MAY 2001

Tuesday -- May 1, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 63

Last night we were awakened approaching midnight by lots of chopper activity. First two came by at what sounded like tree top level and went above Ruppert's and circled. Then they came back and we saw that they were in fact below tree level... skimming the water. They were not showing civilian running lights. Activity across the river seemed to continue for some time.

As one walks out onto the Captain's float and looks down at the shallow bottom mud, it appears dotted with small holes... like a miniature moon surface. We have often wondered what creatures or a phenomenon was responsible for making them. Now, after hours of dedicated staring... the mystery is revealed (Yes folks... this is what you pay me for). The holes are miniature methane volcanoes. I am not kidding. Those bubbles in the river that often seem to be coming from nowhere are in fact often methane from decaying organic matter, and some combination of river and sediment conditions has made this visually apparent. Because it happens underwater there is a slow motion effect... but before the bubbles manifest themselves on top of the water the responsible hole blows mud out just like the effluvia of a volcano. However, as it happens in the water it looks more like the NASA pictures of eruptions on a Jovian moon than anything earthlike.

Today was the first search and destroy mission for kudzu, poison ivy, and stinging nettle. The bad news is that there is considerably more up-Island kudzu than before. Last year it survived in those areas that quickly become impenetrable to caretaker-borne spray bottles and some major vines have established themselves. Quick action will be required in the next few days whilst they can still be got at. We may be beginning a dry spell but it is a jungle out there. The soil moisture content must still be high because both the day lilies and jewelweed are lush and higher/earlier than previous years. The insects also seem more in evidence this year. Several Members have commented on the unusual numbers of gnats and mosquitoes... which follow you in clouds and make it impossible for anyone to breathe through their mouth. As it is one can feel the pollen coat the back of one's throat after only a few breaths.

Wednesday -- May 2 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 66

Walking out to the Captain's float this morning there was a huge splash... as if some large animal was jumping in the river from the fallen tree. Moments later there was again loud splashing as though some large animal was thrashing about in the water... but this happened several times more before it became apparent that it was a pair of large carp chasing each other about. Furthermore... after another few minutes it was clear that this was happening all over the river. From the float at least 6 pairs of carp could be seen "playing" in the river... always near the shore or next to a fallen tree or some such in the river... as though something solid was required to be near by for "corralling". Walking to the other side of the Island there was a stunning realization of how many carp are in the river here... and huge carp... as this behaviour could be seen everywhere... a dozen thrashing couples were counted... and it was the loudest thing going on in the river. Some combination of river and temperature conditions had triggered a mass love-in. Three years ago there was a large die-off of carp floating in the river... so much that the State authorities were called to report it. At the time we were told that the cool late spring had caused a delay in carp mating and that the die-off was a result of "post coital stress". Today it seems they could just have easily said "exhaustion".

This morning Grounds Supervisor Trip Reid arrived with more silky dogwood from the Potomac Conservancy to be planted for riparian restoration. They will still have to be wired for protection from beaver depredation. As an experiment, small branches were stripped from the new black willows obtained last year and stuck in the ground. It is said that new trees will spring from these bare shoots. Stay tuned.

Thursday -- May 3, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 69

The carp continue to thrash about and the ducks continue to chase each other loudly, else with the temp expected to hit 90 one would think it high summer. One wonders if these are the same ducks or different ducks ... and how can one tell. Surely these just cannot be the same ducks. At least the geese seem quieter these days.

There is an urgency about patrolling the Island to spot spray poison ivy, nettle, and kudzu... as the foliage is coming on so fast it will soon be too late to get in to certain parts that are quickly becoming overgrown. There is a lot more poison ivy this year... but then there seems to be a lot more of everything as the Island continues its recovery from the '96 floods.

