Soil Sifter

I got this thingamajig today which I believe to be a sand/soil sifter.   It seems ideal for sifting for sharks’ teeth.

vintagesifterIn spite of its age I don’t think it has seen much use.

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Not Much to Look At

Here is something that would not draw the attention of the civil war relic hunters scouring the old Battery Martin Scott on Potomac Ave.  On an eroding rampart there, I found these which I believe are pottery sherds of a style I have not seen.  They appear to have the flat-sided form of Marcy Creek ware with perhaps one being a piecrust rimsherd.  The accretions have quartz as well as a heavy marine component.  Under the loop you can see fan shaped shell fossils.

sherds3ms sherds2ms sherds1ms

The historical images of Battery Martin Scott make a difficult fit for today’s landscape.  Considering that these are found in earthworks constructed during the Civil War, I don’t expect the rest of the original vessel to be intact within 50 meters of the location.  Of course this could be historical – pieces of something like a crude, thin mortar.


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Wealth Inequality (at the top of the food chain)

In spite of living in an affluent neighborhood in Washington DC, I always need to recalibrate the $$-meter when visiting my parents in Incline Village, NV.  The community lies on the Nevada side of the the CalNeva line that bisects Lake Tahoe.  Beauty, proximity to the Bay Area, and state income exemption lures the well-to-do this Sierra town of 9,000 residents.  There are two community beaches among the shores’ many private residential beaches.


Incline Village “Hoi Polloi”, at right.

And among the private beaches, there is another quantum leap to the apex of the economic food-chain.

duffieldbeachThis beach which measures around 1000 feet long, and nearly always empty of a soul, is owned by billionaire David Duffield.   Besides the grandeur of this private natural resource, the scale of the compound under construction only further boggles the mind.

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Making Pickles with Verjus

Since starlings, cardinals, and mockingbirds devour any grape beginning to blush in the vineyard, I’ve opted for harvesting verjus (unripened grapes).  Because verjus can be used as a substitute for vinegar (e.g. dijon mustard), I thought I would try using the acidic juice as a medium for making pickles.  This summer I planted two productive cucumber plants and a plot of nasturtium which I use for flavoring.

verjusgrapesI then deploy a child laborer into the vat of acidic grapes and play music while the child is whipped into a frenzy.

squeezingverjusnasturtiumsIn addition to the nasurtiums, I flavor with salt, garlic and coriander.



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Straight Out of Little Compton

Farming and ocean-life produce rare combinations but we got the treatment at Silk Tree Farm in Rhode Island.

Herding pigs to their new pen relied more on the carrot than the stick.

invisiblelinepigscrumAfter the hayfield had been cut, I found this chosen one having a slaughterhouse-5 moment.

hayfieldri prayingmantisinriAnd, yes celebrating a 12th birthday in the nearby surf.

gusboogie2 gusboogie12bdayAnd here – ephemeral, sand architecture takes shape.

brayvilleA very civilized way to spend summer on the East Coast!  Thanks

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Abandoned Family Slides

slides70sI have a bizarre interest in sifting through old slides and home movies of anonymous people.  I finally viewed a box of 300 kodachrome slides that I won earlier in the year as part of an auction lot.  The images took me on their vacations to Florida, California, Hawaii, etc. during the early 70’s.

This photo did not really fit into any category.

70'sharemSurfing was a recurring theme.

So many family memories found in a small box on a field on the Eastern Shore.

UPDATE July 13.  Today Debra Costa of the NYTimes slumdunks a story of the same vein:

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Donation to the Collection

An old relic hunter in the Palisades presented me with a small box of prehistoric artifacts that he found from “around” Potomac Ave.  The three specimens at top are closest to finished products.  The base of a large “blank” (top left)  is characteristic of many broken blanks I have seen.  They must have been used for something quite strenuous as their breaks suggest.


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nowtheeurocuponpotomacWelsh supporters after their defeat this afternoon.


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The Blue Indian Tiki Hut

This year’s tiki rendition is smaller and perhaps more ramshackle then previous years (here, here, here)

The stoic Blue Indian caps the tiki’s skyline: blueindian tikitop2016 tiki2016The aesthetic has admittedly nose-dived.   But as said before,’When all candles be out, all cats be grey.’  The Copa America last night –  Peru v. Ecuador



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My Colleague, Camille

Today a friend told me about Camille Paglia’s interest in Northeast American Indians and when I found her writings online, I found myself nodding and saying  “hell yeah.”  Some statements from Paglia’s interview:

I make constant discoveries in forests and farm fields, on river banks, at construction sites, and even at the edges of shopping malls, where bulldozers disturbed the soil. I consider this work probably the most important thing I have ever done—rescuing, identifying, and preserving the fragments of a vanished culture that was once everywhere around us . . .

But I find it’s absolutely staggering. It is staggering the actual signs and remnants that are everywhere in the Northeast. I could go out right now, find some dirt, and I’ll find you a broken tool. It’s absolutely incredible. I feel that’s what I should be doing something like this, which no one is interested in. But I feel it’s substantive, and I hope can help to show what was here before.

I hope to meet her one day – we’ll certainly have lots to talk about.


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