Tuesday, May 05, 2015

My boss found a little abandoned puppy in the parking lot of his non-profit. The puppy is so cute.

Unnamed at the moment.

He likes to give little kisses and then he wants to chew on you. I hope Buddy isn't mad because I let Puppy sit on my lap.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I wore myself out working on the Annual Meeting and lay in bed with a cold for a few days, feeling all of the delightful things people with colds feel. But by Saturday I had mostly recovered and Kevin arrived to visit.

That afternoon we went out to San Xavier Mission and ran around in the few minutes before the church closed. Afterward we took the streetcar downtown and had supper at La Indita and then came home and hung out.

Kevin at San Xavier del Bac.

The next morning I made pancakes with carmelized bananas and cheesy scrambled eggs and then we went to King's Canyon for a hike. It was a beautiful day and very few people were about.

King's Canyon.

The palo verde trees were blooming like crazy, big splotches of yellow everywhere.

Looking east.

We saw several herds of young deer. The second group was very curious and watched us as we approached.

Mule deer.

Definitely the least shy deer I have ever seen in Arizona.

Hello humans!

Kevin was impressed by the enormous saguaros.


The last of the wildflowers were blooming, helped out by the thunderstorm we had the previous night.

Unknown flower.

The cacti are still blossoming. There is one particular kind with long, skinny arms. It blooms in red, orange, and yellow- very attractive.

Red cactus.

We wandered off the trail and climbed a hill, then went up another hill thinking we were on a trail but it turned out to be an animal path.

Kevin capturing the Sonoran Desert.

I did really well, considering how sick I had been a few days earlier.


We made sandwiches and drove to Mount Lemmon. Kevin noticed a truck that had driven by had snow on it. The weather report had said it was in the 40s. I was not expecting to see winter weather.

Sprinkling of snow.

At about 7,500 feet suddenly there was snow, a lot of snow. It was awesome, suddenly it was like Christmas time all over again.


We were above the clouds and here and there some snow was falling.


We ate lunch sitting in the car, watching the Mexican kids playing in the snow piles. 

I didn't want to leave.

Supper at BK's. I wanted Kevin to try the genuine Sonoran-style food. He really liked it, including the Sonoran hotdog. Then I said, "Let's go watch the sunset at Gate's Pass."

It was cold enough for me to wear a sweater, probably last time until Fall.

We sat for an hour watching the colors.

Kevin and red cactus.

It was very dramatic.


At home we had gin and tonics and talked for hours. So much fun.

The next morning I took the day off from work. Decided to go down to Madera Canyon. A beautiful drive up into the mountains and then a nice hike.

Mount Wrightson.

We saw some jays, more deer, and later on listened to a male turkey gobble excitedly.

Kevin and Homer.

Madera Canyon is known for its birds. What impressed me was the enormous diversity of plant life.

Madera Canyon.

Napped in the afternoon and then I took Kevin to Cafe Desta for Ethiopian food. So good. The next morning he drove off to the Grand Canyon for another adventure. I'll be seeing him again this summer when I go on my road trip to see Jim and George and Matt.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Spring time is rapidly transitioning to summer. My backyard is full of wildflowers and cacti blooming. I don't think Buddy notices the flowers. He just wants pets and scratches. And to give smooches.

Buddy and Homer.

Neighbor Dan is taking care of a female pitbull named Precious. She likes to bark and snarl, but is actually a pretty nice doggy once you get down to her level. I bribe her with dog biscuits and scratches.


It was a warm winter so the cacti did not suffer much. Usually it freezes and a bunch of pads fall to the ground. Not this year. Some of the prickly pears are just enormous.

My favorite, it has purplish pads.

The bird of paradise decided to put on a big show this year,

Bird of paradise.

Some of the plants are those planted by Vince back in the mid-2000s. 

Bloom or monster?

Others are cacti that I rescued,

Red flowering cactus.

The birds planted most of the wildflowers.


I particularly like the lavender and yellow asters.


The pomegranate bush is busy flowering. The fruit never mature correctly and burst open. I really don't have a green thumb.


Meanwhile, Snowball and Puff are watching me through the French doors. The doors and the trim around them are getting repaired in the next few weeks. I guess I will wash the cat nose prints off when that happens.

Snowball and Puff.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Palo Verde trees are blooming. The drive north to Phoenix was lovely in places. We have a few outside my office window.

They are busy making my allergies go crazy.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Happy 15th Birthday Puff!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I drove down to the field school dig to work on some maps, checking the originals against what was on the ground, drawing a new map, re-drawing one that was strangely incorrect. It was so quiet and peaceful working by myself, methodically moving from square to square.

Most of the work this year was within the animal pens and corrals for the Mission (probably dating to somewhere between 1730 and 1775 or so. The Spaniards brought cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and horses to southern Arizona, attempting to get the local Native Americans to become ranchers. At first it was not successful, but gradually the number of livestock increased.

