Friday, May 31, 2013

Celebrating Our Golden Years

Thought for the day:  All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.  [Plato]

Plato was a smart dude, wasn't he?  Far be it from me to belittle the value of virtue, and there are also many things in nature... like a golden sunset...  that are worth more than mere money could ever buy. But still... isn't it a hoot to daydream about striking it rich? Isn't that why so many people gamble, why they play the lottery, and why they invest in various risky business ventures? We don't do any of that, but we did think it would be a blast to... (ta-DA!) pan for gold.

See? I TOLD ya we'd celebrate our anniversary with some kinda fun adventure!

Did you know there was a gold rush in Georgia... even before the more famous one in California? Yep, the story has it that a fella named Benjamin Sparks stubbed his poor widdle toe on a dastardly rock in Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1828, and after examining that nasty nugget, he decided it wasn't so dastardly, after all. By golly, that rock was gold! Funny thing is, another fella in North Carolina found gold on his property a couple years earlier, but the big difference? He kept his yap shut. Sparks, on the other hand, talked about it. A lot. So, no gold rush in Carolina, and a BIG rush in Georgia. And even today... There's gold in them there hills!




The first mine we visited was Crisson. (And YES, we panned for gems, too! I'll tell y'all about that in another post.)


These troughs of water are in the panning area. We each got a pan of sandy dirt... or pay dirt, as I preferred to call it... and instructions on how to get to the gold in our pans. Because gold is so heavy, the object is to go through a bunch of swishing and swirling and spilling motions with the water to eliminate the lighter dirt, until only the gold remains at the bottom of the pan.

The guy who instructed us said it should take about fifteen minutes to get down to the gold. We, however, took considerably longer. (Hey! We didn't want to miss anything!) My better half even checked out some of the other dirt at the bottom of the trough. As you can see, he was having a blast. Me, too, but I had even more fun watching him have fun, if ya know what I mean.

So, did we strike gold? Of COURSE we did! Sheesh. Wanta see?






See it?  No???

Okay, here, try again...





Look reeeeeally close!






See it NOW??? Then, again, I COULD tell ya the following picture shows the gold I got in Dahlonega...

(And indeed, it DOES!)




Okay, so technically, I bought it in the gift shop. Tough. I did GET it in Dahlonega, right?



Remember when I told ya marriage requires a hard hat, because it's always a work in progress? See? I was right!

We BOTH wore hard hats to tour the Consolidated Gold Mine. Totally cool. Literally. The temperature was about sixty degrees... and damp. LOTS of fun, though. I'll tell you more about it, and about panning for gems... later.

For now, it's time for me to shut up. After all, as they say, silence is... golden.


                                   Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

P.S. Smarticus and I are going to a hamfest tomorrow, but later in the day, our cats will help draw the winner's name for that signed copy of my book. We'll notify the winner this weekend, and will announce the name on Tuesday. Good luck!

85 comments:

  1. The story of Benjamin Sparks reminds me of how Jed Clampett ended up in Beverly Hills... I LOVE the idea of panning for gold! Sounds like a fun time!

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    1. HA! Yeah, you're right. Some poor slobs waste their whole lives chasing the almighty buck, while others, like Ben and Jed, just get lucky. Panning IS fun. If you ever have the opportunity, you should go for it. Um, just don't expect to retire in the lap of luxury with the flakes and miniature nuggets you might find. Here we go... think of it this way: the experience alone is the REAL treasure.

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  2. All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue. [Plato]
    Plato was a smart dude, wasn't he?

    Here I was all prepared to tell you why Plato was NOT a smart dude; ready to explain some of his totalitarian ideas about a ruling class and the value of Socialism, an all-powerful state, the destruction of the family unit, and a militarily-protected oligarchy; to briefly focus on Plato's work 'The Republic', which has been described as "the source book of all dictatorships".

    I was all set to conclude with something like this: We should thank God the Founding Fathers of the United States of America were much smarter dudes than Plato was.

    But...

    ...then I read THE REST of this post and it was so lighthearted and fun that I couldn't bring myself to elaborate on all the reasons Plato was a poo-poo head.

    Thanks for ruining my plan to ruin your blog bit, Susan!

    Glad you and your "better half" had such a good time looking for "the stuff that dreams are made of."

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. HA! I LOVE it!

      I'm glad you didn't elaborate on the poo-poo-headedness of Plato. See? Hang around me long enough, and I'll get you to lighten up yet. My hubby claims I can turn the meanest attack dog into a pussy cat, so "taming" you should be a piece of cake. (Chocolate, please.)

      Thanks. We really did have a super time.

