Sunday -- August 1, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1 Water Temperature: 80
The few campers that we had here last night have all gone home. Disappointingly, not many Islanders showed up for the camp out, but the ones that came were rewarded with nice weather and a full moon. The Super Malusky's did a great job of getting everything organized and getting everyone fed. Thanks!!
There are two more big events happening here on the island in the near future. The fishing derby is later this month and the annual regatta is happening in early September. I really hope that people will get involved and try to make these next two events something special. I'd love to see everyone having fun and getting to know each other on the island. Let's gel!
Monday -- August 2, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2 Water Temperature: 80
Did anyone make it to the Potomac Conservancy's pinic? I saw they got a little write up in the Post, with a quote from our friend Matt Berris.
I was awakened this morning by a carolina wren, the rooster of the island, singing loudly outside my window.
Tuesday -- August 3, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.7 Water Temperature: 80
The river level shot up a foot last night, a little reminder of things to come. I sure was getting used to the low, clear, water. When it comes to pulling the ferry, the difference between 3.5 and 4.5 is amazing.
Wednesday -- August 4, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1 Water Temperature: 80
More litter was transported here by the, now regular, flash floods we've had in the region. The river's not looking too inviting these days.
We watched one on the young eagles leave the nest yesterday. It seems to be full grown and it flew way up river, out of sight, before circling back again.
Friday -- August 6, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4 Water Temperature: ?
The weather outside feels more like late September than August.
I spotted the ground hog for the first time in two months. It looks like it has some digs down by the captain's float besides the holes by the swim float.
I'm going to try to restore the eroded hill by the ferry landing. This means carrying rocks from the other side of the canal, lots of rocks.
I leave for Vancouver, BC on Monday. David and Sea will be here 'til I get back on the 20th.
When I arrived on the island Monday after noon on August 09, 2004, I discovered that the tribe of naked ladies did indeed survive the spring floods, though they had moved several feet downstream in the melee. I had been fortunate enough to see them in full bloom last august and had looked for them earlier in the year, but no trace. Today I counted about 50, which is a healthy group. I think there were more last year, but I didn't count them then. But this year I missed the full glory of the blooming season, for by the 9th only three trumpet blossoms were clinging to life, with their sweet fragrance nearly gone. So next year, flower watchers, think about the last week of july and first week of august for viewing the blooms. Hopefully we won't have floods two years in a row!
The floods and rains of the spring did wonderful things to the middle atlantic region, giving us a lush summer for flowers everywhere. On Sycamore the spider webs cross the many trails, bespeaking an abundance of insect life. And I've spoken with several people who've had wonderful encounters with insects this year. One had a visit with a seventeen-year-locust, who sang in her hand. And one had a visit with a wood moth in his home. Before leaving, the moth diplayed his miraculous flying and hovering skills in slow motion, with wings of gossamer grey.
On Tuesday I took a hike to Cabin John by going out at lock seven-- not the shortest route, but easy enough for an afternoon quick shop. The farmers market was operated by a freshman at UMd, earning $$ for college. The corn and tomatoes from Poolesville were superb. And beautiful peaches. I never make too many purchases for the hike down the mountain, which is what I call the trail from Macarthur Boulevard. On Macarthur I spotted trumpet vines in bloom, the good orangy color, presaging pumpkins in the fall. On the net I was told that trumpet vines grow on the ground in some areas and are maliciously called Devil's Shoestrings, as well as Hellvine. I also found loosestrife on the island, and David went to Rupperts for ironweed in both deep pink and purple. The many yellow, sunflower type blooms set me thinking I'll find a good source of Jerusalem artichoke, but they remain elusive and hard to identify.
On Wednesday a guy with a broken bike showed up at the ferry looking for an allen wrench. He had already ridden five miles with a broken pedal and by now sore right leg and was doubtful about making it to a Gtown appointment. Problem solved, we found something that worked, and he rode happily off to work. Then a member and her father showed up by boat, stopping off for a rest break before returning to Cabin John.
On Thursday David discovered a 40 inch tall beaver washed up on shore near the swim float. He was recently dead. But I can't imagine why there is no hair on his back. On Saturday I pulled his teeth for Indian medicine. On Monday I contacted natural resources to see if there's any population info they wanted. We had been talking for several days about the giant beaver of the Pleistocene age, one of which has been spotted by two caretakers at different times. Five feet tall they say. Maybe it was Ruppert himself, the granddaddy of the colony.
On Friday got ready for hurricane Charlie, slated to sweep up the Appalachia and hit us with rains, floods, and tailwind backslash. He did give us a little rain Saturday afternoon, but basically took his center over inland Delaware and did not hit our up river stream system at all. We thought we were going to get a baptism by water on this visit, but it was merely a dress rehearsal in flood preparation. Joe keeps such a tight ship that there was really very little to do; one has to live as if a flood could come any day at all, and there isn't enough time to worry about petty details.
On Saturday both subs showed up, so David and I had time to canoe around Rupperts. Although I have been around it a few times on water, this was the first time in 25 years that I have set foot on land. It is truly a little paradise. I encourage all boaters to take a little time to see the interior.
Speaking of subs, the character of island members was amply demonstrated this week. David Holdridge was scheduled, but went into Johns Hopkins a few days earlier near the point of death. He was diagnosed with leukemia, and immediately started on a course of chemo to kill all his blood cells. The family is in total distress, but Kathleen showed up to run the ferry, with flood threats all around. Whatta woman.
When we are on island, I have time to catch up on all the wonderful Sycamore readings on web. This time I was fascinated by the tree inventory from 1972, and decided to start a new one. Well, find some fishing line, a measure of some sort, and start. So far, I've measured one. This is a time consuming operation. Anyone interested in participating? We could have a folder, and anyone could measure one or two trees during an island visit, and add it to the survey. I sketched the island layout, like a big footprint, and hope to map the locations approximately. Call my tree A, the next one B, C, D, and so on. I guessed it would be easiest to count all the 100 to 200 year olds first, with the granddaddy sycamore being the one on the islet on the ferry side.