Living somewhere that has bad winters with snow, ice and frozen ground can really be tough on us detectorists. Moving to Texas from Ohio a year and a half ago I don’t have that problem anymore but I sure do remember how hard it was on me.
Throughout the years I found ways to keep myself busy in the winter by doing things that at least for me kept me from going crazy! Although these activities weren’t as fun as metal detecting itself I did find them all enjoyable and definitely helped me to pass the time and get ready for spring.
I know many people don’t enjoy doing research but I for one have always had a passion for learning the local history. This is a great way to get ready for the good weather. I would spend hours upon hours researching online, going to my local library, overlaying old maps, hunting down landowners and securing permission so as soon as the weather would break I had places ready to go. It’s a great way to ensure you have places to metal detect for months to come and will give you a game plan on which sites you want to hunt first. I would recommend holding off on contacting property owners until you know the weather is going to break.
Organizing your finds
While I could get out metal detecting I would often just organize my finds in baggies and label them. Only cleaning coins and relics if I felt they would keep corroding if left unattended until winter hit. Once the ground was frozen I would then start cleaning my finds, using electrolysis on my iron artifacts and putting them in display cases. You can get creative with this, people often put 3×5 cards with the location, date, year etc. of the finds in the display cases. It’s a great idea and if you don’t want anyone to see your information hide it under the pad or laminate it and tape it to the bottom so you will always know where those finds came from. It’s also a good time to research those finds that you aren’t sure what they are, I have had some very pleasant surprises over the years. Don’t forget to look through all of your coins good also. I’ve found some semi key date silver coins I hadn’t realized I had found.
Speaking of display cases, one year I built several of my own display cases out in my garage. It helped pass the time but it also made for some really nice, one of a kind display cases. I know many people either don’t have the tools or the knowledge to do this but here’s another idea. What about hunting down some display cases? I know people who have found some very unique and cool display cases scouring their local flea markets, auctions, antique shops, and second hand stores. This will also add provenance to your finds, increasing the historical value.
Metal Detecting Database
Years ago I started a database of all my metal detecting finds. I would add all my clad coin totals, my silver coins along with when and where I found them. I would also add an itemized list of the relics I would find along with the coordinates. Not only did this help me keep track of where my finds came from but when I would find myself in between sites I could look at my list and it would always remind me of places that would be good sites to return to. Unfortunately I quit doing this after I crashed a computer and lost the information. I’ve wised up and keep everything on an external hard drive now!
I know none of these things are probably as fun as metal detecting but they can keep you busy, increase your finds when you can get back out, preserve the ones you already have and will help you get through the winter blues!