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John Duke's Blog (82)

Buckets of rain

Bob Dylan has a touring schedule that would be grueling for a man half his age. He was in California on Saturday, New York on Sunday, and is in Richmond on Tuesday. He can't be in it for the money.

Read more at: http://condemnationplantation.blogspot.com/2013/04/buckets-of-rain.html

Added by John Duke on April 16, 2013 at 1:16am — No Comments

Nailing it

The final barrier to full legal compliance with the city's building code has been the stairway. The eight steps down to the lower level and an additional two to the bathroom require handrails to satisfy the guardians of our safety. I think it is similar to Darien refusing to let me wear slippers without treads, for fear I will tumble to my death going down the…

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Added by John Duke on January 21, 2013 at 3:47pm — No Comments

Ring me up

Sometimes work on the cabin just plods along.

Take the doorbell, for example. An inexpensive electric chime was installed during the first renovation, but somewhere during the reconstruction it was disconnected and no longer functions. We have been without one since we moved in last April. But in anticipation of our new house, Antonia had…

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Added by John Duke on December 20, 2012 at 12:42am — No Comments

Shines like gold

Work has slowed down on the cabin, letting us gear up for the next phase. Mr. Seals is up in the mountains hunting this weekend, but a few weeks ago Robin invited us over to help him celebrate his birthday ...

 

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Added by John Duke on November 18, 2012 at 10:33pm — No Comments

Drunk under the harvest moon

Mr. Seals and Robin visited the cabin for a dinner of smoked wild salmon. Robin was raised in Franklin County in an extended family of notorious moonshiners and rum runners celebrated in the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant and recently released in its…

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Added by John Duke on October 1, 2012 at 12:06am — No Comments

Squirrels and snakes, friends and ale

I've taken a strategic retreat in my battle with the squirrels, removing both birdfeeders. It seems that Mr. Seals's location was no better than my own. As I was ruminating on my own poor record of success in combating them, I observed a squirrel, drunk with glee, scramble up the screen and begin feasting on the seed in the feeder that I thought was secure. Fearing the…

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Added by John Duke on August 25, 2012 at 7:11pm — No Comments

Humble pie

Encounters with squirrels can be humbling. After watching one of them grip the beech tree with its hind legs and stretch its gray body to what seemed an abnormally long distance over to Sadie's birdfeeder, I decided it was time to move it farther out on the…

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Added by John Duke on July 6, 2012 at 12:55am — No Comments

The hawk and the crow

The cabin has been visited lately by a red-shouldered hawk. We saw him perched on the tin roof next door. He had dignity and a seriousness of purpose about him, unlike the noisy crow who sometimes struts about near the window looking for handouts. I had a good look at the hawk's russet underbelly when he took flight, first swooping low through the green…

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Added by John Duke on May 22, 2012 at 12:04am — No Comments

Quite contrary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockleshells

And pretty maids all in a row.

I have heard different things about this Mother Goose rhyme ...



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Added by John Duke on May 13, 2012 at 1:19am — No Comments

An exquisite nest

We went to an event last Friday put together by Angela Bacskocky. It combined fashion and art and music and shoes. Lots of shoes. The theme was nesting. The women wore Angela's clothes of satin and leather and feathers, their hair suggestive of nests. There was even a giant round nest…

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Added by John Duke on May 1, 2012 at 12:17am — No Comments

Oh, the horror!

I understand there is a new movie out, The Cabin in the Woods, just in time to celebrate our move to the cabin. I read a good review of it, but I doubt I will see it. I don't handle horror very well. Besides, there is plenty of horror at my own cabin, from infestations of cankerworms to cars covered with dusty green pollen to copperheads not happy at…

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Added by John Duke on April 19, 2012 at 11:56pm — No Comments

The condemned and the redeemed

Spring in Richmond is certainly much different than in Boston, as least when I was there this past week. Whites and pinks and purples on fields of varying shades of green are everywhere, looking like a painter's exuberant palette after years of canvases. The dead of winter once again is resurrecting to life, just in time for Easter, as it always does, ever and…

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Added by John Duke on March 31, 2012 at 2:06am — No Comments

Lighting the way home

Jimmy dropped me off at the cabin on the way home from the airport. Darien met us there and showed me what Mr. Seals and Mike have been up to -- mostly things that will enable us to live in the cabin while the rest of the work goes on around us. ...



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Added by John Duke on March 30, 2012 at 12:22am — No Comments

The gnome and the owl

I spoke to Darien this evening after returning from my a dinner of striped bass with colleagues in Boston. I caught her at the cabin, where she had retreated after the electricity went out at Gotham following a sudden storm. This is a switch from the usual pattern of Gotham being the safe house during storms. She reported no leaks from the hard rain, which is good news,…

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Added by John Duke on March 28, 2012 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Soft lights

The neighborhood owl has returned. Gabriel spotted it on his property in the soft evening light. Darien has seen it as well. We can hear its haunting call echoing through the trees at different hours of the day. Many of the branches are still barren of leaves, so it…

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Added by John Duke on March 27, 2012 at 11:04pm — No Comments

Soft lights

The neighborhood owl has returned. Gabriel spotted it on his property in the soft evening light. Darien has seen it as well. We can hear its haunting call echoing through the trees at different hours of the day. Many of the branches are still barren of leaves, so it…

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Added by John Duke on March 27, 2012 at 11:04pm — No Comments

Two steps forward, one step back

Mr. Seals is working on a punch list of things to complete before we move in. We don't expect him to actually have it all done, but the cabin should be livable.



That is, if we can keep the water out.



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Added by John Duke on March 27, 2012 at 12:10am — No Comments

Next to godliness

7 more days to go.



We will have a variety of unfamiliar surfaces to attend to once we move into the cabin. Darien has been researching different cleaning solutions that have minimal negative environmental or health side affects. Here is what she has come up with so far.

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Added by John Duke on March 25, 2012 at 5:24pm — No Comments

Bad moon on the rise

I watched Indiana play a few days ago and knew trouble was on the way for VCU. True enough, it was bad times on Saturday night, like seeing earthquakes and lightning and knowing the rivers would overflow and the hurricanes blow. Indiana took the life out of VCU in the NCAA tournament in a heartbreak loss that we could have won. My response?

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Added by John Duke on March 21, 2012 at 1:29am — No Comments

Two bottles closer

I came back from the cabin to find Antonia and Darien taking a break from packing up the house. It seems part of their strategy is to finish off any bottle that had already been opened so we wouldn't have to move it to our new house. They were working on the dregs of a bottle of golden, smokey Mezcal when I walked in. It is hard to argue with success, however. They were…

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Added by John Duke on March 11, 2012 at 4:30pm — No Comments

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