It has now been a year since Shane and I began looking for a property of our own. We loved digging at Area 51 and will continue to do so but there was always this draw to owning our own piece of heaven, a place where we could dig at night, develop and one day. hopefully retire on.
It took a lot of research. Shane had looked at several places over the years and I researched topography and many other details of the area. Honestly, even with all of the knowledge he had and the research I was doing, it all came down to going and looking.
It was still snowy when he first saw the property. It was covered in mud, frozen plants and tons of ruts. It was difficult to walk to say the least. Shane poked around, turned over large stones and searched for any sign that crystals may live there. It didn't take long before he found material in the rock wall and a couple of small crystals in the dirt.
He came home excited but really not sure if it was a good gamble to make. The property was not going to be cheap and if he was wrong, it would mean we would not be able to find our own place for quite some time. That being said, the idea that he found several small crystals on over 30 acres in the snow seemed statistically very improbable. I mean, if they were the only ones there, he would have been one of the luckiest people on Earth (time to buy a lotto ticket).
We decided to go for it! It took what seemed like forever to get things moving. Real estate was very VERY busy at the time being in the peak of the COVID mess and people were running from the built up, busy places to those out of the way slices of paradise we Herkimer fans call home. Actually, it's fair to say that Shane grew impatient. At the time, I didn't really know why. But...
One of my first, my favorite memories of 52 was during this waiting time. Shane had asked the realtor if we could go and dig a bit. I was thrilled. We packed up, drove the 3 plus hours, doused ourselves with bug spray and began the extremely difficult walk to where the Herkimers were found. In the time I had been there last, soy stalks and other dense plants grew. They were well past my waist and walking was laborious. He brought me to the back of the property where we scratched the surface. It only took minutes before BOOM! Crystal!
We dug for about 30 minutes when we decided the 90 plus degree sun was beginning to feel a bit extra, so we decided to move to the shade. I rolled my eyes with the thought of dragging all of the gear but he was right.. As you get to know me, you will know I am very sassy. I grabbed everything and walked over to the shade when Shane found what appeared to be a large face. I trudged through the tall plants to find him on one knee. It is very fair to say that the Area 52 mine is directly where my husband asked me to marry him.
But the tale does not end there. It took a couple more weeks to close and in that time Shane started talking to this couple Barry and Barb about digging. They were looking for a place to dig and had the equipment to help us get the property moving forward. It was a great trade and it took what seemed like seconds to become family.
We met on the property in August for the first time Barry, Barb, our great friend Ryan, Shane Joey and I. Barry brought some machinery to help get some of those tall plants, now to my shoulders, under control and we went to our special place. Barry cleared away some overburden and in minutes crystals started to pour out of the seams and the dirt..
This is where it all began. The crystals at 52 are unique. They are skeletal, elestial, clear, gemmy, large, small, druse and everything in between. Some weekends we pull out six five gallon buckets, some weekends, over 10,000 crystals at a time. We spend days and evenings digging and nights by the fire laughing and sharing stories. It has become all of our home, a place to share with family and friends, our little slice of heaven surrounded by mountains and infinite skies.