Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Vaca is officially here!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I had a great weekend. It marked the start of the kids summer vacation. The kids opted to spend half the weekend with my mother and stepfather. So Friday I picked them up from school with an added two teenage girls, and dropped them off at the movie theater with my parents. My poor parents had the blessing of all four grands, ages (boys) 4, 6,8,and (girl)13 ...plus my daughters two best friends. From what I heard they had a great time and enjoyed a movie that I see many of you went to see this weekend as well, Night At The Museum.

They all went back out to Mom's to get ready for their trip to the drive through zoo (or safari) in Pine Log, GA. I have absolutely no idea what the name of this place is, but the kids love it. You have the option of renting one of their vans or driving your own vehicle. We have always rented one of the vans... why risk my own vehicle!! Anyway the vans have only front and back windows to give you and your beloved children better access to feeding the animals. Watch your hands, your bag of food and most definitely watch out for those long purple tongues! My daughter had the privilege of feeding the giraffe who then decided this was a great time to drool all over my her. She brought home the T-shirt, unfortunately my mother was not fast enough with the camera to catch it all.

While my kids were having a blast with the animals my husband and I drove to Franklin, NC to go Treasure Hunting. There we found our way to the Sheffield Mines, not our first visit nor will it be our last, where we went ruby grubbin'. Whats ruby grubbin you ask... well you pay to play in mud all day. Ladies this is probably the best way to get really soft hands, but it is the worlds worse manicure! We found out about Sheffield Mine on an episode called "Vacations that Pay for Themselves" on The Travel Channel. OK you aren't just playing in mud, you are actually looking for rubies and sapphires in all the dirt and rock that you get in a bucket. My husband and I are pretty competitive, and his goal has been to beat my Squeaker that I found on our very first visit. Sheffield Mine has different categories or sizes for rubies found. You have your Squeaker which wieghs from 15 carats to 30 carats, the Honker (30 carats or larger), and the Super Honker (100 carats or larger).

On our first visit four years ago I found a Squeaker weighing 19 carats. We left it with the people at the mine to have cut down and cleaned up so that I can eventually put it in a setting. You loose at least half the size of the ruby in the cutting process, which means my 19 carat ruby is now 8.1 carats worth over $200. On that trip we only spent about $100 with the price of cutting my ruby down, so I would say that the trip definitely paid for itself. Well, like I said my husband and I can be pretty competitive while on this yearly trip. We have gone so far as to weigh our entire hull to see who has found the most in weight or who has the biggest piece. The entire crew at the mine are very friendly, and they really do want you to find that super honker. We didn't find the super honker, but my husband did find the Honker that beat out my largest ruby found. His honker weighed in at 39.5 carats. Of course when you find a ruby that feels heavy you take it inside and ask Dave, Warren, or James (I think) to weigh it for you. James came across the intercom with "Nananana, Ron just found a ruby weighing 39.5 carats, blah blah blah, but add to this he has finally beat his wife Heather" so of course I was sitting next to the biggest gloater in all of history who had the nerve to tell me he was disappointed. I asked him why, thinking that maybe it had to do with my having no luck at all this day, but no he said I still haven't found a squeaker. Can you believe it? I wanted to punch him in the nose, especially when he pulls out another Honker weighing 35.5 carats!! I did eventually get my second squeaker, weighing 19.5 carats. It was a great day! We couldn't leave it alone though.

We ended up driving back out there yesterday, taking both kids and my parents with us. My mother found the first squeaker of the day, weighed 24.5 carats. This was a little irritating! We had just sat down, she had no idea what she was really looking for and it was the first pour out of her first bucket! I mean come on can we say beginners luck!!!! I went through 2 entire buckets with out finding a darn thing! Long story short... my husband found 2 more squeakers and finally I found one. And guess what, I had found the biggest one out of all four squeakers!! So of course I had to rub it in my husbands face. Everyone had a great time and between my husband, daughter and myself we brought home over 100 carats in raw rubies.

If you have never done anything like this before, I highly recommend going out and giving it a try. My husband says it is Zen for him, me I just like finding the ruby.


Lea said...

Sounds like you had an awesome time Heather!!

A number of blogger friends took kids to see the "Museum" movie and all really enjoyed it. :)

Happy you had such a great time!

Best Regards

Cindy W said...

I've always wanted to do this, friends of ours go every summer. I will check out, should only be 8-10 hours away!

Heather D said...

Thanks Lea!

You really should check it out Cindy, we have a blast every time. There are several other locations around, some closer to us than this one. We have even tried our hand at gold panning in Dahlonega.

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