stone house on the Rondout
Thursday, October 7 2004
There were things I could have continued doing with my drainage trench until well into my old age, but (as with everything) there comes a point when you have to say "my business is done here" and wrap things up. So today I backfilled the rest of my latest trench, the one that runs along the low retaining wall on the house's west (uphill) side. There's a four inch perforated PVC pipe draining this trench, and just before it turns to pass through the concrete block retaining wall to carry away its burden, a branch pipe enters it from above carrying the water from the gutter on that side of the house. I don't actually have a downspout on that gutter; its outlet hole is positioned over a depression in the ground that is completely lined with rocks.
Below the retaining wall, I still had a problem to solve: what to do with the water coming through that pipe. I decided to angle it downhill and away from the house using a forty five degree fitting. At the pipe's end, which near the stone steps to the Stick Trail part way down the hill, I built a little terrace shored up by a wall made of small stones. A lot of water will be coming out of that pipe and it might be fun to collect it somehow, perhaps in an artificial pond.
This evening our friend Peter invited Gretchen and me over for dinner at his house in the Rondout section on Kingston. At first I didn't want to go, but Gretchen called raving about his house and convinced me to come.
It was a nice place, a pre-Victorian bluestone house complete with a steeple on the north bank of the Rondout. Not only does Peter have a stunning view of an iron railroad trestle, he has his own personal sea-level dock, allowing him to (for example) sail to Rhinebeck to pick up visitors at the train station. He could also sail to Manhattan if he wanted to, but nobody could pay him enough to get him to schlep all the way to Chelsea pier. He had a framed woodcut from the early 1800s showing his house standing in the middle of a field of bluestone being laboriously loaded onto ships. The style of the woodcut was so primitive that at first I thought the many laborers depicted were actually Indians laying siege.
We ate Chinese take-away, drank wine (Peter actually drank vodka), and discussed the possibility of an October surprise. Barring that, we all agreed, Kerry is going to win.
Later Gretchen showed me a coffee table book full of pictures of a Chelsea nightclub that Peter used to run back in the '80s, when cocaine was king and George W. Bush was still living out his irresponsible youth. Peter claimed that the first "club kids" were part of an informal marketing campaign for his club.
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