Wednesday -- November 1, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls:     Water Temperature:

Tryon brought down a load of lumber today to begin work on dropping the ceiling in the warm room so that insulation could be installed. Captain Matthews has had trouble scheduling a subcontractor to do this and Tryon has taken it upon himself to "just do it" so that the room can be completed and winter use will not be postponed indefinitely.

Thursday -- November 2, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls:     Water Temperature:

David Winer came to see the progress on the warm room and ended up becoming a willing draftee to help Tryon cut and install more trim. The goal is to continue the decor of the large clubroom, which requires decorative wall trim.

Friday -- November 3, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls:     Water Temperature:

Electrician John Tucker and assistant Eric came down this morning to:
1) Wire the 220-volt circuit to the new washer/dryer in the caretaker's quarters;
2) Check post lightning-strike problems in the main breaker box, to include installing a new ground fault breaker for one circuit;
3) Re-route and re-connect the circuit to the new lights on the hill to the main breaker box;
4) Repair and install a new ground fault plug in the receptacle for the canoe shed line where ants had made a home in the receptacle box and the moisture had shorted it out.

Mr. Tucker also revealed a secret of cheap light fixtures that burn bulbs out frequently, suggesting that the nipple in the base of the socket could be pulled out more to make better contact with the base of the bulb, indicating that imperfect or incomplete contact caused the bulb to heat up and the filament to burn out quickly.

Saturday -- November 4, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls:     Water Temperature:

Penny and Dick Doolittle reported at 1000 hrs as promised to help Tryon paint the warm room. There seemed to be too many giggles going on to actually call this "work."

Sunday -- November 5, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls:     Water Temperature:

Work continued on the warm room, as Bill and Joan Kugler continued their late shift of substitute caretaking until well after dark to help Tryon get most of the new tile down.

Monday -- November 6, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 53

OK... Ok... Sorry... We have been bad about the Log. This is the first entry for November, a result of the frenzy of activity down here to get the warm room completed. The missing days will be filled in (promise) so if you are some future reader reading forward you will be surprised to read this... and if you are some future reader reading backwards, you are forewarned. The apology is for Gerry Barton, Eric Simpson, and my Mother... the only people reading these missives daily. Also the promise... but do not expect it overnight, as the Log can be a tyranny to the Caretaker, and this task will be like coming back to one's e-mail after a long vacation... approached with a heavy sigh.

As to why you can now read this... it is because at 1300 hrs Tryon Wells left here after completing the last detail work on the trim and the new tile floor in the warm room. Rejoice!!! He seemed to take it as a personal mission to complete everything before Wednesday night's meeting, including doing the dropped ceiling himself rather that wait for Captain Matthews to schedule a crew down here to be paid to do it.

Tuesday -- November 7, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 53

It is Election Day... so anyone coming to the Island today will be asked if they have already voted. Penny Doolittle arrived this afternoon to do the painting on the warm room door and trim.

Grounds Supervisor Trip Reid took a canoe to Ruppert's Island to do a general survey and consider possible projects to avert vine damage. He reported that things were not as bad as feared. There was lots of bur cucumber, which is an annual and the extent to which it may be problematic next year may be determined by the water levels over the island this winter. But there was not as much kudzu, a great relief.

Wednesday -- November 8, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.7     Water Temperature: 52

A Member and his fishing buddy were down this morning, and when they rang the bell it was a lesson for us all. You may recall that Tryon Wells and John Matthews made adjustments to the newish large bell now hanging in the hickory tree near the deck. This is a large, clear bell that can be heard almost everywhere on the Island, and placed especially so that it may be heard by a substitute caretaker in the warm room during the winter when the doors and windows are closed. But it was also hoped that it would be heard further afield on the Virginia side of the Island... wind direction and intensity permitting. Well... today it was not. The would-be fishermen were left ignored on the landing while the Caretaker was puttering at the top of the Island. Mea Culpa. One problem is that one still must swing the rope greatly to activate the big bell... doing the usual casual swing will only activate the cow bell and the bell near the Caretaker's quarters. So Members take note... do not be afraid to swing the rope vigorously if your first polite attempt does not result in a prompt ferryperson after a couple of minutes... and listen for the hickory tree bell.

