Sunday, September 30, 2018

Succesful field work

Today I decided to stay home and work the large 50 acre hay field across from my home.

I got out there about 3:00pm and just wandered around - going where it "felt right".  Pretty quickly I found a bunch of rifle shells - about 6 in one spot.  Clearly someone was standing right there doing target practice.

Then I spotted my friend John headed out into the field for a walk and invited him to join me on my hunt and and found another 3 shells including a live round.

We decided to walk down the road to a spot where there is a cellar hole across from the field and started detecting across the road from that foundation.  I don't yet have permission for the cellar yet and it is pretty overgrown and hard to detect.  But along the verge of the road I got a few big signals - a soda can and a carburetor.

We decided to re-enter the field and work our way around the edge and the next good signal also had a big footprint.  This time I found an axe head in pretty good condition.  It must be nearly 100 years old.  This is my first axe head and I'm pretty pleased.

By coincidence - or synchronicity, I had just built a large electrolysis tank from a 5 gallon bucket in anticipation of finding large rusty items that might need cleaning.  Life often works this way for me.  So I hung the axe head on a chain connected to the negative terminal of a 12V 3Amp power supply with the positive side going to the 6 heavy steel bar electrodes around the sides.  I filled the bucket with water and some white vinegar and added some baking soda and turned on the power and pretty soon the axe head was bubbling.
This is a sure sign that the rust is being cleaned off.  After an hour the water was brown with rust and gross yellow foam.  I'm planning to restore this axe head and make a new handle for it - so I'll blog about that later.

But back to the field, I found another large signal that turned out to be a horse shoe with all the nails still in it.  It is badly twisted and we both were baffled as to what could bend a heavy piece of metal like that.  It will go in the electrolysis bath next.

It was a great day to be outside in the warm, brisk fall air and I'm very pleased with the finds for the day and it was great to share the experience with John.  I'll go back around the field more now that I can see there is potential to find more cool relics.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Some days it's mostly junk

I'm just catching up on my blog.  I've been too busy to write up my dig from last Thursday, September 27.  Nothing exciting.  Bits and bobs and scrap metal.

Lots of half rotted zincolns!  The area I was detecting has sandy soil and that seems to rot these junkers faster than good dark loam, but I still dig them because you never know!  Here's some examples.

 There was this goofy keyfob that is chrome plated zinc I think.

And yet another Christian bookmark, I have several of these now.

This might be a buckle from either horse tack or a shoe, not sure, but I found it near the barn.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Interviewed for the Bangor DaIly News

A reporter named Aislinn Sarnacki contacted me recently to see if she could interview me about Metal detecting for the Bangor Daily News.  Click on the image above
 to see the article.  She found my blog and figured I'd be a good person to talk to.  I invited her to join me on a brief hunt at my favorite spot.  We spent over 45 minutes and found a few interesting items as I explained the process and let her have a go swinging the detector.  We found a few neat items.
At the top is a steel metal punch - the signal was distinctly long and narrow and it was only a few inches down.  Also the usual assortment of nails and hardware, the ring is a key ring.  The best find was from a coin spill on the surface that includes a few clad pennies and an MTBA token (Massachussetts Bay Transport Authority).  This is the second one I have found at this site.

We also found this decorative metal bow that rang up in the 40's so I had hoped it might be silver, but it did not test as sterling.  Probably plated tin.

I took Aislinn back to my house to show her my finds and how I clean them, and we did the interview in my living room.  She's a smart and interesting young woman who has written a couple of books about hiking trails in Maine:
"Family Friendly Hike in Maine"

"Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path: 35 Trails Waiting to Be Discovered" (Kindle Edition)
I'm going to get this one!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Historic City of Bath 1840s home site - first dig

I just got permission to dig a property in the City of Bath, Maine.  Bath, known as the "City of Ships" has been a ship building town for 400 years.  This house is located a few blocks from the river waterfront and was built in the 1840s so I'm hoping to find neat stuff.  The property is large - probably over 1/4 acre with areas of lawn on a slope that comes down from the road.  The property owner Roland and his son walked me around and watched excitedly as I started detecting at the bottom of the garden.

The first thing I found was a strong signal with a wide footprint and it turned out to be a metal wheel -- shown at lower left.  The ground was soft and loamy and not too cluttered with junky signals, but I did use iron discrimination so I would not be distracted by nails and screws.  Nonetheless, I found a lot of large iron and steel items including a big plumbing part, a fishing rod handle and other rusty bits of metal.

The interesting smaller items so far include this small buckle that might have been from a shoe.  It broke while I was cleaning it.

This very bent spoon had some fancy on the handle but is very corroded.  It does not test as silver nor is it ferrous so I'm not sure what it was made of.

I like this piece of a small brass lamp.

And part of a tractor toy.

Further up the garden I found a caster that must be at least 50 years old I'd guess.

