Thursday, July 03, 2008

harder, better, faster, stronger

After four days working in the field, I have started to hit a good rhythm. After the first day, I was utterly exhausted, but had to go to Walmart on the bus to sort out bug nets and water bottles and so on - luckily Sean came with me and woke me up when we got to our various stops, because staying awake just wasn't happening. Since then I've been crashing every night pretty early, and I mean crashing - collapsing into bed and staying comatose from nine at night til six in the morning. I woke up briefly Tuesday night from the fireworks going off two blocks away, but that's pretty much it.
I'm covered in bruises from random trees and branches, and also a pattern of them on my thighs from catching the screen with my leg. I have only a few bug bites, but they look kind of bad. I'm going to start taping my hands to help my blisters heal up. All in all, I'm starting to transition from somewhat jellylike to a more active sort of figure. I'm thinking by the end of all of this I might actually be in good shape, like when I came home from Belize. I'm not even eating terribly bad (except for tonight, when the need for salt overwhelmed my usual sense) because it's too hot to load up on food. Digging holes in the sun, with no breeze, in 30 degrees of humid, humid weather? Not the time for big heavy lunches. Happily the horseflies are less of a problem now that I've stared wearing a long sleeved shirt and a hat with a bug net, and my sad little muscles have begun catching up with where they need to be, so I can appreciate the finer points of the landscape.
Ellis and Joel found a bird's nest with three eggs in the bushes near one of their pits on Wednesday. The mother returned to the nest and we marked the area with flagging tape, and apparently the construction people aren't allowed in until the chicks have been out of the nest for three days, so go us for saving the baby birds. Ellis has identified it as a kind of sparrow, but I can't remember what kind.
Today they found a beehive. Not so much fun.
I've been partnered with Craig for the past two days, who went to Belize with me and has done some work with Jason before. He's a geologist as well as an archaeologist, and he's pretty accustomed to digging holes, so he's been digging and I've been screening, which has worked out really well for me, because I don't have the right sort of strength for digging, but I can screen (which is still really physically demanding) for hours and hours. As a team we've been leading the pack in numbers of pits dug - yesterday we did sixteen test pits (they are 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm deep), where we are expected to do at least twelve (or six each, if working alone).
Anyway, we've been working on a relatively easy piece of terrain (if you call a clearing full of bushes and a dense new growth forest easy terrtain) all week, but tomorrow afternoon or Monday we expect to move on to the second site to be tested: a wetland area. No cover, lots of bugs, a high likelihood of wet feet, lots of grass roots to get through before getting to soil, and mud to push through screens instead of sand. It should be an experience.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Jill said...

Sounds messy...but you obviously love it! There's nothing better, really, than finding a job you love.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Way to go Steph - you're doing what you love and are trained to do!

9:30 AM  
Blogger GailM. said...

Yippee... There's the Stef we know and love. Digging, screening, swatting, and writing to tell all about it. Hurray for you all for staying clear of the birds nest. Thanks for the knitting link on my blog.. I bought the pattern this morning oline.. it's exactly what I was looking for. Now I'm looking for soft washable yarn...

10:17 AM  

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