Early in the year when it was cooler and we would walk the Island before retiring, we would often find a couple of geese bedding down on the Captain's float. Not planning on staying out, we would not walk onto the float so as to not disturb them. But the seasons have changed and they must learn to get with the program. Last night when walking out there they did not seem uncomfortable with us or bother to move. Sitting there it occurred to us to be flattered to be allowed to join them on the Captain's float. Whose presence is important is always a question for the moment at hand... certainly we are always flattered to be in auspicious company... but then, at that special moment on a beautiful evening... I guess we were. For instance... at that moment we certainly were not taking calls from the White House... or from anywhere else. We were honoured guests of two geese and all else was unimportant.

Friday -- May 4, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 71

Somewhere on the Caretaker's job description should be some comment about a willingness to be interrupted during the evening meal. During high season this is a frequent and unavoidable event. So many of you have been thoughtful and sweet and even apologetic about disturbing the Caretaker during the dinner hour... but let's be clear... this is part of the job. No apology is ever necessary unless it makes you feel better. Like a fireman... the primary function of a caretaker is to be on duty to answer the bell. There are things that happen around here that occasionally justify a grouchy caretaker... but answering the ferry bell should always be done cheerfully.

From across the river where the rich folks live there have been the sounds of heavy construction. Yesterday afternoon started the sounds of large machines with caterpillar treads and heavy chains and metal. One hopes the Potomac Conservancy knows about this.

Swimmers take note: the water temperature has risen above 70 degrees.

Saturday -- May 5, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4     Water Temperature:

Canoeing Supervisor David Lyles came down today to fix two broken thwarts on one of the Club canoes. It is worth noting that during his tenure he has been down many times to work but never just to enjoy. Lucky Club!

Monday -- May 7, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 68

The Captain has called and insisted that we commence cutting the lawn because the bluebells are killing the grass. This will undo two years of planning to increase the numbers of wildflowers on the Island and the resultant spring display... but the Grounds Supervisor has gone on record as advising that the Captain's instructions be followed. Even a week's delay would make all the difference, and the Caretaker's position is that the geese, not the bluebells, are the real threat to the grass... and that not only do the bluebells give cover to the grass from the geese but that cutting before the bluebells store up for next year diminishes their display. That being said... pro grass administrations supplant pro wildflower administrations just like Republicans and Democrats... the will of the Members is expressed by their elected officers... and it is the duty of permanent staff to carry out instructions cheerfully no matter which way the tide is running. That is why Captains are Captains and Caretakers are Caretakers.

Tuesday -- May 8, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature:

A wandering morning dove strolled by unconcerned on the lawn as the Caretaker was practicing being part of the dawn furniture on the Island. Humans seem to always be broadcasting their presence in one way or another, and sitting quietly is something that no longer comes naturally in our modern culture but has to be learned. Watching a morning dove go about its wanderings in the early morning light is a treat anyone would be lucky to be around for... and this morning was just another lesson about how treats of all kinds abound when by happenstance or design the "broadcast-off switch" can be found.

There has been a stalking crow staking out the goose nest in the tree root ball near the Captain's float. Several times there has been much racket as the geese have flown into a rage to drive him off. Mother goose (to be?) has to leave the nest sometime for food and water, and the crow always seems to appear. The crow may know what the geese have not yet accepted... that these eggs... being a second laying after the nest was previously vandalized... may not be fertile and may not hatch... and thus are already predestined to be abandoned and end up as somebody's lunch.

At the suggestion of an electrician brought to the Island by the Carpentry Supervisor, a new lock has been installed on the kitchen electrical cabinet containing the electrical main switches, and the exposed circuitry is no longer publicly exposed.

Wednesday -- May 9, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 67

Today the Caretaker spoke with Melody, hydrologist at the National Weather Service office in Sterling (703-260-0107 x234) and author of the river statements and forecasts issued on the web by that office, from which you, devoted readers, get the river level and temperature data on this page. The conversation was in response to a notice that the format of their product would change, but Melody was reassuring that content and issuance periods would remain the same. When the offer of full time eyes on the river was made, it was suggested that the Island might be consulted during times of icing conditions. And invitations were issued, so any Melodies heard or declared at the towpath landing should be granted access to the Island.