Here's a view looking up the garden.  There's a lot to explore here and I'm surprised that I did not find a coin, but I'll be back to explore in more detail soon.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

1882 Indian Head penny and more at the flea market

I went over to the flea market for a 1 hour dig this morning.  I wandered around the tables that I know sell coins and jewelry etc. $1.42 in change - I had to discard some of the rotten Stinkin' Lincolns" as usual. There were some exciting signals that turned out to be scraps of aluminum and lead and a thumb tack.  I hate it when that happens.  There was also a very rusted key that was only an inch or so down in the muddy dirt under one table.

It wasn't until I got home and cleaned my finds that I discovered the 1882 Indian Head penny in fair shape.

I also found a 1924 Honolulu Co Ltd. Rapid Transit token - Good For One Full Fare.  I had no idea that they had a rapid transit system back then!  They were made from some kind of "white metal".
And here's what it looks like in good shape
Pretty unusual to find way out here in Maine!

I find a lot of Christian items that fall off the tables, and this pendant is unusual.  It's for Saint Dymphna.  Never heard of her, but a web search says: 
"Dymphna is the patron saint of the nervous, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, and those who suffer neurological disorders – and, consequently, of psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists. She is also the patron saint of victims of incest."

This crucifix rang up loud and clear and I thought it was silver, but I think it's chrome plated copper.  On the back it says: "J.X.P." and "PAX ET AMOR" (peace and love).  I like it!

This belly bling seems to represent a Playboy Bunny:

This tiger eye earring might be gold plated.

A pretty good day for a 1 hour hunt.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Heavy Metal in the hay field across the road from my house

Today I decided to stay local and detect on the hayfield across from my house.  It's a 50+ acre field that they just finished haying.  I worked the area where the farmers stage their equipment which is directly across from my house.  It's a spectator sport for the neighborhood to watch them cutting an baling the hay in August and September.  They use both big round bales and small square ones and use a lot of tractors and equipment.

My first find was a broken horse shoe, so that gives you an idea how long they have been haying this field.  The family that owned it until a few years ago had been farming it for 4 generations.  That's a long time by US standards.  I cleaned off the loose rust and have started the electrolysis process to clean the horseshoe.  I'll update this post when it is cleaned up a bit.

Here's the total finds for the afternoon - representing about 1.5 hours.

Those of you that have seen the "Detectorists" comedy drama TV show (available on Amazon and Netflix) may remember the following exchange after Lance digs something up (roughly remembered):
Andy: "Wotcher got?"
Lance: "P.O.T."
Andy: "What's that?"
Lance: "Piece Of Tractor mate."
Andy: "Aww, now you're just making stuff up!"

Well it looks like I got a few P.O.T.s in there!  The farmers are often repairing their equipment and their joke is which will die first, their ancient tractors or the farmer himself who is in his 70's.

I also found a number of rifle shells.  I remember having to call the sheriff many years ago because a bunch of teenagers were shooting into the field right near my house.  In Maine it's illegal to discharge a firearm within 300 feet of a residence, so the sheriff politely advised them of this fact.  (I was not going to confront armed teenagers - I'm a Quaker and dislike weapons of any kind).  So the shells clearly date from about 15 years back. 
For my readers who know about guns here's the end of one shell:
I have no idea what "35 REM" means. 
Thanks to Brad on Facebook who explained to me that: "35 Rem designates a once popular caliber (.358 inch diameter bullet) of hunting rifle that Remington introduced in 1906 and is still in production but has fallen out of favor because of modern higher velocity. cartridges."

I'll be turning the live round in to the sherrif's office soon - I tend to find a lot and take them in in batches as I accumulate them.

The coins were dug up in the area where the farmer parks his tractors and obviously were pocket spills as he climbed up onto them.  They are all recent - dated since 1990.  63 cents for today.

More info on the horseshoe when I get it cleaned up...

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Popham beach trash and a tiny silver ring

I headed down the peninsula to Popham beach here in Maine around 2:00pm.  It's about a 20 minute drive and as I got close to the beach I entered a cold fog bank.  The temperature went from warm, sunny and 75F to 65F in seconds.  There were not many people at the beach, and like me they had hoped for a sunny day.  Here's what it looked like.  People were sheltering from the stiff sea breeze with umbrellas and braving it out.

This is the same beach where I recently recovered a gold class ring for someone that had lost it.  

It was high tide and I followed the dry sand at the waters edge where people sit on their towels and turned up this tiny silver ring.  
Weighing in at .86grams it is marked 825 - so about 82% silver and is a ring size of 2.5.  The blue abalone is nice and this was clearly a fresh drop as it is in mint condition.

I always pick up loose trash on the surface, and sometimes find buried and crushed beer cans.  I guess drinkers are too lazy to carry their trash out!  Also picked up other trash, and the 2 kids digging tools were 6" deep in the wet sand at the high tide line.  At least I got 20 cents in redeemables!
Overall though Maine beaches have very little trash and that makes me proud to live here!

I also found a couple of freshly dropped quarters and some rotting dimes that were deeper in the wet sand.

On my way home, the fog bank followed me and was just over the trees when I got back.  A half hour later I was fogged in - I'm about 5 miles west of route 1.