2009 Part 3 (part 2 here and part 1 here)


It got down to 41 last night! And I had this big log in the wood stove that is apparently wet inside 'cause it won't burn. I put other smaller boards around it and those burned into the log a bit at least. I'm still not good at starting a fire. It's supposed to get hot this week.

I drove into Deadwood last night and the highway seemed almost deserted! Wild Bill's campground is just about empty now after having been completely full. Not many bikers left, but there were 2 bus loads of Chinese or Japanese or somebody in Deadwood. Mother told me to bet $5 for her, so that $5 turned into $30 and I decided to quit then.

Yesterday was the open house at the school for the author of a book on Aunt Sally. The author was sick so her husband and sister in law spoke for a bit. All the Galena people brought cookies and stuff. ABout 30 people showed up. I don't know how many bought books, but it seemed like quite a few. I was the parking attendant again.


Had a job interview today for a part-time job I don't know if I really want.

Yesterday, after finding my GPS, I went to Custer, Savage, Double Rainbow, and Sitting Bull Mines to mark them. I went down Bear Butte creek to pan for gold. I remembered to bring everything except the pan, so I'll go do that again another time. I talked to 2 ATV guys at one of the mines for quite a while. They were interested in the local history. I found this water tank with a little cabin over it near the Sitting Bull...

The pipes from it appear to be going down to the Double Rainbow, so I assume this was a Homestake production.

Mowing yard today.

Kinda quiet, not much happening. Not much traffic. Not many animals. The turkeys seem to be staying south near Marilyn's. I watched the big meteor shower last night. Saw 7 meteors in about half an hour, and 5 satellites, all going north except for one east-bound one.


The Primal Quest is going through here and up Butcher Gulch! http://www.ecoprimalquest.com The teams generally either go past the turnoff or stop right in front of the cabins to try to figure out where to go, especially because the dumb street sign says the same thing both ways. The first group must have been who I heard outside last night. The latest group went through about 1/2 hour ago. I'm trying to look online where the final group is but the slow connection here sucks. The racers pretty much go 24 hours a day, because sleeping means losing time. It's a 600 mile race of swimming, caving, biking, running, and orienteering. looks crazy to me.

It's cool and supposed to rain today. I'm just doing job applications and getting ready for Pierre. I finished The Myth of the Rational Market, by Justin Fox, which is a great history of stock market theory. Essentially, no theory yet has worked. And several theories have really screwed things up. If you're modeling something with insufficient or wrong parameters, sooner or later it's going to bite you.


So the last Primal Quest group went by about 7pm last night, about 21 hours after the first group went by! They headed south instead of turning up Butcher Gulch, so I went out and walked up the road, assuming they'd eventually figure that out and need directions. I told them which direction to go. They said they were heading to Two-Bit Gulch, which is I think the gulch past the Golden Crest. They would have troubles there because there was no moon and it was raining.

I went into town partially to see the old tractors that were to be parked on Main Street in Deadwood. They were driving down Strawberry Hill on the shoulder as I was going in. "Old" is a relative word. I think the oldest of the tractors was 1947. There was a small grey 1953 Ford like Grandpa used to have. I learned to drive on that, so I talked to the owner quite a while as I waited for them all to start up. It was fun to watch and listen as about 50 old tractors started up and headed back to Sturgis en masse (a few were left behind; probably the bars were too tempting for some). There were some brands I had never heard of, but there were Fords, Olivers, Massey Ferguson, John Deere, Moline, and several others.

This morning it got down to 41 degrees! I had a roaring fire going that I tried to keep alive whenever I'd wake up. So it was 57 in the cabin when I got up at 8am. There was .2" in the rain gauge. And when I was looking at the gauge, the deer and her fawn ran out of the field just on the other side of the fence. She seems to hang out around the outside of our property quite a bit, so I must be a quiet neighbor.

Had a great time at the threshing bee. Steam punk all the way, baby! There's a steam engine in a building there with an eighteen-foot flywheel and a 46 inch piston draw! The thing weighs 100 tons! It was used to run a mill in the day and make electricity at night, which is a kind of cool idea actually.


It got down to 37 degrees last night! I had Clark's kitchen up to 84 degrees before I went to bed. We need a little fan to suck the hot air from the kitchen into the living room.

Also, there is fire retarding paint that I think we should paint the kitchen with. White.


