Saturday, January 31, 2009

Post 1800. At the cloning facility the Homer Model is proving to be very popular.

Homer, version 1.0.

Also popular is the Sandy Model, which is being exported to Australia next Thursday.

Sandy 1.0.

Many people have requested a muscular model, so Brian is being test marketed.

Brian, 1.0.

Occasionally, mistakes happen.

Homer-Cattle hybrid.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I usually go on three trips a year. I almost always go to northern Michigan in the spring or summer to visit with Mummy and the rest of the relatives. This year I am planning a road trip up California (San Diego to San Francisco to Arcata) and then to Portland. I've only told a couple of people, but I expect I'll be seeing some bloggers in SD and SF.

But that leaves the last trip- where to go? Suggestions?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back to the sewage plant. It smelled particularly bad around 10 AM. We used a cherry picker to take some overhead shots of the pithouses.

2,800 to 3,200-year-old pithouses.

I was out excavating for the day, I had to crouch in a pit for most of the day. Very uncomfortable.

Where's Homer?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let's go to the sewage treatment plant!

The Plant.

My company is doing a massive archaeology project at our county sewage treatment plant. The area is next to the Santa Cruz River (which has mostly dried up) and we are uncovering layers of prehistoric settlements going back over 3,000 years.

A prehistoric pithouse, the small holes are postholes.

Because the site is next to the river, it was periodically flooded, covering and sealing in settlements in sand and mud. After the flood water receded, people would return and build on the same spot, going back over and over again. Some of the settlements are now 10 feet below the modern ground surface.

Another house, this one with a large storage pit on one side.

The houses from this period, roughly 1200 to 800 B.C. (2800 to 3200 years ago) were made by digging round or oval pits in the ground, cutting small postholes, putting in saplings in the holes, and then basically building an upsidedown basket with saplings and reeds, coating the outside with mud on top to make them more waterproof. They are finding small burned patches in some of the houses, which are where a heating or cooking fire hearth was once present. Lots of storage and cooking pits around the houses. Many pits are bell-shaped, wider at the inside bottom with a narrow opening at the top. These sort of pits were useful for storing food and seeds, since the narrow opening made it harder for water or rodents to get into the pits.

3,000 year old field, click picture to see in more detail.

Perhaps the most exciting find has been a prehistoric field system. In the picture above you can see a small canal running diagonally along the right side of the photo. To the left is are the remnants of small berms, outlined in white paint, that surrounded the field. The canal water was diverted into the field through the opening in the berm, and the raised earth around the perimeter helped hold the water in place while it sunk into the ground. At the opening in the berm, next to the canal, two red flags mark postholes which once helped hold a gate or sluice in place. This could be lifted to flood the field, and replaced so that the canal water could be sent on to other fields. The white flags mark small planting pits, usually filled with a darker clay, where individual corn plants once grew. This is probably the oldest field system ever found in the United States.

Canal profile.

We cut trenches across the canals so that we can study the soil laters inside. Here you can see the distinctive broad U-shaped sediments that accumulate in the bottom of canals. This canal is somewhere between 2,500 to 3,000 years old.

I'll be spending the day out at the site on Thursday. When they turn the sewage mixing machines on, goodness!

Safety first!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The guys came over for supper tonight. Patrick picked fresh greens from his garden and I added tomatoes and blueberries to make a nice salad.

Brady meets Henny-Penny.

I have developed an excellent vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe, everyone says it is delicious. So we had that and peas for the second course.

Sandy, Mama Cat, and Mummy.

Dessert was a banana cream pie with gluten-free gingersnap crust. That was also a success.

Mummy, Patrick, Brady, Forrest, and Sandy.

Having dinner with Mummy and my best friends was a nice way to spend the evening. Poor Ms. Henny-Penny is in the laundry room for the night- it is cold outside and she was sitting on a window sill trying to keep warm.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dinner tonight was cheesey cauliflower and potato salad. It was the 10th supper I have made for Mummy and she claims to have liked every single one.


Because of the rain she has been trapped indoors, reading her mystery books that she likes to read.

Signs should be seen and not ignored.

I'm going to make a gluten-free cake tomorrow- have to find xanthum gum.

Can't read.

