Saturday, October 14, 2006

Home From The Hills

I left Tuesday, October 10 with my sister, Donna and our friend Luci to go to
Crater Of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas to camp and search for diamonds. We enjoyed our trip, but as usual, it wiped us out. I recall
digging in the dirt as a kid, but I sure don't remember it being so exhausting! I tried to upload several more pictures to the slide show, but for some reason it wouldn't let me load some of them. I think it might be because I used my zoom to bring some of the views up close, because it kept saying that the size was exceeded, or somesuch. So, I had to upload some pics with Demon Blogger that wouldn't load on the slideshow.

That's the entrance to the mine itself in the first picture. Actually, the "mine" is just a large plowed area, roughly the size of maybe one and a half football fields, per Diane measurements. They use huge earthmoving machines like those used to build roads to plow and move the dirt. Occasionally they deep plow and turn up fresh dirt for the diamond hunters. Those rows of dirt are actually about 2 feet high, and there are pits and trenches much deeper on the slopes where people and machinery have dug into the dirt.

The next picture is of Donna looking on the surface of the dirt. Many diamonds are
found on the surface, especially after a rain. You can see the trees and shrubs in the background of most of the pictures. The mine is just a cleared area in a hilly forested area. The diamond bearing soil, called lamproite and kimberlite, extends beyond what is plowed for mining, but only a portion is being mined at the present time. None of us found a diamond while we were there, but one diamond was found while we were searching. A siren sounds when someone finds a diamond, and the siren went off once on Wednesday.

Basically, all there is to diamond hunting is digging up some dirt, sifting the sand and finer dust through a screen, then tossing the larger parts left in the screen in a bucket. After you have your bucket full of dirt, you carry it to a washing shed. Then you pour some of your dirt on your screen and wash all the mud off in big troughs of water. When you have the rocks and fine gravel as clean as possible, you dump them out on a table and sift through them for diamonds. Not easy work, I promise you. And it WAS work. We were out there about 5 hours on Wednesday and it felt like a full days' work, let me tell you. I like sifting through the gravel, but hauling the dirt is for the younger folks. I only carried 3 buckets to wash, and my knees said, "ENOUGH already, you dumb heifer! Did you forget about the arthritis here??" My knees dealt me some misery then, and ever since Wednesday.

The leaves aren't changing much in the Ouachita Mountains of south Arkansas, which is where Murfreesboro is located, but I did take this picture just inside the entrance to the diamond mine. Lamar and I are going to Hardy, Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains today (Saturday) hopefully to see some fall colors. I'll be taking my camera and trying to get some good autumn pictures if the leaves are turning up there. I've literally got a headache from wrestling with Demon Blogger, ImageShack and RockYou, trying to get these pictures to upload. I'll try to upload some pics when I get back tomorrow if I get some good ones, plus I'll be doing my regular Sunday Dinner post, Lord willing.

Until then, may God bless and keep you, my friends.


Meow said...

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. That diamond digging sounds like hard work though !! Enjoy the rest of your trip, and have a ball.
Take care, Meow

momteacherfriend said...

What would have happened if you had found a diamond?
Glad you made it safely home! Now rest.

Big Mama said...

Camping and diamond digging...girl you are tough. Glad you're home!

Barb said...

Blogger is being really weird about photos lately. I'm not having any problem uploading photos but every time I go to anyone else's blog I have to hit F5 to see their photos. You have to wonder why on earth there's always something not working right with blogger.

Sounds like a wonderful but labor intensive trip. Still, you're so lucky to get to do things like this.

I'll be back for your Sunday post! I always look forward to that. :-)

Mountain Mama said...

Sorry about your knees slowing you down, but glad you had a good time.
How big was the diamond that was found?
And are these the clear colored diamonds?

Dawn said...

Sounds like hard work! But fun being "away from it all." Hope you get some good foliage pictures today.

PEA said...

Welcome home:-) I would so love to experience something like diamond digging...I can imagine the hard work but how exciting it would be!!! Loved the slideshow...those self portraits are GREAT!! lol You girls all looked so cozy in your's too darn cold over here to camp now:-( Hugs xoxo

Johnny said...

Boy! A writer, a photographer and now a diamond hunter! What a woman! I guess that's why I like you so much. I really wanted to go with Donna but she keeps saying "why take a hot dog to a banquet". I haven't figured that one out yet. Maybe one of these days she will tell me. Glad you and the ladies had a good time. see ya later

Paulette said...

Hey Diane, this was so neat watching the video, all your hard work was well worth it. I loved it.Wow I cant get over how things are so different in other States.
I didnt even know you could dig for diamonds!! How neat. Does people actually still find them??
Man I love it now that you have a camera.

Linda said...

Glad you're back. It does look like hard work that diamond mining. Do you get to keep the diamonds you find?
Have a restful sunday. Looking forward to seeing what's for dinner.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

you are the little photo bug arent you !I think you are really great at it ,my favs are of you !! thats because I get to see you!
I know I owe you an email ,I have been flat out this weekend with my princess and havent been online much at\ all.just wanted to see how your trip went,looks like fun,wish I was there :}

Hoping to have bbq tomorrow ,one of my favs .we had a warm day today ,unusual for time of year,think it went to my head

big squishy hugs friend ,been thinking about you ,chat soon
your friend
miss G.