Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Lots of metal bits around the barn

I'm back to the 1700s property.  The owner clarified for me that the original 60 X 80ft. barn built in the mid 1700s is no longer there, and the house was built in the early 1800s.  This was after I had spent 2 hours digging around the new barn attached to the house.  They had built this in the late 1990s and it's an nicely made barn that they seem to use for working on boats.  They have a lot of boats large and small.  Here's a view of the barn and the area I was digging.

I kept hoping for coins or buttons, but all I got was big signals of iron and steel.  I put them on some cut stumps next to the barn as I found them.

Mostly scrap flashing, brackets and pipe from old buildings, but also a heavy wheel and something resembling a lamp part.

The interesting finds are this 1934 Maine license plate.

And this heavy cast iron piece looks like a wood stove part. 
These will go in the pile of scrap steel that I'm accumulating along the side of my barn.  Someday I hope to recycle this stuff.

I'll go back and explore around where they say the original mid 1700s barn was as soon as the weather is amenable, the next few days will be rainy again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cool find near the 1800s farm house barn

The weather was warm enough and not raining for a change so I went back to the early 1800s farm house near me that has an attached barn built in the 1990s.  This time I stuck close to the barn and found more signals than I had time to dig.  But I definitely got a few goodies.  The dirt is loose and easy to dig, but I had to go over 6" to get most of today's finds.

Big pieces of steel and copper from the barn and a huge square steel nut.  I'm not sure what the spoons are made of, but they are very soft and seem to have been plated originally.

The best find for me was the second crotal bell that I have ever found.  The clapper is missing so it does not ring, but it's a beauty with fancy decoration.  This is definitely bronze and not brass.

I showed it to the property owner and she was intrigued, we both hoped it would ring.  I cleaned the dirt out in her work sink, but sadly the clappers in crotal bells tend to be steel and rust out.

But when I showed her the oarlock, she recognized it immediately as one she had lost about 15 years ago when she was pressure washing a dinghy.  She still has the matching one and was glad to have this back - after I cleaned and photographed it.

I also found a small sterling owl pin.
I'm hoping to go back tomorrow since the weather is giving us a break between rain and wind for a bit.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Digging the boat ramp

There is a boat ramp near my home where folks put in their kayaks, and I launch my hand made wood canoe.  It's a scenic spot with gravel on the ramp that adjoins a 2-lane blacktop.  It was sunny and warm enough to go dig, and as I was driving the 1/2 mile to the ramp I encountered my friend and neighbor John who was out for a walk.  He and I have metal detected on his property where there is a old cellar hole from a barn.  I invited him to join me on a dig.  We found a lot of "stinkin' Lincolns" and a dime and a nickel.  Nothing too exciting.

But we also found 5 .45caliber pistol shells clumped together in one area.  (Chief Deputy Sheriff Brett, if you're reading this, maybe there was a murder here!😟)  There are different types, so I assume these were re-loads.  Those are BIG!

Here's a shot of John digging up something on the top of the ramp near the road.

We also found a bunch of junk that I don't bother to show like cans and bits of rusty metal etc.  This object looks like a face, but I think it's some kind of lock or latch.

When I get back I dump all my finds into a bin in my laundry room sink and sort everything into coins for cleaning, recyclable metals, special objects and trash.  Coins go into my tumbler for an hour or so, or get soaked in white vinegar.
Quite a lot goes into the trash, but I do make every effort to clean up any recyclable cans or metal and put it in with all my mixed recycling.  Our town picks up unsorted recyclables every 2 weeks and I usually have way more recycling than trash.  I then take the cleaned finds over to my workshop to photograph them and write the blog on my office computer.

The season is winding down and it's getting too cold or wet to dig often, but I'm hoping to get out there a few more times before the ground freezes hard in December.  Maine winters are brutal - they already had a foot of snow in the western part of the state.  But here along the coast it's more moderate.  We had snow flurries a few days ago, but I don't expect any accumulation for several weeks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

First dig at a 1800s farm house permission

I got permission to dig on a property with an original early 1800s farm house and barn that was added in the 1990s.  I had high hopes for finding cool coins and relics, but so far nothing too exciting, but I'll be going back there to explore further.
I found a few modern coins near where they park their cars - several rotted Lincoln pennies and 3 dimes.  Lots of bits of copper and lead roof flashing and a big nail.  And not shown are a steel plate about 3x5" and a 2ft long piece of steel pipe.  These are typical finds around old farm houses.

The interesting items are this handle that has a slot down the middle and what appears to have been part of a hinge.  This looks vaguely familiar, like it could have been a handle for a milk jug and the hinge would open the lid.