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  3. My father was an amateur gemnologist and we followed him around panning for gold, and hunting saphires and agates and opals and .... Some of it was fun, some of it wasn't. Camping besides disused mines and poking through the waste piles has NOTHING to recommend itself to a teenage girl (or not this one anyway). And we found a whole heap more fools gold (iron pyrites) than real gold. Nice to see more of the country though.
    And I love your anniversary celebrations. Congratulations (again).

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    1. As much fun as we had, it was the novelty of the experience that made it fun. I don't imagine I'd enjoy doing it on a regular basis, and I KNOW I wouldn't have enjoyed doing it regularly as a teenager. (Well, except for finding opals, maybe. I LOVE opals. But even that would grow old after a bit.)

      Yeah, we found a lot of pyrite, too. All that glitters, and all that jazz...

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  4. I've never heard of the Georgia gold rush, but your adventures in search of gold are priceless. And you look lovely in a hard hat.
    I panned for gold a few times at Knott's Berry Farm when I was a kid. I wound up with a tiny sliver of gold in a tiny bottle - much like the one in the photo. I think I still have it somewhere.

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    1. Most people haven't heard of the GA gold rush, but it was a big un. And you're right; the real treasure in the adventure was the fun we had. Thank ye kindly for the comment about the hardhat pic. I guess I've finally found my "look"... old lady industrial.

      Neat that you panned for gold, too, and still have that little bottle. Somewhere. (In my mind, I'm imagining you looking for it now...)

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  5. South Carolina had its own little gold rush a century or so in the past with one mine located close to Columbia shutting down just ten years ago.

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    1. I knew a vein of gold runs through the Carolinas, but wasn't sure about the particulars. The major gold here was (and is) on what was Cherokee land, so I imagine the same is true for the Carolinas. What's crummy is after chasing the Cherokees off their own land, they weren't even allowed to put in a request when the government parceled it out.

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  6. We've been there! We spent some time in Dahlonega for one of our anniversaries and we panned for gold at Crisson too. Didn't take a mine tour though. We may have to go back for that one.

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    1. Oh, cool! Yeah, if you go back, do the mine tour. Lots of walking, so on top of learning a lot of stuff, it's great exercise, too. (Especially those steps!)

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  7. I did that panning thing in Dahlonega once upon a time. But I lacked your patience and gave it up for a cold beer before finding anything.

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    1. Oh, no! Dontcha know patience is a virtue? Of course, we were lucky enough to have a beautiful day. Warm, with a nice breeze. If it had been a brutally hot day, I might even have opted to bug out early for a cold beer. (And I don't even DRINK beer!)

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  8. What a fun post, and I'm glad you had a good time. The pictures are great! :)

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  9. I panned for gold at a former mine in Australia years ago...same concept...even down to the mine tour. It was fun, but I didn't end up with any gold...darn!

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    1. No gold? Oh, no! (You shoulda stopped in the gift shop!)

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  10. I had no idea that there was a Georgia gold rush but that's one of the things I love about blogging - learning all these new and interesting tidbits.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy picking up all kinds of interesting tidbits, because I sure enjoy gathering them and throwing 'em out there.

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  11. Ha! Cool. I always learn something interesting here.
    Thanks!!

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    1. I'm glad you think this stuff is cool, too. I'm an incorrigible information junkie, so I have to restrain myself. HA!

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  12. Remind Smarticus he doesn't need to pan for gold; he already has you!

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    1. Awww, Kyle, that's the sweetest thing ever. If I see you at the hamfest tomorrow, I'm gonna have to hug your neck!

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    1. HA! You always crack me up. (Can we put some golden pineapple on that ham?)

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  14. Now, that looks like a fun way to celebrate an anniversary! I'd love to try it myself someday.

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  15. Loved it.... I wonder if there are any welsh gold mines around.?

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    1. I dunno. Maybe. Just start digging. Might not find gold, but hey! Good exercise is good exercise.

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  16. Hi Susan .. I went down a Gold Mine in South Africa and didn't enjoy it .. too hot, too damp, too claustrophobic .. I guess I'm a wimp!

    Panning is hard work .. so you were right to let hubby do his thing ...

    Enjoy the hamfest and see you anon .. cheers Hilary

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    1. I had a feeling you probably visited a gold mine when you were in South Africa, so no real surprise there, but I am surprised it was hot in the mine. Unless maybe it wasn't at deep as the mine here? It was a steady sixty degrees in the mine here. Definitely damp, though.

      Yes, gold panning is a little rough on the back. (You'd think they would've provided a stool to sit on, ya know?)

      Thanks. We're looking forward to it.Here's to a happy weekend. Cheers!

