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Week One and Two – Young Drilling, July 2018

So, I’m here again! In Young, NSW. It’s becoming all too familiar. Although it is my MOST favourite time of the year to be in Young. It’s cold, crisp, the land is fresh and beautiful. And I’m loving it…….!

Rather than bore the world with daily updates of me doing the same old things over and over (and also due to the fact I am so busy I can’t think straight!) I have decided to update this particular blog in a fortnightly increment – mainly because I am rostered to be here two weeks on and one week off, so it’s a good way of dividing up information based on those timelines. Plus it makes me feel better about not having to update daily as I am brain dead at night!

So, I’m here again, again! My work for a mining company has brought me to Young to participate in a further drilling program. We are working in similar areas to where I have been in the past so the landscape is familiar. My Long-Suffering Trusty Sidekick, Alfy, and I are set up rather cosily in a comfortable apartment, complete with a visiting cat called George, who I have managed to coax inside from time to time using Felix Party Mix bribery and the promise of undivided attention and scritches! He has made himself comfortable on my bed from time to time but it’s pretty hit and miss with Our George. But then I have a long time to work on that……

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I am here for a few months – until the drilling is finished. Around 4000 metres of dirt to drill and it should take until at least the end of August. It’s a fantastic experience for me. This time I am being utilised in more of a Project Management Assistant role, which means I am not arse up in a bulka bag of dirt but I am also not completely away from the Geology that I forget that wonderful Saprolitic smell….

Some job accomplishments in the last few weeks involve the organisation of a port-a-loo (tenderly referred to as “The Shitter”) for the drill site. I only mention this as an accomplishment as the presence of the shitter may impact on my “Free Pee Spot” ratings, as has been done in past blog entries. I know this is a massive disappointment, but we must move on with times. The shitter is now equipped with adequate toilet paper, hand sanitiser, wet wipes, and sufficient water to flush it! The boys don’t use it but, by golly, she’s a lovely set up! No more dead cats hanging from trees in my free pee spots!

Basically the last two weeks has been setting up the core shed in preparation of dealing with 4000+ metres of samples, ordering supplies and equipment for the program, liasing with locals (ie. being OVERLY charming and cheerful!), bossing the boys around and dealing with all the admin that goes along with running a drilling program. The drillers started last week but the progress is slow. In geo speak we are maintaining sporadic core recovery – we get very excited when we hit 100% which has happened! Just to further explain, the core is the cylinder of dirt that comes out of the drill – we log it in many different ways but the common marker is by the metre. The recovery is how much dirt we actually get from that metre interval – the loss is whatever dirt gets, well lost! It’s a beautiful thing to see it all laid out though! A visual display of what lies under us. Each day when the core is delivered I make myself an annoyance by stepping all over the boys’ feet, oohing and aaahing with my handlense stuck to my face trying to get my Geology-fix! The boys’ put up with me though because if they don’t, I won’t buy them the good assorted cream biscuits for the kettle table!

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The drillers are also very patient with me. Frog, Sludge and Ryan know I am┬ácoming from a mile away with my hot pink hi-vis PPE and the excited squealing noises! At least no one tries to steal my hard hat or my vest though! The rig is huge. The drills cut down into the dirt and suck the core up into the barrel – and with a very precise and expertly handled process, deposits out a lovely looking core of dirt! It doesn’t sound all that exciting but I am in my element here!

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I would love to say that I spend all my time looking at this drill bit, but there are other things to do! I have my own little nook set up at the Core Shed with my desk and hot pink stapler! The boys even found me a lovely picture to look at instead of the roller door. The wonderful Dave, so thoughtful to say that he felt I needed a “Happy Place” when I sat facing the roller door. He is so right!

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The experience I am receiving being a part of this drilling program is undeniable, but even better are the contacts I am making. The consolidated brain matter of Geology that is represented by my trusty team is invaluable. I am like a sponge soaking up information, asking lots of questions, and loving that the boys are happy to point out interesting markers and interval changes. My Long-Suffering Geo-Mentor, Brian, is especially indulging – happily allowing me to tag along to the field while he chats away about the geology of the entire Lachlan Fold Belt – of which I must type up to include in this blog as it is utterly fascinating and bewitchingly spectacular!

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Our days are long – we start at 5am. It’s so cold it would stick a dog to a tree (as my Dear Old Dad would say!). This morning it was -1.1 degrees celsius! It starts to warm up around 11am with the gorgeous winter sun shining (it’s always shining in Young!) and we get a few hours where we can feel our faces. Until about 3pm and you can feel the cold from the hills starting to close in and you are grateful for the thermals and the layers. I think I might treat myself today though to some hot-pink stripey thermal socks as even double socking it isn’t cutting it in negative temperatures!

In closing, I had to include a picture of some of my awesome team! My Long Suffering Trusty Sidekick, Alfy (or at least the back of her head!), the most awesome Phil (whose brain I want to marry!), and of course Blake who knows how I think but patiently puts up with me anyway (he is the most AWESOME teacher!). We are all so cold we couldn’t work out if we were smiling or just using our resting bitch-faces!

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More updates to come!

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