June 10, 2012
Mesa Verde means green table. And, for desert, this high mountain place is green. The drive Mesa Verde National Park at 7,500 feet was a challenging pull. The drive to the various ancient dwellings on a twisty hilly road provides you beautiful views of the valley below.
It takes 45 minutes to drive the 25 miles to the Long House. We stood in line to get tickets for our guided tour. The tickets are only $3, affordable and young children can climb the ladders. No water or food in the canyon. When you go, read all the rules before you start.
A panoramic view of this ancient cluster of dwellings, set into a stone mountain suggests to me why it is called the Long House since it sits in a long crevice in the stone. ( Click on pictures to make them larger.)
The tour starts here, with these two ladders. They are easy to climb. The guide allows 90 minutes for the tour from start to finish. Plenty of time to look around and rest if you need to.
The first building we looked into was quite intact. The Puebloan People crawled into their dwellings through a small door. Windows were often smaller than this one, and gave very little light.
This is what it looks like inside. Jim teased a little girl on the tram ride back and asked her if she would like to live here if they would install a television set. Of course, she said no. The climate gets very cold and very hot here. Archeologists believe the ancient ones spent as little time inside as possible. Mostly to store goods, sleep and cook in winter months.
Looking down into one of the dwellings shows a fire pit with a deflector in front of it. The chimney that brought in fresh air is behind the deflector, so not to blow embers or smoke around. Smoke went up through a hole in the roof. It is amazing to think these people lived her around 568 BC. Archeologists know the dwellings were continually occupied for 200 years. Then abandoned and then lived in a second time.
No one knows how many people lived in this cluster of dwellings, but their middens show they hunted elk and the bones in the midden got smaller and smaller as the years passed, suggesting they had over hunted and game became scarce. Knowledge had to be passed down to younger generations, and the average lifespan was 32 years for men and 36 for women. They were good architects; survivors; capable of eking out a living in a sparse environment.
Building here was no easy task, picking the stones, carrying them in, making the mud. This rock shelf had a small spring at the back wall that now grows moss and mosquitoes. Life giving to the Puebloans.
In the floor were grinding holes next to the water visible as a thin layer on the right.
And on the floor, a moccasin footprint .
It is easy to romanticize and imagine the congenial families, children cavorting, enjoying story telling around a fire at night, women weaving, looking out over the beautiful canyon. But, the lifespan, the sparse living, suggest more work than play.
We hiked back up to our tram and got off at the Pit Houses. These ancient dwellings are covered for protection and precede the cliff dwellings.
This community of ancient peoples dug homes into the ground. We visited four covered sites within easy walking distance of each other.
A large Kiva, where ceremonies and religious rituals were held suggest a large community. A drawing of what these dwellings looked like with a roof over is at one of the sites.
Why did they dig homes to live underground? Why did they cease their formerly nomadic life style to live in “permanent” dwellings? One pit house had evidence of a fenced enclosure around it. Was it for protection? To hold livestock, like turkeys? No one knows. Archeologists suggest the planting of corn, changed their lives from nomads to farmers. They used practically every plant in the canyon for food and medicine.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how they lived and imagining being set down in this hostile climate and being able to survive. For us, not possible.
December 8, 2011
I think it’s ridiculous. Of course, anyone who dares criticize pets and pet practices is in for a firestorm of …hate! Yes, hate. If you dare offend a pet lover, you are in big trouble.
I usually just smile and avoid discussing the subject, but my values do not include treating pets like humans. When I saw this display while shopping, I almost gagged. I can’t imagine the dog or cat being comfortable in the expensive adornments they are forced to wear. Pet owners ferociously defend this type of clothing and jewelry, maintaining THEIR pet loves to get dressed up and loves the attention. I maintain animals are psychologically changed by the treatment they receive. And, I will concede that to dress up an animal for a short time for a parade or the holidays isn’t going to harm them. It seems overboard and warping of a dog’s basic needs to coddle pooches and cats, and treat them as though they are human, which by extension includes dressing them in jewelry and fancy clothing. People expect them to act human-like and ignore their basic instincts.
I’m a practical person. Dogs and cats, horses as well, had an important function as domesticated animals. And they still do, as companions, medical assistants, rescue animals, and just unconditional love. Isn’t that enough? It is noble. They seem to be natural healers.
What does it say about us as humans that there are food banks begging for food; some have quit taking applications because they just can’t meet the needs. Many children are living in cars and struggling with parents stressed because the family is at risk. So, does it seem okay to spend $15 to $30 or more on doggie jewelry? I can’t imagine teaching my children, if I had young children, that lavish spending on an animal is a part of family life. Especially in times like these, even if you can afford it. I think giving to a charity comes first and deliberately ignoring that type of spending teaches a basic lesson about moral choices.
We taught our children and my kids have taught their children that giving and sharing is part of everyone’s responsibility. If your children love animals, teach them about Heifer International where you can buy a sustainable animal for families in Slovakia, Malawi or the United States. $500 buys a heifer, $50 buys a share. $120 buys a goat, or $10 buys a share. Wouldn’t be nice to know some little boy or girl can get a constant supply of milk in India? Or $10 buys a share of a pig in Thailand. $20 buys a flock of chickens in Honduras. Another great close to the ground charity is Oxfam, providing loans, work, education, clean water, self-sustaining practices, working with peace keeping organizations in countries at war. It seems to me that not enough Americans have been hungry enough in our collective memory to consider that the amount of money we spend on pets per year, over a billion dollars, could feed or educate a small country.
I’ve had pets all of my life. I’m not a pet hater. I love pets. I just think we should put the price of a pet in perspective. The land to grow the corn and wheat they eat. The detriment to wild birds from predatory cats. Consider the horror stories of people who don’t know how to care for pets and abandon them or mistreat them by neglect. The medical resources used to treat them. The continual cost of animal control by every county and city in the U.S. is a direct result of the mishandling of pets by humans.
Go ahead. Get out the whip!
August 18, 2010
They have a festival celebrating Camptown Races, here. A number of his songs are still popular today. I couldn’t believe how many I was familiar with. You can check out his story here:
Also, David Wilmot, who was a politician and an advocate of anti-slavery in the newly acquired territories from Mexico. His name is on the official proviso.He practiced law at one time in Towanda. You can learn more about him here:
Highway 6 through Pennsylvania crosses the Allegheny Mountains and acquaints us with small, historic towns along the way. This building has 1880, as was the custom then, on the building’s front piece, like a signature.
Quite small towns have beautiful old churches indicitive of the values of long ago, the mainstay of social life.
Between the corn and clover fields, are plenty of old barns. Hard to photograph as you are whizzing by, but interesting. Makes you want to record them with the camera since they are beginning to deteriorate. Many of them are still in use, full of hay or equipment. Barns, a part of Americana we hate to lose to the steel clad factory farms along with the personable image we retain of the stalwart farmer, the backbone of his community and American rural life.
It was fun to see old Five and Dime stores, a couple of Ben Franklins and a few old Diners like this one:
It kind of makes you yearn for simpler times to see this part of America. Its nice to have the ability to do this in retirement. And, of course, I’m making mental notes of places I would revisit and spend more time.
I also like to photograph signs, if I can. I wasn’t able to catch them with my camera, but here they are:
DUI YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT.
ACTIVE DUI AREA
At Denton we crossed through a ski area. The Alleghenies are scenic and we enjoyed our 150 mile drive to Smethport.