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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!

Detectorist

9 Aug

I was watching a British show about metal detecting and in one episode, one of the characters corrects a civilian by telling her that his machine was a metal detector but that he was a metal detectorist.

I had heard the term detectorist from British dirt fishers before but over and over my online spelling dictionary would flag the word as erroneously spelled and when I checked, the dictionary would not give me an alternative spelling.

Thinking this was odd, I have looked for the word in online and physical dictionaries and have failed to find it.

I rather like the term. The ending of the word: -ist, suggest a person who does something and in this case the activity is detection. I like the general sense of the word; whatever else we are, we are detectorists first. I may be looking for silver coins but I am detecting all kinds of other metals in the ground.

Why is this important you may ask? The answer my friend is solidarity. Dirt fisher and Hunter are fine and well but hardly universal. We need a name to bring us together. Heck, at our meeting with the state archaeologist we were asked what we called ourselves and we all threw a number of terms at him. I think we settled, rather uncomfortably, on the term Hunter.

I just now read a post by Detecting Diva where she pins this lack of standard name for us as a pet peeve and I for one agree with her.

So spread the word. We are Detectorists. Sure, Dirt Fisher is cool and so is Hunter but lets present a united front and call ourselves detectorists to the uninitiated out there. Coinshooter and Relic Hunter are good for the specialists among us but I humbly suggest saying something like “I am a Metal Detectorist of the Coinshooter species”. Ok, that may get you beat up on the playground. Most certainly we are not vandals, or looters though.

As for me, I am a Metal Detectorist, a Coinshooter, a Park Hunter, and a Pulltab Afficionado.

Thank you for stopping by.

Proof of life

29 Jul

Once more, I have to declare I am not dead.

July was a month of vacation, illness, and hellish heat.

I took the family north to South Dakota this month to visit the Black Hills, the Badlands, and to take in Mt. Rushmore. It was great and we all had a good time.

Right before we left on our trip, I developed an ear infection that didn’t completely leave me until after we returned home.

I took Maurice with me but alas! I never got a chance to use it. There was a very nice park behind our hotel with a lovely mountain stream cutting right through the middle of it but the park itself was very new and the one time I had a little time to detect, I decided to go exploring with my youngest instead.

At the Badlands, the high temps hovered in the high 70’s, pushing 80 once or twice. However, upon descending to the plains of Kansas, the temps quickly went back up to the high 90’s and low 100’s. I have wisely stayed indoors or confined our outings to the local neighborhood swimming pool. I am feeling the itch however…

We had a very striking thunderstorm last night and I hope that the ground is moist and easier to dig so I can get in a little hunting this weekend.

I hope you are all staying cool

Thank you for stopping by.

Is the Blisstool a ‘park detector’?

5 May

I have a park in our city where the coins from the 1940’s and before are buried under more than 12 inches of dirt. I know this because the coins from the 50’s and 60’s are found between 7 and 9 inches deep. Why this is is anyone’s guess.

So after I dug up more than a 100 silver coins and countless wheats and nickels from the 50’s and 60’s  from my deep silver park,  I began the search for a detector that could get me to the coins dropped in the 40’s and before. My choices were pulse induction (p.i.) detectors and the Blisstool. No sooner I began my search however, people began to tell me that p.i. detectors and the Bliss were not ‘park detectors‘. Whaaaat??!!

No one ever told me what a ‘park detector‘ was. To my way of seeing things, if the detector beeps when the coil is over a piece of metal, then it is a park detector; and a field detector; and a private property detector. Come on. The Tesoro Compadre is a single tone detector with no depth indicator and no visual i.d. system and NO ONE is saying the Compadre is not a park detector. On the contrary, the Compadre is a perfect park detector. So what gives?

Hunting parks in this day and age is a trying exercise no matter what machine you are using. The real question is not whether your machine is a ‘park detector’ but whether YOU are a park detector.  You are the real detector (and your digger is the only 100% accurate discriminator). If you are willing to pay the price to get to the juiciest finds in our city parks, then the metal detector you use is just a tool.

I spent an hour at lunch time digging deep rusted iron and shallow can slaw with the Bliss today. It reminded me of the hours I spent digging deep rusted iron and can slaw with every other detector I have owned! I know that with patience and with time, I will learn what the Bliss is telling me and then I will begin to dig some really good stuff. I mean, I already dug up a couple of old coins with it and I have no idea what I am doing. Disclaimer: I have never known what I’m doing.

So there. I, pulltabMiner, here and now and in somewhat acceptable use of my faculties, declare that the Blisstool IS a park detector. Let it be known far and wide that I have thus spoken.

Thank you for stopping by.

 

 

Dragomir’s Maiden Voyage

19 Apr

I paid for the Blisstool on Friday and I got it on Monday. That’s the level of service I’ve come to expect from Chuck at Indian Nations Detectors.

So I read up a little on the Blisstool and set it up as recommended in several forums. At lunch time today I took it to a spot that I have cleaned up of almost all signals. The first thing I noticed is that the volume goes from 0 to 100 really fast. It nearly busted my eardrums!

The second thing that I decided is to get wireless headphones as soon as possible. After several years of wireless hunting with the Deus, being tied to the machine was a strange experience.

The Blisstool is well balanced with the 11 inch coil. I didn’t try the 15 inch coil today but I hope to do so this weekend.

Hunting with the Blisstool is not as odd as you would think. If you have ever hunted with the Tesoro Compadre or the Tesoro silver micromax then you know what it feels like to hunt with the Blisstool.
I was surprised to find that there is nuance to the sound. Not all targets sounded the same it seemed to me. The machine pinpoints well.

As I set it up, I began to dig iron right away. I messed around with the discrimination and I got some iron to break up but a number of nails and pieces of wire sounded really well. I know with time and experience I will master this so I am not worried.

If you know me, then you know what I was really interested on was depth. The deepest thing I dug with a good solid signal was a super small piece of aluminum foil at about 6 inches deep. 6 inches was very deep relative to the minuscule size of the piece of foil.

The Bliss is very sensitive, giving me nice solid and repeatable signals on the thinnest of wire. Soon my lunch hour was over and I put the machine away and returned to work.

I have a sense that this machine will produce. I also have the sense that it won’t take me long to figure it out.

I have a number of spots around the city parks that I have cleaned extensively during the past two years so I have places to learn the Bliss.

Thank you for stopping by.