Panning for Gold

| 11/9/2015 4:29:00 PM

Connie MooreBag of Yuba River Dirt

I hit pay dirt this week. My son gifted me a pound of river dirt. It was the best surprise an old lady like me could ask for. I mean, it’s not like I’ll ever get to California, the Gold Rush state. Somehow my son found out one item on my imaginary bucket list was shoveling away in a river bed, pretending to be of the Gold Rush era.

So through modern day technology of “anything can be had on Amazon,” the postman handed me a box with a pound of the Yuba River in it and tucked in the corners were all sorts of possibilities.

Actually the Yuba River is a tributary of the Feather River. There is a North Yuba, Middle Yuba and South Yuba. Not knowing which direction my dirt came from in the flow of water doesn’t bother me in the least. As long as it is possible to find any speck of shiny gold, I’ll happily pan away.

assembled small equipment on table

The prospector son has the real deal equipment for his experiments. But for me, a small, homemade kit was assembled easily from kitchen items. A teaspoon was my shovel. A tea leaf-strainer was my screen. Two other holed caps were the initial screens. A small aluminum pan was my prospector’s pan and tweezers picked up the hair-thin fine flakes hidden within the miniscule particles of black sand. (A real prospector is always sure there’s gold in them there hills.)

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