Ever hear of an endless slate dump? Well, we have just a few hoe handles up the road from where we live. At least what is left of it. They have hauled from it over two months now, and are still hauling.
I really hadn’t given any thought to the fact that half of the mountain was a slate dump.
I have two neighbors who live above the slate dump, and since I can look down into the truck beds from my front porch, I expect any time to see my neighbors perched atop a load of slate going out of the hollow.
The heavy trucks demolished our road, and they repaired it. Now they are well on the way to demolishing it again. They are quite careful though, because they don’t haul any when it is time for the school buses to make their rounds.
If they plan on removing all of the dumps around, they are in for a long, long haul, because there are some a lot bigger than the one they are working on now, and not very far away, either.
I don’t know what recovery rate they are getting, but some I have seen go out of our hollow should be pretty good. At least by moving the dumps someone, somewhere will reap a little reward from the coal that is in the dumps.
Besides, in rainy weather they are apt to catch on fire, and that really does complicate matters, including air pollution.
Just think how long it took to mine enough coal to come up with a pile of reject of such magnitude. How many buckets were packed? How many men did it take? How many lost their lives? How many hours were spent by wives and other members of the families, just waiting for the miners to get home?
A miner earns what he gets paid, and even more so many years ago when it was all done by brute labor. There were no machines to dig the coal and load it, or I should say convey it out to the mine.
The coal was drilled and blasted loose with explosives and loaded with #4 shovels, and was backbreaking labor, usually done while on their knees and sometimes even lying on their side with a carbide lamp to see by. Carbide lamps were mighty poor lighting at its best.
And that’s all from the funny farm until next time.