On the warmest, finest day this week, when it truly was 71 degrees in February, my husband, J, and I went gold mining at a nearby creek. My husband has been doing this for the last couple of years after being given a crash course in it by an old Vietnam Vet buddy who has been mining the area forever. J is a true caveman of yesteryear, whether it's fishing, gold panning, or any other sort of hunting, he truly excels at it. He grew up in Santa Barbara and has been fishing since he can walk, and while he enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities, fishing is his true passion in life as horses are mine.
We spent a couple of fun hours working by the creek that day and found just over a pennyweight of gold, worth about $150. Gold mining is HARD work, even on a small scale, and I admit I generally avoid it. It's a bit too much like working on the chain gang for my tastes, but my husband cleverly found a doable job for me that also came with near-instant gratification--gee guess he knows me well by now! While he busted and moved rocks and shoveled up the raw material dirt, I shook the bucketfuls of dirt in little trowel-fulls down our sluice box set up in the creek and got to watch the tiny flecks of gold appear.
Working for the gold
Having found a useful, doable, fun job in the process, I might just have to go gold mining a little more often. It IS pretty cool to go to some spot next to a stream that looks like any other spot next to a stream and actually mine for and pan out real gold in that relatively short amount of time! Gold is currently worth around $1800 an ounce and we *have* sold ounces before.
Oh, since I mentioned that my husband is a fantastic fisherman, here is another little detail: on Thursday J went fishing at Lake Oroville and just happened to break the California State Freshwater Inland Coho record! The standing record was 4.2 lbs and his was 6.3 lbs. He had it weighed, certified, and witnessed at Fish & Game and now just has to mail in his paperwork to get into the record books! The best part is he was after this record and left me a note the day he left to go fish for it: "Honey, love you, going for THE ONE." and sure enough, he caught the one!
Being a hunter, he is now dead set on breaking his own record, immediately. :-)