Back from Pierre. With a helpful tailwind I got 47.3 mpg between Sturgis and Pierre! That's my best ever.

I went to the state historical society yesterday and today. I looked up information about Anchor Mountain Mine. Ken Stewart helped me, and gave me some stuff he had already photocopied for me. They couldn't find incorporation papers for the Anchor Mountain Mining Company, though they said they'd keep looking. So I wound up with more information but not enough to really fill in what all Thomas Houlette was doing.

I stopped at the School of Mines library to check on some photos that were supposedly donated from a company that had interviewed Gammy in 1989 about Anchor Mountain. The librarians had no idea about the photos, so I left a message with the guy who wrote the report. Hopefully he'll call, have the photos, and let me have copies.


It's been raining off and on today, with .3" in the gauge. It's pretty cool too at 5pm, maybe 59 or so.

I just finished the last of my peas from the garden. The peas were great, the lettuce has produced continually like crazy, but the cucumbers are still blooming with no production yet. I think the season is too short for corn.

It's supposed to dry out again tomorrow, so I'll try to get a few more final things done. I assume I'll eventually get a job so I want to finish up. I'll try to put stone steps up to Gammy's outhouse closer to the house, paint Clark's kitchen with some sort of fire retardant paint (which I haven't found yet), and pile up some more firewood. Plus I want to explore a few places, and pan for gold.


Went to Nemo and drove east on the road up the hill. I wound up where I wanted, right on top of the cliffs! Beautiful view from there, so I took a panorama photo that I'll put up later. Then tried to drive east to Piedmont but hit a "private property" sign just about 1/2 mile from town! That sucked. So I backtracked and went to Dalton Lake, where a Forest Service later stopped me and asked if I'd like to take a survey. Just simple "what have you been doing in this wonderful forest" questions. Ate at Taco John's in Sturgis, came back through Lost Gulch. I followed an illegal ATV trail from Perly's and it turned out to be an old road! Might have just been a forest service road though. Makes me want to take my metal detector up there...

Got fire retardant paint for the kicthen, so am planning to paint tomorrow.


Had to get 2 more gallons of the paint ($47 a gallon!) so I'll finish painting today (you're supposed to wait 4 hours between coats). I got it at Frye's in Rapid City.

There were 6 turkeys here when I got up.

I have 3 job applications out at the moment, one at Ellsworth and two in Deadwood. Should hear this week or next.

Still can't find the Barton mine. It is not written up anywhere, and isn't where it should be according to Grunwald's map, as far as I can see. Very strange. The Washington Mine is east of Janice's after an open dig. It might be on Paul's land.

Here's a 180 view of Nemo from the eastern cliffs...



I went to the ice cave tonight and it was 38 degrees.

I kicked the log seat that was rotting in front of Clark's, and there was a hornet's nest in the middle! A piece of the dome ripped off, and I took a series of photos of them replacing the rippped off part. It took about 6 hours.

When I was cutting down a dead birch tree on the way up to Gammy's outhouse, I looked over and saw apples! There's an apple tree wedged between and oak and a spruce tree. I counted 14 little apples on it.

I went into town and got a copy of the 1904 Peck map for just $1! It was the last copy they had too. I was looking up Washington Mine, but only found a bit about a Washington Mill in the same place.

I went down again to try to find the Barton Mine but didn't find a thing except a little dig high up on the hill. I'll have to email Ross about it.


Yesterday I went to Senator John Thune's Town Hall meeting at the School of Mines. About 300 people were there, and it was very civil. Thune spent the first 20 minutes explaining why the government is overspending, and thus can't afford any government health care option. Then he opened up for questions. About 70 people lined up to ask a question, so I didn't bother. About half the questions were pretty good, most of the rest were dumb, and a few were really stupid. All in all I was optimistic from the questions but pessimistic from Thune who simply held to the Republican party talking points.

Thune railed against how government can never manage a big project well, then he later admitted that both his parents are on medicare and doing fine. One guy had the same insurance company for 37 years. He was told by 2 doctors that he needed disk surgery for his back, but his insurance company denied it. He appealed and was denied. An attorney told him it would be cheaper to go to India for the surgery than it would be to sue for the coverage. So he did that. Thune said he should have contacted Thune's and Governor Round's office about it, and the guy said "you have in your office a letter from me about this, and I contacted Rounds too. Nothing."

