Friday -- November 7, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 63

I finally got my computer working again and I'm back to writing my daily log of life here on Sycamore Island. Most of the leaves have fallen and we're adjusting to all the bright new sunlight. There were two deer on the island on Tuesday, a male and a female. I'm not sure if they are still here or not. The workfest is tomorrow and it looks like it's going to be a nice day to work, not too hot. Don't forget I'm hosting a get-together after the workfest, we can make s'mores and watch the lunar eclipse from the island! See you there!

Sunday -- November 9, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 53

The workfest was a big success yesterday. The leaves got raked, and everything is ready for the winter. The Lobes brought a great lunch and I think everyone had a good time. For those of you that couldn't make it(and there were many)just let me know, there are always things that need to be done. Some people did come down to the island last night, on my invitation, we had a blast sitting around the fire watching the lunar eclipse. I'll have to plan another after-hours get together sometime.

Monday -- November 10, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 53

The cold weather kept everybody away yesterday so I got a little break after working so hard at the workfest on my day off.

I was at a paty last night and met two other caretakers! I didn't realize there was such a demand for caretakers. There may even be a caretakers association.

There is a light fog on the river this morning and it was so beautiful to see it lit up pink and gold by the early morning sun.

Wednesday -- November 12, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 50

I was watching a show about the Wright brothers last night and learned that Langly made his first attempts at powered flight right here on the potomac river.

One of the bucks I mentioned earlier this week was killed on Monday. It flew through the windshield of a car at MacArthur and Walhonding. The driver was O.K. but shaken up and the police came and shot the injured deer(It's still lying there by the side of the road). Be careful out there, these crazy deer only have one thing on their mind.

Wednesday -- November 14, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.1     Water Temperature: 48

The river is over five feet so I guess the ferry is closed today, not a very good day to be on the island anyway. The prediction is for the river to be above the hazardous stage all weekend, we'll see. I'll be at Betty Burchell's memorial service today, that's at 11:00.

Monday -- November 17, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 49

It was a high-water weekend so there is not a whole lot to report on. I spent my day off helping the Potomac Conservancy fix up lock house #8. I'm excited about the interpretive center they're planning to have there.

I attended Betty Burchell's memorial service along with many of the Island members. It was a great service and I feel really lucky to have known Betty, she will be missed.

Blair Bower is coming today so we can finish our brick laying project.

So far no colonizing geese have arrived.

Tuesday -- November 18, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.7     Water Temperature: 49

I really like my new brick patio! Blair Bower and I finished our project and now there should be less mud around my front door. I refilled my bird feeder and I was pleased to have the song birds flitting about while we worked.

Well, the ICC is back, you know that outer beltway that would ruin all our up-county streams and would do nothing to help the traffic situation and would cost millions of dollars that could be better used for mass transit. Yes, the current county council seems determined to please the developers and ignore the common sense views of its costituants. There is a hearing on Nov. 19 from 2-8:30 at the Bhorer Park Activity Center in Gaithersburg. The web site is 1-800-462-0020. Let's save Rock Creek Park!

Wednesday -- November 19, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 49

It has been a deserted island lately, I haven't had any visitors since last Wednesday!

I saw a red shouldered hawk yesterday. I think it might have been one of the pair that nests up by lock seven. It was perched on a branch right at eye level just ten feet from the tow path! I had another hawk encounter on Saturday on my way back from lock house eight. There was a sharp-shined hawk feeding on a mouse as it sat on a log right at water level just on the other side of the canal! I feel lucky to get such close looks at these beautiful animals.

There was a large piliated woodpecker at my suet feeded, it's nice to see them up close too.

Thursday -- November 20, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.4     Water Temperature: 51

I'm getting a good reminder of what it's like to live here in the winter, high water and low temperatures. The river is supposed to crest on Friday at about 8 feet. According to the forecast the island will be closed all weekend again this week, boo-hoo. I really hope this isn't the trend for the upcoming months.

Friday -- November 21, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 7.9     Water Temperature: 50

This morning I had to paddle the kids over to the towpath, the river is way too high to use the ferry.

Yesterday I was using a giant pulley to hold the rope for the ferry while the strong current propelled me across the river! I might have to make it my new system!

I saw a coyote yesterday. I was in Barnesville and met someone who had just accidentally killed it with his truck. It turned out that he used to work for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He told me that he sees coyotes all the time near his farm in Clarksburg, sometimes in groups of as many as ten! He also told me that Seneca Creek Park has or had a policy of trapping and killing the animals to prevent overpopulation. I was surprised to hear this since I don't think I've ever seen or heard any coyotes in all my years of hiking in this area, but when I looked at the dead coyote I mistook it for a red fox. They have very similar coloration and size and I'm wondering if maybe I have seen coyotes and thought they were foxes. From now on I'm going to watch for that white-tipped tail of the red fox because apparently there are quite a few coyotes in the area.

Saturday -- November 22, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 8.1     Water Temperature: 51

The river crested last night at almost 9 feet, a little higher than they had predicted. It's really disappointing, the timing of this flood. The weather is so nice it would be a perfect day to come down and spend some time on the island,especially for all you waiting-listers. It seems somewhat less than a club if no one can be here.

We seem to have more squirrels on the island than we did last year, instead of two rascals at my bird feeder there are six. I had a feeling that I had a breeding pair last year and it looks like I was right.

Monday -- November 24, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.8     Water Temperature: 51

According to the predictions the river isn't going below five feet any time soon. It's supposed to level off just above the bank full stage and stay there through Wednesday. If you want to get onto the island give me a call.

Tuesday -- November 25, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.5     Water Temperature: 50

Unfortunately, it looks like the ferry will be closed all week.

The cold weather has moved in so I'd better hurry and shut off the water to the club house.

We had some mice move in. They made a nest under the dishwasher. We could hear them scurrying behind the walls and ceiling in the bedroom as they made thier rounds. I'm sorry but they had to go, and these were no tiny mice, eight inches from nose to tip of tail.

Wednesday -- November 26, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 49

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I just watched a red-necked grebe as it swam its way up the channel in the pink glow of the sunrise.

Friday -- November 28, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 49

The river was right at five feet yesterday so luckily some folks did get down and enjoy the island. I had dinner at my parents, a small group only twenty of us.

Today we'll see the river rise again, reaching over six feet by tomorrow.

Saturday -- November 29, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 49

I woke up this morning to the loud honking of the canada geese right below my bed room, I guess its that time of year again.

There is no relief caretaker scheduled for today, according to the islander, but no matter, the river is over five feet for the third weekend in a row.

Sunday -- November 30, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 47

The island isn't as nice this time of year. Everything is muddy and grey and the pale brown river is less than inviting.