(I'm back in the saddle again.)
Yes, I'm finally back in the saddle after a short hiatus. First off, let me wish each and every one of you out there a very Happy New Year. I sincerely hope 2016 brings you peace, contentment, happiness, and...of course...lots of yellow! OK, let's get back to the topic at hand.
STRATEGY STEP 5: Process the material you've bucketed.
No rocket science here folks. After you've thoroughly cleaned that section of exposed or shallow bedrock and have bucketed the material up, it's time to process it. How you do that is essentially up to you with one small admonition on my part: use the MOST EFFICIENT means possible. Now that could be a dry washer (your best bet on completely dry ground) or a re-circulating water set up or anything else that will allow you to get through that gold-bearing material quickly and efficiently. Hell, if necessary you can even haul those buckets of material home with you and process them at leisure. The problem with this particular approach is that there's a delay factor in determining what sort of gold values were in that section of bedrock you cleaned. Me? I want to know right then and there what I'm working with, but that's a judgment call on your part.
(Those empty five-gallon buckets sitting in your garage or shed are the best "pards" you'll ever have as a small-scale gold miner.)
STRATEGY STEP 6: Evaluate your gold recovery and repeat the entire process.
Here's the deal, despite occasional exceptions and just plain bad luck. If you know what you're doing and are working a decent gold-bearing area, your returns from this simple strategy should be, at the very least, encouraging. In most instances you're going to be pleasantly surprised with the placer gold you've recovered. You should have recovered some nice coarse gold and even a few small nuggets along with whatever fines were sitting on that bedrock or false bedrock. Whatever the case, the results you get should be enough to warrant working an adjoining section in the same spot. If, for whatever reason they don't, it's time to shift your focus and try using the section approach again in a different spot. In other words, start over again and repeat the entire process or start working a new section if things turn out the way they should.
(You can expect coarse gold using this simple strategy.)
Micro versus Macro
Some of you are undoubtedly thinking, "Well golly, gee, gosh...these pearls of wisdom aren't all that new or innovative...it's stuff I already knew." That may be, but the entire premise behind this simple strategy is to get you thinking on a micro, not a macro-scale. It forces you to pay the maximum amount of attention to one small area and to work that small area or section thoroughly and to clean it with a fine-tooth comb. You see brothers and sister, you can't bullshit me. I know that many of you run around from spot to spot, digging here and there, hoping to uncover the "big one." Very few small-scale miners I know (or have known) have the patience and level of persistence necessary to knuckle down and go at things carefully and methodically to the point of compulsion. Now this doesn't mean that you should take this approach in each and every instance because the location you're working (wet or dry) is going to, to a great degree, dictate how you approach your mining activities. That said, however, many newbies to small-scale gold mining get intimidated at times by the sheer volume of knowledge and experience needed to become a journeyman miner. This strategy can work very well for these greenhorns and truth be told...for some of you experienced miners and old timers who have trouble remembering how it once was or who are having difficulties pulling away from that macro view I mentioned earlier.
(Get the idea here?)
Take Care of What's Important
I'll put all this another way to you: If the job you're trying to tackle (no matter what it is) appears too big to conquer or you keep getting freaked out by the "what ifs" involved with it, then you need to take a deep breath, slow down, and start taking things in smaller, more manageable chunks. This not only takes a great deal of pressure off of you, but allows you to focus your view down to what's really important...which is what's right in front of you right now. Not tomorrow, not next week, or next year. Right now. You can sweat bloody tears about tomorrow but the fact of the matter is that tomorrow is never guaranteed. You and I are here on this earth by temporary loan only. Remember that. Take care of what's important today and deal with tomorrow when it becomes today. Quit worrying about the state of the world at large and trying to make things right for everyone. Focus down to that micro view and tackle your problems accordingly, one at a time in sequence. Quit racing ahead and stressing out over things that will probably never happen or, if they do, they will be small potatoes and not the life and death struggle you anticipated them to be. Ditto for your small-scale mining activities.
Remember, gold is where you find it.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org