Thursday -- May 10, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature:

Yesterday we again heard from the estates across the river frequent chain saw sounds mixed with the clamour of heavy machinery. What can they be doing over there... and can it be anything good for the river gorge?

While attending last night's meeting, Trip Reid brought a large plastic reference card for identifying insects, which is now hanging on a nail in the screen porch. We have noticed that folks are not always so eager to go upstairs to the warm/reading room to search for the field guides we have on the Island that answer the many "what is this" questions... sad to say that here we must also include the Caretaker... so the reference material will be moved down to the screen porch for the season.

Friday -- May 11, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 70

Finally there are again small fish hanging out by the Captain's float. In this case tiny, tiny fish... certainly new babies. With the season continuing to turn, the "fecund" word has been heard on the Island again, and is certainly apt. The green is lush and so there is plenty to eat for exploding populations... especially insect populations. Yesterday, Maria Stensel reported that the fog of insects hanging over the water made it difficult to be kayaking on the river and breathe without a mask. And yet... it is all organic food... and while we tend to think the purpose of all green life is to be food for animal life... the purpose for which most of the tiny animals swimming at the float were born, was to serve as food for other animals... and if successful at avoiding that... ultimately to serve at the end of the cycle as food for plants. Only mankind, with his hermetically sealed caskets, tries in the end to defy Mother Nature and deny the worms.

These thoughts call to mind the famous science fiction story of lofty aliens who landed on an overpopulated earth to save us from ourselves by offering to transport the excess population to other, habitable worlds. Descriptive travel brochures of these worlds were very successful in getting humans to sign up and depart earth by the millions until, on a lark, a scientist stole an alien book entitled "To Serve Man" and had it translated. To his horror... it was a cookbook.

Monday -- May 14, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 68

Club Members have taken as a cause the restoration of the natural habitat on the Island. The first stage is to identify invasive non-native plants on the Island that are taking space, light, and nutrients from native plants which in turn provide habitat and nourishment for our local fauna. The general problem with these invasive exotics in our area is so great it has even made the local media, so many of you are aware. On Sycamore Island the primary species identified for elimination are kudzu, Japanese knotweed, and oriental bittersweet. The pernicious kudzu is and will always be an ongoing problem... and is attacked on sight. This year we are targeting Japanese knotweed... and next year the oriental bittersweet. You may see an example of oriental bittersweet on the deck... where it is the vigorous vine that is outstripping out native five-leaved Virginia creeper.

The log must report that on Friday night the Caretaker was bitten while asleep on the lower left leg. Upon returning from work Saturday afternoon, the Club Medical Officer (a k a, The Caretaker's Wife), assigned the Caretaker to bed rest because of a badly swollen and inflamed left leg, and handled the ferry the rest of the day.

Tuesday -- May 15, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 67

Early this morning the babies were all out... there is one gaggle with 10 goslings and a brood of 12 wood duck babies that live at the bottom of the Island. The geese are all presumed to be visitors from Ruppert's Island as both nesting pairs remaining on Sycamore are still sitting their eggs. There definitely seem to be fewer geese this year... and one wonders if there is some relationship with the fact that the numbers of cormorants is on the rise. Thinking back over the last three years it seems as though the cormorants may be gradually displacing the geese at the bottom of Ruppert's.

Today was the first opportunity to survey the lower path leaving the swimming area. Although the lawn is parched and cracked from the record low rainfall... the lower areas near the river have remained unaccountably wet and muddy... witness the fact that we still must use the long plank to get across the mud to the Captain's float. There must still be significant soil moisture at some level... both the lower reaches and the up-Island trails seem pretty lush and the daylilies in particular seem taller than ever before. And speaking of tall... the summer phlox is up and stinking up the Island. Take the upper path from the swimming area and have a fragrant feast.