Because of the rain I have to catch Henny-Penny and put her in the laundry room so she can stay dry. Of course she pooped on the floor. She has become very friendly- yesterday she jumped up on my mother's lap and she has taken to watching us through the windows.

Peeping peeper.

It is a wonder how much entertainment you can get from a stray hen.

The other pictures were taken at Fort Lowell Park this afternoon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It still hasn't sunk in yet. My seventh cousin Barack Hussein Obama is president and everything is sparkly and rainbowish.

Darn, a coyote just walked by the window at work, I took some pictures, and then managed to erase them from my camera. Take my word, it was a very lovely coyote.

Matt Alber.

Let me introduce you to my new internet crush, Matt Alber. He is a singer and he is more than welcome to come to Tucson and sing to me all he wants.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

Henny-Penny and Homer.

It is a brand new day.

And a more formal portrait by Sandy:

Monday, January 19, 2009

In tonight's episode of Nature, we explore the World of Homer. A magical, mystical world of creatures large and small, meek and wild.

Cattus puffii.

The black Sonoran Puff Cat is extremely elusive and difficult to photograph. We used a hidden camera and got this exciting photo of a Puff Cat preparing to attack an endangered Gallus chickenii, subspecies Henny-Penny.

Less difficult to capture on film is the Cattus joeyi. Also known as Orange Cat, they are more docile and prone to chewing on whatever piece of grass is handy.

Cattus joeyi, well known for their bad manners.

Below we see famed naturalist Mummy reading an exciting mystery book.

Homer's Mummy.

Little did she know that the vicious and wild Gallus chickeni, subspecies Henny Penny was stalking her.

Look out!!!!!

Luckily, at the last moment the dreaded beast decided to go look for some food in the backyard, so no horrible moments were caught on film.


Never a dull day in Homer's nature preserve.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Are you doing anything special for Inauguration Day? I'm taking the day off from work and watching it on the telly with Mummy. I am going to do nachos for lunch (easy and gluten free!). And here's my confession, Mummy asked me to leave the Holiday Tree up until she got here, so I'll be taking it down on Tuesday as well. It still smells piney. Poor Brian won't get to hear me say, "My Holiday Tree is pretty!" again until next December.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shower is done. The pictures do not do it justice, I just stand there as the water sprays at me and stare at the colorful tiles.

Beadboard wainscotting is installed too.

I have to find a ceramic soapdish next. The last thing Doug is doing is getting the sink re-installed.

The tiles are darker than this picture suggests.

So who is going to be the first blogger to take a shower in my remodeled bathroom?

Friday, January 16, 2009

As I lay in bed I heard the distinctive clucking a hen makes when she lays an egg.

Green egg and hen.

Have you voted for a name yet?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Name the chicken!!!

Your vote counts!

A). Abigail (after Brett's recently deceased hen).
B). Perlina (after my g-g-g grandmother)
C). Henny-Penny (Mummy's selection).
D). Martha, Jr. (after Sandy's puppy).

You are required to vote in the comment section.

Joey hates Martha! She is hiding behind my monitor watching Martha sitting on my lap.


Little Miss Martha wants to play with the cats but they don't like her and run away, except Mama Cat just hisses when she senses the puppy is near. Meanwhile, the Brown Hen is outside and this morning she looked into the French doors of my bedroom and scared the crap out of Puff (the hen is bigger than him).

Mummy is doing her crosswords and Doug is finishing the bathroom and I need to go to work and find some obscure facts to finish my report. Another exciting day in Homer'sWorld.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Little Ms Hen is sitting right outside my study window, hunkered down in a bush next to a small air vent that is probably keeping her warm. I am going to buy some chicken food for her tomorrow (I've been feeding her granola and tortilla chips). She clucks loudly when she sees me. I wish I could catch her and pet her (I have always really liked chickens).

At work I sprinkle bird seed outside my window and the little red-headed house finches have appeared and that is a sign of spring. It has been unusually warm this year, and I have mosquitos in my house and there are moths and other bugs fluttering around the porch light. And my little ground squirrel has come out of hibernation at work. So I guess winter is over.

