Plowing the field: All the stars need to align correctly
By Margi Jenks
If you look at the bottom of this column, you will note that the last date that the diamond search area was plowed was October 21st, more than two months ago. We often get enquiries from our visitors about how often we plow the search area. Generally these enquiries are either Why don’t we plow more often? or What is the schedule for plowing? So, let me try to explain the reasons why we don’t have a schedule and sometimes it is a long time between plowing sessions.
Weather is, of course, the biggest factor in determining when we are able to plow the search area field. If we plow it when it is too wet, then the field becomes a field of large lumps of clay, which are very difficult for our visitors to deal with as well as making it much more difficult for our visitors to walk over the field. For those of you who are not from Arkansas or one of the surrounding states, this part of the country has gotten a lot of rain this year, 77 inches when the normal total is 46 inches. This year it has seemed as if every time the field dried out enough for us to think about plowing, it would rain again.
The second factor is equipment. We use a D4 Caterpillar tractor to tow the plow. The problem comes because the tractor does not belong to just this park. Instead, it belongs to the region and so it is used for major projects in all of the parks in the southern part of the state. So, when the field gets dry enough to plow, the tractor may be in another park where it was needed to clear up storm debris or make a new parking lot.
Finally, three full 8 hour workdays are required to plow the entire field. Our maintenance department is very conscientious about meeting the needs of the park, so they often do not have a spare person to spend that kind of time to plow the field. On some occasions they may even plow part of the field one week and the rest of it the next week.
So, we hope that our visitors will understand and not wonder what is wrong with the park because the field has not been plowed for a long time. We will get to it eventually, and if you are thinking about visiting the park, the best way to find out when the field was last plowed is to watch this column, because we always show the last plowed date.
Search area last plowed: October 21, 2009, Total diamonds so far in 2009 – 908
Diamond finds for December 20th to December 27th (100 pts. = 1 carat): No diamonds were registered during the past week.