If you have livestock, you need to build corrals and pens for various reasons. If the Apache were coming to raid, you would want to herd the animals into an enclosed area that was defensible. If your cattle and sheep were having calves and kids, you might want then penned to prevent coyotes and wolves from killing the young. Other activities might include shearing sheep, milking cows, goats, and sheep; castrating male livestock, butchering animals, and taming horses to ride.

At the mission we are finding trenches and postholes for the corrals, pens, and chutes. It is likely that not all of these were contemporaneous. The topsoil is very thin and homogenous, it does not allow us to tell whether one trench was earlier than a set of postholes. One posthole is probable much later, perhaps 20th century, but the rest of the features appear to be mission period, since with the exception of some fencing staples and cartridge shells, the remaining artifacts date to the Mission occupation.

We have excavated two large areas. One area has a line of post holes for some sort of fence, and a series of trenches outlining pens and a probable chute.

Looking sort of east.

The chute would have directed animals into the pens, controlling the movement of animals was likely important.

The short, parallel trenches appear to be for a chute.

We re-opened the area from last year and expanded it, examining the patterns of trenches and postholes. It seems likely that there was a ramada in the flat area, surrounded by pens and chutes.

Modern posts mark many of the ancient postholes.

The areas inside the trenches appear to be pens, with many depressions that are probably cattle and horse hoof prints. In the area below, you can see a parallel line of posts separate two smaller pens.  


Last year the vegetation clearly marked the trenches. We traced them this year, again, by using a probe. Finally at the end of the fieldwork the vegetation is growing enough to see the trenches. The plants like the trenches because it cuts down through a hard layer and allows water to accumulate. The dirt filling the trenches is also softer.

Pin flags and vegetation marking a trench.

It was a beautiful day, the clouds passing overhead.

Distant mountain.

The other area we are working is in the road crossing the property. Erosion is damaging Hohokam pit structures, and we have been putting units in collecting artifacts, plant materials for radiocarbon dates and dietary analysis, and identifying architecture.

This house is very typical, with an entrance off one side, a hearth just inside the entrance, and a row of posts along the back wall. Several intrusive roasting pits are also visible. There is a large prehistoric village at the site, probably with many houses. We can only see the ones in the road, the others are buried in the nearby areas. The occupation appears to date to around A.D. 900 to 1100, based on the pottery styles present in the houses and pits.

Feature 47, Hohokam pit structure.

People often ask how we can see the pit structures in the road. The reason- differences in soil color and the presence of charcoal and artifacts, stuff that filled the pit after the house was abandoned. Below you can clearly see the difference in soil color- you should probably click on the picture to enlarge it and it is even more visible.

Different soil colors (click on picture to enlarge).

We excavated a 1m by 2m unit in this house in 2013. Since then, vehicular traffic and the weather have further eroded the structure. A reconstructible vessel has started to appear.

Sherds from a reconstructible vessel.

As I walked back to the ranch I admired more wild flowers.

Little white flowers.

This one just seemed bizarre.

Yellow flower.

A droopy-eared cow was curious and stared at me near the cattle tank.


At the ranch is an example of the type of fence that probably stood in the Mission period trenches we have excavated.

Traditional fence.

Of course I had to stop and say hello to the baby goats. They were all napping, probably tired out from a long morning of playing king of the castle and other goat games.


Monday, March 30, 2015

The Annual Non-Denomination Egg Decorating and Backyard Egg Hunt Party.

Food: Pineapple-Mandarin Orange Upside-down Cake, Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting, Cheesecake with Strawberry topping, potato salad, three bean salad, and chips and salsa. A guest brought a lemon-lavender cake that was really, really good.

Pineapple-Mandarin Orange Upside-down Cake.

I had purchased the contents of the baskets for the top three and the children when my mother was here.

Jesse and Craig were the first guests to arrive! It was Craig's birthday.

Jesse, Craig, Kyle, Abel, and Kyle.

I boiled 90+ eggs.

Patrick, Milo, Nathan, and Mary decorating eggs.

I wore my favorite tee-shirt.

Jesse and Homer.

The artists were artistic.


Chris shows her skills.

Pabli's first egg.

At 4:00 PM the guests assembled. Many were unable to hunt for eggs because of back, neck, shoulder, and hemmoroid problems.

The guests.

People ran around and apparently collected all the plastic eggs (there are probably 400).

Allen and Nathan.


The winners: Kris (196 points), Abel (173 points), and Pabli (160 points).

They were excited with the basket contents.

Afterward, we hung out and chatted and the drinks I had caught up to me.

Ray, Frank, Alex, Craig, and Jesse.

Patrick, as always, made beautiful eggs.


Today I took leftover cake and boiled eggs to work. Reminder for next year- only two cakes and no three bean salad.


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