So while Thune is a slick politician, he was inconsistent in his arguments.

There are no robins anymore that I can see. The turkeys have started coming by in the morning again. This is going to be the coolest August on record! It didn't seem so cool as just not very hot.

A Bobcat is mowing along the road right now. I have no idea who it is (it was Paul).

I went to the Broken Boot Gold Mine. It goes back about 500 feet, pretty much level. There was one natural tunnel that they dug right into. In the far back is a huge open room maybe 30 feet high and I think she said about 175 feet long. A few years ago a rock broke off the ceiling that is about the size of a volkswagen bug. And just 2 days ago a piece about 3 feet long fell into that room too. But they don't allow visitors into the 2 open rooms for that very reason. The rock layers are at maybe a 70 degree angle, so there's lots of chance for loose rock. At any rate, it was interesting and only $4.50. Mother said she and her friends used to go in there when they were kids, but they never went very far into it.


There's some kind of bits of moss or something that is in the well water. I ran it a while to see if it stopped but it always comes in. It might do next year to clorox the well just to prevent that stuff. I went to Northwest Pipefitting in Rapid City to see about a new valve for the pump. He said he needs the diameter of the flap and sleeve to replace it, which means I have to take the thing apart. Will save that for next year too.

Getting frustrated with the job hunting.

Tourists mostly gone. Robins gone. Grasshoppers around like crazy. the turkeys are still around but seem to be in stealth mode around the cabins. I see them both above and below here. 2nd coolest August on record, but it wasn't so bad.


Yesterday I talked to Forey Houlette, mom's cousin. He said he had a heart attack 2 weeks ago but is in ok shape. He was planning to come to Deadwood soon but doesn't think he should travel now. He gave me Aunt Ethyl's daughter's phone number to get information on Thomas Houlette.

I found an ore car yesterday completely by accident. I was exploring a new place because I saw some timbering I hadn't noticed before. I had to find some way to get there and wound up in a roundabout route. There's a mine wiht the entrance boarded up and caved in. Rails still come out of it. And about 20 feet from the entrance is the ore car! Pretty cool.

I like living out here. At night you can see the stars like nowhere else. It's quiet usually. There's plenty of wildlife around. There's plenty to explore. It's not too far from Deadwood. There are the drawbacks, like relying on the sun to heat shower water, and if you forget to put out the bag in the morning, no shower. There's a good supply of black widow spiders that you have to be alert for.

But now that I see autumn coming with the leaves starting to change, it feels a bit different. I would dread living here in the winter, unless I was retired and had a nice weather proof house. And indoor plumbing.


August weather! Highs in the 80s, lows in the high 40s though. A troop of 20 backroad trucks and jeeps went by yesterday morning. about 13 went by this morning. I wonder where they go?

Clark's kitchen floor needs replacing. I took video under the crawlspace with a floodlight. Not good.

Going to mow the yard for the last time today.

I looked for the Custer Peak and Jungle mines a bit yesterday. Went to Mystic Mountain campground but they didn't really know much about the mines. Peck's map doesn't go that far south, so I'll have to find old maps someplace. Waterland says that the mapping in that area was bad too.


I tried to find the Jungle mine based on information from a government site. The coordinates are 44.21306, 103.69389. This is off 385 onto 256, south of Custer Peak, and then near 688. But I walked all around the area with my GPS and didn't see anything that looked like a mine had been there. All around the area, though white quartz and black shale sticks out. I think they got mostly copper out of that mine though. At any rate, unless I find some old timer who knows where it was it may be impossible to track down.

I did see a bee's nest or whatever it is...

It's about a tad smaller than a basketball, incorporating the branches into it. It looked to me like a bee went into it, but this is normally a hornet's nest, like the one right outside the cabin. I also found one like this close to the ground near Janice's. I think I'll just say this was hornets too.

I then went into Deadwood and ate, then left via Boulder Canyon road. A constant stream of Mustangs was driving up from Sturgis from their annual rally. It was impressive.

I got a nice galena sample from the tailings on the way home through Lost Gulch. They really did a lot of surface digging on the claim. I think I found where the cabin was, and there's a big hunk of slag there, so they must have been assaying on the property.


