Was going to add this old Western & Eastern Treasures article to the links above, and decided it might a good time to edit it and share again. Nothing new and nothing earth shattering.. .just a few suggestions on how to get through the winter doldrums (plus I didn’t want to piss off anyone with my computer problems).
WINTER TREASURE HUNTING
Having spent most of my life in New Jersey, I can relate to the winter blues. On those days when it was bitterly cold and darkness came early, spring seemed to be an eternity away. I literally counted the days, but nothing seemed to make up for this dismal time of year. After about two years of this self-imposed exile I began to realize that there were indeed things I could do during this down time, and things that were fun and rewarding.
BEEPS & READOUTS
Being the detector addict I was back then I kept my detector near the dining room table, and almost every evening I would pass various items over the searchcoil, trying to ascertain patterns on the meter or variations in the audio. It did not take too long to recognize the difference between nails, coins, bottle caps and other metallic items. I didn’t become an expert, but I started to become more familiar with my metal detector and what it was telling me.
I continued this practice for years, and while I am not faced with harsh winters here in Texas or get out that much, I still periodically do this, only instead of a meter I now study the audio responses and graphic readouts of my MXT Pro.
VISUAL TREASURE HUNTING
I also realized that while it was indeed cold outside, I could still get in my car and drive around the area looking for new sites. It was also a useful time to check out those overgrown sites I had encountered earlier, and every once in a while I was actually able to detect them. Driving around your town, city or countryside can be a great winter pastime. Also not a bad time to knock on a few doors and make friends.
CULLING YOUR COINS
Take advantage of this down time to clean up your clad finds and to double check dates just to be sure you haven’t overlooked any key or semi-key coins. With all the various error coins out there now, it’s easy to do. Even today I have hundreds of wheat cents I need to check, and I have found a few that were worth a little more because of some such error. Winter is also a good time to roll and cash in those common date clunkers. I used to save that money until I could afford to purchase a key or semi-key coin that would appreciate in value and it was a wise investment.
Now is also a great time do a thorough cleaning of your detector(s) and accessories. Not a big deal but keeping things free of dirt, dust and corrosion will pay dividends down the road. Cleaning a metal detector is not an involved process, and usually all that is needed is a wet cotton cloth and a small container of warm water with a drop or two of dish liquid.
Take your detector apart (coil, stem, control box, etc.) then wipe the control box down, being careful not to allow water to seep inside any of the minute openings. Clean all the nooks and crannies, and then do the same to the bottom of your searchcoils. Do not overlook the searchcoil cable itself. They can become extremely crusty and inflexible with daily, in-the-field use. Cleaning your detector along with your digging tools, water scoops and waders, will leave you with one less thing to do when spring arrives and the fun begins.
LINE UP NEW SITES
Why not take this time to obtain permission from those landowners you’ve meaning to contact. You’ve been drooling over the possibility of hunting that old house down the street, that picnic grove, baseball field or carnival site, so why not make this the year to see if it’s going to happen? What do you have to lose? Remember you can’t hunt those areas now so a “no” just means status quo. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Don’t be bashful and don’t be pessimistic. Plan your presentation and go for it. You might be pleasantly surprised.
If there’s a particular site that intrigues you for some reason, go online and find out who owns it. Not sure where you live but THIS is what I use here in the Dallas area, and I suspect there’s a similar website available for your locale.
I won’t bore you with this one, but you know what it means, and I suspect you know how I feel about it. Read, read and read some more. Whether you read a book or go online there’s always something out there that will help you when warmer weather arrives. Make time to visit your local library. I know there’s a lot of information online, but there’s a lot that’s not and it’s buried somewhere within the pages of a book. I don’t care if you think you’ve found or hunted every possible site in your town, county or state….you haven’t!
Google your town or county, and try out any and all words that might come to mind…schools, history, sports, centennial, carnival, circus, grove, railroad, amusement park, and so on. The list is endless and limited only your lack of imagination. Be sure to try out the NEW Google maps as well. Similar to Google Earth, but the images are clearer (type in your home address and see how great you house looks).
The internet is a limitless source of information, a source that I wish I had access to back in the 70’s & 80’s.
ONLINE FORUMS AND WEBSITES
While I am not a big fan of them, you might want to consider getting involved in one or two of the many metal detecting forums out there. You will find other detectorists there who love the pastime as much as you, and who may be able to answer any questions you might have. Keep in mind however that while most metal detecting forums are honest and well intentioned, there are a few that seem to have an axe to grind, a product or advertiser to promote or an agenda of some sort.
Look for those forums or websites where “ALL” product lines are discussed, and don’t be offended by those who “think” they know it all. Many of those who frequent these forums spend hours and hours there, and as a result feel entitled to say whatever is on their mind. Don’t be surprised too to see these same tekkies on other forums. I often wonder if they ever sleep.
SPEND THIS WINTER WISELY
I realize that all the above ideas aren’t new but I offer them only as a reminder that wintertime need not be dreary. Sooner or later the weather will break, the season will begin and if you could be ahead of the competition. Your decision…
MORE PUB TALK FROM ACROSS THE SEA…
My good friend John Howland just sent along an update to the Malamute Saloon and hope you will take the time to read it. If you are familiar with the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme and wonder if it will ever happen here be sure to read his comments by clicking on the Malamute Saloon link above and scrolling down to today’s date!
WALLY’S SUDDEN POPULARITY
I recently suggested (November 8th) that Warsaw Wally include the following in his bio….”I also thank God daily for my good friend Nigel Swift of Heritage Action, for without his token responses here there would be none at all”.
Well miracle of miracles….suddenly he is receiving comments. What a coincidence. Funny how that happens innit?