Sunday -- January 4, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 44

It has been quite unusually nice for this time of the year, but alas, still no visitors. A family of six came down early in the week. The river was over five feet at the time, but of course I couldn't turn them away. I think they had a good time running around in the mud.

I'm still not myself after four weeks of being sick, I've never been sick like this before. I hope the antibiotics finally do the trick.

Monday -- January 5, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.4     Water Temperature: 44

Tuesday -- January 6, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 44

The beaver is making itself known lately. It is boldly and methodically taking one sapling after another and dragging them down the boardwalk to the river.

Wednesday -- January 7, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 41

Thursday -- January 8, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 38

The river has cleared up nicely and has become a pleasant shade of green.

We have ice on the canal for the first time this season.

Monday -- January 12, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 34

The cold weather is causing me some problems down here. The darn drainpipe from my tub has frozen shut. I hope that the warmer weather today will help with that.

There were five female hooded merganzers swimming past my window today. It's great to have some new species to report on.

Tuesday -- January 13, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 34

We were met by two beaver when we arrived home the other night. They were busy foraging at the crest of the island as we walked up the boardwalk. We got very close and the kids were excited to get such a good look at them. I learned that this is the time of year when they eat the woody saplings, eating greenery during the warmer months.

Wednesday -- January 14, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 34

The girls and I picked up some of the trash that has been washed up onto the island. We filled two large trash bags, mostly beer anmd soda bottles. We also found quite a bit of usable lumber! I finally replaced the broken globe for one of the lights in the club house, it's amazing Thursday -- January 15, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 34

A little snow fell overnight and although it didn't stick to the ground it did manage the stick to the icey sections on the canal. The snow was very granular and as it lay on the ice it was as if the canal was reflecting every star in the galaxy, a dark feild speckled with white.

It's interesting how song birds of many species seem to group together at this time of year. I noticed a small flock of robins on the towpath and as I approached, other birds let themselves be noticed too. Immediately two bluebirds flew across the canal followed by dozens of goldfinches with their dull winter plummage and bright white wing bars. Mixed in with these were white-throated sparrows, starlings and a red-bellied woodpecker. I suppose they share the same food or water source, but whatever the reason it sure makes for efficient bird watching.

Friday -- January 16, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 33

The ice is really coming down the river now! This morning at 7:00 there was no hint as to this onslaught of giant sheets of river ice. They are beautiful to watch, looking like piles of diamonds so numerous that it seems you could hop from one to the other all the way to Virginia.

I got an opportunity to use some of my problem solving skills this morning. The problem; the ferry was out in the river and I was on shore. Because the latch on the chain was frozen it didn't fasten properly and when I returned from putting Kelsey on the bus at 7:15 the ferry was just out of my reach. Fortunatly I did have my car keys so I went to the hardware for a hook and a rope. While I was gone the ferry managed to creep even further out into the channel. I made several attempts and if my first throws had been better I might have grabbed it but the wind grabbed her instead and the ferry flew off to the middle of the channel. Kaylen was watching all this from the living room window, I signaled her out and yelled that I was off to find a boat that I could borrow. Another fortunate thing is that I have a river outfitter that lives up the hill from me so I decided to pay him an early morning visit. I don't really know Dave very well so I felt bad when his wife had to get him out of bed. He was very nice and generous though, and let me use his personal canoe. Now all I had to do was carry the canoe down to the river, rescue the ferry and get Kaylen to school. By this time the bitter cold was taking it's toll and my fingertips and toes were beginning to sting. I had no trouble getting over to the island and Kaylen, thoughtfully, had some hot coffee ready for me. Since Kaylen was late for school I had to sign her in at the office, "reason for tardiness?" ummm, transportation problem.

Saturday -- January 17, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 33

The ferry is closed today. The ice is thick enough now to prevent me from chopping my wy over.

Sunday -- January 18, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 33

Just in case anybody was thinking of visiting the island on this cold dreary day, I'm sorry but the river is still frozen and the ferry is closed.

Monday -- January 19, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 33

River frozen, island closed.

There were some people ice skating on the canal on Saturday up by lock seven. We were suprised because the canal is not frozen at all here by the island. It looks like canal skating might be pretty good this week considering the low temperatures.

I wonder if Martin Luther King would have been welcomed onto the island back in the early sixties. This club, though not restrictive, is all white just the same.

Tuesday -- January 20, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 32

We are refamiliarizing ourselves with the old canoe-sled technique of crossing the river. The river still isn't safe to walk on but we're hoping by the end of the week we won't have to drag the canoe back and forth over the ice.

Wednesday -- January 21, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 32

Now that the river is frozen the beaver can't make their nightly seek-and-destoy missions on to the island. Cold weather is good for some things.

Thursday -- January 22, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 32

Tuesday -- January 27, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 32

Snow and ice everywhere. The channel is frozen thick, we haven't used the ferry in two weeks.

I finally saw my first common merganzers of this season, one male and six females. They were feeding in a patch of open water at the foot of the island. Late afternoon was a good time for watching these birds but the open spots are now frozen and these beautiful migrants are on to other places.

Thursday -- January 29, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 32

It's strange to have to shovel snow to make a path across the river.

There are fox and racoon tracks all over, criss-crossing the river, and the island too.