The deer and fawn seem to hide out just south of the cabins. I was on the porch yesterday when they stealthily crossed the road toward the creek. The turkeys are a bit more stealthy and earlier risers than me, so I don't see them as much. They were down past Paul's a few days ago and actually had a chick with them. They were north of the cabins yesterday, noisily sneaking through the high grass. I haven't seen the chipmunk in a long time.

I have enough wood cut up to last through my deadline of mid-October. If I haven't found work by then I'll either move into town or back to Arizona.

So I'm all excited about finding proof that Thomas Houlette was mining in Arizona, and both Ken and Janet said "Yeah, I knew that." Sheesh.

My next project is panning for gold and grabbing more galena from the tailings.


It got down to 32 degrees last night! There was ice in the bucket. It took about 6 sticks of wood to keep the fire going, which means, I think once I get the hang of it, adding wood once every 1 and 1/2 hours to stay warm without the electric heater. Hard on sleep that way. The turkeys are coming up the road, chatting away so it's hard to miss them.

I've seen a deer with twins in three places this summer. That must be a common thing.


Went to Keystone to the museum, which was ok. Then to Big Thunder mine tour. That was sad because the poor guys mined about 700 feet back through tough rock and only ran into 2 thin veins that got them a few dollars in gold. They were trying to hit a vein in the area that other mines had run into, but no such luck. They almost broke into mines on either side of them too, which would have caused problems. In the end they hit an iron oxide vertical wall that was really tough to cut through, so they quit right there. Meanwhile, right across the street, the Holy Terror gold mine was the best producing mine in the Black Hills for a while.

Went to Hot Springs next to a book store looking for Orlando Ferguson stuff, but no luck. So went to the museum there, which is great. There's a stove there exactly like Clark's. I asked how old it was but the lady didn't know.

Went to Rapid and saw "9" which was pretty good. Weird ending though.

Came home in a light rain.


1" of rain last night, and still raining off and on. There's an R/C plane meet in Sturgis today, so I hope the weather clears up. I want to see what's available because i might buy an R/C plane to put my little video camera stick onto.

Here's a weird caterpillar that was on the back door screen...

And here is Orlando Ferguson's flat earth map. I've tried to find his booklet but haven't been able to so far. That's one reason I went to Hot Springs yesterday.


Just came back from Sturgis. There's another .8" in the rain gauge. I went to the R/C air show, but it was mostly raining. A helicopter zipped around, flying upside down, bouncing back and forth like a pendulum, and doing other impossible things. The planes were about 7' wingspans and were almost as crazy. One was spinning the whole time it was doing a circle over the field. I have no idea how you could even control that. I plan to go tomorrow because I forgot my videocamera today.


So in about 24 hours we had 2.2" of rain. The hornets nest fell off the stump during the rain. I think they're planning to abandon it, but will have to wait and see tomorrow. While I was videotaping the hornets, a big flock of turkeys came walking down the road with a bunch of teenagers in the group. They didn't seem to notice I was there as I was kneeling.

Went back to Sturgis for the R/C air event, but no one was there. It was really windy so I assume they just gave up and went home.

I had a little white paint and primer left so I used it up on Gammy's outhouse.


Yesterday and today I went gold panning, and of course found nothing. I hiked down stream from the concrete remains across the creek, crashing through the brush, bouncing over dead trees, and finally slipping on the wet rocks as I crossed the stream. I finally got to the place where there's a 180 degree turn almost in the creek, thinking that might be a nice place for gold to drop out. There's no bedrock visible there, though, so I just dug a pit and washed out the rock. Nothing. Then I went back upstream to a place where there's about a 2 inch crack in the bedrock right between to big boulders. That seemed like a perfect place for gold to settle in, so I used my turkey baster to suck out the sand clear down to the bottom of the crack, but once again, nothing. It's interesting that there's this shiny silvery/goldish looking stuff at the end of every pan. I don't know what it is, but you can crush it with your fingernail, so it's not gold. Nice weather, great scenery, screw you gold.

And looking at my silver find, I figure it would take about 100 hours to get a ton of good ore sorted by myself. Then it would need to be shipped and processed. So I'd guess I'd be making about 50 cents an hour in the end.


There are 3 bus job openings up here, so I guess I've found work if I want it. I'm going to ask around the other school systems first tomorrow, then will have to say yes or no next week. If I say yes, I'll probably find an apartment as soon as possible, and maybe even go get my stuff so I don't have to pay storage any more (plus have furniture!).

