Friday, September 30, 2011

Momentarily Home

Paperwork aplenty
I'm still not really home.  This is more of a stop over in St. John's to change planes.  Next week I'm off again - this time for a two week vacation with friends in Spain and France.  I'm trying to get another batch of paperwork done before leaving so that I don't have it hanging over my head during the trip.  I think I'm looking forward to being home for good in three weeks as much as I'm looking forward to the vacation.

A few earrings in stock
I've had a few Elfshot inquiries since I got back.  At the moment, I have a few reproductions and pieces of jewelry on hand, and have one or two small projects lined up before Christmas, but I really won't be back in the workshop in a big way until the New Year.  I'll be available for workshops and demonstrations from the end of October on and if you are thinking about having any reproductions made before next spring, now would be a good time to contact me about them.  My studio time is going to be very limited and its filling up fast.

My view for the winter
I need to commit several months this winter to report writing and preparation for next year's fieldwork.  Its the necessary evil in order to get to spend the fantastic summers working in the north.  If I don't do a good job fulfilling the obligations of this year's permit I won't be able to get a permit to go back next year.  At the moment, that means updating Site Record Forms to submit to CLEY (Culture, Language, Elders, and Youth) the department responsible for overseeing all archaeological work done in Nunavut.  Every archaeological site has its own set of site record forms which contain basic information about the location, contents, and condition of that site.  One of the conditions of holding an archaeological permit in Nunavut is submitting site record forms for all the new sites found and any sites revisited within 60 days of returning from the field.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Remington Carriage Museum, Cardston, Alberta

Covered Wagon
While in Alberta last week, I visited the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston with my dad and step-mom.  I can remember visiting once before when I was younger - I think my dad had some rubber put on a set of carriage wheels and he took me along to pick them up or drop them off.  He used to drive horses a lot and we had a little white carriage that we'd use in weddings to haul the bride and groom around.  I'm not that old - we had cars and trucks - but dad just liked using horses.  I'm not the first person in my family to put an anachronistic spin on their career.
Outside the Remington Carriage Museum

Don Remington, the man whose carriage collection the museum was built around.
"This hobby can drive you buggy!" Horse and buggy - get it?

Most of the carriages are in rough shape when they come into the collection.  This half-and-half buggy shows the starting condition on the left side and the restored condition on the right.

This Park Drag from London, England could carry 10 passengers and 2 grooms.

There are over 250 carriages in the collection, most of them restored and on display.

Hansom Cab - very Sherlock Holmesy

Seeing this old farm wagon brought back a lot of memories for my dad.  He seemed especially fond of the cruise control feature.  On the way home you could crawl in the wagon and sleep, while the horses plodded back to the farm. You'd know to wake up when the wagon stopped.  Did I mention "Rast" in German means "to rest"?

Touring the restoration shop was a highlight.  They work to restore carriages in the collection, but most of their work is commercial work for individuals with old buggies and wagons.

Blueprints from inside the Carriage Works recreated inside the museum.

A Piano Box Buggy like this would have shipped to the customer in a wooden crate like the one on the left.

This is the lead Bull Wagon from a wagon train.  This particular one was originally used on the Oregon Trail and ended its career hauling supplies between Fort Benton, Montan and Fort MacLeod, Alberta.  Notice the Borax boxes?  There's an illustration of a wagon train on every box of Borax.

Stage Coach.  Coaches like this were often owned by hotels.  They are the precursor of the airport shuttle van.
Sheep Wagon.  A mobile home for shepherds to stay in while tending the flocks.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wild Alberta

Plains Bison

I'm home in St. John's after my quick trip to Alberta.  I got home just after 4 am this morning so my internal clock is still a little messed up.  I'm just sitting down and going over the last of my photos.  Its fun going back to the places you grew up as a tourist - you see familiar things with new eyes.  

Bison Calf

This herd lives on a farm near Vulcan, Alberta.