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  17. Aw, Sus! When I saw the pic of Smarticus, I hoped there'd be one of you too and I love it!

    kylehtepontificator's comment is sewper cute.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you got a kick out of the pics.

      Kylethepontificator is a sewper nice guy... and the president of our local ham club.

      Happy weekend, kiddo,

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  18. You are the cat's meow in that picture. Love the one of Smarticus too. What fun you 2 are having. Lots of panning for gold around "these har parts." I was in the hardware store and an elderly looking tourist type man had a gold pan in his hands. I asked if he was going to find some gold. With a big smile, he said he was and appeared to want to talk more when a clerk came to help me and I had to excuse myself. (I can never find things in hardware stores) But now I wish I had listened to what he had to say.

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    1. HA! I dunno about the cat's meow, but we sure did have fun. Oh yeah, I'll bet there are a lot of places around you where you could pan for gold and gems. The clerk in the hardware store would probably be happy to tell you where to go. (Um, I mean to go panning... HA!)

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  19. Susan, you are hilarious. Love the pics!

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  20. Sounds like a grand time
    And oh so sublime
    I want my golden years to have gold
    Before they take hold
    So I will dig away
    For that golden display

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    1. Just because we're getting old
      Is no excuse to miss out on gold.
      Yeah, we're getting up in years,
      But old man time can kiss our rears.

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  21. That looks like so much fun. I had no idea there was gold in Georgia. Great picture in that hard hat!

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    1. Oh, it was a lot of fun. Glad ya liked the hard hat pic. Maybe you should get one of those hats to protect yourself from all those vicious tumbleweeds.

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  22. I have panned for gold up in Sutter's Mill, and never found so much as a flake!

    Gold in Georgia? History has a long list of things I don't know.

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    1. Well, darn! Maybe Sutter's Mill is all mined out? There's still a lot of gold left in Georgia.

      Lots of things about history I don't know, too, but it's fun to find out about some of them.

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  23. Loved the photos of you and your husband panning for gold!

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    1. Thanks. (Not QUITE as cool as the pics of you and your hubby in Gay Paree, though!)

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  24. We agree about Plato.

    I have to ask how you manage to get your cats to be helpful? Mine are good nappers but refuse to pitch in around the house.

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    1. It's easy. The most important thing to do is the same thing they do in schools today... set the bar very low. If you don't expect too much from your kitties, you can celebrate every little achievement. Mine are particularly helpful and attentive when I'm trying to wrap presents. It's been years since anyone received a gift from us that doesn't have cat hair under the tape and little gnaw marks on the ribbon. (They're diligent flossers.) They're also quite good at keeping my house plants pruned. A little ragged, perhaps, but like I said, a low bar.

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  25. I have panned for gold when I was but a child and I will always remember that. It was a hoot !
    But @mybabyjohn/Delores panning for ham is a great idea.
    Do you dig for opals or pan for them ?

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. opps forgot... love the blue tree in your header.
      I had a dead Paloverde tree in front of my house, they are lime green trees but turm grey back when dead, and at one time was going to paint it lavender !

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    2. Oh, super, I'm glad you thought it was a hoot, too. As for the opals, I'd have to say... yes. If it's like our experience with panning for gems, someone else dug the dirt, and then we panned it to find the gems. Alas, no opals, though.

      Isn't that blue tree cool? A bunch of the trees in our local park were painted that vibrant blue as a community art project. I can't remember the artist's name, but the "movement" was started by an Italian artist. This coming weekend, the park is gonna be attacked again... yarn bombing this time. I hope to get over there sometime on Sunday to catch some pictures of it. There's gonna be bits of knitting and crocheting all over the place. Or so I hear. (And you shoulda painted that tree lavender!)

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    3. I had to cut it down... but my citrus trees have a fungus spread by squirrels and parts of them are painted white. Does that count ?
      I would love to see the trees knitted !

      cheers, parsnip

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    4. Sure. A white tree isn't quite as snazzy as a lavender on would have been, but it's still pretty neat. When I was a very young girl, the family who lived across the street from us had a large yard with lots of trees in it... all painted white. I think it had something to do with a bug infestation of some kind, but I can still close my eyes and picture how that yard looked with all those white trees in it.

      Cheers!

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  26. Greetings from the other Golden State, Susan. Congratulations on ore gathering but I suspect the real treasure is in the celebrants of your anniversary. And, ok, I guess Plato can be "dude" too.

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    1. Greetings, dude! You're right; the experience was the real treasure. No need to feel threatened by Plato... he's a dead dude. He's already shuffled off this mortal coil, leaving you behind to carry on his dudeness and cerebral work.

