Saturday morning musings…

Yeah, so its twenty-six degrees outside my window here at Ram Field Ranch, with a light coating of snow on the ground. It’s been pretty much below freezing since last weekend; it was in the low 60s Saturday and Sunday, so I got out and hunted a bit at the abandoned farm I’ve been hitting. No really outstanding finds aside from a large cent recovered from the back yard, and it was pretty toasted. I soaked it in olive oil for four days, brushed it very gently with a well-used toothbrush, prayed and then examined it under a magnifier and high-intensity light…no joy. Still couldn’t read any sort of a date, but the Liberty head is visible. I am going to gift the land owner with the coin; he’ll be happy with something from his land that is at the very least one hundred sixty years old. The man has been very accommodating, allowing me to hunt, to date, two of his seventeen farm properties. He’s the kind of land owner you want to meet, wishing all land owners were like this one.

But we know that’s never going to be the case.

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Guilty. I fully confess. I have yet to clean my gear this winter because…well, we here in north central Ohio have had detectable weather until now. The ten-day forecast from the weather-guessers calls for highs in the mid-20s for the most part, with a measure of snow scattered about the period.

Looks like I’ll get to that task after all.

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I drove approximately 20 miles to a small town a few days ago, en route to a Mom-and-Pop consignment shop in search of undiscovered treasure. I don’t know about you, but I can spend all day in places like that, especially when it’s too cold to detect and the ground is frozen. All day, as in until my lower back tells me to stop.

My red-headed angel tells me I need to realize I’m 60 and not twenty.

This town is a little bit Mayberry, a little bit tourist trap and a side of Amish thrown in for good measure. I love the place. They have a week-long fall festival where they shut down the main drag through town and fill it with rides, concession trailers and craftsman booths. My wife and I go every year; that’s how I found this shop, one that I’d never been in but always wanted to visit.

This was the day.

I wasn’t disappointed, either. There was all manner of collectibles, antiques, oddball items, tools, clothing, equipment and trinkets. Since I started reselling on eBay I’ve discovered that police and fire memorabilia move pretty well and this store had a little bit of those items. The two middle-aged ladies behind the counter were very friendly and accommodating, answering my questions and directing me to the items I sought. Though I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I found plenty of stock to peruse; I think I might have worn out my ‘what’s it worth?’ app in the process.

I found a couple of items I wanted to do further research on, so I left empty-handed this day.

But I’ll be back.

 

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Busy, Busy…

At the start of winter, I worked on finding a few projects to keep me busy through the cold and snow season. Maybe I worked a little too hard.

The last few weeks have been a little hectic for this old dog. Between an appointment with my favorite Doc ( she saved my life a couple of years ago! ), working on a home repair project, trips to regional second-hand and consignment shops, visits to area military clubs to build a list of subject material for my weekly newspaper column…plus a spat of good weather that begged me to get out with my AT Pro…well, my days have been full. Hence, blog posts have been sparse.

I’ll try to find some time in the near future, so that both of you will have some metal-detecting material to read…if you have a couple or three minutes of free time.

Undertaking Another Journey

 

Be advised: this post has nothing to do with metal detecting but everything to do with history.

I consider myself extremely fortunate for that.

Since I retired from the cop business nearly four years ago, two significant things have happened to me. The first is the reason why I’m even here.

Metal detecting. I discovered it shortly after I retired, talked into purchasing a machine by my wife’s brother. I bought a lower-end model and, after a month, I’d swallowed the hook, having been snagged waaay down in the gizzard. I upgraded to the trusty, dependable AT Pro…not a high-priced tool but still a good, solid detector with which I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of hours and made a multitude of finds and friends. The history in our grounds continually amazes me.

Which brings me to the second event. I’ve always been a keen student of history, particularly the Civil War and World War Two; that works well with my passion for metal detecting. It also plays into this second event: I became a freelance writer.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and I thank one of my high school teachers, Mrs. Fehr, for focusing and developing the skills I now use, both on this blog and another I have that’s law enforcement centered; it can be found here: mpd135.blogspot.com/

Because of this affinity for writing, I’ve written several guest columns for our local newspaper, the Mansfield News Journal, as well as numerous entries for online magazines for which I was compensated. One particular submission to the paper, about America’s youngest warrior in WW II ( he was twelve years old, serving on a Navy ship in the Pacific! ) piqued the interest of the News Journal‘s editor, sparking an idea.

