While My Detector Gently Weeps

5 Jan

It’s January. It’s cold. I want to go detecting but alas, I don’t want to be uncomfortable while I do it. I mean, it is hard under the best of circumstances with my recovering health and all; but the cold makes it that much harder.

So besides working at my 8-5 job (who works 9 to 5?), I have other things to keep me entertained. For example, I got one of those grow-your-own-herbs-indoor gizmo for Christmas. It is great. You only have to put water, some nutrient solution, plug it in, and bam! you have an indoor herb/vegetable/flower garden. So far it has worked as advertised and I have a couple of basil plants, dill, mint, and parsley. People out there grow tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and more with it and I aim to do just that eventually until it is warm enough outside to garden.

Then there are my musical instruments. It only took me 15 years to figure out how to blow into a trumpet properly. I have my two sons to thank for that. So now I practice as often as people around me will allow me. I’ve been playing more guitar (badly) and I can almost say that I am only half as bad as I was last year. Someday I may be good enough to say I am a guitar player. I bought a small keyboard last year and in the last few weeks I’ve been practicing. I really just want to be able to play the Happy Birthday song with it.

I started drawing again. I REALLY like drawing but I’ve never had any formal training and it shows. Still, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to start and finish a drawing. Some day I will post some of what I’ve drawn here.

Last but most certainly not least, I am going back to learning Arabic. I really, really, REALLY want to go to Egypt this summer and it would be nice if I could communicate with the people there in their language.

With all of this, I want to talk about a curious thing that happens to me. There seems to be only so much creative ‘energy’ in my body a time. If I draw for a while, I cannot play instruments. If I play the guitar until I don’t want to play anymore I don’t want to study Arabic. It is interesting. I don’t know why this happens. And to bring this post back to metal detecting, I’ve noticed that some days I just don’t have the detecting ‘juice’ necessary to hunt. I may want to do it but I just don’t have it. On those times, I go to the park and it feels like I’ve lost my touch and quickly give up. It’s a mystery. Anyway, what other hobbies do you have besides metal detecting?

Happy Hunting!

IF You Don’t Love It…

3 Jan

Why do you metal detect? I suspect that the reason you started is very similar to my reason: I wanted to get rich. Nah, not really. I did hope to find a gold ring now and again but what I really wanted was to find an Indian Head penny.

I found my first Indian Head cent (IH) after some time and effort. I can pinpoint with GPS-like precision where in Riverside Park I found it even today. I have to confess that in that day, I was ready to give up metal detecting for good. I had been at it for a couple of months and I had not found anything that sparked my imagination, nor anything that made me rich. I didn’t love metal detecting.

That faithful day it was different and the treasures came all at once. I found the IH at the base of a tree. It was about six inches down buried in hard, dry clay. It seemed to me I was never going to get to the target. When I saw that small disc protruding from the dirt however, all the tiredness and pain went away. I took the coin and washed it in the muddy waters of the Arkansas river. As the details of the coin were revealed I sat down on the bank and nearly cried. Yes, yes; I am a simpleton, what do you want from me? I then recorded a long, sappy, video about it where I talked about all kinds of silly stuff; all from holding that coin in my hand. The video is lost now; thank God but the love for the hobby is still with me since that day.

I was so excited about finding this IH that I DROVE around my city looking for another hunter to share my experience. As it turned out, I saw someone at Linwood park quietly enjoying the day with his metal detector. I parked my car and like a seven year old I practically ran to talk with him. I was very lucky that this person was Richard. Richard has been metal detecting for many many years and he appreciated my find. Through Richard I met the rest of the gang: Steve, Danny, JC, Doug, KS Dave, and other colorful characters who share this hobby.

In my time, I have seen many people try metal detecting and give up. I have gone out hunting many times and returned home with a handful of aluminum and rusted iron for my effort but now, the searching is the reward. I love metal detecting. I mean it is called METAL detecting, not Cool Relic and Coin detecting. And who knows, my next Indian Head cent may be just around the corner.

