Recipes from dinner tonight

(all this is vegan, and the measurements are intuitive: cook with a conscious and with creativity)

Sweet potato and chickpea chili

sweet potatoes pealed and chopped into bite sized pieces

several cans of chickpeas

bell peppers chopped into bite sized pieces

onions chopped

garlic chopped

salt

curry powder

vegan bouillon cubes

red pepper powder

cinnamon

cumin powder

pepper

turmeric

olive oil

parsley flakes or fresh chopped

extra water

stir fry the onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, and red peppers in olive oil. then add the chick peas and other spices, and the extra water, put on a lid and simmer until the sweet potatoes can be pierced by a fork.

Poor man’s hummus (if you can’t afford the Tahini, but if you can afford it add the tahini because it’s delicious)

canned or soaked chickpeas

olive oil

garlic (powdered or fresh)

cilantro chopped

salt

pepper

cayenne pepper

Cholula hot sauce or siracha rooster sauce

cinnamon

lemon or lime juice

hot salsa

place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. add liquids as needed.

Flat bread

flour (any type, whole wheat, white, corn etc)

salt

water

dash olive or canola oil

several spoonfuls sourdough starter (optional since this bread can be unleavened)

need ingredients together until they are of a workable consistency, let dough rest for 20 minutes or more, then break into balls that fit into your palm. Let rest again for at least 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky, dust your hands and the dough and surfaces with extra flour. Flatten the balls into the desired thickness and shape of the breads, then heat up a cast iron skillet, and place the breads into the dry pan, flipping as each side browns. Cool on a cooling rack to prevent sweating.


Barefooted and drunken hippies

This morning I excavated more on the Northern most end of the trash pit with Dianne and Farah. We found a lot of stuff, and were so focused on digging that we didn’t notice how many artifacts had been exhumed until we had to carry them back to the buffalo in three trips! They filled up one real trash can here, and then there was even more. Hopefully they don’t get mistaken for real trash now that they’re in a trash can…well, they are real trash I guess, real hippie/historical trash. That is one aspect of digging the trash pit that is so interesting to me. I think a lot of non-archaeologists, and even archaeologists too, would look at this unit in the trash pit and question the importance of such a dig. However, I’ve been learning the importance of this over the past few days, and even enjoying digging up 50 year old trash. I think partially these artifacts are important oral history prompts for people who lived through this time period, but they are also a record of unspoken happenings from the ’60s. For one thing, we’ve been finding a lot of brand name and packaged products, even though the stated goal of the New Buffalo hippies was to live off the land and in harmony with nature. secondly we have found a large concentration of interesting objects such as shoes and socks. Shoes can tell you much about their owners: the approximate age and size of the person, their occupatino and its hazards, their status etc etc. And these shoes are from a recent enough time period that we are able to know something about the types of footwear and what they connotate about the wearers. But the larger mystery is why so many shoes? In my estimatin shoes and socks have been the highest reccurance of artifact in the trash dump. But why? Were the hippies trying to live up to their “back to the land” goals by ditching their shoes and socks and running around barefoot? These are just a few of the thoughts that I keep having while excavating it the dump. Personally I found a small white leather shoe, probalby for a young girl, with the single strap in the Mary Jane style, and this shoe had a silver chain stuffed into it. That was pretty exciting for me.

At any rate after digging this morning I worked on my own project while Annie and Dianne cleaned artifacts. One of the artifacts was a Walter’s Bock Beer can, which Dianne had me look up online to see if it was still being made. It seems that this wonderful lable with the white goat on it is no longer manufactured, but has a large fan following online. The first hit was some Flickr photos of Bock beer cans, and then there was this website:

http://beercanencyclopedia.home.comcast.net/~beercanencyclopedia/states/colorado.html

pretty interesting. Manufactured in Colorado I guess.

Maybe Kaet can make a beer can typology, since beer cans are the one artifact that has turned up in more quantities than shoes. Beer and shoes. I also see that people are selling empty Bock beer cans online for 4$. Maybe we have a collectable!

Blog Post as an Artifact of Repentance

I’ve been bad about posting to this blog, and so now it’s time to confess a few things.

First, this past week I’ve been thinking a lot about lines and squares and all other sundry geometries that archaeology makes use of. More than a few times we’ve almost missed out on the good stuff (ladders, chicken wire) because of the iron will of the grid. We cut square units around circular buildings and peel even layers of dirt off of surfaces on which years of feet and rain have encouraged undulation. I don’t say this critically. All these straights and squares allow us to see what we would otherwise overlook — the gentle curve of a pit in the “penthouse” units, for example only became visible after a slow leveling of hard clay and softer pit-fill. The hours spent straightening a wall make it possible to follow the stratigraphy of back-dirt from the digging of the pit house or layers of million year old volcanic ash. I do, however, marvel at the feeling I get when i look down and see the smooth remnants of excavations — a perfectly pedestaled styrofoam cup and a delicately revealed piece of plaster wall. It all seems so human, for lack of a better word (though our recent discovery of Bower bird art might make me take this back). The thrill can only be described as a feeling of triumph over the chaos of the past. However fleeting and vain, it does feel good to make corners straight and sweep dirt-floors clean.

