MAY 1997

Thursday -- May 1, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Yesterday was a Caretaker's delight: Absolutely beautiful and no Members?? No one to appreciate my new grass$#@!!! Or to help me site the new croquet course!! Should I check my deodorant??? Please take note that this morning Dave Winer will sleep late... it is the day after he retired. You people with real jobs eat your heart out.

Friday -- May 2,1997 -- The club is OPEN
Carpenters will be here at 0700 hrs and stay until 1600 hrs, so be prepared. They say this is going to be a stellar Spring day... and a Friday at that. Just this morning got a "first oriole of the year" alert from Margret Herring, so keep your ears tuned. This morning the water temperature went over 60 degrees for the first time this year. And come on down!

Saturday -- May 3, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Arturo Fuentes is here today... helping me move the canoes and taking down the old, temporary racks. At 0830 the Rangers showed up with another volunteer work crew to finish up their effort on the hill path. Of course, it is raining, and I can not see how many volunteers they actually got, but the sounds of great activity are clear. Yesterday the carpenters finished all but the last of the six canoe sheds, so all canoes on the Island are now under cover. It is clearly a dreary morning... so we shall have to see if it clears out this afternoon. By the way... Margaret Hering was correct... the first oriole showed up yesterday in the afternoon. Wonder if it was the same one?

Monday -- May 5, 1997 TO Sunday -- May 11, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
The Caretaker and the Caretaker's Wife will be gone this week ... off to Prague to settle business and move the last of our personal belongings. During this week the Substitute Caretaker will be Dara Tokarz, with an able assist on Sat by John Randall. See you next week.

Monday -- May 12, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
What a glorious day!!! The carpenters will be here all day... hopefully this will be the day verything is finished on the canoe shed. They will also help to do some tricky work raising the safety line for the ferry, and then trying to lengthen the pull rope for the ferry so that the metal part is not out over the river and so rough on the Caretaker's soft hands. I am told that John Matthews has counted 30 (!!) goslings on the Island now... of approximately three different sizes.

Tuesday -- May 13, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Alert!!! Alert!!! Important announcement!!!! The canoe shed is finished!!! Let a thousand song birds go forth and proclaim to the Membership that their canoes can be brought back. Let the Caretaker sleep later than 0600 w/o carpenter visitations. Regarding yesterday... Captain Matthews also came down and got the carpenters to help adjust the rigging for the ferry. The safety line has been raised to astonishing heights and an ingenious new line has been strung across the river and attached to the middle of the ferry pull rope so that the middle can be raised during high water. Finally, those of you thinking of braving the wet forecast for today are reminded that the Abby Wiebenson party is scheduled for today. This will be be very large party so the Island will be crowded. Check the schedule of events for details.

Wednesday -- May 14, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Announcement..... Big party tonight... all members invited!!!! (And incidentally there will also be a meeting.) Seriously folks, come on down and check out the Island before the meeting. The grass is almost cut. That is "almost" because I hit something and bent the mower blade (and hope that is all.) First cut of the year finds all the problem places and hidden rocks. Lisa Klieforth will have a Brownie Troop here prior to the meeting, so there may be some overlap.

Thursday -- May 15, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Gosh... What an exciting meeting last night !! I would love to tell you about it... but it would not do to reward you if you were not here. I think in the future we should schedule a party before these meetings on beautiful summer evenings. I will have the barbecue grill cranked and ready at 7 PM and folks could come have dinner and good fellowship on the Island before the meetings. Especially those of you that live up the hill... you could come home from work... grab a prepared bag in the fridge... and walk on down. People on the waiting list could be encouraged to come at this time.

Friday -- May 16, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
What a surprise upon opening the door this morning... it is chilly out there... about 54 degrees at 0800. Now do not expect your Caretaker to always upload so early in the mornings... but talks with his Honey in Prague must happen before such hours... wish it could be said that things go well there, but alas. Judy Lentz will have approximately 25 middle schoolers here from 1130 to 1400 hours. They will be willing to pick up trash and other assorted light chores, but the Island is in such good shape it is a tough ponder to come up with a good task list. By the way, the water temperature hit 60 degrees yesterday.