Happy Hunting!

The Dead Horse

29 Dec

I have written at length about why we need new detectors. Unfortunately there are still many old codgers out there still talking about popping coins with a screwdriver and using detectors from the 1960’s. But again, this is not the 1960’s or the 1970’s; this is the dawn of 2022. Gone are the carpets of silver coins and here to stay are the carpets of aluminum slaw.

Now, I am an old codger myself (or getting close to codgerness) and I believe that there are still thousands of silver coins buried in our parks. These coins are often heavily masked by trash or too deep for the discriminating circuits in our detectors to do their job. Better than trying to pop coins with a screwdriver, we should learn to dig a clean plug and we should learn to hunt by sound if possible. We should also develop the discipline to go “low and slow” to get those hard-to-get targets.

And to help us along, new tech is our friend. Oh I love hunting with those old machines, don’t get me wrong. I use those machines for the love of the hobby but when I want to come home with keepers I reach for my trusty XP Deus.

I will add one caveat though; please don’t use the rent money to buy the new tech. Unfortunately, detectors have become very expensive. My favorite strategy is to trade the detectors I already own for new ones with a little cash added; and if I can sell some coins to get that cash, even better.

So here it is. Upon my return to the blog I felt the need to kick the dead horse once more. Just in case.

Happy hunting!

The Year That Was – 2021

28 Dec

2021 began badly for me. My health went from poor to really bad and it stayed that way for most of the year. Only within the last two months of me writing this did I regain any meaningful function.

But the worst thing about 2021 is that my very good friend and oft metal detecting partner, Steve Ukena passed away. Steve was in his early 40’s and left behind three handsome and smart boys and a beautiful wife. Plus he left me alone with a broken heart.

Steve was a REAL people person. He had to be to be my friend. Although Steve and I were polar opposites politically, we got along really well.

Steve moved away and we lost touch a bit but before he left us, Steve told me he missed our adventures. And we had some really good ones. Most of you don’t know that Steve and I were offered our own TV show. Yep, that is right. We were approached by a TV producer about doing a metal detecting TV show. Unfortunately this meant we would have to travel a lot and at the time, our boys were little and we both opted to be present as fathers rather than become TV personalities.

Steve and I formed the first metal detecting club in the city to have the blessing of the Parks and Recreations director and we offered metal detecting classes for the city. In addition, Steve and I worked with the State’s Archeologist to survey a historical site before some modern renovations were done to it. But mostly, we had fun. Along with the love of detecting we loved to talk about any and everything. We laughed a lot too.

Steve loved life and he lived it more than most. I still find myself thinking that I will tell him something “next time I see him” only to realize that it is not possible anymore. I miss him now and probably will miss him for the rest of my life.

So 2022 has to be a much better year. For one, this blog will be back, hopefully with new stories.

Happy New Year!

The Walking Dead (metal detecting blog)

28 Dec

To whom it may concern:

This blog died. It died hard. The main reasons for this death are that mining Bitcoin took most of my free time and then my health REALLY took a dive. For the umpteenth time I have recovered (to some degree) and last year I got a new (to me ) XP Deus from a fellow hunter who didn’t like it (gasp!).

Now I find myself eyeing any and all grassy areas and empty lots around my city and yearning to liberate some loot from its earthen tomb. Luckily for me, XP is about to release the Deus II (Deus Deuce) and I aim to get one as soon as it is available.

I promise to share pictures and stories of what I find.

Happy Hunting!

Metal Detect and Live

27 Apr

I can’t believe it has been this long since I posted something!

Some months ago I began a project that took my mind-time away from detecting but now I can give my beloved hobby some due time.

But it has been quite a long time. No walking around the parks in my city, no digging holes in the ground and thus grounding myself (it’s a thing, really), no breathing outside air, and no sunshine on my face.