Wednesday -- May 16, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 67

The Island is now mostly mowed... the exceptions being the area near the nesting goose beneath the big maple and those few raggedy areas where the mower swerved to miss some seeding wildflowers. It is such a good mower... always starts on the first pull... even after sitting up all winter. It is hard to overestimate the importance of an Island mower with a good personality. So any wildflowers it wants to go around is OK.

A Member has returned from Spain with tales of a car ferry on the river Ebro that is un-motorized and not too dissimilar to ours in set up except for size. Just as we angle the ferry in the current to use the motive force of the current similar to wind on a sail instead of fighting the current, apparently this ferry is totally powered by its angle with the river current, and is successful because of the skill of the pilot in steering and handling the ferry in the moments before docking. We have been promised pictures... stay tuned.

Thursday -- May 17, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 67

Guilt..!!! Incredible guilt..!!! And it is all the fault of Members. Folks... where were you last night... the Island all dressed up and mown on a beautiful evening? A stunning evening!!! Why were you not crowding your Island??? The result was an evening's conversion of the Caretaker to deep-seated Catholicism... occasioned by the overwhelming guilt of enjoying this evening alone on the Island. Where else could you have possibly have wanted to be?

Well... glad to get this off the chest... grateful the Log is seldom read... and bet your last dollar this day's entry is not scheduled for inclusion in the monthly Notes to be read by members.

Friday -- May 18, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 66

There are Members who want to know that the berries on the large mulberry tree are starting to blush. While some wonder why this tree is allowed to drape around the bench, spoiling the view of the lawn, there are others who are adamant that the branches be allowed to grow downwards so that children are able to enjoy the purple and red feast. The geese are also clear in their delight of drooping mulberry branches.

Last evening the river began to smell as the runoff from up-river rains made its way past the Island. Although still dry here, the surface of the river was covered with detritus and foam, and there was the faint smell of dead fish in the air. There was a massive hatch going on in the river, and there were clouds of flying insects hanging about a foot above the surface of the water. Ducks and ducklings were everywhere in these protein clouds, feasting without having to much bob their heads at all. At about 150 feet there was a feeding frenzy of swallows... thirty to forty could be seen scattered across the sky at this level from one vantage point... and although what they were eating could not be seen, clearly different altitudinal "layers" of bugs were being differentiated by different layers of birds.

The goose nest beneath the big maple near the deck has now been abandoned... and so far we cannot determine if there were goslings or where the nesting couple have gone. There were no shell remains in the nest... so what happened is thus far a mystery.

Saturday -- May 19, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 66

Last night the Caretaker's Wife checked on the goose nest in the tree root ball near the Captain's float and found Momma goose sitting goslings instead of eggs. This morning the goose nest beneath the big maple near the deck looked enlarged and slept in... there were small shell fragments in evidence this time looking... and there are two new sets of goslings walking around today... so thus endeth any speculation about whether or not these second seasonal layings of eggs were fertile or not.

Despite this morning's drizzle, approximately 25-30 people turned out for the "Save the Big Trees" event that started across from the Sycamore store. The Log is happy to report that 12 Islanders were among those reporting for duty. If the trees along MacArthur are saved from the kudzu and English ivy... it will be as a result of the inspiration and initiative of a concerned citizen... and thus Phil Thorson is deserving of special mention in the dispatches... as is John Matthews for able assistance.

Monday -- May 21, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 67

The grass loves the rain... and the geese love the grass, which being young and new must be sweet and tender to goose sensibilities... so one can see up to 15 geese grazing at a time... with as many as 13 goslings. They have also started to work on the lower branches of the big mulberry tree. Although mostly green, some of the berries are starting to get that raspberry color. It must be reported that the geese are indiscriminate and appear to have no taste for selection of the better berry. One can imagine the entire gaggle trying not to notice the ripening berries... but as soon as the first opportunist crops the first berry a riot breaks out as they all run squawking so as not to miss out... and every berry is taken regardless of status in a "get them while you can" frenzy.

