Monday, May 27, 2013

It was a weekend of memories. I collected Whit and we drove north to Flagstaff. The moon was rising along the highway.

Moon rise.

Evan, Whit, and I went our for a drink and then hung out talking for a while.

The next morning we went to Picture Rock Canyon.

Turkey vultures.

It is spring time in Flagstaff, but there aren't many flowers yet. It hasn't rained enough for it to get very green.

Whit wanted to see the petroglyphs and I dragged him all over the place so he could examine them.


In one spot the yucca were blooming.


I climbed high up in the canyon. Below me the water was running.


At the top along the vertical cliff faces are even more rock art.

Deer, scroll, and Whit.

Whit and Evan get along really well.

Evan and Whit.

We also visited a pithouse site, ate at Himalayan Grill, and I had a nap.

On Sunday morning Bradley arrived from Sedona to join us.

Homer and Bradley.

We went out to several more ruins. I admired the black on white pottery sherds, photographed them, and then put them back on the ground.


A pair of golden eagles were being harassed by some ravens.

Golden eagle.

Nearby was another small pueblo roomblock. You can see the walls very clearly.

1000-year-old walls.

We visited a fortress-like site and wondered what had happened there.

There are rooms on top.

I managed to get sun-burnt.


I admired the nature.


As we drove back to the parking spot for lunch, a female antelope paused.


Bradley returned to Sedona, and the three of us then went to a nearby canyon to admire pit structures built inside caves.

Walking down the cinder-covered wash.

The walls are well preserved.

Evan examines the walls.

One of the structures has red-painted plaster intact.


Another has the only surviving 1000-year-old roof.

I hope this lasts for another 1000 years.

At times the steep walls of the canyon made me nervous.

San Francisco Canyon.

A nest of fledgling ravens were nervous as we walked by.

Ravens and poop.

Whit and I went to see the new Star Trek movie, in 3D, which I enjoyed. This morning Evan and I went to C. & L. Ranch and I bought a huge sack of bird seed.

Whit wanted to see Sedona so we took the long way home.

Red Rocks near Sedona.

Weekend is over and I have a nasty headache.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's do flotation!

On every archaeology project we collect samples of dirt to take back to the laboratory. These can include small samples which are processed for pollen, useful for identifying plants to look at the environment or presence of domesticated plants. Soil from canals sediments can be processed and examined for the presence of ostracodes- tiny molluscs that live in very specific types of water (hot vs cold, fast-moving vs slow-moving). And other soil samples that geomorphologists study to determine environmental conditions or

The primary soil sample we collect is for flotation. We are supposed to bring back six liters of soil from features.

Sample from our field school dig.

I am busy processing the samples. Normally we use our fancy flotation machine, but I have to save the heavy fraction, so I have to use the bucket method.

I fill out new tags and a line on a data form first. Then cut the bag open and pour it into a red bucket that has lines telling how many liters, I write down the sample size on the form and bags.

In the bucket.

In a 5-gallon "Homer" bucket from Home Depot I put about five inches of water in and then slowly pour the soil in.

This gets a little dusty.

I stick the hose in to agitate the water.

Charcoal floating.

I use a sieve to skim off all of the charred plant materials- bits of charcoal, corn cobs, and other plant tissues.

Light fraction.

I tap the sieve onto newspaper and keep repeating, stirring the soil in the bucket to make more charcoal float to the top. When I stop getting bits, I pour most of the water through the sieve and finish with the light fraction.

I then take the rest of the muddy dirt and dump it onto a screen with window mesh and hose out the bucket. I carefully wash off the dirt and then dump the rest of the material onto a screen as well.

Heavy fraction.

There are a lot of artifacts and animal bone fragments in the midden dirt.

The green piece is olive ware from Spain. Also Native American ceramics and animal bone.

Both samples are dried, re-packaged, and eventually analyzed. The light fraction will be looked at by a ethnobotanist who identified the wood, seeds, and plant tissues. You can learn about the local environment, agriculture, and wild plant gathering this way, and examine how these change through time.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

I visited with my barber and he trimmed my hair. He admired my mustache and suggested I apply wax to it.

Yellow kitchen. I am covering the one wall with antique china.

I entered the Focus and drove south to Ray and Robert's house. It is like a luxury resort.

Not coy koi.

They live at a higher altitude than Tucson so the wildflowers are still blooming. I admired them at 75 miles per house. At the house I was able to pause and examined the blooming cacti.

Beautiful red.

I should become their pool boy. I would faithfully rescue the bugs that land in the pool. I would have an awesome tan.

Ray and I.

Parker kitty is friendlier in her older age. She still doesn't like to have her photo taken.

Go. Away.

In a few days it is Ray's birthday so he served a delightful lunch but we forgot to sing "Happy Birthday."

Salad Caprese. The first time I had this was in 1998 in Berlin at Phillip's house.

Robert has a new job that he really likes. It shows!

I wish I had his hair.

In the late afternoon I drove back to Tucson. Shortly after leaving the estate, a pair of deer walked across the road.
Dear deer.

I unrolled my car window and whistled at the third mule deer to walk across the road, and it turned to stare at the human making that strange sound.

Mule deer.

It was a lovely day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lisa gave me some irises last fall and it took me forever to plant them, so I was totally amazed when one of them decided to bloom.

Purple irises are my favorite flower (pansies are my second).

I'm working on my next book, Coroner's Inquest cases of Pima County. I've typed so much my shoulder and arm are sore. OUCH.

Someone is using my picture on a straight dating website and two angry women sent me emails. I have a suspicion that the dreadful fake blogger may be bored and trying to create problems.

I'm sitting here sipping a margarita and I made it too strong!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A few things to remember:

 The blue transferprinted soup tureen that I bought in Flagstaff for $24.95.

The hawk perched on the fence outside my window at work:

Cinco de Mayo at the Presidio:

I really want these pants:

Other things to remember:

- in the last week Delaware and Rhode Island achieved marriage equality (#10 and #11). Minnesota may be #12 by this coming weekend. I checked the National Organization for Marriage blog and there was closet case Brian Brown saying that same sex marriage was a "lie." Whatever that means.

- The field school students did their paper presentations. Whit has been staying at my house and it has been fun getting to know him.

- My mother turned 81 today and celebrated by getting a new roof on her house. I mailed a box of junk to her today- $40 postage. As Evan says, they are treasures to her.

- Tired of insomnia. Perhaps less caffeine?

Thursday, May 02, 2013

As I work at the office, movement outside catches my eye. It is spring time heading towards summer and the babies have been let lose and are wandering about.


Cottontails are the most animal species we find at prehistoric sites. People probably hunted them in their fields, probably with snares and sling shots.

I haven't seen any Gambel's quail babies yet.

Gambel's quail.

This year the ground squirrels did not burrow under my office floor.

Ground squirrel.

I left the office right at 5 PM and a short distance up the road was a group of javelina. I have never seen javelina in the neighborhood. They were climbing out of a culvert- five adults and four tiny babies.


The littlest baby was scared to come out and cried.


I took the following video, sorry about the spots that are inside of the camera lens.


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