I made Spanish rice (rice, stewed tomatoes, black beans, and a little chipotle salsa) for dinner tonight. It came out very well and mother was happy with it, thank goodness for that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mummy arrived six hours late minus her luggage. She is reading a book in the living room. I handed her a gluten-free/diabetic cookbook and asked her to mark recipes that interested her. Not surprising, but disappointing, she picked out six (refried beans, potato salad, rice and beans, etc). Nothing new or interesting, she complained about the strange ingredients in the cookbook- well what do you expect for a gluten-free/diabetic cookbook? A big old sigh on my part.

For Brett, the stray hen that showed up in my backyard this afternoon.

Brown hen.

Well the rotten weather in Traverse City has delayed Mummy's plane ride this morning- at the moment she is supposed to get here at 7:30 PM (instead of 1:30) and she is still sitting on the runway according to the Northwest Airlines website, so she may not get here at all.

Who is cuter?

Kevin came down from Phoenix for dinner and we had a nice time, despite the horrible cold he is experiencing.

As I type this Martha is running around on the study floor, playing with her toys. Doug is grouting the shower- I can use it on Thursday! Very happy to have my bathroom back in working condition.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A quiet weekend- babysitting little Miss Martha requires a lot of effort. She cries if she cannot see me. I let her run around the house but then she took to chasing Puff, so I ended up yelling at her about that. She was naughty and pooped on the floor of my bedroom, bad puppy. Right now she is running around barking saucily.

I sorted through one closet and had a couple of bags to a non-denominational charity. The kitchen has been de-glutenized and I went to the grocery store and spent an awful lot of money on food that Mummy can eat. She arrives Tuesday and I know she will enjoy the lovely weather we are having.

My bathroom is getting closer to being done- the tilework and grout should be completed tomorrow. It is so nice- I bet you would love to take a shower in it.

Notice the red allergy eyes from dog fur.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I'm babysitting Martha while Sandy is away. He, Mark, and Zane went off to Palm Springs and Mark and Zane will be heading back to Australia next week, returning in July or so.

Homer and Martha.

She came to work with me today and charmed all of my co-workers, each of whom asked me how old she was and honestly, I don't know. I was very pleased when I took her outside and she peed, but now the big question is whether she has to poo and how often that happens.
She's running around the study now, with all the doors closed, and she understands the word "No!" when I yell at her to stop trying to chew a power cord.

The cats are rather mad about this sudden change, they are all in the living room looking angry at me. I think they will be even madder because Martha's kennel is going to sit on the bed tonight so she won't be lonely and scared (thank goodness I have a king size bed).

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Doug has started the tiling of the shower- most of the back wall is completed.

Back wall.

I had to number all the pieces with blue masking tape this morning so they could be placed in their correct places.

In other news, I have been avoiding the news. I don't want to hear about bombs in Gaza and Israel, local Tucson soldiers being blown up in Afghanistan, or the shenanigans of certain governors. Instead, I want to be blissfully ignorant, there is nothing I can do about these situations.

Mummy is here in a week. Today the nice guy at Trader Joe gave me a list of gluten-free products and there are quite a few there, including some my mother might actually want to eat (she is so fussy). A week of freedom left! If only there was some trouble I could get into.

Monday, January 05, 2009

We piled in the car and went to Bisbee. I sat in the back seat with little Martha and Zane. I waved her toy at her until she was tired and went to sleep. Sandy and Mark sat in the front seat. "Are we there yet?"

Bisbee is one of my favorite places, houses and businesses clinging to the sides of steep canyons. Even the huge, empty mining pit has a surreal beauty.

Mark, Sandy, and Martha.

Cobban and Ray met us for lunch and afterwards we went to their beautiful house and talked and talked.


When I came home the cats climbed all over me, eager for attention. After a late supper I went to bed and thought about things.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Getting closer. Doug has finished the plastering work and is busy fixing the mirror, making it into a medicine cabinet.

Doug at work.

I purchased seven colors of tile- cobalt blue, light blue, dark green, purple, lavender, red, and a dull yellow. Doug brought along a piece of plywood that is close to the size of the back shower wall, and I laid out the whole tiles on it (there will be smaller cut segments along the left side and the top.

Tiles, version one.

I'm going to look at this for a day or two and decide if the random pattern I laid out works. Feel free to send me an email if you see something you don't like- I can already see I have too many yellows on the upright row, third from right.

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