Actually... it is hard to imagine any berry making it to its prime ripeness. A ripening wild raspberry on this Island must receive many covetous looks during the day as it receives many visits a day from area birds checking on its condition. It must be like a great game of chicken... to see which bird will display the least taste and make his move before the others... willing to accept less in a berry to ensure that at least he gets something and does not show up to find it gone. We humans have learned regarding wild raspberries on the Island that to think that one more day will result in perfect ripeness is tantamount to giving it away. Surely any watching birds must be thinking that if the Island's big animals are showing interest it is certainly time to take it.

Tuesday -- May 22, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 65

Fortunately, as long as the public areas of the lawn are kept mowed, no one cares or seems even to notice changes or on going experiments being conducted. And there are several. For instance, as one walks past the canoe shed towards the bottom of the Island there is a circular un-cut area of lawn just before the path begins. When the present caretaker arrived following the '96 floods and there was a great attempt to re-seed the lawn with grass, this small area was set aside and never seeded or cut to see what would happen. Four years have passed and this area now represents what the main lawn would most likely look like in its natural state without the application of the hand of man. Perennial wildflowers have established themselves... primarily wing stem sunflowers, Michaelmas daisies (asters), and green headed coneflowers. Only this year have small saplings become significant, and these only the much scorned box elder. One can see dead leaves trapped among the crowns and emerging leaves of this year's growth, and how significant this is can be measured in the winter, when the natural area can be seen as a mound at the end of the dead lawn. Each fall the dying, un-mown tops of these plants trap falling and blowing leaves and other detritus, and the following spring it decays but leaves the ground level higher. One can see the same effect at the edge of the lawn, as where the vegetation starts there is also a small and growing berm skirting the yard.

Wednesday -- May 23, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 66

The river is up... no surprise with all this rain... and the geese are happy because the higher water allows them to reach and strip the lower branches of the mulberry trees that hang over the water. Early this morning there was a herd of morning doves grazing the lawn... well... maybe there were only six, but we have never seen them flock before. Yes... they are merely pretty pigeons, so flocking should be normal... but we have only seen them in what appears to be devoted pairs and, always eager to anthropomorphise, would rather think we were seeing only an extended family breakfasting together.

Sitting out with morning coffee and watching the brilliant sunlight fall on the river on the towpath side... a sudden bug blizzard blew up. The air between the Island and the towpath was filled, literally, with small white flying thingies blown horizontal by the moderate north wind. Occasionally a large, fluffy "flake" would blow by... as though there were a cottonwood tree up wind... although it would be unusual to find them in this area. It was as though today's sunlight was causing a massive hatch of insects to rise from the water. And then suddenly... it was all gone. Only when the leafy branches were off this tree was it apparent how pronounced the lean toward the Clubhouse was and how much heavy tree actually overhung the building. How they were able to remove this overhang without damaging the Clubhouse is why tree removal can be more art than science... and a great show.

Jerry Christner (301-948-0093), a tree expert recommended by the Captain, is on the Island today with a crew to remove the large maple leaning towards the northeast corner of the Clubhouse that must come down before the new caretaker's quarters is attempted.

Thursday -- May 24, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 67

One of the experimental projects underway on the lawn is the Possner daylily bed surrounding the base of the large sycamore tree that stands in the middle. You may recall that after the '96 floods there was a pronounced and ugly depression in the ground surrounding the base of this tree. During the '99 spring Workfest Stan Wiggins and Karen Possner transplanted these daylilies in an attempt to create a skirt of them around the tree... one of the reasons being that with various ball games being played on the lawn... and with this tree being so in the center... it was deemed prudent to surround the tree with a soft barrier so that it would not be so easy for someone to go out for a pass and catch a tree. Your Caretaker is actually experienced in this and has the stitches to prove it. Although it took three years for the plants to fill in and, being perennials, reach their intended prime, today the daylily skirt stands tall and looks handsome... and the beautiful flowers to come are mere ephemeral frosting on the cake. But the real lesson is of the proverbial seed... and how the tiniest amount of forethought can be planted with a little dedicated effort and watered with time to manifest as great improvement and significant beauty.

