Sunday, July 31, 2011


We have had rain! Enough so that the Forests and County areas are open again. We are allowed to go into our site monitoring areas.
We returned the first day the bans were lifted.

We were thrilled to see: a mountain lion, small herds of deer, Red coach whip snake, a desert tortoise and water!

The animals had been without humans visiting for a month and a half and seemed rather shocked to see us. Deer stopped their feeding to stare at us!

One rattler was very intolerant to our presence - he rattled a warning from under a bush next to our feet!

Puddles of water stood in the roads at the small wash crossing areas. Large Collared Lizards were scurrying back and forth across the road at our approach. Why so many lizards on the road? A short stop to investigate: lots and lots of ants! The lizards were feeding.

A trickle of water flowed over the falls and the Creek had a slow moving trickle too. Dace minnows were in the small pools. At our approach a great blue heron flew up from one of the big cattle tanks, now full with water. Ranchers had moved the cattle out of the area, as there was no ground feed for them. The full tanks have no takers except for wild life.

With the rain came the quickly sprouting seeds. The air was resplendent with the smell of the Devil's Claw vine blooming; small pincushion cacti were blooming; trailing 4 o’clocks were having their way. The creosote bushes that were brown/bone dry and crinkly to our touch were green and in flower.

Hillsides one month ago that were brown with death are now bright green - a touch of Ireland!

The archaeological sites were all ok. The rain had caused some sheet washing across the sites but that had exposed more artifacts, some of which were on dirt pedestals as if to say, “Hey, here we are!”

In the now damp soil, rocks held tight to their hillside position against our boots onslaught - no rolling out from under our boots making the hillside climb a dangerously slippery/sliding event.

Our return to all areas of the Forests and County Preserve was truly wonderful.

The only exception: our month long unused muscles now scream at us!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What A Day

This is very hard for me to write. Those of you who have followed my blog know I usually write about situations I have been involved in but from my very torqued perspective. But this one is different as it is about an event where the Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission honored me, among others.

In Jade I told you about the announcement that really knocked my socks off! I was to receive this big honor for which I felt I had no right to.

Well the event took place on the 24th of June.

My daughter flew in from Texas to be at the event that she called “The Oscars of Arizona Archaeology!”

As she drove us to the Conference Hall she was trying to convince me not to throw up! “This honor is pleasing to all who know you.” All her words were very comforting and supportive. I didn’t throw up but I shook! I just wanted to go home.

We got to the location at the appointed time and found our reserved table. There was a sea of tables! There were about 400 people present for this event. Thankfully, those at ‘my’ table were well known, and long time friends of mine, whose very presence put me at ease.

Many people whom I have known through archaeology over the years came to the table to wish me well and to congratulate me. I think – I hope - I hid my embarrassment well as I smiled and said, “Thank you,” amid the lite chitchat.

I say ‘embarrassment’ as I really haven’t figured out what to call this deep feeling I have. Honor Yes! Pride Yes! But over all - embarrassment- caught with my hand in the cookie jar of sheer fun! I didn’t think anyone was watching!

I was the second person to be called to the stage for an award. When my name was called there was a loud cheer and much clapping - I was told. I didn’t hear it.

For each honoree there was a quick power point of pictures: mine - in the field with crew and dirty as all get out! Yep! T-shirts and dirt!

During the presentation of the award to me it was announced - as a surprise - a fund had been set up in my name for the Site Steward program and that $400 had already been donated! This was a wonderful surprise indeed and a wonderful gift from a crewmember friend.

I hope I don’t sound ungrateful. I am humbled,  thrilled and overwhelming honored to receive this award but, too, I really feel it is unwarranted.

What a day I had. To my great relief I didn’t fall off the stage, make an idiot comment or tumble down the steps, but then I had worn my Jade!