APRIL 2009

Tuesday-- April 28, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.4     Water Temperature: 67

I had to put my bed up in the clubhouse and I have been sleeping up there since my daughter moved back tp the Island last month. It was a little tough trying to keep the wood stove going in order to stay warm but now I have the opposite problem. Suddenly I have to work at staying cool instead of working at staying warm.

I'm slowly realizing that caretaker is just another word for club maid. The sooner I accept this, I think, the better off I'll be. I'm so glad that the weather is warm and that the Island is busy again.

Sunday-- April 26, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 57

The ferry is open.

Saturday-- April 25, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 57

Sorry, but the ferry is closed again today because of high water. I promise that the ferry will be back and running tomorow. Have a great day!

Thursday-- April 23, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.0     Water Temperature: 57


Wednesday-- April 22, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.0     Water Temperature: 57

I woke up this morning to find, let me correct that, I woke up to not find the dock on the Island shore. The river had risen above 6 feet over night and to get onto the ferry, and off the Island, I had to build a makeshift bridge out of tree stumps and spare lumber. The high water makes it tough on the workmen as well, especially when it comes to transporting the materials in the churning brown water.

We've been so spoiled lately with all the low water, it's hard to adapt to the realities of high water. The high water may force us to postpone a party that was planned for this Friday. If the high water persists, it may keep the Island off-limits during this up-coming weekend too. This is a potential disaster since we're supposed to have the best weather of the year so far!

Tuesday-- April 21, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 56

The river just climbed to above the five-foot mark so the ferry is officially closed. Of course, the construction crew will still be using the ferry as will I. The river is expected to keep rising and will crest on Wednesday night at 5.8. I predict that it will be back down below five feet by this coming Saturday. Just in time for the 80-degree weather.

Lately I've been seeing a muskrat swimming around in the channel. I rarely see muskrat, maybe it's a baby beaver.

A tree swallow landed on a piece of lumber at the top of our trash heap. The sun was right on it and I was watching it through my binoculars when my daughter walked out. She noticed what I was looking at and strolled right up to the striking blue and white swallow. To our surprise, the bird didn't fly away until we were close enough to touch it.

Monday-- April 20, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 56

Big weekend for the club and it's members. Saturday we had the workfest and on Sunday 15 of us met up with John Parrish and RG for a super flower walk on the billy goat trail. The workfest was a success despite the ongoing construction. We got a lot done and I was really bowled over by the number of people that showed up, we had a morning shift and then another thirty-some people showed up in the afternoon. I guess it helps when the weather is so nice. By the end of the hard day I was so hot that I decided to take a dip in the river. I thought it would be O.K since I had just watched a club member jump in. It took me no time to realize that it was a mistake and I struggled to get myself out of the freezing water as fast as possible.

There was a complete skeleton of a beaver on the towpath one morning. I can't imagine how a complete and flesh-free beaver skeleton ended up on the towpath but there it was. I knew uit was a beaver by its front teeth but what I found interesting was that the vertibre of the tail were flat and that the hip bones where the tail attached were incredibly large.

The first of the goslings have hatched. That means that the parent geese are increasingly menacing, so be careful out there.

There was a pheobe building a nest under the tool shed. This is nothing new, that flycatcher builds a mud nest in there every year. This year, however, the pheobe abandoned its half built nest and the nest has been taken over by a robin. Whats funny is that the robin used long strands from the blue tarp to build its nest and the thing looks like a big blue pom pom.

Monday-- April 13, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 54

Many warblers on the island yesterday, I counted four yellow-rumped warblers together in a tree outside my window. These birds were super-efficient in their feeding, eating three or four tiny bug every second! The cormorants are back in force as well.

I paddled over to Virginia to see the bluebells and other wildflowers over there. It was fun to paddle up to the muddy shore and find only beaver and raccoon tracks, no people tracks. Turkey Run Park is a great place to see all the wildflowers of the season and I wasn't disappointed. I also found the carcass of a recently killed female mallard. I suspect that the duck was killed by a hawk and I was sure that it was a female because there was still an unlaid egg nestled between her now-exposed hip bones. I took a picture but, judging by my daughters reaction, I'm not sure everyone would like to see it.

Looking back to the island from Virginia, the thing that stands out the most is the big blue tarp that I hung from the shed as a shelter. But what I found surprising was that I could see the blue of the bluebells all the way from Virginia.

I heard that the bass are biting again and one lucky fisherman recently caught a walleye.

Thursday-- April 9, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 53

The Virginia bluebells are just about at their peak right now and soon the other wild flowers will be gone as well.

There have been many more fish crows around here lately. They are a little bigger than the common crow but the only way to distinguish the two is by their call. The fish crow has a more muffled call, like it was calling through a special-effects synthesizer.

I mention the crows because except for them, everything else here seems the same as it has been for my last seven springs here on the Island. Nature is predictable yet always has surprises.