Plains Bison Bull
The Mountains west of Cardston, Alberta.

Hawk flying

Hawk watching for movement in the fields.

Muskrat. I remember these things being cuter and less ratty.

Sunset on the farm.
Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Few Farm Photos

Are you local?
 I'm back in Alberta for a few days visiting family and soaking up the big blue sky.  I've had great weather and some excellent road trips with my Dad and step-mom.  Tomorrow we'll head down to Cardston to check out the Remington Carriage Museum.
That's the farm where I grew up in the background.

Its been a wet year here - this creek doesn't often flow in the fall.

There's lots of hawks around.

Watching for rodents stirred up by harvest.

The hawks are floating over all the fields and pastures, hunting.

The crops look great this year.

I don't know what these little red plants are.  Some sort of little succulents living in the alkali soil.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

L'Anse aux Meadows Reproductions Installed

I was reading Laura Eliza Silverado: Adventures in Labrador a few days ago and was pleased to see Eliza's photos of a of set of reproductions that I made for L'Anse aux Meadows back in 2009.  The last time I saw these reproductions was when they were packed up and shipped back to Parks Canada along with the artifacts that inspired them.  
I haven't seen the completed display in person, but luckily when Eliza and Laura were blown off course on their way to Labrador by a small hurricane they had time to visit the newly renovated interpretation centre at L'Anse aux Meadows.  Eliza helped me get a hold of the sealskin and also shave it down with stone tools, so she recognized the pieces on display.  She sent me these pictures.  I love that they are displayed along side the original artifacts and that the sign says "Please Touch".

Photo Credits: Eliza Brandy

Monday, September 19, 2011

Labrador CURA

Excavating Indian Harbour, Labrador
There is a lot of archaeological work being done in Labrador these days.  In southern and central Labrador, much of the research focuses on the origin and history of the Inuit Métis.   Labrador CURA, 'Understanding the Past to Build the Future', is a collaborative effort between researchers and Métis to explore the first 500 years of Métis history through archaeology, ethnography, archival research and geneology.  CURAs, or Community-University Research Alliances, are partnerships between academic researchers and the public that have been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.  Lisa Rankin from Memorial University of Newfoundland is the project's Principal Investigator, but there is a long list of researchers, students, and community members participating.

Working Title: The People of NunatuKavut
Archaeologists working in Newfoundland and Labrador are leaders in communicating their research to the communities they work in and the public at large.  'Understanding the Past to Build the Future' is generating a growing list of articles related to the project and one of the most interesting aspects of the Labrador CURA is the way it has been using film to explore and record the Métis story.   CURA has put cameras into the hands of students in Labrador so that they could tell their own stories through film.  Researchers have documented their archaeological work and there is even a movie in production chronicling the history and archaeology of the Inuit Métis.

You've seen a handful of photos from CURA supported projects on this site in the past, in particular Amelia Fay's puzzling artifacts from Nain.  Check out the CURA gallery for more photos of artifacts and work in progress.  New information is streaming out of the project all the time - at the moment, two archaeologists are blogging about their adventures  as they travel to southern Labrador to film in communities for the CURA film, The People of NunatuKavut(Laura Eliza Silverado: Adventures in Labrador).

If you want to keep up with Labrador CURA, you can visit their website: Understanding the Past to Build the Future. , friend them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter; @Labrador_Cura.

Photo Credits: 
Photo 1: Lisa Rankin, from Labrador CURA website
Photo 2: Eliza Brandy, From Labrador CURA website
Photo 3: Screencapture from Labrador CURA website

Friday, September 16, 2011

Polar Peek-a-boo

Can you spot the hidden wildlife in each of these photos?  They've all got their eye on you!  There's a Wolf Spider, Lemming, Arctic Hare, Ermine, Polar Bear, Caribou, Snowy Owl Chick, Ringed Seal and  2 Ptarmigans.  Click the photos to enlarge them if you are having trouble spotting everyone.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast
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