Tuesday -- December 3, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6 Water Temperature: 39
Well it really feels like winter down here today and I hope we get the snow I heard about. The plumbing has been turned off to the facilities upstairs so be sure to use the heated bathroom down stairs in the mens locker room. Just in case anyone wanted to come down to the club house, Island member Brian and I gathered alot of firewood for the wood stove. The club house is looking pretty spiffy now thanks to all the people at the work fest. The windows are sparkling the refrigerator is shining and even the floors got mopped!
I saw another sign of winter yesterday, a lone female bufflehead duck swimming across the slough just up stream from the ferry.
Wednesday -- December 4, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5 Water Temperature: 38
I got a chance to meet Fran Mainella on Monday. She's the director of the National Park Service, and the first woman to hold that important position. She was very friendly and I am very happy to have met her. I meet the coolest people at this job.
We got our first bit of ice on the river this morning, a little taste of things to come. Unfortunatly the canal is still drained, the repair job to the tow path seems completed but they still haven't refilled the canal. I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping that the water returns so we can ice skate there this winter.
Thursday -- December 5, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5 Water Temperature: 38
It's a beautiful snowy day. The children of course are thrilled to not have to go to school, and we're planning a big day of playing in the snow. The ferry is running today in case anyone gets the urge to come down to the island, I recommend it. I've never canoed in the snow, or rather, canoed in the river while there's snow on the ground but today could be a first.
Yesterday I was surprised to see three Bluebirds outside my window. Somehow I always associated Bluebirds with spring or summer, not the frigid final days of autumn. It was a treat.
Thursday -- December 12, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9 Water Temperature: 34
The packed and frozen snow on the trail has made it somewhat treacherous to go up and down the hill but it looks like we're headed into a warming trend so it should be clear by tomorrow.
It looks like the canal is filling up again. They may have opened the intake at Seneca but more likely it's just the rain we've had lately. I hope it's nice and full before our next big freeze.
There was a group of crows at the head of the island this morning. It seems strange to even mention a crow sighting but I just haven't seen too many crows lately. Ring-billed gulls on the other hand are a common sight.
Friday -- December 6, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.47 Water Temperature: 36
Well its another snow day and the kids are delighted to have two four-day weekends in a row. David and Jane Winer came down yesterday to get pictures of the island in its cloak of white. David also took pictures of me and the kids playing in the snow. It wasn't all play yesterday, there was quite a bit of snow removal to be done as well. Instead of having to clean off my car to go anywhere though, I had to shovel off the ferry. I wish I had a pair of cross country skis, The tow path is the perfect trail.
It will be interesting to see what kind of tracks we find in the snow down here. I was able to get very close to a Pileated Woodpecker yesterday. It's so impressive to watch them knock big chunks of wood from a tree with their powerful head thrusts.
The ferry is operating today, of course.
Friday -- December 13, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6 Water Temperature: 39
The river's running muddy brown today and rising quickly. It's predicted to continue to rise through Saturday but not above six feet.
The melting snow has left the island soggy and dirty like a big wet dog. The sky is overcast and grey, in other words, a typical winters day in D.C.
It's Christmas time on the island. I brought a tree down yesterday and we spent last night listening to carols, drinking eggnog, and trimming the tree complete with homemade popcorn balls.
I apologise for the gap in my daily log, I took a mini vacation to Williamsburg VA. Thank you again to my relief caretakers.
Saturday -- December 14, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.4 Water Temperature: 39
The river continues to rise steadily so it looks like the ferry will be closed tomorrow. The ferry will be open today, but if you want to come down later in the afternoon you might want to call first.
The snow is all but gone down here. I wish we had more snow instead of all this rain but hopfully this will replenish our depleted aquifers. Paddlers love rain, right?
Monday -- December 16, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.7 Water Temperature: 39
Due to high river levels the ferry will not be operating today or tomorrow and chances are the ferry will be closed most of this week.
It's a different world down here when the river's up.
Tuesday -- December 17, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.1 Water Temperature: 40
The ferry has been a challenge to operate in the stronge current and high water we've had this week. The ferry is nearly impossible to operate when the river's above six feet. Luckily, with the use of some of my climbing equipment, giving me a mechanical advantage, the kids and I have been able to come and go on the ferry with relative ease. I'm so pleased about this and it looks like I'll be able to run the ferry in levels as high as seven feet. Using the ferry is less hassle and it seems less dangerous than loading the kids into a canoe everyday the river gets a little high.
This morning there were the wet, five-toed pawprints of a raccoon on the board walk. I noticed them on my way back from a short trip up the hill so I must have just missed it. I'm guessing that it hadn't just swam across the river so maybe it's staying here on the island. That would explain how my bag of recyclables got torn up recently, but for some reason I didn't think we had a full time resident raccoon on the island. A small band of geese are obviously making themselves at home here and I'm afraid they may be staying through the breeding season.
Just so everyone knows, I will not be ferrying visitors back and forth to the island when the river level is above five and a half feet. This, however, does not mean you are not welcome on the island but if you want to visit you have to find your own way across.
Wednesday -- December 18, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.52 Water Temperature: 39
Thursday -- December 19, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.1 Water Temperature: 39
The waters have receded and a thick layer of silt has been left on the shore landings making for a muddy, messy trip across the river.
The ferry will be operating again today.
Friday -- December 20, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8 Water Temperature: 40
We're very excited today, it's the last day of school before the long winter break!
Work continues on the towpath above lock seven so that part of the canal is still empty.
More rain today and the river forecast calls for more snow-melt to reach us after the weekend. The river could get over six feet again.
Saturday -- December 21, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.7 Water Temperature: 41
It's a nice spring-like morning with the sun glistening and the river running green and clear.
Monday -- December 23, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.5 Water Temperature: 41
The ferry is closed today due to high water.
Thursday -- December 26, 2002
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9 Water Temperature: 39
Well I didn't get any visitors here on Christmas or Christmas eve. I thought maybe the holiday would allow people a chance to come to the island, but I guess I was wrong. Hopefully everyone had a relaxing day off. I enjoyed a lazy Christmas morning watching the snow fall.
The wind last night brought down a few big branches so I'll be on the roof later to remove those.