The Caretaker is, of course, disappointed somewhat... having hoped that the new bell arrangement would allow him to visit the nether reaches of the island more frequently. Therefore, the old protocol of caretakers being restricted to the middle of the Island will be resumed, and should be continued by all substitute caretakers. However, attempting a serious swing to ring the hickory tree bell should be done only after no response is apparent to a first or second ring, and this is the way it should be, because if we attempt to adjust it to ring every time as the other two bells are, no one will be able to sit on the deck when the ferry is in operation.

Thursday -- November 9, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.7     Water Temperature: 52

Finally it is raining (well, drizzling, anyway), after the driest October in recorded history, and thus certain materials, especially the wood torn out of the walls in the warm room, can be "disappeared." Being a semi-public record one might not wish to go into details, but it has always been fascinating how one little twig, with a tip coated with phosphorus and sulphur, can reduce great piles of material to constituent elements.

This is an all day onerous chore, requiring constant attendance, water hose at the ready, all other responsibilities in abeyance, a large area raked and cleared, and little if any wind. Other things that "disappeared" included a couple of years of Horticulture magazine, treasured but until today un-revisited copies of Texas Highways, many New Yorker magazines (interestingly, a magazine that more than a few Members can not bear to throw away and thus is brought down and left for the elucidation of others), and almost twenty years of various canoeing magazines... although a 1984 issue of Canoe magazine featuring Cruising the Yukon with Robert Service was saved. You have all been there, that moment when previously cherished words and pictures are being consigned to history's final dissolution... those sweet/sad moments of the last flip-through.

Yes... it was an onerous day to have to spend out of doors... the warm, light drizzle... no Members... the fall colors... that certain quality of light... please, please, don't throw me into that briar patch again.

Friday -- November 10, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 54

Walking out the door this morning two things were immediately noticeable: First was a sweet smell... and second was that looking around to see where it came from, it was apparent that there was little green left that could be blooming after last night's wind and rain. There are still maples with plenty of leaves... even green leaves... but this is the day we can say that Virginia is now visible... as is lots of sky. It is finally starting to look naked out there... amazing the difference one cold front can make. There has been no frost, and it is not uniformly brown down here yet, so one would think it might be easier to locate the source of the mysterious fragrance... but extensive searching has found no answer.

Monday -- November 13, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 52

Would you believe that the noon weather actually had an announcement that this was National Storm Preparedness Week? Some well meaning bureaucrat has issued this from somewhere intending, one imagines, to turn our thoughts to getting ready for the coming cold season. This is an alert that, like the squirrels, one should hasten to gather one's nuts before the approaching storm. Frivolous one might think, except that even now snow storms rage in the Dakotas where, like some other parts of the country, the weather is such an integral and serious component of people's lives that no warning is needed because the outdoor condition is too frequently "in your face." Unlike here, where we bask in that best of all outdoor places, a "Zone 7" gardening zone. And being basically urban and hence disconnected from the natural environment except by deliberate effort, perhaps it is wise the bell be rung to draw our attention to the obvious. The fable of the preparing ant and the playful grasshopper springs to mind.

Tuesday -- November 14, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 52

This is one of those days when the weatherperson should not be believed... it is sunny and not too cool. Those venturing to the Island have wondered pessimistically what the forecast of a day in the mid 40's with possible flurries might mean for Workfest attendance this Saturday, but your Caretaker remains optimistic, having previously witnessed the hardiness of Islanders.

Wednesday -- November 15, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 50

So there they sat yesterday... outside in the cold... Miss T and the Caretaker... who was performing his assigned duties as warm cat lap... as the 5 o'clock Florida deadline came that would allegedly determine the leader of the free world. What to do... rush inside and stare at the box with the rest of this country? Safe to say, no toilets in this town were being flushed at or just past the top of the hour. Despite the cold, a magnificent dusk was in progress... a phenomenon that would not be repeated, unlike the indoor punditry. The priorities seemed clear... dusk witness must be performed... the free world must get along as best it could... the cat must not be displeased.