The turkeys are out everywhere, even down Boulder Canyon. I walked out of Gammy's yesterday and two turkeys were eating the seeds there. I sat on the porch and they basically ignored me, happily eating and scratching away.

If I get a job here I'll probably buy the R/C plane after all.


No plane. I'm averse to buying anything big until I get a job. Which might happen today. Apartment shopping and job hunting in Spearfish today. I'll probably get an apartment there whether I get a job or not. Also, the first "cold" snap is going through right now. It might get down to freezing tonight. But I think I've figured out how to start a fire now. Although the cabin gets a tad smoky for some reason. Not smoke you can see, just smoke you can smell.

There's a whole troop of turkeys running around here now. I'd guess 25 or so, mostly teenagers.

Here's the series of hornet nest photos. It's still there...


There were about 30 turkeys in Sigedstad's big field on the way back from Sturgis. Jeraldine said a guy told her there was a flock of about 100 in Boulder Canyon, so this is the year for turkeys. I fed them the last of my bird feed since I took the feeder down already.

The paperwork for the apartment and work is crazy and they cross some. I'm not sure this will all work or not, but hopefully I won't miss another apartment waiting for the one near work. I'll ask tomorrow if they want me to start Monday. I didn't fill out all the paperwork right anyway.

The cows have been going through town, so Chester and others chase them back from whence they came. I don't really get the problem unless it's a great fear of cow pies. At least we have fencing to keep them out.

I found another map showing the Custer Peak mine a bit north of where I was looking, so I guess I'll go back again tomorrow. Waterland says it's on Corral Creek, which is in yet another location. It's like a ghost.

It's getting down into the 30s at night now and 60s in the day. I plan to be out of Galena by Oct. 15 at the latest. The Clark's floor creaks now, so I think it's getting gradually worse still.


Had an uneventful drive back from Phoenix. There were a lot of military vehicles being hauled west for some reason. Also, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of rental trucks like me, especially towing cars. When you tow your car, that indicates a permanent move to me.

In Colorado there was a strong cross wind almost the whole day. Then when I got past Cheyenne it started raining. It quit raining while I was getting groceries in Lead, and there was even a tiny rainbow just before sunset. The forecast was for snow today, so I decided to unload last night. The unloading went pretty smoothly actually. This morning I woke up to 33 degrees and 2 inches of snow. It's really windy and still snowing, so I don't know whether to take my truck back today or not. I'll look at the radar and decide.

Oh, and the hornet's nest was destroyed by somebody just before I left for Phoenix. It was all ripped up so I assume some animal was after the larvae or something.


I got 14.1 mpg with the Budget 10' truck. Not too bad I guess, since I was doing 75 on the interstate the whole way.

I figured out Clark's stove. The damper needs to be pushed foward, not back. duh. Now it doesn't smoke and burns hotter. Yay. But I'm trying to move into Spearfish tomorrow into a little bitty apartment that I can rent by the month while waiting for a regular apartment to open up or for me to get into the HUD one close to work.


I'm going into Rapid today to buy boots, a netbook computer, and see a movie (oh, and an ice scraper). Tomorrow night I'll stay at the new apartment since the weather is supposed to turn bad again, and I need a shower. No more showers out here. It was 28 this morning. The turkeys trooped by about 8am, which I think is a schedule they have now. They come down the road, turn into Gammy's, then go up the hill north of the outhouse. I don't know where they go from there.

Using wood to keep heat is an amazingly labor-intensive system. First you have to chop up and haul a bunch of wood. Then you have to bring it inside when you need it, start a fire (need kindling too!), and at night wake up every 2 hours to feed the stove even more wood. You have to know how to use the damper to make the stove work more efficiently, which I just figured out, I think. You have to empty the ash box about every other day. So flipping a switch on a thermostat is way, way worth it in time saving.

In Clark's, the kitchen needs to be about 77 degrees or more for the living room to be comfortable for sleeping.


I'll finish this year's log up here. I moved to Spearfish and am driving a school bus. I come out to Galena on the weekends when the weather is good, like this weekend. So I should be in Spearfish all winter, but I'll keep looking for better work, and finish writing my bus story and my Thomas Houlette story. That is all, until next year.