Friday, September 12, 2014

"One of Them There Things..."

That's right: two Dirt Girl posts in as many days.

This one is short and to the point.

In April of 2013, my dear friend (and renowned Michigan videographer) Terri Sarris, came to Nashville to make a short film about me and my metal detecting. Here's the finished product. I just love it. There was hours and hours of footage, but she has edited it down to a compact 10 minutes that says so much, so beautifully. And seeing the great Doug Drake again is just so cool.

Here's the link.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I had this dream the other night.

I am going to the airport to pick up a friend. For some reason, Al and Jakson (dog) are in the car too. We get to the airport and pull into one of the spaces where you can only stay a few minutes. Sure enough the guard lady comes over to us but instead of telling us to open the trunk or needlessly circle the airport, she starts talking about DOGS, of which she has six. She tells me that her friend is looking for a new dog. Well, I say. I know someone who is fostering a stray dog that needs a home! Here… I say: here’s my card. Email me and I’ll get you the info.

The guard lady takes my card and studies it closely.

“Dirt Girt?” she asks, puzzled.

“What? No. Dirt GIRL,” I correct her.

“Well, this says ‘Dirt GIRT’ – with a ‘T’,” she says, handing me the card. Which I notice does in fact refer to yours truly as “Dirt GIRT.”

And then I woke up.


It’s been way too long since I’ve posted and there’s lots to tell you.

In the middle of July, my family gathered on Cape Cod. It was kind of a homecoming for me. I started going there when I was a toddler and spent all or part of every summer there for decades, in a little gray-shingled cottage owned by my godparents. My first husband and I moved to the Cape to live in 1980 and my daughter, Maya, was born in the front room of an 1830s home in South Yarmouth the following year.

Brand-new Maya, brand-new mama, 1981.

When my godmother died in 1998, the summer cottage was sold and I hadn’t been back since. I was a little afraid that being there again would unleash a torrent of tears, and that did happen, briefly. It also unleashed a torrent of family fun, swimming in the salty, seaweedy sea, playing “tennis” with a grownup Maya (anyone watching us play would know why quotes are needed), late-night games of Mexican Train Dominos, and eating a lot of really good food.

Of course, I had to engage in some serious graveyard skulking action.

When I was a kid I spent countless hours
doing gravestone rubbings on the Cape.

Thankful. That's a nice name.

Really, these stones were the Facebook of the 1700s. 

I also spent many hours swinging the old Fisher F75 in a beautiful but somewhat creepy “nature preserve” near where we were staying. I’d heard from the locals that it was a place where the militia practiced during “the war” which, this being Massachusetts, actually meant the Revolutionary War. But all I found for my efforts was part of a spoon and an old file.

Wow. Cool file. Yawn.

Also did a whole lot of beach detecting and found a ton of clad but no jewelry. 

Pretty disappointing. Where was the jewelry???

Oh well. At least I looked like an idiot.

Hello! Have you dropped any jewels? Can I
stand here until you do?

My father and my son, attempting to tolerate my hobby.
My dad and me, shortly after I knocked
over a peerless vodka martini.

Back home in Nashville, it was dry and hot, but Cheryl and I got out once or twice. My girlfriend, Kira, recently bought a house in East Nash with her boyfriend, Sailor Glen, and we hit that yard hard. I found a ton of 70s-era toy cars and trucks but not much else.

Carwash... workin' at the carwash, yeah...

For the record, Kira is not particularly spacey.

One desperate dayjob-hating afternoon, I ventured back to the Never-Fail Wonderland Yard near my house and pulled out this sweet little cufflink, so similar to the “Tallio” cufflink of the last post. Happy happy.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean... roll!

In August, I had two rapturous days up on the beach in northern Michigan where I spent virtually all daylight hours doing You Know What.

At one point, a man came up to me and asked if I’d go look for his wife’s wedding ring; she’d lost it last summer. Sure, I said, and walked a long ways down the beach to the spot he indicated. I never found the ring but found this, instead.

A flurry of posts on various MD sites identified it as a pewter rattail spoon, circa 1750-1760.

Then I queried Wayne Hilt, a renowned pewter spoon expert. Here's what he said:

Nice find.  The spoon is in my opinion an 18th century item...The shape of the bowl an elongated taper oval originated around 1720+_.  This form of bowl was used both in England and the Continent as well as America through around 1760-1780.  During those latter years the design developed into a more tapered form.

The cast decoration on the handle is interesting.  the raised "shell" on the face was undoubtedly produced when the mold was first made.  the additional decoration shown in photo 3 are likely additions cut into the mold by one of its owners.  The quality of the shell is superb while the back of the handle work is far cruder.

The rib up the back of the Bowl is typically early 18th century, while the shape of end of the handle design is more a mid to 3rd quarter design...The form in general reminds me of a European rather than English/American design.

As this is a "relic" I would not attempt any "fix" of the crack...if handled with caution it should be fine.

Thanks, Wayne!

I just can't get over the fact that this item was found about 30 feet from the water's edge, about 12 inches deep in the sand.

Also found this honking pile of rust and almost threw it out, but decided to take it home and de-rust it.

Hmm. Numbers...
This is a silver-plated something or other.
Any ideas? Ashtray? Spoon rest?

Finally, this cool old souvenir thing.

Hard to see here, but there is an image of a
Native American man on a horse, looking
up to the sky.

Summer is over. I’m back to writing (the dreaded dayjob) and teaching the sticky little chilluns to point their feet (wonderful dayjob).

Sigh. Sure do miss the beach…

Last weekend, I ventured south of town to a 100-acre construction site I had permission to hunt. It had been pretty much scraped clean but I managed to find a smattering of the usual ordinary old home site stuff: parts of oil lamps, mason jar lids.

Also found this.

I won’t be exploring it further, but it got under my skin and I wrote a song about it which I'll post later.

That’s it for now.
Oh! I know! One other thing. Recorded THREE more songs for the metal detecting record. They are:

How’d This Get Here?

They sound fantastic. I think we might actually meet our early November deadline for getting this thing out into the world.  Where it is so badly needed.

And that dream at the beginning? That wasn’t a dream. Every single business card I have handed out over the past year has referred folks to Dirt GIRT Unleashed.

New cards have been ordered.