Thursday -- November 16, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 50

Trip Reid and Ann Satterthwaite came down representing the Grounds Committee to spend the day doing tasks as their contribution to the Workfest, which they will not be here to attend. This included a general inspection of the tree situation as regards beaver and vines. Trip has an ongoing program to limit the effects of exotic non-native invasives on the Island, and major work was done to de-vine the trees at the lower end of the Island.

Friday -- November 17, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 50

Sandy Robinson, who is unable to attend tomorrow's Workfest, came down to clean out the refrigerator, taking a couple of hours and using a toothbrush to get the hard stuff. It gladdens the heart to see Members who take their responsibilities seriously.

Saturday -- November 18, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 46

The Workfest is on and it looks to be a fun turnout!

The log is behind... it is the Frantic Caretaker Syndrome... Those of you who clean before the maid comes will understand.

The log will be backdated and updated Tuesday.

Sunday -- November 19, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 45

Yesterday's Workfest was one of the best ever... the turnout was impressive and productive... and again there was so much accomplished by so many it will be impossible to credit each worthy name in these dispatches. The swimming float and dock were brought in, the picnic tables were moved to high ground, the gutters were cleaned, the floor insulation for the warm room was installed on the ceiling of the men's bathroom, new screening was installed on the porch, the Caretaker's air conditioner was uninstalled and moved to the shed, the outside flood lights were replaced and an experiment initiated to determine if long life bulbs are worth the extra money, new hand railings and one new footing were installed at the towpath, a new door was installed for the caretaker's bathroom (actual privacy is now possible), wood was cut, a new step was installed on the towpath landing, leaves were swept off of the top of the canoe shed, new ceiling fixtures were installed in the caretaker's quarters, new metal cables were attached to the captain's float, the Clubhouse upstairs was cleaned, door fames and trim in the clubroom were painted, repairs were made to the wooden walkway, the metal cabinet in the women's bathroom was cleaned and painted, the up-island paths were raked and of course the lawn was raked and cleaned. Now folks... is this an impressive list or what...?

George and Marcia Loeb again organized the buffet event that brought the Members together for the main social gathering of the day. This year the ping-pong table was covered with potluck and the room filled with fellowship and that warm feeling of accomplishment. However, the Caretaker recommends that an investigation be made of the group that rakes the leaves each year... entirely too much fun and laughter seems to take place doing this job and surely something suspicious is going on. Mention in the dispatches should be made of Jim Drew, who was literally the first to arrive and the last to leave; of Trip Reid and Ann Satterthwaite, who knew they would not be able to attend the Workfest and made a point to come down the Thursday before and spend much of the day doing grounds projects; of Sandy Robinson, also unable to attend, who came down the day before to clean out the refrigerator, taking a couple of hours and using a toothbrush to get the hard stuff; of Wayne Limburg, who returned another day to finish his project of new lights for the quarters; of Kent Halstead, Mark Flor, and Jim and Karen Foreit... whose association with the Island is only as guests but who came and put in a hard day's work; and of Ned Goddard, who took on the nastiest task when he tried to unstop a "dirty" lady's toilet under the worst conditions one might imagine. . All Members who attended are to be commended... take a bow!

Wednesday -- November 22, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 38

Lest there be any doubt... the temp fell to 26 degrees last night on the Island... and winter has arrived down where. Previously we have been sheltered somewhat by the microclimate dictated by the surrounding water temperature, but you will note that the river temp has now fallen to 38 degrees. This means we have reached the seasonal cross over point where river temperatures no longer moderate the Island temperatures but instead will keep them below what yall will experience "up the hill" in the real world. So, should Indian Summer visit, and the desire to flee urban conditioning and take refuge once more in beauty win out... remember to bring one more layer with you when you come down here.

Thursday -- November 23, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 38

             Happy Thanksgiving !!

The water is so clear one can see the bottom all the way across on the ferry. There is a light layer of ice on the canal, but even on so cold a day, strolling families are numerous on the towpath.