This sad situation led my health to decline culminating on a most unfortunate heart attack. Fittingly, the cardiac event (as they called in the hospital) happened while I sat my fat ass in my office chair. But don’t be too worried for me; my doctor put it this way: “if you are going to have a heart attack, this is the kind to have”. I think he meant that there was no permanent damage so I get to live on. I think of it as a warning shot.

Now there are a bunch of pill bottles on the kitchen counter and a couple of different types of insulin in the fridge but rather than lamenting more, I want to make this a teaching moment: Go out detecting. Dig those pull tabs and count every time you go down and get up again as a life-saving activity. Walk far, swing low and slow, breath the air, feel the sun on your skin, and live a long life.

Thank you for stopping by.

P.S. I have made a date to go detecting with a young man who is really interested in enjoying this hobby of ours. Yeah!

There once was a man…

2 Aug

I went out detecting the other day for the first time in forever. For my sortie I selected the Mighty Compadre.  I got to the park and dug a hole or two when an older man approached me and we had a great chat about the park and such. He showed me the trash he had picked up that day while looking for keepers but eventually he left.

He hadn’t been gone for 5 minutes when a younger guy approached me. He was on his way to detect the same general area where I was hunting. He said he had been hunting the park for a long time and he hardly ever saw anyone there. We talked for about an hour about all things detecting.

By the time I went home I had 9 chewed-up zinc pennies and a bunch of detecting stories. Gosh I missed this!

Stories From The Dirt

20 Feb

If you have been detecting for a while, you probably have collected your fair amount of stories of the ‘weird’ kind. Here are a few of my own.

 

I started detecting back on May of 2011 and I’ve had a number of experiences that fall in the category of interesting.

Snake In The Hole
Once, at my favorite silver park, I cut a plug and when I lifted it, a 3 foot snake jumped onto my chest from it. I was frozen in terror as the snake wriggled on me while a girl-like high pitched scream escaped my lips. Luckily, most of the times I detect I am alone so my shame was not witnessed.

Ghost At The Window
I was detecting an abandoned property when an elderly man from the neighborhood came to chat with me. He told me that the building had once been a candy store. He was a child then and he and his friends would visit often. The house was scheduled for demolition by the city. As I detected and the man shadowed me and regaled me with inside info about the neighborhood, we heard loud knocking on one of the windows coming from the inside. We immediately looked but no one was present. We shrugged and continued only to have the same thing happen at the next window. This time we both went in and walked inside but found no one and heard no more noises. He was visibly creeped-out and so was I so I moved on to the next property.

The Kid.
I was detecting in a beautiful part of one of the parks in our city where a grove of 100 year old oak trees stand when I became aware of a person watching me about 10 feet from me to one side. My peripheral vision told me this person was about 4 feet high and as I turned expecting the usual curious kid the person suddenly took flight! My heart left me as a very large and very beautiful owl flew into the dense wooded area across the street. The local bird expert at our zoo confirmed that there is a type of owl in our parts that can grow that large.

The Voices
This one is weird. I detailed the event in this post (https://thedirtisgoodtome.com/2011/10/11/first-buffalo-nickel-and-first-war-nickel/). Short version: clear voice in my head directed me to a find.

Aerial Attack
I was analyzing a signal under a tree when I felt something land on my head and a flutter of wings blew air on my face. I reacted, naturally by dropping and screaming, as a hawk was taking off my head. He landed on a branch near me and I meekly moved on to a different spot in the park. Again, my friend, the local bird expert at our local zoo told me there is a hawk the name of which escapes me at the moment that is very territorial and will attack when it feels threatened.

Land Attack.
I was digging a hole on tall grass near the river when I felt a sting on my ankle. I brushed at it and thought it may have been a grass sticker. Later, the spot itched and when I looked, I had two perfectly lined up holes on my ankle. They were not scratches but HOLES. They took a while to heal and they left a nickel-sized discolored spot on my skin. You can still see the hole marks today. At first I thought a snake bit me but after encountering black tarantulas on my outings at the same park, I wonder now if it wasn’t one of them that bit me.