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  27. Very cool! We're moving to Georgia, by those hills, so we're going to have to go searching for gold!

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    1. Neat! That's a beautiful area, and I think you'll love it there.

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  28. The look on Smarticus' face made me smile, because that really is the look of someone enjoying themselves.
    I went panning for gold a few years ago. Okay, so it was in England...in Legoland...and they might not have been real gold...there's really no point in carrying on this topic, is there?

    Happy Anniversary to you and Smarticus. And here's to many many more. :)

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    1. HA! There's all kinds of "gold", y aknow.

      Thanks. We appreciate it.

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  29. Panning for gold - what a fun idea for an anniversary activity! Love the pictures of you and your husband.

    The funniest "gold story" I ever heard was from a friend of mine. After a boyfriend broke up with her (and she was really mad at him), she took all the gold jewelry he had given to her over the years and had it melted into a push-on pin in the shape of a rat.

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    1. Thanks. We thought it was a lot of fun.

      That's a great story. That gal had a super sense of humor.

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  30. I've panned for gold (unsuccessfully) in California. Came up with lots of pyrite, though. I had no idea there was a gold mine in Dahlonega! Of course I've never actually been to Dahlonega, but I've seen the signs. I know it's somewhere nearby.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. If you have time before you hightail it out of state, you might give gold panning a try. (I liked the gem panning better, though.)

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  31. My dear late Mama once came back from Australia with that exact same tiny water-filled bottle, with the exact same tiniest flake of gold imaginable.

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    1. Your comment made me smile. I'm glad the post reminded you of your mother.

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  32. This is a brilliant post. I love the way you make us laugh while you tell us some fascinating info. As for marriage needing a hard hat *nods sagely*

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  33. I love reading about this sort of thing and it looks like you guys had an awesome anniversary!

    Besides, who needs gold? It looks like you've found all the riches you need in your marriage :)

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    1. We sure did. And you're right. We don't need gold... but it sure was fun looking for it.

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  34. Hey Susan,

    Okay, sorry that I've not left one of my highly treasured as a gold bullion comments on your lovely site in such a long time.

    I think the last time I commented they found gold in the Klondike. I mean, I had to add a Canadian angle,eh.

    A golden post and there's gold in them there hills. Still. love is priceless. And folks keep telling me that silence is golden. Maybe I should get the hint.

    Thank you for this posting. I'm going now...

    Gary :)

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    1. Hi-ya, Gary. No need to apologize. It's always good to hear from you whenever you can stop by. Your comments are, indeed, good as gold.

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  35. Yanno, no wonder you've lasted this long. You guys have cool adventures. What're you gonna do for your 50th?

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    1. Yanno, with the right attitude, I think just about anything can be an adventure. As for our fiftieth, I dunno. Drink a toast with Ensure, and go for a ride in a hot air balloon?

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  36. Must have been quite an experience. Talk about celebrating an anniversary in style :)

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    1. Oh, it was! Don't know about style, but it was definitely different!

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  37. What a great way to spend an anniversary and may I say you look lovely in a hard hat.
    We've done a little gold panning, way back in 198?, technically only the three older kids panned, but none of them found any gold and hubby was too cheap to buy some in the gift store. We visited the "Gold" area in Victoria, Australia. It's near the city of Ballarat, a place called Sovereign Hill, it has a whole "old style" town built there with tiny miners cottages, a general store, a schoolhouse etc. It was a lovely day.

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    1. Well, thank you, my dear.

      I figured that were probably some places in Australia to pan for gold. The "old style" town sounds like the kind of place I love to visit. Kinda like taking a step back into history.

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  38. It is so much better to spend time doing things than getting things. It looks like you and Smarticus had a great time and that band of gold on your third finger, left hand is worth far more than all the gold in Georgia.

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    1. Definitely! Thanks. You've got that right.

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  39. Fun! Sounds like you had lovely time panning for gold. Thanks for the photos!

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    1. Yes, it WAS fun! Glad you liked the pics. I always appreciate you stopping by.

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  40. Panning is fun.
    I used to go with a prospector friend in the bush.
    Never found much more than you. Simon used to find a bit though, and heaps of gem stones, enough gem quality sapphires to supplement his day job nicely.

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    1. Oh neat! So you kinda did it "in the wild". Very cool about your friend finding sapphires.

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  41. I've always wanted to pan for gold! Your marriage sounds like it's made in heaven - hardhats and all!

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    1. If you've always wanted to pan for gold, go for it! I'll bet you can find someplace there in New Zealand where you can give it a go.

      Thanks.

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