Monday, July 23, 2018

In the summer of 1988, I drove west with Pat and Melanie to Williston, North Dakota to spend the summer digging at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. This was our second year there, and many of the people from 1987 were there also including Becky, Wally, Karen, Laurene, Pat A., Don, Lynelle, and probably some others who I have forgotten.

Reconstructed Bourgeois House.

Fort Union was a fur-trading post on the upper Missouri River, reachable in the spring through fall by steamboats. Native Americans brought hides and pelts in to trade for beads, cloth, gun powder, ammunition, rifles, and other items. It opened in 1829, was a Union military fort during the Civil War, and closed in 1867. The National Park Service reconstructed portions of the fort. We did the archaeological excavations to clear the areas being rebuilt and to collect data that would aid in the reconstruction.

I spent the summer in the Indian's and Artisan's House, located next to the main gate. The project director, Bill Hunt, ran the entire site and I helped coordinate the work in the building, which was actually a series of buildings one on top of each other, the bottom being a blacksmith shop. In the center of the building was a large fireplace that opened onto rooms on each side. When you go to the rebuilt Indians and Artisans House, you can see the hearth stones in their original position.
Karen S. in foreground with Pat A. behind her.

We were excavating stratigraphically, which some people didn't care for because: 1) it was very difficult, and 2). because they were snotty about working on a historic period site. The summer saw a lot of tension between people. I well remember the day a dust devil sucked my clipboard up high in the air and dumped two weeks worth of maps into the Missouri River.

Melanie and Pat. A.

There were four crews. I worked mostly with Pat A., Mike, Lynn, and a couple of others whose names I don't recall. On the last day I dug a portion of the room where beads had been stored. Many had trickled down through the floor boards. I sent all of the dirt down to the water screen, and they were a little disgruntled until they saw the thousands of beads. 

Trade rings, ceramics, window glass. 

 Gun parts and ornaments, bullets, and epaulet fragment, gun flints, and spear points.

 On a three day weekend, Becky, Joe, Melanie, and I drove west to Glacier National Park. It was beautiful, albeit the drive through the park was very scary on a narrow road.

Joe, Becky, Melanie, and I.

I haven't been back since, I hear the glaciers are mostly gone.


The best part were the mountain goats just strolling around, ignoring the tourists.

 Mountain goats.

I confess to having a crush on Mike. He however met Lynn and 30 years later they are married and living in New York.

 Lynn and Mike.

We had a lot of fun at work and after work, hanging out.

Mike being serious.

Melanie and Becky lived in the apartment across the hall from Pat and I.


 On the last day I worked I felt bad for leaving to go off to grad school. But also a little angry at some of the people who had not taken the work seriously. I told one of the people I worked with "I hope I never see you again" as I walked away to go to the airport.

The 1988 crew. I'm in the back row in the green short.

Still friends with many of these people. The University of North Dakota field school was there that summer and one of my co-workers today was a student at the school.

I wrote my Master's Thesis on the animal bones from Fort Union, examining 13,263 bones!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

I haven't felt like posting lately. I haven't felt like doing many things. I sit in the living room in front of the AC unit and reread Agatha Christie mystery books or I watch Youtube videos. Anything to occupy my mind. Every now and then I remember that Mother has died and it still seems unbelievable. I got a letter almost a month after she died, delayed by the post office. I felt terrible reading it.

Of course I have been busy with things. The main thing is a little puppy that showed up in the vacant lot next to my friend Reuben's apartment. He posted a photo on Facebook asking someone to help with the puppy and I went the next day to get it, intending to give it to a friend who wanted a dog. Well that didn't work out and so now I have a puppy named Ruby. She is super friendly, cute, and rather smart. Is mostly potty trained, although she occasionally poops in the house. I taught her how to fetch and she is able to do that very well. Buddy gets along with her, he doesn't mind her excitement when she sees him.


I've attended two protests about the kidnapped children being held by Border Patrol or I.C.E. or whatever Nazi-Republican entity. Honestly, the anger I feel about this and the other bullshit Shithole is going is affecting my health. I clench my teeth at night. I awake with my entire face aching. I have vile thoughts about Republican politicians. 


Martha Stewart had a pizza dough recipe in her magazine a few months ago and so I decided to learn how to make it. Surprisingly easy.


I have been to pool volleyball twice. 

 Homer, Roger, and Patrick.

I worked the front door of Retro Game Show in June. Always a fun event.

Homer and Tempest DuJour.

At home Buddy Cat and Snowball have decided they don't hate each other. Snowball does not like Ruby. Buddy Cat is used to dogs, just ignore her.

Buddy Cat and Ruby.

After Kevin moved to his own place, I set the dining room back up. I took everything out of the china cabinet and cleaned it, then re-arranged the family heirlooms.

Family heirlooms.

While these things were happening I managed to get a nasty cold and felt awful. I'd forgotten what a baby I am when sick.

The last week of June I took Ruby to New Mexico with me, since I was teaching historical archaeology at the field school. I was almost there when I got a flat tire, the first one I've had since buying my first car in 1993. A kid named Albert gave me a ride to the field school camp and then Allen drove me back to the car and we took the tire to the tire shop, who got me a new one the next day. Anyways, Ruby was super charming with the field school students and the next morning she even climbed into the trenches and dug a little.

Ruby shows Evan the correct excavation method.

I took my friend Peter down to play in the pool at Ray and Robert's. Their friend Travis was there and then their charming friend Aaron came over. It was a nice escape. Ruby enjoyed the trip.

The pool.

The one frustrating thing is that Ruby keeps pooping in the house. I take her outside every few hours, and then bring her back in and she poops. I just mopped the living room floor with Murphy's oil soap, hoping that will kill whatever smell she has left behind. She knows she isn't supposed to do it, and knows I am upset about it. I hope she out grows it. I take her outside and she gets so easily distracted that she doesn't want to go to the bathroom. I haven't had a puppy since 1991 or so, when my roommate Mike stole one and I had to care for it, until I told him to get rid of it (he used to get mad at me for calling it Fluffy).

Ruby behaving at the vet office.

This depression I am undergoing has not made things easier. I hope I get over it soon.

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