Thursday, June 04, 2020

Out of the past

It's been 2½ years since we moved back to Indiana from Arkansas, but we still have a lot of stuff still in moving boxes.

I've been unpacking a few at a time as I figure out where to put the contents and discovered my 3rd generation iPod Touch. It has 60 GB of memory and held my entire music collection when I set it aside in favor of my first iPhone - the iPhone 5 - which had a similar capacity. It's been idle since March, 2013. Happily, I still have a pre-Lightning charging cable, so I plugged it in and recharged the battery with little expectations that it still worked.

Damned if it didn't come to life after more than seven years in drawers and boxes!

I've tried a couple of times to resuscitate my first iPod, a 5th generation iPod Classic that Maria and my sons gave me for my birthday in July, 2006, but it doesn't seem to want to wake up.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A horseshoe in the front yard! Who knew?

Our front yard continues to yield up surprises.

I spent an hour Saturday morning digging targets that my Garrett ACE 300 metal detector found before the long-awaited heat and humidity took me out of my comfort zone. I dug a pull tab some scrap metal and a bottle cap before I hit paydirt with a deeply buried yellow bungee cord. I figured that would be hard to top until I dug a solid 71 signal that turned out to be a horseshoe. It was about three feet away from the sidewalk and about 5 inches down. My initial thought was that it was left over from someone's game of horseshoes. But upon closer examination, I noticed there as still a bent-over nail in it, suggesting it fell off of a horse that was standing in front of the house sometime after it was built in 1903.

The original garage was still standing when we bought the place in December, 2000 and its construction suggested it was built to house a horse and buggy. The original occupants undoubtedly got around in a horse-drawn buggy, since automobiles were still in their infancy at the time.

Gazing out across the lawn, it's hard to imagine what else lies beneath the surface. I've had visions of gold and silver jewelry, but so far it's given up a few pennies, some toy cars, and a lot of trash.

I'm still not very good at spotting the targets in the holes I dig because everything is the same brown clay color. I'd be completely helpless without my Garrett pinpointer to guide me to the target once the hole is dug.

I'd be digging this afternoon were it not for the rain - .85 inches of it since midnight. I refuse to dig in mud. I guess that makes me a fair weather metal detectorist.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Hostage situation grumbling

I feel like I'm being held hostage by the pandemic and the weather and neither is getting better fast enough.

Because I'm pushing 75 and therefore in a high risk group for Covid-19, I have severely curtailed my travels away from home. That got even more restrictive last week when our 2002 Subaru Forester's transmission informed me that I would be lucky to get a block from home before it failed completely. The car has more than 250,000 miles on the odometer and isn't worth the estimated $2,500 it would probably cost to fix the transmission. So it sits deep in the driveway while we decide how to best dispose of it - sell it for scrap or donate it to some charity.

For the last several weeks, I've just used it to go to the post office to check our box. It's only about a 1 mile hike round trip, but this is turning out to be the coldest, most persistently crappy spring I can remember and not the kind of weather that makes me want to go for a longish walk.

Which brings me to my other complaint. The weather has been cold, rainy, and windy more days than not which dampens my enthusiasm for metal detecting in our yard. I know there's still lots of targets out there, but I need sunny calm days in the upper 60s and above to feel comfortable poking around with my Garrett ACE 300 metal detector. So I gaze out the window and curse the weather and the lack of encouragement in the forecast.

And today was especially aggravating because our electrical power failed at 1:41 a.m. and wasn't restored until 9:01 a.m., meaning my morning coffee was postponed and Maria and I had to do our early morning routines in the cold and dark.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

My new day job.

I got interested in metal detecting earlier this year when I found myself watching hours and hours of metal detecting videos on YouTube.

