Sunday, January 12, 2014

First Hunt of 2014

The ground's been frozen and I haven't been out since before the holidays.  I was starting to go a little bit crazy.  I've been eagerly awaiting a "warm" day to get out and do some detecting.

I have three sites lined up so far to start off the new year and today was the first...

A good friend of mine recently purchased a home and he generously allowed me to dig up his yard.  Today was perfect because we just had rain that melted the snow, and the temperature was just under 40 degrees (F).

{Directly across the street appears to be an abandoned farmhouse from the early 1800's.  My eyes lit up when I saw it, but I don't have permission.  Yet.}

I did a little research by overlaying old maps over a current map of my friend's property - as far back as I could go.   Not much has really changed as far as I could tell, so I was optimistic.  I thought the site looked promising.

Once I got started, I immediately headed for the small front yard.  I believe that when a house sits close to the road, there was probably a lot of activity in the front yard in the past, as the front door was probably used as the primary entrance.  Nowadays, driveways make it convenient to enter through a back or side door, so the front door is used less often than they used to be.  That's why I always start with the front yard if it's close to the road.  I've been lucky to find older items in the front yard than in the back.

After a few minutes, I found that this time was no exception.  I started pulling out wheat pennies along the sidewalk line in the front yard.

First wheatie of the year!

Shortly after, I grabbed my pinpointer to retrieve the next target.  As I turned it on, I realized the push button wasn't working.  So I stopped what I was doing to check it out, and sure enough - my pinpointer died on me.  This is the third Garret Pro-Pointer that I've gone through in a few years.  They usually stand behind their products and make good, so I'm hoping their customer service department will help me out as they have in the past.  They're usually great about resolving problems.

The broken pinpointer kind of took the wind out of my sails, though.  The ground was still frozen about 3-inches down.  Plus, it's sure been a long time since I've dug without a pinpointer and working without one made target retrieval quite difficult.

I continued to hunt, and I was in the side front yard when I found

 a really nice skeleton key.

Then I worked my way to the back yard and found 

a Monroe County dog license from 1970.

I also found a bunch of clad, a few shotgun shells,

 and an old iron axehead 
{probably from the farmstead across the street.}

All-in-all, it felt great to get out.  It was cold, wet, and muddy - but none of that matters when you're searching for history. 

 Today's keepers

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