You've entered Melodyland, where perception is slightly skewed, potential is limitless and imaginary people live happily ever after

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My blog for 3/30/2014 Dahlonega Gold Coins

Above you can see what a Dahlonega Gold coin that was minted in 1855 looks like. " By law, gold coinage during the operation of the Dahlonega Mint (1838-1861) was 0.900 fine, meaning 900 parts per thousand  (by weight) pure gold.  The remaining 100 parts constituted the alloy (pure gold being too soft and malleable to prodce coins that would stand up to the rigors of circulation).  By law for that time period, the alloy for gold coins was copper and silver, provided that the silver did not exceed one-half the alloy.  Thus, the silver content could be up to 50 parts per thousand.  It was  therefore lawfully possible to have coins with varying concentrations of silver, about which we can today make observations relative to the coloration differences.
Generally speaking, a gold coin with 100 parts per thousand copper alloy is distinctly orange in color.  Gold coins with silver and copper tend to be less orange, and if the silver content is high enough, the coins do not look orange at all, possessing a light "green gold" color.  As a consequence of this imprecise specification for the alloy, the mints at Dahlonega and Charlotte had the flexibility to have a higher silver content than the parent institution, the Philadelphia Mint."  Carl N. Lester, GOLD RUSH GALLERY, INC.

Remember that when gold was discovered in Auraria, Georgia, in 1829 the subsequent gold miners had no place to put their accrued gold in a safe place.  There were no nearby banks.  No way to create their gold into coins.  If the miner traveled to a bank, then he might return to find someone else working his plot of land, i.e. stealing his gold.  Land with possible gold could only be obtained by lottery.  No choices of land parcels were available.  It was pretty critical that a mint be established in Dahlonega, about eight miles from Auraria.  The owner of a parcel won in a lottery could sell his parcel, often for an exorbitant price.  The owner would have to hide his gold, or possibly have it stolen or himself killed for it.  Auraria is actually quite small and there were some 5000 miners working to strike it rich at the peak of the gold rush in this area.


Monday, March 24, 2014

My Blog for 3/24/2014 Summer In The South

I'm so far behind with this travelogue, I've decided to put some new information that seems timely.

Summer In The South consists of fireflies darting through the lush forests at dusk; of air so humid it appears cloudlike in the heat and you can see what you are breathing.  There is a pervasive silence as the woods breathlessly await any passing gentle breeze for relief.  Even squirrels have better sense than the lazy bumblebees out making their living lethargically moving from flower to flower.

Begonias line my entry walk, thriving as usual, before the lavender Hostas and bright Day Lilies.  They all think they live in a greenhouse.  Canopy is the truly right description of the trees.  I look up through the lacy leaves to see the sky, grateful for the gentle filter of the heat.  My little Garden of Eden. 

The cicadas (also known as katydids) have at last begun their nightly chant, somehow relating that all is right with the world.  And the full golden moon now begins its helium ascent at 9:28 p.m.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Blog..New Series..From Sea to Shining Sea. Part 15

Rowena Wildflowers

October 18
The Columbia River gorge's cliffs are lined with windmills as it turns out.  The night before, all we could see were the lights at each one--they stood out like stars so far overhead.  The gorge itself makes you feel like you're at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  We found the windmills in daylight.  The river changes names as others merge with it.  We passed maybe four dams and locks, where ocean barges work their way inland against the current.  It's so amazing that the road we were on was cut through solid rock a couple hundred feet straight down, at the bottom of about 200' cliffs.  It feels like a huge wall.   At the top of Oregon, the river looks like an ocean and must be a mile wide.  It's all barren of trees and shrubs, with only a  little grass that shares space on the hills with windmills for another fifty miles or so.  A couple of green patches off on the Washington side must be watered from the river because they stand out like a couple of oases.  We think they're citrus orchards, but they were so far away we couldn't be sure, but there were jet engines planted we think to ward off frost.

We headed to Pendleton--the place where super well made wool clothing is made.  We hope to see a lot of woolens.  We next passed Arlington with its little marina full of sailboats.  We were in Umatilla County, which I suppose is a Nez Pearce name.  A friend, Jess Wright, had a horse named Umatilla in my past life when we rode with him in the 1970's.  Hmm.  Of course there is a railroad track running along side the freeway.  All the traincars have graffiti on them.  I guess nobody is exempt.  Right where the snake river comes in from the north the land has flattened to desert, again complete with sagebrush and tumbleweeds--also a bombing range.  Which is across the Columbia from Horse Heaven Hills.  Go figure.

Next we were in power line jungles.  I would think the dams we've seen could power the whole United States.  But it looks like a bad day in  El Paso, Texas, the ugliest town I have ever seen.
Scrubby trees suddenly appeared--and ah!  A reason for the smog--a huge chemical plant mixing in with the wires.  A good place to leave--ugh.