Towards the end of January, I decided to pull the trigger and ordered a $245 Garrett ACE 300 detector from It arrived on Feb. 3, but the cold weather hung on for what seemed like several months. In the meantime I continued to accumulate equipment - A hip/thigh pack for finds and gear (free from the Vine program), a pair of cut-resistant gloves for $11.49, a plastic backpacker's toilet trowel for $4.61 - later replaced with a purpose-made serrated digging tool for $8.57, a sand scoop for $7.73, a serrated shovel for $29.99, a Garrett Pro-Pointer pinpointer for $127.45, and most recently a pair of Garrett gloves for $9.95 because the cut-resistant gloves were a touch too big. That's a total investment of $451.67, thus far... And as of today, I have recovered 88 cents in change.

The Corona virus pandemic severely limited my access to detecting sites, which was fine with me because I want to learn as much as I can within the privacy of my own yard. The front yard is getting most of my attention because the back yard was mostly churned up by an abortive garage project in 2007. The house was built in 1903 and there are plenty of targets in the front yard. My first hole yielded a discarded piece of flashing from the replacement windows we had installed in November, 2017.

So far, the most interesting things the yard has given up are a matchbox-size 1940 Mercedes touring car, a tow truck, a small toy gun, some bottle caps and some can slaw (what's left of cans after they get shredded by a mower). The only other location I've searched is the city park diagonally across the street from my house, focusing on the pea gravel surfaced playground area. That's where the sand scoop comes in. Its holes are just right for sifting pea gravel and have yielded up a bunch of small change and a matchbox Mustang. My first foray to the playground was the day my pinpointer arrived, but I didn't think I'd need it. I took it along the next time I detected the playground and quickly realized how wrong I had been - it's a huge help in narrowing down a search.

I posted this photo of my Monday discoveries, noting that a quarter and eight pennies is not enough to quit my day job. Then I realized that metal detecting IS my day job.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hunkered down

The Coronavirus has come to the U.S. and, like most other folks, I'm more-or-less quarantining myself.

Among other things, it was a good reason to dig out the thermometer I got a year or two ago from the Amazon Vine program. As you can see, my forehead registered 98.0 degrees, just like it has since I put new batteries in the thing.

The governor has advised all restaurants to go to carry-out only and no dining in for the foreseeable future. Consequently, my trip to the Lafayette Sam's Club revealed that the food court is closed and cordoned off. Likewise, all of the tables and chair at Starbucks are stacked in a corner and every order is to go. Suits me. I always get my mocha cappuccino to go anyway.

It's disturbing to find myself in a high-risk group for coronoavirus - 74 years old and a Type 2 diabetic. But I know a lot of other people who are probably more vulnerable than I am. For instance there's my next-door neighbor who has COPD and went to the hospital overnight earlier this week because he had trouble breathing. My list of vulnerable friends includes a woman who is morbidly obese and her heart patient husband, my insulin-dependent mother-in-law, several similarly elderly (!) members of the Indianapolis BMW Motorcycle Club, my ex-wife who is only a year younger than I am, the husband of a cousin who is a profoundly compromised heart patient who has spent months at the Mayo Clinic, probably all of the members of my high school graduating class, and on and on.

I was heartened today to hear reports of a possible cure in the form of an inexpensive malaria drug that is being tested in France. If it works, it could stop this nasty virus dead in its tracks before we find ourselves with a replay of the 1919 influenza pandemic.

In the meantime, I'm staying home as much as possible and checking my temperature several times a day.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

They call it the Garrett "carrot"

My Garrett pinpointer arrived this morning and everyone on the metal detecting sites tells me it's a game-changer.

However, I left it at home this afternoon when I went to a nearby park to sift sand around the playground area. I figured the pinpointer wouldn't be necessary. As it turned out, I could have used it to save myself a lot of scooping.

This was my first hunt away from our yard and I'm moderately pleased with the stuff I unearthed in the space of an hour.

I found a little Mustang and 14 cents in change, along with a nail and some other trash. I'm a long way from being able to understand what my metal detector is telling me, but I'm having fun and learning.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Stepping up

Four and a half years is an eternity in iPhone development. We finally retired our well-used iPhone 6 phones and stepped up to two matching iPhone 11s. Let the learning curve begin.

First new phones since Sept. 29, 2015. We keep our vehicles a long time too.