Shaking the nickel bush is the act of making money with your own ingenuity, skills, and luck. The phrase comes from Ralph Moody’s excellent book of the same name. Here’s how we’ve shaken the nickel bush.
Everyone has their own get-rich-quick scheme. Some people invest in stocks while other craftier individuals sell chairs made out of beat-up surfboards. My quest lead me down quite a different path.
When my boyfriend, Marc, first told me gold panning was something he wanted to get into, I smiled and calmly shook my head yes. I didn’t want to make any quick and sudden movements in case the crazy had taken hold of him. I’m glad he didn’t notice the odd look that washed over my face as he turned around. You know that look you get when you see an old homeless person screaming gibberish at a wall? It was something like that.
Marc dove head first into gold panning, buying all kinds of weird things like classifiers, motors, different types of hosing, and something called a sluice box. I had no idea what any of it was for. I just crossed my fingers and hoped after our first adventure on the river that I wouldn’t end up being the inspiration for the next CSI episode.
There we were, shovels in hand. Our first day by the riverside–digging in to the tender underbelly of the riverbed.
After we filled our first bucket with material, we ran it through the sluice box. At this point I was very doubtful that we had found anything. After all, the gold was probably already scooped up by the first gold rush. Or so I thought. While swirling water around the green pan, Marc looked up at me, and with a boyish grin pointed to a small speck glittering among particles of black sand.
“You see it?” he asked.
There it was, our first piece of gold. I couldn’t believe it. From that point on I was hooked. Never in a millions years would I have thought I’d be standing in a river, elbow deep in what I could only hope was mud, hellgrammite casings, and river rock, attempting to find the purest form of money: gold!
As the day went on, Marc talked about the price of gold and how easy it was to find. He had done countless hours of research, looking at old mining maps, and scoping out the best places for us to go. Sure, gold is valued at $1,500 an ounce, and if we found a lot of it we could retire at a decent age. But what I really love about gold panning is spending time outdoors smack dab in the middle of Mother Nature, camping under the trees, and playing in the river.
Finding the mother load could pay off all of our debts and buy us the elegant things we currently can’t afford, but right now I’m laying in my lap of luxury: my fancy dress is a pair of rubber overalls, and my expensive purse is a bucket I can toss over my shoulder. To me, this experience is priceless.