Second, the epidemic of naming continues. “The Penthouse” units — comprised of “The Love Above”, “The Lindz-Lounge,” and “Darryl’s Den” has proven to be far more interesting than we expected — finally living up to it’s party-animal name. But maybe more importantly, ClockPunk our dearly infuriating total station (basically a fancy laser that allows us to map horizontal and vertical co-ordinates) has finally found a mate. ClockPunk’s heretofore unnamed prism and rod has been christened Beatrix. A love for the ages.

And so the dirty days pass …

The Trash Heap Has Spoken

Long time no blog. Sorry about that. I’ve been working in the trash heap since last week, but we (Paco, Farah, Hannah, Sev and I) have dug enough to actually write something about it. It is actually getting really interesting. Sev and co opened a long 1m wide trench through the potential trash pit with the intention of recovering as many artifacts as possible. We now know that this trash was dumped to fill in an arroyo, since the edge of the arroyo runs through the southern end of the trench. I decided today that metal springs are the most annoying artifact to dig in the world, and that future archaeologists, when they start digging up things from our time they will have a massively hard task. We have so much awkward material culture, at least from an excavation point of view. Also, as Galen put it so eloquently yesterday “New Mexico soil sucks.” the layer of dirt at the top of the trash pit is solid clay, that we have to hack through with hand picks. It is not fun. The reward underneath is pretty cool though, lots and lots of artifacts. In fact, most days we are spending the afternoon inside washing artifacts, since we overflow at least three buckets with newly excavated stuff every morning. I think I have uncovered the bottom of the trash deposit in the southern portion of the trench, and we think that we have a car/vehicle starting to come through  in the northern portion, which is very exciting! The southern portion is where I have been primarily working, and the comment abut the springs refers to the bed of what look like mattress springs that are covering the southern portion of the trench, which are stuck in the profile and are impossible to dig around.

INTERESTING FINDS SO FAR: birth control pills, unused condoms, underwear, coke bottles, kids toys, wine bottles, carling black label can, brightly colored textiles, socks, shoes (including high heels), a leather bag, spoons, random gears, a plate with a pot leaf imprint, bugler tobacco cans, planters peanuts cans, burnt newspaper.

Will keep you updated.

Traveling Back to the Journey

It has been quite some time since I graced these pages so I will start my story a week in the past.

Approaching the evening at Jim’s I was full of skepticism towards anything a neo-shaman proposed to do in a pseudo-ritual fashion.  I was not necessarily upset with the idea of people engaging in such acts..I just doubted any sort of palpable rewarding effect to come of it.  I realized also as the evening went on that I was perhaps a little bent by the pressure of false expectations that no one actually put upon me but were projected from one side of my double-conscious to the other. So as I was blessed by the power of the eagle feather and bathed in sweet sage I didn’t know whether to scoff or stare stoic.

Then the drumming began and a small jolt shot my back and I felt a surprising descent.  After only a few minutes I heard a few low notes of flute music.  My still leering rational mind groaned at the prospect that Jim had snuck in a cd of traditional native american flute music….then my more free-flowing subconscious enlightened me to the true source, my Uncle Leonard  At the same time I had the image of myself pulling a newspaper out of the ground with his image (although at first I couldn’t tell if it was truly Leonard or my grandfather).  The rest of my journey involved alternating visions of attempts to reach the large white mesa where the flute music and Uncle Leonard were and random successions of various colors, moth wings, a certain someone recently departed and shafts of confused light.  Near the end of the journey I approached a large white hot air balloon which I realized was my way to the mesa.  Just as I put me legs out from the wicker basket to plant myself at my destination the mesa seemed to crumble away from me and suddenly everything was yanked away from me as the drums ceased.

While I haven’t yet decided if my spirit animal is a hot-air balloon, moth or Uncle Leonard, I have done some deep considering of the overall journey and how surprisingly “successful” it was for me.  I walked away thinking that these sorts of strange little ceremonies are not as harmful as I had been willing to believe… harmful in the sense of demeaning native traditions and planting all sorts of delusions in non-Native settlers that now that the land has been stolen the traditions and spirit are up for rape and conquest as well.  Further discussions in the day that followed during the dig lead me to consider that appropriation is not necessarily an evil and that I had been completely bias in privileging Native appropriations of settler and other culture while automatically rejecting settler appropriations as complete bullshit…although it is still obvious that the settler appropriation of native culture comes itself from a privileged position.  Hippies chose to come back to the land and live in relative hardship on the fringes of mainstream society while natives were simply forced into the situation.  Yet the experience at Jim’s showed to me that despite the veneer of native appropriation the journey itself is a beneficial and spiritually rewarding act.  As I told my lunchtime circle at the summer solstice: white people could be really cool folks if they weren’t so insecure and culture vulturing.

