JULY 2005

Tuesday -- July 5, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 82

I'm back from my adventure weekend in West Virginia. I went climbing at Seneca Rocks and after climbingeach day we cooled off by swimming in a swimming hole on the north fork of the south branch of the Potomac River. It's funny to think that that same water will be flowing past the island in about four days. I also visited Nelson Rocks, which is a private climbing area nearby. At Nelsons they have a Via Ferrata or iron road which is a system of rungs and cables that make it possible for nonclimbers to scale high walls. They also have a cable bridge connecting two huge rock formations. The bridge is two hundred feet long, one hundred fifty feet off the ground and very scary to cross.

Wednesday -- July 6, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 82

The young geese are looking very much like their parents now but they still don't have the wing feathers they need to become airborne.

The ferry is leaking again and there are plans in the works to extend the pontoon gaurds to keep the pontoon from hitting the steps. After we install the new bumper we'll have to beach the boat so i can patch it again.

There is nothing like having the right tool for the job. After struggling with the old rusty, dull, wooden handled tree pruner that was too short I decided to spend some of the island's money on a new state-of-the-art tree pruner and the expence was well worth it. It made the work so much easier and I was able to cut back all the annoying branches hanging over the porches and docks in no time at all.

Thursday -- July 7, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 81

I'm taking the kids up to Minnesota for a family reunion this weekend. My friend Duncan and his family will be watching the island for me so make sure that you are good members and clean up after yourselves while I'm gone.

See you Monday!

Wednesday -- July 13, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 82

The jewel weed are up past my window now and this wet, warm weather has everything flourishing. It's a full time job just keeping the spiders out of the house and keeping the jungle from taking over the island.

Thursday -- July 14, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4     Water Temperature: 81

I just saw a red-tailed hawk on the island. Hopefully it was after one of the ground hogs.

There are many invasive vines on the island that we need to start worrying about. Besides english ivy and kudzu, we have oriental bittersweet, porcelainberry and honeysuckle. These vines, if not controlled could be one of the biggest threats to the island.

Sunday -- July 17, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 81

The river level has been going up and down quite a bit in the last two weeks. So far there hasn't been enough water to cause any flooding but now the ground is saturated and I'm afraid of what the next storm will do. Hurricane season makes me nervous.

I rehung the signs by the canoe dock. The signs were nailed high in the trees and were not very obvious so I put them on posts and planted them at eye level. For safty's sake, make sure that you and your guests read all the posted signs.

Monday -- July 18, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 81

The river is muddy brown and not very inviting for swimming but considering the heat we may get some swimmers down here anyway.

Tuesday -- July 19, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 82

I went on a rampage. I took the machete and the ax up the hill and went crazy on the vines and invasive plants. There is a good-sized sycamore growing right next to the spiral ramp and for months now I've been watching as the porcelain berry and the multi flora rose slowly took over the tree. I've been wanting to do something about it and I finally did. I also saved some smaller trees from the honeysuckle vines along the trail but there is so much honeysuckle that I had to give up. There was one vine so big that I had to use the ax on it. This vine had a five inch diameter at the base and was growing on the sycamore just up river from the ferry. I've also been pulling a lot of kudzu on the island. There is a hazard involved with going after these invasive's, twice now I've been attacked by ground-nesting bees.

The river is still a little muddy but I couldn't resist diving in yesterday after working in the heat and humidity. Like someone said on the ferry the other day, it's still better than swimming in a pool full of chemicals.

Wednesday -- July 20, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 83

Things are pretty quiet these days. There's no breeze, no birds and few people. The summer flowers are blooming though and the bees and other insects are anything but lethargic.

Friday -- July 22, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.7     Water Temperature: 83

It was right after the sun went down on Wednesday night that I decided to take a little paddle. The water was still, and the air was, if not cooler, at least a little less humid than it had been. I paddled out around the island as the light from the sky reflected on the water helping me to see the rocks that I needed to avoid. Sometimes I would pass under the shadow of a tree and I would need to use my headlamp. As I cleared the trees to find the open water I was surprised by the sight of the moon coming up full and bright over the trees. It was so awesome to paddle through this moonlit landscape. The full moon must have brought out the fish too because the surface of the water was covered with the ripples caused by hundreds of fish skimming the surface of the river. It looked like a crowded goldfish pond at feeding time.

Saturday -- July 23, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 84

I'm on my way to lockhouse 8. I'll be volunteering there until 2:00 as a docent at the River Learning Center. Come on by and say hi.

We saw an eagle fly by on Thursday evening!

Tuesday -- July 26, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: VERY WARM!

Sunday the weather was perfect with low humidity but the expected crowds didn't show. This gave me time to repair the screen doors on the deck.

We replaced three windows in my living room yesterday. John Matthews Jr. came down and with my help we were able to take out the old windows and install the new. He's going to come back and install the trim on the outside later. Johns a great guy, fun to work with. And of course John Matthews Sr. was there to supervise the whole event.

Wednesday -- July 27, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 90?!?

Some swimmers came down to cool off but the river is very warm and no doubt they found it very unrefreshing.

Someone reported seeing a great egret yesterday and then we saw eight of them flying in formation just before sunset. I saw the eagles again, perched near the old nest.

Friday -- July 29, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 90?!?

I leave for Michigan tomorrow. There will be a relief caretaker here. Please watch the river forecasts and help the caretaker if the river goes up. Thank you!