Earlier this month, I visited Montpelier, the estate of James Madison near Orange, Virginia.

When Dolley Madison sold the home in 1844, Montpelier spent the next 140 years in private hands, and only recently transferred into historic preservation status. Over ten years, the house was slowly restored to the condition the Madisons kept it in, reversing a century of interior and exterior modifications. Very little of the Madison decor or furnishings remains, but the site curators are tirelessly seeking original Madisoniana.

The estate is a nice place to visit, and it took us about six hours to see it all. Evelyn and I tried our hands at a two-man bucksaw, sharpened an axe on a grinding wheel, watched archaeologists at work in their lab, sampled period-cooked baking, and enjoyed the very nice walking trails through old-growth hickory woods. The gazebo above was decorative, but its foundation also conceals the Madison ice house. Wouldn’t this structure look nice on the dime, along with a portrait of Madison?

This is definitely one site to revisit in the future, since so much of the historical preservation is ongoing. I am eager to see what they’ll accomplish over the next ten years.

My house now has a handsome yellowwood tree in the front yard, replacing our former silver maple. The feral rabbits have reappeared in the neighborhood following their winter dormancy, and we spotted a red back salamander near our kitchen door.

After months of inaction, I finally gave in and bought a lawnmower. My inaction was economic, not ecological. Why buy a new mower when there must be plenty of older lawnmowers out there? But, as they say about used cards, buying a used machine means buying somebody else’s problems. Apprehensive about the uncertainty of used machine reliability, and with two gift cards for Lowes on hand, I decided to get a new one anyway. If there were a hardware store or machine shop selling reputable refurbished mowers, I would have bought a mower there without hesitation!

My game Wanderlust is getting some good exposure on BoardGameGeek. I have an official French version, and will soon have a Japanese versions available. Maybe Evelyn can help me with a Spanish version.

Also in gaming, I’ve been playing a lot of Dominion. If you’re a gamer and you haven’t played Dominion yet, you’re missing out.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: The Tempest Prognosticator

Movies I’ve Seen:

Star Wars Holiday Special (TV, 1978) ~ producers disowned for good reason

Hancock (2008) ~ blaxploitation Superman has a secret

What I’ve Been Reading:

"Timeline" by Michael Crichton


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