Friday -- May 25, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 67

And the answer to the question is... holly. Yes... so you do not have to find the Caretaker with your question, we give you the answer here. Those of you who find yourselves near the middle of the Island wondering what that wonderful, subtle fragrance is... and wander around futilely looking for likely suspects among the wildflowers at the edge of the lawn... it is the flowering of the large holly tree between the workshop and the lawn.

Another of the experimental lawn projects to note is of the bed of violets stretching between the hawthorn tree and the two black walnut trees in front of the canoe shed. Originally this flower bed was a happenstance of the Caretaker's mowing technique... certainly that sounds better than saying "caretaker laziness"... in which this area was initially left alone with the thought that the area between the trees could be done later. But next to the mowed lawn the violet bed looked so striking... and it is hard to get anything to grow beneath walnut trees anyway because of all the tannin in the roots... and in fact absolutely nothing else was growing there... so constructive laziness seemed a good idea.

Just a heads up to possible visitors to the Island this weekend... the river level is forecast to go to 5 feet at the Little Falls gauge Saturday morning. Substitute caretakers are scheduled for Saturday, and if the river level rises above 5 feet the Island could be closed because the ferry may not be operational. Watch this space or call before coming down.

Monday -- May 28, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 66

Sitting on the Captain's float after dark, a single goose approached... hopped up onto the float like she owned it... but eyed the Caretaker tentatively. Moments later two more geese swam up... and after some conversation decided to also hop on. Things were still tentative by their behaviour... and one could imagine the chatter between them... "What is the big animal going to do"... "When will the big animal get the hint and leave so that we can bed down"... "The big animal knows full well this float belongs to us when the sun goes down". Well... there was a certain tension until the largest of the geese started to groom himself as a sign of being at ease. Suddenly... the darkness erupted with animal chatter... the whole drama had been played to a large, unseen audience... it was as though the goose grooming had been a signal that everyone could come out and act normal. Talkative ducks appeared out of the darkness on all sides. Herons hidden nearby announced their presence. Even the beaver swam up to the float and dived majestically without slapping his tail. The Caretaker felt as though he had been accepted into polite society... and thus humbled... having been certified by a preening goose.

Tuesday -- May 29, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 67

Saturday morning's substitute caretaker arrived to find a racoon mother sitting on the front steps to the Clubhouse with a baby kit. The mother reportedly did not seem to be alarmed, as though she belonged there more than the human interloper, but did eventually pick up her kit in her mouth and amble off.

Over the weekend Grounds Supervisor Trip Reid brought down more of the sycamore trees and silky dogwood provided by the Potomac Conservancy. As these were bare root, he then spent considerable time and effort potting them up. "Considerable effort" is defined as 51 newly potted plants. The plan is to nurture them in pots in a place safe from the beaver for a year or two before putting them out.

On Saturday night the Caretaker went into the Men's bathroom downstairs and saw that one of the Saturday substitute caretakers had cleaned the sink. Folks... this could be a first time event and thus worthy of mention in the Log. Now, staff does occasionally do this on a Saturday morning for weekend visitors... but as this space is essentially an outdoor space and there are at least 12 spiders living around the sink area who are constantly weaving and dropping done-with insect carcasses all over... daily cleaning is therefore a truly Sisyphean task deemed by staff to be futile. And thus the responsible persons on whichever shift are to be commended.

Wednesday -- May 30, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 69

The Island has suffered major beaver depredation... casualties have been taken. Rounding a corner in the up-Island riverside path the Caretaker came upon a sunny area where previously there had been none... and dropping his eyes to the ground saw a pile of partially gnawed paw paw. Two paw paw trees had been taken apart and dragged to the river's edge, accounting for the missing canopy and blue sky.

The daylilies are starting to bud and apology must be made to those of you awaiting the announcement that the mulberries are ready... come get them before it is too late. This is the season of Caretaker fatigue... where things are happening too fast to keep track of... too much to observe and report.