Recent Toil

Windows 10

I successfully updated the laptop my sister uses as her Netflix  access tool for the large Tv in the living room. It took a long time but was smooth. She also uses it for email.  I have recently shown her Pinterest. She found that intriguing. I searched “Nancy Drew” (she is a collector of the books) and found a lot of interesting pins.

Rogers email account password recovery

My password and I got separated. I only found out when I tried to reset email on a secondary device.  I tried online but just chased my own tail for twenty minutes. Rogers technical support were very helpful.

Image digitization

A friend asked me to help with some images for an article intended for a coffee table book.  So I read up once again on prep of hi-res images for printing. It is a little confusing. I am used to prep for online presentation or for images for Powerpoint slide shows that are projected for small sized audiences.

a couple of helpful links:

I used my scanner to copy an old engraving of 19th century logging using my Canon 4in1 printer.  I photographed a photocopy of a pencil drawing of a 17th century Huron village (longhouses and palisade).  I used my Nikon D7100 and Nikkor 18-140 lens mounted on a tripod.

The actual village used 64,000 poles for the palisade.  These were some 40 feet tall.

I loaded the photo in Corel Paint Shop Pro x6. I adjusted the contrast and cloned out some handwritten notes. Finally I saved the edited image trying for maximum quality.  I attempted to send the image to the friend. The scan made it,  The photo bounced back. I tried again compressing the image for a smaller size without sacrificing too much quality. Not sure how we are going to get this finished. We still need to get them to the book publisher.

Below a further compressed version of village drawing.

_DSC2294 r2

Newsletters, a 2014 project of mine

One day this winter when the weather gets savage, I am going to sit down with a cup of tea and make a list of all the newsletters I have worked on over my years. The first was InformED, a newsletter published by the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Information Centre (library) at the Mowat Block around 1979-81 and today The Pot, the quarterly newsletter of the Huronia Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society. Newsletters may be going the way of the dodo, replaced by blogs and Facebook pages. Still for non-digitally inclined members of volunteer organizations they represent a value of membership and are still viable. The real battle for the editor is to hunt down content and fresh view of rountine information and somehow to get member to contribute. I have never found the secret for the latter. But with desktop publishing and digital photography and the net, making content is relatively painless and inexpensive. After I make my list I will likely create “a newsletters i have known” section of my blog – stand by for more on this topic in 2014.

camera into the forest and back in time

Some photos of a Huron village site, more precisely the midden next to the village.  Midden is the polite word for the village dump, which has been sitting on the edge of a gully side that drops down into a creek.  All of this near Penetang, Ontario.  The village, undated at the moment, either from the 17th century and the time of the French contact time or earlier.  This site was not officially known until a few weeks ago.  Sadly it has been picked over to some extent by people who some call “looters” and others label them “curiosity seekers”.

Today was day one of a two day public but controlled numbers access to the site hosted by the Ontario Archaeological Society Huronia Chapter with the site under the direction of the licensed archaeologist, Dr Alicia Hawkins.  The Simcoe County Forest was in on this as well.  There was participation by some staff from the Simcoe County Museum.

I took photos with my Nikon D3100 and 18-55 lens, with no light or with the Metz 44 flash unit or with the Polaroid ring light attachment.  It has rained hard yesterday and today, but not when I walked in and took photos.  The workers had a blue tarpaulin tied between trees to shelter the area being worked and where the dirt was screen shaken and checked.  Even with the tree cover there was good light and some good shots were possible.

The trees were about forty feet high.  On the forest floor rich dark soil growing small treelets, a lot of maples trying to make it and most at a height of about 12 inches, which created a kind of “false floor” of green shoots to step through and discover the uneven soil below.  There were also a lot of dead branches on the forest floor, but overall the walking was not too bad.  I had brought along a walking stick and it was essential.  My winter with an aircast on my left leg has left me with weak legs and they certainly felt weak today.  On the way out on my own I missed the trail and finally emerged from the forest about a 100 yards west of where the trail was and where I had walked in but that was ok.  Mosquitoes were few.  As for poison ivy, time will tell, probably by morning.

This was my first visit to a public archaeolgy day. I was at the field school public day last year as well. What struck me today was the enthusiasm of the people working. Also at the hard work that is involved. I missed the monsoon moments, but the conditions were difficult. People seemed both enthusiastic and highly satisfied to participate directly in archaeology, which can often seem to be reduced to sitting in a dusty auditorium listening to a speaker with modest presentation skills talking at a series of less than pulse-pounding documentary photos. Interesting but a little detached from direct experience. So a public archaeology day allows interested folk the chance to stand on a former village site and touch the past. In this modern day that is a remarkable experience.

old information still golden

This summer it seems my major volunteer effort is going to be assisting with the gathering of heritage and archaeological information inventory for some townships in Simcoe County, the original site of the Huron people.  Interestingly enough,  the starting point is some archaeology reports prepared by Andrew F. Hunter in the period 1900-1910 for the Minister of Education for Ontario.  I have built a prototype database in Microsoft Acess 2007.

I find it intriguing that this information over 100 years old is still the base foundation for archaeological work in this part of Ontario.