Would I be interested in submitting weekly stories about area military veterans?

What an opportunity! Being retired, I’d been looking for something to do, especially during the winter when I can’t get out and metal detect, and writing about our heroes from wars past is both an honor and an exciting venture, something that I can bring a passion to. Not being a military veteran myself, which I’ve regretted for decades, I feel that telling their stories will help assuage the guilt of not serving my country.

My first story appeared online this past Sunday and in the print edition the following day, and it can be found here:  http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/life/people/veterans/2017/01/15/veterans-story-bailey-had-varied-career-navy/96347402/

Tomorrow, I’ll spend time with a WW II Marine who fought in the Pacific islands…

…and I cannot wait to hear, and then tell, his story.

God bless our veterans.

 

The Addiction Is Calling…

forecast-01-15-17

Right now it is 26 degrees, but the temp is supposed to rise in the next 90 minutes. That being the case, I’m preparing to get out and hunt a new spot, an old soccer complex. If the ground there is frozen, it’ll be back to the woods at the 1900s farm; maybe the earth inside the woods will still be diggable. If it’s not…well, I have a couple of sticks of dynamite…

Not really. Figured I better not joke about that because Homeland Security might be a-knockin’ on my door soon. At any rate, I gotta feed this addiction we all have. If I find anything worth posting, I’ll put the video up here, as well as my YouTube channel at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3EBhEhX8q4RZqdyWJx4Vaw

 

 

 

I Couldn’t Deal With The Guilt

 

It’s January; the high temp for the day is an unseasonable sixty-two. Yesterday’s storm and high winds that accompanied the warm front that passed through are gone and the sun is shining.

…and I just got a 7-acre permission on an old soccer complex. Perfect time to get in a six-hour hunt, right?

Wrong.

As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t do it. My AT Pro silently scolded me every time I looked at it hanging in the garage.

That storm with the high winds, you see, deposited a lot of tree limbs and branches in my yard; the bare grass in the side yard also bore witness to just how much our two dogs eat. It was time to get to work, no matter how much I wanted to go metal detecting.

Two and a half hours later my lawn was tidy again, free of the storm debris ( including the doggone pine branches and limbs from my neighbor’s trees ) and the doggie bombs. As a result, my lower back with its surgical steel was aching, yelling at me for all the bending over I subjected it to. There was no way it would agree to further abuse at the soccer fields.

That was yesterday; overnight it began to rain, a torrential storm that saturated the ground and continued into this evening. Standing water dotted neighborhood yards, making it look as if they were shell holes which had filled with water. Though it was warm once again, I would have needed hip waders to get out and detect…with my waterproof headphones.

Tonight it is supposed to get cold again, with tomorrow’s high forecast to be 23 degrees.

…and I’ll be wishing I would have gone detecting when I had the chance.

Treasure Hunting of a Different Kind

 

As I type today’s entry it is 16 degrees outside, and the temperature projection for the next several days remains below freezing. In other words, I won’t be metal detecting anytime soon.

There are, however, other ways to treasure hunt.

I called my long-time buddy Ron a couple of days ago; he, too, is a retired cop, a guy I’d worked with in my early years behind a badge when I was a young pup. I got him infected with the metal detecting virus early in 2016 when he dived in with a Minelab machine, and we’re already planning excursions for when the weather breaks. Ron was in the video on my YouTube channel when I unearthed an 1827 large cent last March, and when we explored the insides of the old mansion on whose grounds I found the coin.

But I called him for another reason.

Ron, you see, has a nose for bargain hunting, a real wheeler/dealer when it comes to finding rare or valuable stuff and turning it into profit. That’s what I wanted to do, and the day was perfect for it…cold and blustery.

I arrived at Ron’s house, grabbed some coffee for my thermal travel mug and off we went, en route to a couple of places Ron knows well: second-hand and thrift shops.

The first place we stopped I’d driven past a few times, telling myself I’d take a look when I had time; today was the day. The inside was packed with all manner of used, motorized sport vehicles…and, it seemed, everything else under the sun. Old coins, bladed weapons, baseball memorabilia, leather goods, laptops, video games…I could have spent all day in there looking at all their stock. As it was, the shop took 90 minutes of our time, and that was OK; we’re both retired and had nothing else scheduled for the day.

