Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer Wrap-Up: Toothpaste, Lost Cows and $700

I haven’t found a ton of amazing things. I haven't had any particularly mind-bending experiences (except for one or two) over the last couple of months so I’ve been reluctant to write. Nor do I feel remotely capable of somehow melding my recent finds into any sort of life lesson or interesting through-line. So I’m just going to do a quick recap of the summer.

First, the Club Hunt.

I am a member of the Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club – a monthly meeting of some really friendly men and a smattering (me, Cheryl) of women.  We gather in a church rumpus room on the first Friday of every month and show each other what we’ve dug out of the dirt. Then there is Business to conduct, votes to tally, and “awards” (like an old bottle or a used magazine) to hand out. There are also many doughnuts available. I don’t go every month and when I do go, I try to be lubricated with a margarita from a nearby Mexican restaurant. The margarita makes me not want the doughnut.

Every year, the hardworking officers of the MTMDC arrange a Club Hunt for the members. This year, we'd been given permission to hunt a large farm not far from where I found my OHIO last November. Sounded quite promising. I put new batteries in both my machines and packed a lot of Gatorade.

It was mid-June. The day of the Hunt was clear and hot. By the time Cheryl and I got to the site, on some gently rolling hills, there already quite a few folks out there swinging.  We jumped right in. It was hard going – it hadn’t rained in coon’s age and the ground was not cooperative, but everyone had high hopes. I dug some old, rusty farm stuff, but enjoyed discovering this, back in a copse of trees.


 Here's the inside.



After a big barbecue lunch, we all moved to higher ground, a pasture on the other side of a fence, and things quickly got interesting. There had been a house here, long ago. Here’s what it looked like from the top of the hill.

I dug this…
Whitley loves round things.

And this…
Someone said this was
part of an old bed, but I
can't figure how...

And this…
Decided to straighten it and
promptly broke it in half. Nice.

Somebody else dug this.
And no one has seen Cow #51
since that fateful day.

Then Cheryl skunked everyone with this GORGEOUS heel plate. 
Congratulations! (Seething jealousy.)

That there’s worth about $150. Just so's you know.

By this time, Cheryl and I were so crazy hot and dehydrated that we just gave up. There are plans to revisit this site at a more civilized time. I am ready at any time.

I spent a month of the summer up in Michigan. The first two weeks I worked at Interlochen Arts Academy teaching songwriting to 33 amazing young singer/songwriters from all over the country. 

Here's me and one of my classes:
It's a great camp, but the uniform thing is a little extreme.
Particularly the whole socks-with-sandals business.
 I have never in my life been less fashionable.
And that's saying a lot.

One day I mentioned to a coworker that I’d never found an Indian head penny and this turned into a conversation about how the things we get in life might not be quite what we asked for. That evening, I took the Cibola into the woods behind one of the amphitheaters and quickly found this.

1908 Indian head penny. Hit by a bullet.

So… yeah. I consider this to be one of my prize finds of all time.

I found one other cool thing at Interlochen. Many nights, I lay in my sweltering dorm room and worked on a two-week-old New York Times crossword puzzle. I was determined to nail that bugger down – in ink – but it was having its way with me. Night after night, I tried to figure out “Vintage toothpaste brand”… I knew it was “IpaNa” or “IpaMa” or “IMaPa” or something, but I just couldn’t remember and it was really tripping me up.

Then, in a soft, loamy area outside some cabins, I found this.

Words fail.

Why, thank you… O, crossword-sprites of the Earth.

After Interlochen, I spent two weeks in Ann Arbor and did a bit of digging when I could. Took my little niece, Olivia, to Burns Park and she dug a cool, old ‘60s-ish ring.

Love is all you need.
All you need is love.

Had a fun MD session with my buddies Rod and Linda out near their homes near Chelsea. No toe-curling finds, but a whole lot of fun in the dirt. Here’s our take.

One man's trash...

I got back to Nashville near the end of August then promptly had to go to Texas to play some music. When I got back to town, I revisited my tried-and-true Brush Hill lawns for a little Mother Earth pore-cleansing. Believe it or not, in an area I’ve dug dozens of times, I pulled out an 1875 seated Liberty dime and an 1883 nickel – by far the oldest American coins I’ve dug.

In the backyard of a house on Fatherland, I dug this before the mosquitoes chased me out. It’s burned and partially melted – quite possibly from the huge fire that leveled that block of Fatherland in 1913.

Can't wait to do a proper hunt on that yard.
It is FULL of stuff.

In other news: remember my OHIO? (See my very first post on this blog, Triune Hunt.) To recap, I found something very valuable in some deep woods almost a year ago and this morning, I met the esteemed Joe Haile -- a VIP hunter/dealer in Civil War relics outside a Macaroni Grill in Brentwood, TN and sold him my little OHIO for $700. It's going to a collector who will be very happy to have it, and will display it proudly. And I wasn't sad about it at all. Well, maybe a little sad.


And so now I’m caught up. Stay tuned: there are lots – LOTS – of amazing digging adventures coming up soon. Including a major purchase that I… am… about… to… make…