Friday, January 28, 2011


Todd and Nicole invited me to join their Folsom dig in Colorado.

Colorado has some truly beautiful areas. Middle Park on the West side of the Rockies is one of those areas and this particular area hosts Barger Gulch with a Folsom site.

The crew camp is on a terrace above the Colorado River, that has many boggy areas.

There is a dirt road leading to a power relay station. We are camped just beyond the station. Not particularly pretty. We do look out over the Colorado River, there is a ranch below us with bison.

Because of the River's boggy areas we have mosquitoes. My! Oh my! Do we have mosquitoes! Lots of them! I hate mosquitoes! I cover myself with insect repellant.

They hang on the windows. They get in when I scoot in the door of my little trailer! At night I am a crybaby when they get near my ears and whine so I swat and spray before I go to bed. I always miss one.

They swarm in front of you, then leave with the slightest breeze. Thankfully, they are the slowest mosquitoes I have ever come in contact with and their bite doesn’t seem to itch for more than a second or two.

We set up a shower stall for our solar shower bags but who can stand the onslaught of mosquitoes?

I bathe in my trailer each night using the standby “Hospital” technique. I wash off the insect repellant, but the dirt seems to stay behind!

We are told we can shower at the RV site 12 miles away once a week, compliments of the expedition!

The showers are heavenly.

A shower with warm water!

Wash hair, dry off, dress, spray with insect repellant! Right back where you started - sans dirt!

For some reason the mosquitoes never join us at the actual dig site several miles away. While we are digging we don’t even think about them.

We are filthy from digging and screening. We get covered in the soft brown dirt of the area.

I wonder if Folsom people kept their bodies covered with dirt to keep the mosquitoes at bay? Seems to work!

Each of us has our own dig pit, a 1 meter x 1 meter. The first two years I had wonderful recoveries. The next year I claimed to have the control pit—no artifacts!

I have been invited to join the dig this year.

Will I go?

Will I battle the mosquitoes and the ‘control pit’?

To quote a local rancher, “You betcha!”

Friday, January 21, 2011

Return to the Edwin Fox

As I mentioned before the Edwin Fox is an East Indiaman ship berthed in Picton, New Zealand. I worked on it during an EARTHWATCH expedition.

I was partnered with Mina, who was from San Francisco. I forget what she did in her work world but she was exacting in her work on the Edwin Fox.

Our job was to measure and record the measurements of the stern. Every single board!

We measured and measured again before we recorded the data.

We were VERY exacting. We worked hard.

In a December note from the Principal Investigator (PI) he indicated our measures were so extreme and doubtful that he had to institute another session to re-record our work.

We were devastated not to mention how horrified and embarrassed we were!

We had cost the project money and time. Dang!

The next January I received a note again from the PI stating the second team got the same measurements as we had!

His assessment: The master ship builder, who had NOT used blue prints, torqued the stern for the prevailing winds!

And he said, “Good job!”


Friday, January 14, 2011

No Trust

It was a spectacular day in the Cienega Preserve and we had completed, earlier than expected, the site visits we had chosen for the day.

On the way back to the vehicle we all agreed “the area over there” we had not ever investigated sure looked inviting.

So off we go to explore an unknown area – unknown to us, at least.

The area, a narrow strip of land, was at the base of 50-60 foot high palisades. Cienega Creek was between this strip of land and us. We crossed the dry Creek bed to the other side.

We walked this little strip looking for artifacts. Nothing.

A very sandy rivulet ran through the strip at the base of the Palisades. We were walking in this rivulet on our way out to the main Creek. CB was to my left and slightly behind me but I saw him go stumbling by me. He landed face down arms extended.

He said he was ok, but he was holding his right wrist.

I checked it and he winced.

“It is broken’ I said.

“No, just sprained,” he responded firmly.

We got back to the vehicle and wrapped his wrist with an ace bandage he had in the trunk.

“I’ll drive,” offered the other crewmembers - all women!

“Nope! I am fine.” he retorted.

He had trouble turning the key to start the vehicle.

The offer to drive was extended again and offer denied again.

He drove one handed the 20+ miles to our early morning meeting spot.

Later he called me and said the wrist was indeed broken!

As one crew member summed it up, “He still insisted on driving out of there with only one arm and in great pain. Wouldn't trust us women to drive!”

Friday, January 7, 2011


Many, many years ago a friend of mine was taking classes at the University of Arizona on Native Americans of the Southwest and their cultures.

One class, the Tohono O’odham culture, was having a dinner and my friend asked me to join her.

We were in a fair sized room. The Tohono O’odham women were in their traditional dresses. It was lovely. Talk was lively. All the makings of a great evening.

We watched and chatted as the women placed trays food on a long table. The aromas from the food were so tantalizing and I was hungry!

No one approached the serving table and we began to wonder what was happening. We waited; then awaited some more.

It must have been about 1/2 hour when a young woman approached me saying, "Everyone is waiting for you to start the food line."

"Who? Me? I am to start the line?"

"Yes", she said, "You are the elder and no one can eat until you start!"

I was holding up the communal serving/eating process.

What a shock to find out I was an elder! I had no idea.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Little Knowledge

On a beautiful Friday morning we were south and west of Tucson on private property to survey for preservation and possible acquisition of a Hohokam Classic period site (1150-1450 AD) if we could find it.

The long strip of land is owned by an old time Arizona family; given to them in a Mexican land grant in the 1800s.

I had volunteered at the Arizona State Museum on the preceding Wednesday and had done intake and condition reports on items for the up coming “CORONA” exhibit.

I had never heard of Salvador Corona! I checked in about 10 items; exquisite artwork done by Corona, a Mexican bullfighter of the 1915s; turned artist following a horrendous goring in the ring.

His work is very unique and I came to appreciate it in very short order. For the most part what I know about art would not fill a thimble!

When we arrived at the Rancher’s home he invited us in to see the home. As I entered the living room I noticed a painting over the fireplace and exclaimed, “You have a Corona!”

The rancher was flabbergasted that I knew about Corona! I explained to him how I knew about this artist. He told me he had the one painting but his sister had at least 6 Corona items. Corona and the rancher’s family had been long time friends.

I talked to him about the coming exhibit and gave him the name of the museum exhibit contact.

As the exhibit date drew close I was pleased to see the rancher’s painting and his sister’s items join the exhibit.

Oh! The survey – well, the rancher’s home was surrounded by artifacts as the house sits atop the classic period site!