Friday, July 24, 2009

Did you know....

Did you know that miners used carbide lamps for many years before they were deemed too dangerous? It's true, they used an open flame in a coal mine, can you imagine? So you're probably wondering how one of these bad boys worked. Well I'm here to tell you. In the top of this device there is a water chamber and a lever controlling the amount of water that drips down into the carbide. The carbide creates a gas when water is introduced, this gas is called acetylyn. The acetylyn, a very flamable gas, makes its way through a tube and out the front of the lamp. This is where they expose the gas to a flame, and this creates the light they used while working in the mine.
Obviously, these have been discontinued for the safer alternative, a light bulb and a battery.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Grey skies are going to clear up...

Well here it is, our first nice day in what seems like months. We knew this day would come, but the wait has been unbearable for most. If there is one thing that tourists asked for the most, it was to change the weather. However, we do have a handful of them from the deep south, who actually welcomed the cold wet weather, but that is beside the point. It is supposed to stay this way until next Tuesday, so it will give the mine a chance to dry up a bit. As of late, there has been more water dripping down onto unsuspecting tourists than usual, so this warm, and hopefully dry weather, is a savior to light coloured clothes. In other news, we received a shipment of blueberry soap, blueberry napkins, and blueberry cups. We placed these accessories amongst our already massive collection of blueberry paraphernalia. This overflow of the blue fruit from the maritimes, led to a major overhaul of our gift shop displays...well not that major, but big enough to be mentioned in our blog. Which leads me to my last point, if the heat ever gets to much for you to handle, refer to this post.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Some Singing Miners

A coal mine is not a place where you would expect to find the next billboard sensation. But, coal miners have a history of being singers. For my first example, I would like to draw on Maurice Ruddick. Ruddick, known as the singing miner, was credited with keeping the miners in good spirits while trapped in the No. 2 "Bump" for 8 1/2 days. They even have a Canadian Heritage Moment about him, you can watch it here. Secondly, there is the crew from the Cape, also known as "The Men of the Deeps". These fellows put on quite the show. They typically start their show in complete darkness, then proceed to just turn on their head lamps, creating a very eerie atmosphere. We have a wide variety of their CDs here at the mine, so you should get down here and check them out. Some days, when we are really feeling in the mining spirit, we will crank the stereo, and let the singing miners do their thing.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

This is only the half of it.

So, we had an unexpected guest this morning. It was a guest made up of 28 wheels, 7 diesel engines, and a whole lot of fuel. We opened our doors today to be greeted by a convoy of RVs. A welcome site, a good way to break up a slow Saturday morning. We had no idea these RVs were coming, but, they are not that hard to accomodate. The people on these RVs seemed pretty cheery, despite the rainy weather. Every thing is going very far. Word on the street though, there are about 20 more of these bad boys in town at the Anne Murray Centre. So we're getting our rubber boots cleaned, helmets shined and headlamps charged in preparation for more guests.

There are more, but unfortunately our camera
does not have a wide angle lens.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Inventory Day

Today we finally received our shipment of rocks. Rocks tend to be our biggest seller. They seem to be an impulse buy due to the strategic location of our display. However, choosing a rock may not be as easy as one may think. We have many tourists spend between 5-10 mintues trying to decide on which $1.50 rock they want. This is kind of amusing because these rocks will inevitably end up in a drawer in their house, never to be seen again. But, they are something you can enjoy and marvel at on the trip back to your home. If you want an idea of what we have before you arrive at the Tour a Mine check out this site.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The morning after...

So Canada day was a smashing success. We had a lot of visitors, and we managed to eat our way through 120 hot dogs in record time. We decided to ignore the swarms of mosquitoes, and just focus on having a good time and listening to some great tales of bootleg mining operations from our guests Ralph and Herbie. One of the biggest hits of the day was game of ladder golf. For those of you who do not know what it is, click here. The washer tournament winner of last year, Russell Phalen, was dethroned by us in the gift shop. Let's just say, he isn't in the greatest mood today.
The beavers that greeted us first thing in the morning, made by Valarie.

These guys wanted their dogs.

John trying his hardest to keep up with the demand.

The VIP guests arrive.

Old buddies.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day is here!

So today is the day. The weather isn't too great at the moment but we have our fingers crossed for sunny skies. I forgot to add that we are having a couple special guests today for our Canada celebrations. Herb Pepperdine, one of the miners trapped in the 1958 "Bump" for almost 9 days, and Ralph Henwood, retired miner and mine inspector for the Springhill Mines. When these two get together, the stories start to fly. They are known for their funny, yet detailed stories. So if you really want an idea of what it was like to work 15,000 feet down in the number two mine, come out this afternoon, and listen to these guys talk!