Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

The habit of ignoring Nature is deeply implanted in our times. This attitude reminds me of people who never look you in the eye; I find them disturbing and always have to look away."
— Marc Chagall

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday Tooth Report

Today absolutely nothing lines up. Rice for dinner.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web."
— Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pedigree dogs plagued by disease

Small skulls, epilepsy and "genetic illness" plague a myriad of pedigrees. The Kennel Club insists they work tirelessly to improve the health of pedigree dogs but how can they help when it's in the inbred genes? One more reason to consider a mixed breed which, in my experience, tend to have excellent health.

--The full article at BBC
--Top 10 ways to help a local Shelter
--Search for a rescued pet near you at Pet Finder
--American SPCA
--SPCA International

Tuesday Tooth Report

Just checking how my back teeth are doing and I can't believe how much they've moved. I think I'm close to half-way there. It's almost exactly a month since I've been wearing elastics; that means that by September 20-ish, my bite at the back will be perfectly aligned. I'll let you know.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 16/08 — As always, used my reusable cloth bags (made from recycled pop bottles) for grocery shopping. That's 5 fewer plastic bags in the world. Check my complete list of "Green things done to date" in the right-hand column.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

All things, and man as well, should be like nature, without measure."
— Jean Arp

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday Tooth Report

One of the most annoying things about straightening your teeth is how often the 'grinders' don't align. While I love stir-fry's, crunchy vegetables are hard to eat right now! There is also something very unsatisfying about light crunching only; never feeling like you're fully engaged in eating.

Monday, August 11, 2008

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 11/08 — Ate smaller portions. Had a stir-fry for supper to up my veggie intake and lower my meat intake. Check my complete list of "Green things done to date" in the right-hand column.

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 10/08 — Reused the dehumidifier water in the clothes washer. Check my complete list of "Green things done to date" in the right-hand column.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 09/08 — Purchased an audio book online to reduce paper. Check my complete list of "Green things done to date" in the right-hand column.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 07/08 — Sorted Blue/Green garbage. To see a complete list of green triumphs check the right-hand column called "Green things done to date".

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly."
— Claude Monet

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tuesday Tooth Report

I'm not used to having to use elastics yet and so I've had to set an iCal reminder! Other than that, the process of arch-widening continues...

Monday, August 04, 2008

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 04/08 — After dinner, I left the food out for an hour so that it cooled off. That way the fridge didn't have to work hard to cool it. To keep the dogs from counter-surfing, I hid the food in the oven and turned the timer on to remind me to take it out! Check the complete list of "Green things done to date" in the right-hand column.

"Greening" Your Yard: IEBGreen Challenge

Reel Lawn Mowers are cheap, light and work well: use no power and no gas. The one I like is Lee Valley's 20" Reel Lawn Mower. (I've tried few a kinds and have been disappointed so I don't recommend trying to substitute.) Lee Valley's is really light and cuts really well. Only $155.

Leave the lawn clippings to make a healthier lawn — which means no Grass Catcher needed! Save yourself the effort of raking/bagging and the cost of a Grass Catcher. At the same time, enrich your lawn's soil. The clippings will also help your lawn retain moisture and keep it looking lush in dry spells.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 03/08 — Ran the dishwasher only when it was full of dishes; put it on "Water Miser" setting.

To see a complete list of green triumphs check the right-hand column called "Green things done to date".

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Honorary Archaeologist for a Day

Today I had the absolute pleasure of being an Honorary Archaeologist at the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence National Historic Sites.
Our day started out at Fort Beauséjour in the province of New Brunswick with a brief history of the area between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Our hosts were a dedicated team of archaeologists and park staff, seen above.

After our history lesson we took a short drive across the border to Fort Lawrence, Nova Scotia, to the site of an old Acadian village called Beaubassin. 

At left, one of our archaeologists shows us what kinds of things have been found in the dig this summer. She holds up a shard of pipe which, remarkably, contains the maker's insignia. This mark will help the archaeologists date the object and determine its origin.

Next we move on to learning how to dig. Our group is divided into teams and assigned a unit. A unit, we learn, is the 3 metre by 3 metre square pit that is being dug.

Digging is a misnomer. It's more like scraping. Thin layers (about a centimetre or two at a time) are scraped away with a trowel. The dirt being scraped away must be looked over carefully for artifacts. Any artifacts or stones that are sticking out of the ground must be carefully scraped around to the level of the current 'scrape'. Only if the object is fully within this scrape are you allowed to remove it and catalogue it as part of this layer. Below is one of my unit partners scraping around an area of the unit which was recently inhabited by a groundhog.

