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I’m getting better!

A piece of china, a roofing nail and a length of wire twisted into a loop. Not pictured: another nail.

How do you find china with a metal detector? You don’t. There’s so much china embedded in our lawn that you’re bound to find a bit if you dig (I’ve even seen other bits with this pattern). So much of it, I have a theory that they put broken china on the garden on purpose, probably to deter slugs.

I need a better spade. And one of those metal detecting wands for sticking on the ‘ole. Yes, I am one of those people who takes up hobbies because I love to buy gear.

I’ve learned a few things. Don’t hold a clod of dirt under the detector with your left hand; there’s a gold ring on it. And be mindful where you put your trowel down – that thing’s metal, too.

This is not an entirely pointless exercise. There’s a not-protected field near me where I know good things have been detected. Not spectacularly good things, but interesting ordinary things like musket balls and shoe buckles. It was the main path between two villages for centuries. I just have to get permission.


Comment from Stephen Falken
Time: June 8, 2021, 8:39 pm

If there is an area on your property where clothes were hung out to dry try detecting over there. Maybe a coin fell out of a pocket. I don’t metal detect but I heard that tip once from someone who did.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 8, 2021, 8:41 pm

That’s an interesting idea, thanks. I’m not sure where that would have been, though.

The front door was moved after several hundred years. I want to go look around where it used to be.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: June 8, 2021, 11:42 pm

This is awesome Weasel!
Sounds like you’re having great fun with it.
Do a write up, conclude the Vikings had a wire trading post where stately Badger House was eventually built.

Figure some tie in that involves global warming.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: June 9, 2021, 12:22 am

So you’ve bought a detector
Heard all you have to do
Is wander around and wave it at the ground
And Roman gold coins will beep at you.

Did you read that in the brochure?
Did you read the fine print too?
It says you’ll move dirt by the truck without any good luck
And yes, sucker, we’re talking to you.

But you never pay attention
To people who don’t know how to dream
There’s treasure out there waitin’ to be laid bare
In your mind you can see that gold gleam!

It kind of gets into your blood
Like Malaria or some other tropical ill-fate
You think you’re over that gold fever but you’re a secret true believer
And you’re sure someday you’ll find something great.

So far you’ve found some old wire
And what looks like a rusty spoon
But how can you doubt that the prize is near about
And you’ll see your name on the front page soon!

With apologies to Clarence Leonard Hay

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 9, 2021, 12:56 am

Camping sites are a good choice, too. JavaMan used to be a Scoutmaster, and on every camping trip at least one boy lost his pocket knife.

Comment from drew458
Time: June 9, 2021, 1:35 am

Spear & Jackson Rabbiting Spade may be just the thing you need. As you take up hobbies in order to buy gear, you may as well buy the best. A rabbiting spade is a most excellent shovel, digs small deep holes quickly, and a good one can take an impressive levering without bending or breaking, while being light and of shorter length. This one has a slightly pointy tip, a D yoke handle and an extra long socket.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 9, 2021, 1:45 am

@drew458 — I love learning new and useful stuff! I had no idea what a rabbiting spade was, not did I realize I couldn’t possibly live without one! (-:


Comment from durnedyankee
Time: June 9, 2021, 2:06 am

Is THAT the proper name for that type of shovel?
We’ve gots two of em, a shorter one with a D handle and another with a long handle like a normal shovel done up in electric company yellow with the black and white stripes.

(Correction! the long handle one appears to be a Drain Spade!
More learning! )

They are a wonder for digging quick holes. They dig nice holes for planting various plants, and make a good start on post holes, since I hate the damn post hole diggers.

It’s generally my go to shovel for quick work around the place.

Thank you Drew and Uncle Al!

Comment from OldFert
Time: June 9, 2021, 4:27 am

Wow. The stuff you learn here.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: June 9, 2021, 10:37 am

My husband ruined a couple shovels trying to dig in caliche (we call it gumbo) when he first moved out here. Apparently, in other parts of the world, the ground isn’t rock hard when dry (he bent the handle of a shovel) and gluey when wet (he let it dry on the shovel blade, which is like letting cement dry on your shovel blade). Go figure.

(Gumbo being the only dirt I knew, I always wondered how people ever enjoyed gardening!)

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: June 9, 2021, 5:26 pm

Enjoy this article penned by a British leafy vegetable ‘splaining “protected land” versus “non-protected land” in various UK and Irish governments. Warding off unwanted detectorists is nearly as snooty as wearing your “I Fell For The Jab!” earrings on the virtue-signalling scale.


Comment from Drew458
Time: June 10, 2021, 2:45 pm

I learned of the rabbit spade many years ago when my mom wanted a small but sturdy shovel for her gardening. Found it in a tool porn catalog. GarretWade? Anyway, they had several brands and styles and went on and on about handle and blade prying strength etc. Best one was from Smith & Hawken. Got it for her. Best garden tool I ever used. Sadly it was lost when her car blew up and the garage burned down. Lousy leaky plastic manifolds on chevy 3.8L v6. She wasn’t hurt, but her Bonneville was slag. House is Ok. And now she’s sort of famous on the internet; the press showed up with the fire trucks.

The Spear & Jackson spade is nearly as good. Yes, you need one. Convince yourself.

Comment from Joe A
Time: June 14, 2021, 7:52 pm

Have you binge watched all of ‘The Detectorists’ yet? Love that show.

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