Ghost At The Door
I was detecting with a couple of guys at an abandoned farm site where the old house and a smaller guest house still stood. The guys were hunting the front yard of the main house while I was hunting the front of the guest house. It was evening but there was still plenty of light. The guest house door was open but the old timey screen door was shut. You could see from where I was at that the guest house was empty. However, no sooner I began to scan the dirt that I got a very strong impression of being watched from the guest house. I was about 5 feet from the porch steps so I had a good look into the inside of the building through the screen door and there was no one standing there but it felt as if I was locked eye to eye with someone. I sort of felt threatened. I quickly moved back to join the fellas where they had a good laugh at my expense. Better a laugh than the stare-down of death I got from the ghost.

Share a story in the comments if you have one.

Thank you for stopping by.

My understanding thus far

9 Feb

A long time ago, I made the observation that when I am metal detecting for very deep objects, every metal target ‘goes to iron’. Now I know that that was a poor choice of words.

What I meant to say is that when you are detecting for very deep objects, and for me, that’s past ten inches deep, all targets sound the same as iron would at that depth. With the XP Deus, that means an ID in the high 90’s and a high tone. Of course, with advanced detectors, you can change the tone to whatever you want but be that as it may, the ID probably won’t change.

Why you may ask? The answer is that the identifying circuit in your detector, at least for a Very Low Frequency (VLF) detector, does not go all the way to the limits of the signal. Confused? Let’s see if I can make a picture:

vlf

So, as you can see, your detector can achieve an absolute depth dictated first by the power output of your machine and the size of your coil, and then, by various external variables such as ground mineralization, ground moisture, ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI), ambient temperature, etc. When you get to this limit, you may get an ID or you may not but whatever audio signal you get however, will be the same for ALL targets. There may be people out there with super ears who, while using a detector with variable audio may discern differences in the tone at that depth. I hear people claim this but I haven’t met anyone personally who can do it.

That’s what I meant when I said ‘all targets go to iron’ at the limits of your detector’s signal. Why this happens is beyond my puny little brain. In fact, I could be wrong about my understanding of things. This notion was borne of experience. I have dug thousands of holes in the last 6 years and explored the depths more than most. It really hurts me to see newbies get excited because they get a high tone on a deep target. Sometimes they get lucky, as do I, and pull a keeper from the depths but let me assure you that if you routinely dig signals at eleven or twelve inches (or deeper) as I do, you will have an impressive amount of old, rusted iron for your efforts.

I also do not understand why a freshly buried target can be id’d better than a target which reaches the same depth via natural processes. A detectorist claimed once that his Tesoro Vaquero could id a nickel at twelve inches. To test, I buried a nickel at 12 inches and was able to id it half the time with my machine. In real life, however, I’ve yet to id a nickel past seven inches, and I mean, with a proper id and a tone.

So there you have it. Maybe this is useful or maybe it is pure dribble. You decide. Also, if you are smarter than me and have a good solid understanding of the workings of a detector, please comment below. I could stand a bit of learning.

Thank you for stopping by.

2017…where are the posts!?

8 Feb

I hope everyone is having a great year so far.

Me, I have not even looked at Maurice, or Dragomir, or the Mighty Compadre. I have been somewhat distracted by other issues but I am slowly emerging from that and I hope to start detecting again soon.

We’ve had a few nice days this Winter but alas, I couldn’t make it out.

This year I am really aiming at buying a new detector. I have spoken about it before and no, I am not abandoning the XP Deus. I have been searching for a detector for a very specific type of hunting. I thought I had it with the Blisstool but although the machine delivers what it promises, I never used it enough last year to really extract the benefits. Meanwhile, a new Russian machine has come into play and just recently, a dealer in the U.S. began carrying it. It’s an advanced machine and this is reflected in the price. With a wife and two young ones, I have to maneuver financially to come up with the money. My plan is to work the Deus hard to raise the funds.

Anyway, if you see me out there disturbing the soil, feel free to stop by and say hi.

Thank you for stopping by!