This tiny lead weight is interesting too, at first I thought it was a musket ball but it has a distinct hole and casting rim.

And I almost dismissed this little 1.75" diameter dish because I had not noticed the fancy pattern.  I think it's made of lead or pewter and bends easily.  Perhaps it is doll house scale?  Or maybe a decorative holder for small items.

10+ hours in my National Geographic rock tumbler with aquarium gravel, water and a drop of Dawn.  It's cleaning up nicely:

I think it is either a doll house saucer, or an incense burning plate.

Incidentally, the rock tumbler I use is a small hobby unit made by National Geographic.  It has an internal timer that lets you set DAYS, and I need HOURS.  SO I built a timer box from stuff I got at the hardware store so now I can set 1,2,4 or 8 hours:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Digging around old 1940s cabins and dump

Today was another perfect crisp fall day - ideal for digging in my neighborhood.  There are some cabins nearby that were built in the 1940s from locally milled logs and I walk by them often.  Today I decided to detect around them.  I actually found most of the metal items on the long private dirt road.  But I also wandered off into the woods where the old dump is for the cabins.  That's where I found the bottles and jar.

Here's a view of one cabin and part of the road where I dug some of the coins:

The most interesting item is this "I.C.A. ELECTROSTATIC ARRESTER". Labeled on the bottom: "INSULINE CORP OF AMERICA NY.  APPROVED CAT NO 340 MADE IN USA".  I guess it was used to protect tube radios from lightning coming in from the big outside antenna that they used in those days.  The company made tube radios in the 1930S.

I also found this large steel spike in the road about 6" down.

I had explored the dump before and found the "Zonite" bottle earlier (on the right in the picture above).  Apparently this was a bottle of "feminine hygiene product".  I think this bottle is from the forties.

I looked up some of the old ads for this stuff - pretty scary!

The other bottles are neat, the clear one is dated 1953 - a couple years older than me!

And the 1950s white jar of Dorothy Gray cold cream may have contained their famous radioactive mud - check out this old TV commercial where they wave a Geiger counter near the woman's face!

There are more bottles out there, but they all seem to be more modern.  Maybe I'll go back and haul them out for recycling.  Glass is one of the most recycled materials on the planet!

Mystery objects in a friends yard

It's mid October and a fall chill is in the air and the leaf colors are peaking along to coast of Maine.  Yesterday I visited a friend in Cumberland, Maine who let me spend an hour detecting on her property.  It was a pleasant day for digging and the dirt was very damp from recent rain.  I wandered all over the front half of her 1/2 acre lot and found a few odd items, some modern coins, and some larger pieces of scrap steel not shown below.

As I moved around the yard I was aware of the differences in the quality of the dirt.  The back lawn was dark, soft loam that was almost fluffy.  Below that was a layer of packed sandy dirt.  In other places, I found a lot of charcoal and nails, indicating that an earlier building may have burned down.  There is an old wood garage with a workshop shed in back, and another shed beside it.  Apparently a previous owner had worked on cars and was quite a craftsman tinkerer, so I expected to find odd items related to vehicle repair.

There were 2 mystery objects that seem vaguely familiar.  The first seems to be a radiator plug.  I think you would insert the plug an pull down the handle to expand the rubber plug that holds it in place.  If anyone can identify this - let me know:

update . . . So according to Frank on Facebook, its a snap-handle drain plug for a boat!

This knob-like item also seems vaguely familiar, but I can't place what it is:

update . . . some detectorists on facebook think it might be a "suicide knob" that people used to attach to steering wheels back before power steering was common.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Lovely fall day for hunting in the field

I have not had much time to go out detecting lately, plus we have had a few much needed rainy days.  But this afternoon was nice and sunny with temperatures in the 50s.  So I walked across the road into the big hayfield.  Last time I found an axe head and a large bent horseshoe along the edges, so I picked up where I left off staying very close to the edge of the field.  

My first find was a length of chain and then a large steel ring with a few links attached. Possibly a ring from an ox yoke?  Then I got a pair of very rusted pliers - I bet the farmer really missed those!  I have put both in my electrolysis tank to clean them up a bit.

There is a hill in one spot that was clearly used for both picnics and hunting based on the pull-tabs and shells I found.  Another live shell.  I find it hard to understand how hunters drop live rounds.  I'll be dropping them off to the local Sherrif's office later this year for safe disposal.

As I crested a slope I came across one of the flocks of turkeys that roam my neighborhood.  As you can see the fall colors are really coming in.

And here's the view toward my home from the picnic hill.  

The land around here reminds me a lot of where I grew up in Yorkshire, England - it is New England after all!