Small Loot And A Bad Hunt

“A bad day detecting is better than a good day working.”

Yeah, we’ve heard that before and, generally, it’s true; however, when you’re retired like I am the saying is the exception more than the rule.

I got out Sunday afternoon for three hours or so, traveling to a wooded area next to a river where I found a Spanish reale last September. I went probably 200 yards beyond where I’d been hunting in previous trips, a flat patch of ground sparsely populated by pine trees, scrub brush and dead, dry reeds.

The reeds should have been a tip-off; those things grow mainly in wet or swampy areas, as my boots soon found out. My steps were accompanied by a ‘shluck’-ing sound each time I picked up a foot but, luckily for me, I only had to traverse about twenty yards’ worth of very spongy ground. My boots felt like they weighed ten pounds each.

Finally reaching semi-solid ground I activated my Garrett machine, ground-balanced it and started scanning an area near the base of a steep rise. This spot saw a settlement very near by that dates to the early 1800s; none of the buildings or foundations still exist, having been built upon forty years ago. The reale in the river, dated 1786, had purely been a stroke of luck; however its recovery is what keeps me going back to that area.

There has to be more. Maybe not reales, but definitely more coins and artifacts.

I dug a lot of trash and iron scrap this day. The area is just saturated with so many iron nails, hinges and plain old UFOs…Unidentified Ferrous Objects…that in spots it’s almost impossible to hunt. However…I did find a couple of interesting relics, athough I didn’t know just how interesting until earlier today.

The first I knew was probably pretty decent: the wick-burning aperture from a small oil lamp, found in the side of that steep rise and down about four inches. I brushed it off enough to see what it was, then secured it in the large, zippered left-side pocket of the fishing vest I wear when I’m detecting…er, dirt-fishing. The inside of the bottom part of it was packed with dirt and would take some work getting it cleaned.

The second decent target turned out to be a silver-plated ( at one time ) old spoon, I’m guessing from the late 1800s by the design on the handle. The handle as well as the bowl section were both bent almost in half, found at about six inches and fifteen yards away from the oil lamp part. It, too, went in the zippered pouch.

The rest of the hunt was uneventful and the waist-bag that I keep trash finds in was bulging by the time I made it back to my truck. To top it off, as I lifted the handle on the tailgate to open it…it broke. Daggone plastic parts!

This morning, I remembered the finds I’d made were still in the vest, so I gathered my cleaning gear and went to work. Not long after I was rewarded by  numbers and letters revealed during cleaning on the thumb wheel…’Pat Sept 8 1862′. Outstanding!

Kinda makes all that iron junk worth it.

Then there was today. Bright, sunny skies, fifty degrees but extremely strong winds, 20-30 miles per hour with occasional gusts approaching fifty. Not too bad for conditions, right?


I didn’t mention that it had rained heavily Monday night into Tuesday, hard enough that there are still puddles of standing water in a couple of low-lying areas of my yard. Nonetheless, finding the date on that oil lamp piece motivated me to get out for awhile around noon, so off I headed to one of my go-to spots…the abandoned farm.

Forty-five minutes later I was back home; they may have forecast fifty degrees, but the ‘real-feel’ temp on my phone said it felt like 35. Not having dressed for the wind chill or the wet ground…I sat down to dig a deeper target and discovered just how soaked the earth still was…I packed it in after only having found metallic trash.

I needed dry blue jeans anyway.



Author: timteamohio

Retired cop embarking on new adventures, seeking to recover the history beneath us.

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