Anyway I would like to write more at length and with more cutting intellectual insight on the subjects of appropriation (such as indians playing hippie and “rez up my myspace”) but  I said I would be at the site two jiffs forty winks ago.

overheard in new buffalo

(part one; a collaborative effort)

“I am one hairy motherfucker.” – Sev

“I’ve been a lot of things, but I’ve never been cool. I was a band geek!” -Dianne

“Look it up on your google machine on the internets!” – Joe

“What is this?”
“Evisceration! Haven’t you read the poultry book?” -Galen and Mason

(on her hair) “It’s all in here…breakups, immaturity, guacamole…” -Galen

“Special food is food with marijuana in it.” -Mason.

“So we were like listening to James Brown, and my nose was smoking.” -Annie

“I want to go to college when I want to get knowledge, not when I want to get drunk.” -Mason

The number one rule of almost every sauna is….hrrmmm.” -Annie

(on baby boomers) “I mean, you people have been in charge for forty years, and the world is fucked!” -Joe

“Peace and love, like your T-shirt.”
“My T-shirt says nothing about peace and love.”
“It has rainbow teddy bears and roses on it.”
-Galen and Mason

“No, that’s wrong. Whatever you were about to say is wrong.” -Kaet

“If you drowned, I would be totally bummed out.” -Galen, to Dianne, in the Rio Grande

“It’s like you had a party in your mouth, but only half your friends were invited.” -Elizabeth

“I didn’t mean to hit you, you were just all oiled up.” -Annie, to Galen

“If there were ever a place in this world for perversity, this is it.” -Annie

“Eat the special food….then lay some bricks.” – Kaet

“Sev: How much further does the trash pit go down?

Dianne: I don’t know because there is a bed and under the bed is a lawn chair.”

“We will have 7 salads and 30 pizzas. We might not make it.” – Kaet (Channeling Annie)

THE BRIDGE

Every time I look down, I think of how ridiculous it is that I am standing on the outside of the bridge, on its edge. Take the step. The Rio Grande looks beautiful, flowing beyond my position. I can’t do it. Heights and water are terrifying. This is a combination of both—why am I still standing here? Many things can go wrong—hit my head, drown, break something…the list grows in my mind. Brian, the vagabond-like ex-military person, tries to coach me, to encourage me. “You can do it,” he says as he stands next to me on the junction bridge. This goes against concepts of safety, including listening to this stranger. Screw the construction of safety. Why am I getting pseudo-philosophical?  Hannah, Lindsey, and Ian continue to encourage me, despite the time my cowardice devours. Three people have gone ahead of me, yet, I am still standing up here. I can feel the wind pushing me against the bridge rails, which I am tightly holding in fear of falling. I am trying to avoid falling, so why am I preparing to fall voluntarily? It is a jump, a step that includes a fall, and not merely a fall. Fine. Take deep breaths. I need people. “Can you count down from 10?” I ask. I hear the voices, and around the number 5, I finally decide to do it. 3…2…           

I don’t know how to identify this feeling—it feels like an absence. I do not feel my body hitting the water. I open my eyes and see water. Shit, when am I going to reach the surface? Why is it taking so damn long? Am I out? I am. I can breathe. Swimming against the current to the left.

THE VISION

The same moment in the water appears in my journey at Jim’s place, except this time, a green bird insults me when I reach the surface. “You always think you are drowning,” it says. It begins where I left off in the morning, in front of a very tall, decrepit building. The number 52 is on the front (or 54, perhaps?) of the door and I wonder why I am here again. Where are the streams? Where are the trees? The beautiful green bird appears, with black eyes and a dark face.

You are too beautiful to be my spirit animal… “You are right, I am not your spirit animal. Your mom.” Its cynical, dry tone reminds me of my own thoughts, especially in regards to myself.

I enter the building and go up stairs. I flag rooms of interest, although the specific objects are a blur. I run into people I do not recognize, although they appear happy to see me.  

Finally I get to a room on the final floor—the garden is beautiful. I immediately feel like I do not deserve this, and the bird makes its presence known with a smug look, as if expecting the sentiment. “This is a dirty, urban place,” it says, and I respond, insulted, “No, it’s beautiful.”

The vegetables growing on the floor, the vines conquering the television, the trees hiding the walls—“I’m glad you see it.”

So, kind of thinking of urban archaeology, now. Cool.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMAGINATION

It smells. It is hot. I smell. I am hot. I am dragging this bucket of artifacts—hippie trash—to the sun room for our museum. Countercultural consumer trash. It feels weird cleaning trash and having these objects with so much meaning for many people. How will the display for these objects demonstrate and/or create meaning for people? I feel a connection to them as I clean, trying to construct images in my head, using my imagination to make whole objects out of these pieces of glass and textile. Coke bottle (corporate drink??), Turkish and domestic tobacco can, sardine can, etc.