Saturday -- May 17, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
This is large party day... Amanda Cannell will host a birthday party, and will incidentally attempt to get volleyball working on the Island. At her prompting I looked and found the net, but no poles or ball, so she will bring her own gear and Sycamore will have to buy some. Mark Brenneman will bring son Adam (and friend) who will overnight at Rupert's Island. The substitute caretakers for Sunday will be Pat Bode for the morning and David Sitomer for the afternoon.

Monday -- May 19, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Eureka !!! The kitchen floor in the caretaker's quarters is completed. By this action all repairs necessitated by last year's floods have been accomplished and the Island can be deemed to have completely recovered. VERY special mention in the dispatches to David Holdridge for giving up a Sunday to come down and put tile down on the floor. This was not the type with the self adhesive backing, but the kind where one puts the adhesive on the floor first. Our hope is that this type will survive any flood intact. Yesterday's party for new Members was a success thanks to the Loebs and Peter Winkler. George and Marcia brought their little red wagon down from Lock 7 loaded with goodies. Between 16 and 20 people showed up.

Tuesday -- May 20, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Sort of a lazy, rainy morning, but expected to clear and be beautiful. It is my sad duty to issue the announcement that the white goose is now officially listed as missing in action and presumed dead. He has been gone for almost three weeks... was not looking so good when last observed... and was not hanging out with the Canadians towards the end. I wonder if the "prime male" Canadian that bullies the others ran him off?? There is now a gosling that is limping badly and having difficulty keeping up. And our own Barney, the large white cat, panicked and bolted when David and I put down the new kitchen floor, and has now not been seen for 36 hours.

Wednesday -- May 21, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
The water level is dropping below 3.5 feet at Little Falls... and the water temperature is up to 67 degrees. That is an increase of 7 degrees in just 4 days and means it is time to get in the water and try to untangle the safety line for the swimming float so that it can be deployed to the middle of the river. Barney is back... or at least sort of. he has taken up residence under the house and seems strangely panicked about coming back in. Current theory is that he is afraid of the ceiling fan, which may remind him of the wings of a large predatory bird. He is the only survivor of a large litter that was abandoned in the woods and half starved when found as a kitten. Two others found with him did not make it. Kate Herrod came last evening to survey the ladies' locker room. A waiting list member, she has volunteered to take on the project of painting the ladies' locker room. One can only hope such efforts inspire others. Tomorrow the electricians will be here to sort a wiring problem upstairs and estimate the cost of lighting the ferry landing near the towpath.

Thursday -- May 22, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Going to be a stellar day !! It is getting to be LOUD down here in the mornings now that there are so many critters on the Island. Especially the birds and cicadas. Today the electrician will be here to fix a wiring problem in the clubhouse. Yesterday I took the mower to be serviced. They laughed... seems the crankshaft is bent... and the way things are it can be repaired for about the price of a new mower. I have lobbied the powers that be for a mower with a "blade break clutch" in which the mower engine does not stop when you take hands off but the blade stops going around. Around here one is always stopping to pick up newly fallen limbs or mysteriously displaced rocks, and it would be nice to not have to pull that cord every 2 minutes.

Friday -- May 23, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
There are sounds of heavy equipment on the towpath, but the tree cover is now so dense that it is difficult to make out anything. The Park Service has been resurfacing part of the towpath down towards lock 6, so I suppose they are working their way up. All will be glad to hear that John Krasny's hip replacement surgery went well on Tuesday, and perhaps he will leave Georgetown hospital next Monday. The weather looks to be great the next two days, and this will be the last weekend unscheduled with parties for some time, so come on down.

Saturday -- May 24 TO Sunday -- May 25, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
The water level is at 3.42 feet at Little Falls and falling. I am told this is amazingly low for this time of year. The temperature is 64 degrees for those of you with a yen to swim. And finally there is the year's first positive fishing report: Peter Moscovitz and son David went fishing up river half way between Rupert's and the beltway and caught a 2 1/2 lb small mouth bass... 15 inches long. He fished it deep with a lead eyed sparkle yellow and black wooly bugger tied like a clauser's deep minnow with the eyes down and the hook up using a fast retrieve. I hope someone reading this knows what it all means. I can also report to those of you following the Barney saga that last night he was enticed indoors and slept in the usual place... the center of our bed. The substitute caretakers for this Sunday will be Ted and Ann Zahn for the early shift and Norman Metzger for the afternoon shift.