Friday -- November 24, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 36

The first indication of how bad it was came upon returning late at night from Thanksgiving frivolities when the Caretaker's Wife exclaimed "Oh no... we know what that sound is." Well folks... "that sound" is unique... and occurs when the ferry is breaking ice. Sure enough, this morning the slough was frozen three quarters of the way across... the slough being the side of the river between the Maryland shore and the Island. Unfortunately, the ice had to be broken through to answer the bell at 0800 hrs to get a contractor working on winterising the quarters. More unfortunately... over night the shrimp had danced with the truffles and it was a bleary and groggy Caretaker that answered the bell. The moral of the story? Take the alka seltzer before going to bed, not at 3AM.

Saturday -- November 25, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls:     Water Temperature:

Yesterday Sandy Lee, the contractor mentioned in the log, offered to let the Caretaker's Wife use a pickup truck should she wish to use it to lay in winter supplies. Well, with ice on the river, the Caretaker's Wife bolted for the store and was gone all day... returning with a full load. Folks, we must emphasize "full load," here not just meaning the pickup but not much room left to stand on the ferry. Fortunately, Larry Heilman and Lucky Marmon were here with perhaps a dozen guests who lined up to help to get the supplies from the ferry to the door... else we would have been backing and forthing to the ferry after dark.

This is the first time since we have been here that we have used the key to the towpath for anything but service or delivery vehicles, although we have sometimes timed our shopping to take advantage of piggy backing groceries on a scheduled delivery. However, considering that we managed being stranded on the Island last year for most of three weeks mainly because we were Y2K compliant, and considering how early this year we have had ice on the river, you can be sure this is not the last time the key will be used to truck in supplies.

Monday -- November 27, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 45

The winter chill is in abeyance... it is sunny and pleasant down here. The trees are now all brown and for the most part leafless, with the remarkable exception again this year of the two silver maples near the ferry landing that continue to retain their leaves that are, amazingly enough, still green... although just. One of these is a majestic, fan shaped fellow whose leaves will be much missed as they shield all towpath facing windows from much of the pedestrian traffic on the towpath across and down river. During the leafy months there is a convenient arch beneath which the Caretaker has a view of the steps at the towpath ferry landing. But when these particular leaves are gone, thoughts turn to curtains.

Tuesday -- November 28, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 42

A Member (anonymous) and friend came down to fish despite few expectations because of the cold river. Noticing other optimistic folks standing on the shore with poles, an experiment was performed at the Captain's float, in which bread was fed to the forty plus fish known to hide beneath the float only a couple of weeks ago. But alas, not one fish rose to feed, and the Island's small flock of crows were loud and insulting as they made their point that the bread went to the wrong species. Thus there was no surprise when the fishing party returned unable to report a single bite.

Wednesday -- November 29, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 42

We were awakened last night at 0325 hrs by loud voices on the towpath... three to five male voices... no lights...walking towards the site of the rope swing... the temperature was 38 degrees and they were a long walk from the nearest warm place... and although they did not necessarily sound drunk, one can not imagine why they would be down here at that time unless they had imbibed some sort of bottled antifreeze for the blood.

Sally Strain called this morning to say she would be coming down to scrape paint from the glass on the door she had painted during the Workfest and to ask if there was anything we needed to be brought from either the Seven-Eleven or the hardware store. What a dear, sweet, and noble gesture... deserving to be acknowledged... not only for today and for Sally but also for those others of you who have made the same offer during the year... despite the fact that seldom if ever is anything actually needed. Thank you from staff!

Thursday -- November 30, 2000 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: not given

A Member has asked about the responsibility and authority that can be exercised by Substitute Caretakers. The story that raises the question has to do with an early spring Sunday when a new Member who did not seem to know his way about took his family out in a canoe on a day when it was not wise. The Substitute Caretakers advised against it and the situation was such, with approaching storm and wind, that had they felt empowered with sufficient authority they would have forbade it.

We have oft suggested that a Substitute Caretaker should function, in military parlance, as the responsible Duty Officer, and thus represent all responsible authority of the Club subject to an appeal to the Club Captain. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court (known to accept silly petitions) would probably rule that unlike a regular caretaker, who is after all an employee... a Substitute Caretaker, by definition a Member and hence part owner of the Club, must have powers and authority on the Island second only to God.