Suddenly desert forests of densely planted tree farm trees that looked about fifty feet tall appeared as farmed crops mixed with hundreds of acres of trees, onions, citrus, hay.  Monster commercial agriculture.  Pacific Albus Trees, a sign said.  Whatever that is.  This area look like Southern California rather than Western Oregon--arid but just enough rain to make parts of it green, with oleander bushes, bottlebrush, citrus trees and lots of decomposed granite.  The temperature was 47 degrees.

On the overpass railings/fences, are running horse sculptures.  I guess there are wild horse herds in this area.  The Umatilla Indian Reservation includes Pendleton.  Oregon soon looked like Iowa--farmland to all horizons.  Half of Pendleton is a prison.  Home of the Pendleton Roundup.  Home of Pendleton woolens.  So we stopped and bought a blanket at the factory.  It's a beautiful piece of work we intend to use for a bedspread at home.  Pendleton is a cute, old-fashioned 1950's style Western town.  It included the Wildhorse Umatilla Indian Casino.  Next we continued off the flat mesas into the Blue Mountain Umitalla National Forest--a bald forest that's east on I-84.  We saw the longest horsetrailer in the west, as well as a triple trailer longhauler, which we'd never seen before.  They kind of looked like trains.  Trees there are at about 4000 feet--which includes snow fencing.  The hills looked like gold cushions with pines, cattle, deer and antelope.  No higher mountains were around us, but chain signs were required and we saw the occasional Sno cat.  The temperature changed to 53 degrees.  Baker, Oregon, has a sign that says we were half way between the North Pole and the equator.  I've been wondering about that.  I-84 is a good place to be if you don't want any people. I have a hunch that area's weather is treacherous.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Book Review: The Dwelling by Catherine Cookson.

Book Review:  The Dwelling, by Catherine Cookson.

Review by Melody Scott



The Dwelling is a story about how it’s possible to overcome an adverse life.

I loved the “voice” of the story, which includes the “gutter” dialogue between half the characters.

            It seemed to have several stories interlaced into one book.  The beginning of a family of 18 children and two parents in early England, whose dad and children worked  in the coal mines as soon as they were old enough to hold open underground doors--about 8-10 years old.

            The story begins after nine of the children, the mother and the father have all died from the current rash of Cholera.  Nine children, the oldest one 14 are huddled together in a house where they were evicted from, since the father held the use of the house as long as he was alive.  With his death went the rights to the company house.

            The options the children had were all awful--from workhouses to indentured servants, and the gallant eldest, Cissie, refused to separate the family.  It seems the elder boys who worked alongside the father were among the nine who died.  Two boys, nine and ten were useable, but only for conditions like death traps.

            It seemed to be constant winter with the second main goal was to figure a way for the last nine to not freeze.  Cissie found a cave in the side of the “fells,” which I never figured out.  I assume a cliff face above swampland.  She took everything from the house they children could manipulate and moved into this cave.  It was very tiny for nine, but it was deep and rather out of the weather.

            The kindnesses they received were few and far between, the cruelty and selfishness they confronted daily was rampant.

            The fellow who saved them from starvation pinched foods from the mill-owner’s daughter, who was homely and about whom he didn’t care for particularly.  They just had good manners with each other.  This Matthew sacrificed himself to marry the millowner’s daughter in order that he could keep his true love (Cissie) from starvation.  I think this guy was the hero of the story, even though things changed regarding that issue later in the book.

            As soon as the reader felt these people are going to be okay, something else would happen to make things even worse, as life sometimes spins out of control.

            The hard to believe part was how a person who had actually raped a young girl and caused a pregnancy could end up being the one the girl fell in love with.

 Even if he had supposedly grown up to be a decent man.          The  child from the rape became as a pawn between divorcees--who would raise him, who would have what rights, etc.  Cissie, for her part, agreed to never see the child again in exchange for keeping her brat sister out of jail for stealing, and sealing a deal for pay to keep the rest of them alive, clothed and in a house of her choice. 

            Well, life became full circle.  The huge number of conflicts, with no outcome being a good choice but only the best of the worst, Cissie bumbled through, keeping all the children together as she had said, in a cave the children shored up with rocks  mud and industry, i.e. the Dwelling.

            This story brought out the class differences, the hardscrabble life with a dirt floor.

You were either born into the gentry or you were not claimed by them as humans with needs.  They were seen as somewhere between a dog and a slave.  How could a fine

family even live with a homeless person in their house?  Yet the unfortunates waited on them hand and foot, with ten more ready to take their places if they messed up or even looked like they might mess up.

            It was an excellent read, though the premise I mention above seemed unlikely.