As we scrape, we are told to take note of colour, texture, shape and hardness of the ground. We put potential artifacts into a separate container for reviewing later and we collect the loose dirt into green buckets. But the dirt isn't done with. Next we move to the sifting area.

Below, you can see me putting earth through a wire screen. I found more objects that I hadn't seen before.

Although our unit wasn't ready to move to the next stage, one of the other units was and so it was photographed to record the site's condition at the end of the layer removal. A step ladder was set up and the unit was photographed from overhead.

Below, are some of my finds which include chunks of hardened reddish clay that would have been mixed with hay and pressed between the stones of a foundation. It would have provided insulation. You'll notice that one of these chunks is blackened: archaeologists say that this indicates that the clay went through a fire. The smallest of the chunks shows clearly-defined lines through it. Apparently it is an excellent sample showing the impression of hay.

I also found shards of light-blue transparent glass, charcoal from burnt wood, and bone. The archaeologists say that the bone is likely from animals that would have been in the Acadian diet of the day. 

Lastly, I found a heavily corroded square-head nail. 

One of the most interesting finds of the day was made in an adjacent unit. At left, is an old coin which clearly reads "GRATIA REX" and shows the partial profile of a face. The archaeologists tell us that it must go for proper cleaning before its origin and significance can be identified. This stage of the process can take up to a year as there are few scientists that specialize in this type of work and the back-log is tremendous.

Some of the most interesting finds in our unit included beautiful shards of pottery; one of which was tin-glazed. Its glaze was thicker than the pottery layer under it! Pictured below, one of us came across an odd line running through her section of the unit. It was about 2 inches wide and definitely a different colour and texture -- it was compact and harder to dig -- than the surrounding earth.

Two of the archaeologists were very interested in this mark. They inspected it, then brought over a measuring tape. Apparently they'd found a similar mark exactly parallel to it in an adjacent unit and wanted to know the distance between them. They were attempting to determine where a previous archaeologist in 1968 had dug! This new line that was found might mark the dig from 40 years ago. If it's determined that it does, they can overlay his drawings and descriptions onto their units, helping them know where to dig next. Although not an object-based artifact, it was an exciting find! One that we hope turns out for them.

Unfortunately, our unit group and the others who have volunteered over the last two summers may never know how things turn out. People are discouraged from volunteering more than once in favour of giving as many opportunities to new-comers as possible, which I understand.

There is a waiting list for return requests but there is no method in place to keep in touch or monitor progress. Having finally lived a 20-year-old abandoned dream, I'm not ready to give it up again and really hope that I can somehow remain a part of this archaeological experience.

If you have any questions or comments about how to become involved, the history of the area or the experience of being an archaeologist for a day, don't hesitate to ask. I'll do my best to find the answers for you.

My Newest Glow in the Dark Painting

Here is my newest glow-in-the-dark painting. It's inspired by the natural phenomenon where fish of the deep sea use bioluminescent nodes to glow in the dark, this artwork 'charges' in the daylight then creates a whole new painting for the wall after lights-out. I call this its 'dark side'.

• Medium: watercolour; acrylic; beads and jewellery findings
• Professionally framed, 19.5 x 17 inches
• $500
• On display for the month of August at Fog Forest Gallery on Bridge Street in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. Also can be found at

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 02/08 — Continued use of a thermos for coffee and a SIGG bottle for water to reduce single-use cups/bottles and to refrain from purchasing bottled water.

To see a complete list of green triumphs check the right-hand column called "Green things done to date".

Friday, August 01, 2008

REALLY Easy Green Living with David Suzuki

"We've done the science and it turns out you can make the biggest difference," says David Suzuki. One person's actions do make a difference. The choices you make about your transportation, food and use of energy effects the air we breathe and the water we drink. And the more you get involved, the bigger difference you can make. Sign up for the David Suzuki Nature Challenge and receive really easy tips to protecting the environment. And you can feel good knowing that you're protecting your health as well. Get started by signing up for the David Suzuki's Nature Challenge today.

IEBGreen Challenge: Today's Triumph

August 01/08 — Sent the Premier of my Province a letter requesting a provincial-wide ban of cosmetic lawn pesticides through You can, too!

To see a complete list of green triumphs check the right-hand column called "Green things done to date".