sifting method.

Actually, before I headed down the the field to search for diamonds on Tuesday, I took a nice little hike on the Little Missouri River trail which is about 1.2 miles long and is half paved and half single track. It was quite enjoyable and I had the entire place to myself!

There were a couple of these bridges over what was supposed to be a small stream, but with the very dry summer that we have had it was just over a dry gully.

When I got to the Little Missouri I frightened a Blue Heron and noticed a gaggle of ducks on the other side of the river out for a morning swim.  Very nice.

I did not find any diamonds.  I did find quite a bit of Jaspar, which is a brownish, smooth almost creamy stone.  Anyway, I was there for the fun of it and I sure did have plenty of that.