Monday -- May 26, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Soggy... that's the only word for this morning's Island. At 0800 hrs it is still raining hard and there are distant sounds of thunder. The 0758 level at Little Falls is up to 3.96, only a half foot rise with all this rain, but I encourage you all to check out the dramatic graph on the USGS river level site (the last option on Tryon's River/Weather links page.) Now if you believe the weatherpeople it will clear this afternoon and make outdoor barbecue possible... but wear boots if you come down here. Saturday Ann Kip and Mark Brenneman came down to swim... said the water was warmer than the posted 62 degrees and just wonderful. We tried to put the new ladder on the swimming float... but found it nearly impossible without a drill (the drill I found here upon arrival being kaput.) So the exciting news for the Caretaker is that yesterday he went out a bought a new drill (light industrial designation)... but you should all be warned that "the Powers That Be" have determined that this drill will be kept in the Caretakers quarters and can not be used by the masses except by request. Anyway, this was a time urgent purchase because Mark Brenneman went out to buy certain hardware we needed and said he would return at 0800 hrs today. Considering the weather, I managed to dissuade him.

Tuesday -- May 27, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
It's cold down here in the mornings !! Especially when the windows have been left open because the previous evening has been warm. Yesterday's Memorial Day started gloomy enough, but turned out great. obviously yall had made other plans based upon the morning's weather as hardly anyone came. Mark Breneman did come after dinner to help put the ladder on the swimming float... and fortunately John Matthews was here to suggest a better way when things turned out to be not as simple as the instructions promised... but we could not finish because the new drill was not fully charged. It was later that I realized that it did not charge overnight because the power had been off during Sunday nights torrential rainstorm and the charger did not reset. But the big news Monday was the call from Bill Eichbaum and John Matthews to meet them at the parking lot. We returned from Sears an hour later with a bid wheeled, 22 inch cut, mulching deck, 2 limited year warrantied, self propelled, Craftsman lawn mower with a 6 hp Briggs and Stratton engine. Let it be noted that the leadership of your Club is able to move quick and decisively when required to get things done.

Wednesday -- May 28, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
More beaver encounters last night. They seem not at all frightened by human presence and will swim to within three or four feet of the swimming float and come out of the water near by, but light in their eyes will annoy them enough to eventually drive them off. And we are talking BIG beaver. All are reminded that Deborah Sheppard will have 20 first graders down here tomorrow between 0900 and 1400 hrs.

Thursday -- May 29, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Today is the day of the Deborah Sheppard party... 20 first graders from 0900 until 1400 hrs. I know you are all making plans to be here for Sunday's big Whitewater Race event. Jack Hazzard came down yesterday... his father used to hand out the prize for this event the first ten years (in the 1920's ?). Jack grew up on High Island (the one we see next to Snake Island between us and Brookmont Dam) and was a frequent visitor to the Island in the early part of the century. He will be here next Wednesday with pictures for the Old Timer's Party, and having had a preview of some of the stories... I encourage all that can to come.

Friday -- May 30, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
Must have had an overnight shower... hard to believe dew could leave the ground and walkway so damp. So much for an early grass cutting. I hope you will all be here Sunday for the Whitewater Race when the Club should put its best face forward and the Island should look its best. Yesterday's visit by Deborah Sheppard's Georgetown Day School group of 24 kids was well managed and well behaved. It is worth noting that the mystique of the Island caused as many parents to come down as kids... and three asked for information on how to join. Some pre-Colombian pottery shards were found during the Caretaker's tour of the Island, causing almost as much excitement as the fish skeleton.

Saturday -- May 31, 1997 -- The club is OPEN
This is THE big weekend as events go... the Whitewater Race on Sunday... the Island looking its spiffiest... and a special surprise treat for those of you who read these missives: Come to the Island and walk it carefully. There have been some "very major" changes !! But you will have to search them out (not that they are that hard to find.) It is guaranteed that there will be controversy about whether or not it is proper. The Caretaker's job could even be on the line. Is this a major tease to get you down here... or what !! Ann and Ted Zahn will be the substitute Caretakers for the early shift on Sunday... as yet no one has volunteered for the late shift.