From there we moved on to the downtown area of a small town; Ron knew of a great Mom and Pop restaurant right next to a consignment shop he said I’d “love”, and he was right. Our first order of business, though, would be lunch at the aforementioned eatery, where we both had the fish ‘n chips. It was excellent, and I will be a repeat customer. The wait staff was friendly and the prices were very reasonable. As we were ending our meal, one of the restaurant’s cooks came out to the dining area, a big man, to tell the wait staff that one of the daily specials was ready for offer; it seems they’d run  out earlier, which told me the dish must’ve been in high demand. What I noticed right off, though, was that he was wearing a Garrett ball cap. The man, Ron and I struck up a conversation about metal detecting, with our new friend telling us that he owned a Garrett Ace 400 and that he and his Dad went detecting as often as they could. Before leaving, I told him of my YouTube channel, believing he might enjoy the footage; hopefully, he does.

Ron and I then walked next door to the consignment shop, a little store-front operation that was surprisingly larger than it appeared from outside…and it was absolutely packed with all manner of items. Again, I could have spent the entire day inside this place just browsing its offerings. I strolled the store leisurely, though knowing what I was looking for: old books, to be specific, but also keeping an eye  out for anything at a bargain price which I could turn into profit on my eBay site. That’s one of the ways I pass the cold weather months when I can’t get out to metal detect. Though not trying to make eBay an integral source of income, I do utilize sales proceeds for funding an annual Spring trip out of state to metal detect with my brother-in-law Steve.

I ended up making two purchases: a unique book, printed in 1910, and a military pocket knife, two items I bought at a really good price that I know I can sell quickly.

After leaving there, Ron drove us about fifteen miles to a little gun shop he knows of, a place where he’d bought firearms before; again, it was smallish-looking from the outside. The inside, however, had gun-related stuff packed in seemingly every nook-and-cranny ( what the heck is a ‘cranny’, anyway? ), as well as a few items of baseball gear. We spent probably 45 minutes there, and Ron ended up buying a .22 target pistol for his adult son’s birthday.

As we rolled homeward, I spent the time taking in the landscape we drove through: farm fields covered with a trace of snow, dotted here and there with small communities and the occasional old farmhouse…

…always on the lookout for promising ground, and dreaming of spring.

 

What A Year !

 

Since we’re non-drinkers, my wife and I are watching the festivities at Times Square on television and reflecting on the year we’ve had. It got me to thinking about how very fortunate I’ve been this past year enjoying the hobby we all know and love.

In 2016, I went detecting on January 1st, quite an event being a resident of northern Ohio. I hunted many more times during our unseasonably mild winter, relishing every second I spent searching for history in otherwise unhuntable months.

I went with my brother-in-law Steve to Abingdon, Virginia for a week of metal detecting. In March I recovered my first significant find of the year, a large cent dated 1827. I also unearthed my first walking liberty half-dollar, 1943, and an undated standing liberty quarter.

Water hunting became a habit once the weather got warm and, because of that, I located a Spanish reale dated 1786…which I initially thought was a crusty Roosevelt dime. Only after I got home, showered and ate a sandwich did I really look at it, shocked beyond belief when I discovered what I had.

I took a different track when I hunted a local park, abandoning the flat, open ground for one of the wooded, steep hillsides…and it proved to be epic. 23 foreign coins from 13 different countries all across the globe, making October  the most productive month I’ve had in my three years of dirt scanning addiction. A trip to Edisto Island, SC with my bride produced a Lord’s Prayer ring that I wear daily, found in the surfline four inches deep.

I’ve made a ton of new friends through YouTube, learning much each time I watched a video posted by guys like ‘PalmettoDigger’ Shannon, ‘Mental Metal’ Scott, ‘Hiluxyota’ Tom and a whole host of others that would take an hour to list. Even struggling through issues with my Garrett AT Pro ( which the Garrett Corporation handled superbly ) I had a fantastic year of metal detecting.

2017 will start like 2016.

I’m going metal detecting tomorrow!

Have a Happy New Year, everyone!

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