April 2010

Friday -- April 2, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.8     Water Temperature: 52

I hate to tell you this, but the ferry will be closed today. It's too bad that the river is still so high on such a beautiful day.

The other bad news is that the ferry will be closed again tomorrow.

Maybe by Easter Sunday I'll have the ferry running again.

Saturday -- April 3, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 52

Bad news, the ferry is closed again today. The good news is that it will be running tomorrow.

Happy Easter!

Sunday -- April 4, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.0     Water Temperature: 60

Finally we had a beautiful day and the ferry was running! There was quite a bit of activity on the Island today and it was great to see some familiar faces down here. Some brave souls even went swimming today! Awesome!

The bluebells are almost at their peak now after three very warm days. The redbud tree near the captains float is blooming as well, as are the dutchman's britches, the trilliums and the trout lilies

There is only one goose nest that I have seen so far, I'm afraid that the timing of the flood put some of these nesting geese out of business. There are a few nests on Rupperts I think, if you want to check them out.

We untied the picnic tables today and freed them from the piles of logs and other flood debris. Instead of hauling all the flood debris into the woods I decided make a fire on the spot and burn it. Worked great.

There is a chick in the eagles nest!! Our hardy eagles have managed to hatch at least one chick despite all of the snow and flooding of the past two months. Too bad that that new mansion down there has installed a whole bunch of flood lights.

Thursday -- April 5, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 68

This is it! If you only come down to Sycamore Island one day out of the year you have to make sure that you do it during this weekend. The river level is down and the ferry is open. The water is warming up making it safe for canoeing. The mud has turned to dry sand and, most importantly, the bluebells are at their peak! It is truly miraculous, last month the Island was covered in water and mud, the month before that the Island was covered in two feet of snow and now, we have an Island covered in blue flowers!

I won't be here this weekend to enjoy it but I will be back Monday.

Tuesday -- April 13, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 62

Spring is exploding down here!! The trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, and the birds, the birds are nesting everywhere and filling the air with their joyous song. The sun is passing through the new leaves and casting it's soft yellow-green light on the bluebells as they are pollinated by the monarch butterflies, Eden. Then, before you know it, spring is over.

Robert Frost said it better than I.

"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."

Tuesday -- April 20, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.7     Water Temperature: 63

We had another successful workfest here on Sunday. The consensus was that it was a much smaller crew than we've had in the recent past but I think we made up for the low numbers with high enthusiasm. We had a crew fixing the towpath and we had a crew cutting up giant timbers and we had a crew preparing a feast for lunch time. I think everyone enjoyed having the large bon fire and I've decided to have a fire at every workfest, just as a crowd pleaser. The two fires that we had also made quick work of getting rid of all the flood debris and fallen trees. We burned so much wood that the coals were still hot this morning, almost 48 hours later!

We had a third fire on Sunday as well, but that one was not planned. It seems that someone put a plastic plate in a hot oven and the plate, with all its contents, burst into flames. We lost some of Georges's grilled food but no real damage was done. We did learn, however, that we need a well-labeled fire extinguisher in the club kitchen for just these kinds of emergencies.

No one except Gerry Barton has been down to the Island since Sunday. I can't believe it, but I'm almost the only one down here to witness this glorious time of change and rebirth on the Island.

Tuesday -- April 27, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 61

Foliage, it has taken over. Once barren and scarred flood land has been hidden by layers of lush green. Even places that were buried deep in silt are now carpeted with green. The flowers of the bluebells are all but gone, but the stalks, with their fat green leaves, give our island the appearance of a wild meadow. The wild blue phlox are blooming now, as is the black locust tree. There is a black locust tree full of flowers hanging right over the pedestrian bridge. I love seeing it there first thing in the morning as I trudge up the hill, and I've decide that its flower is my new favorite. It smells wonderful and I love the way it's drooping white flowers punctuate this forest of green.

Spring means nesting birds, and so far we've had at least three successful canada goose nests (baby geese are now being sighted)and now the song birds are getting started. There is a bluebird nest in one of the bird houses on the Island and there is a carolna wren nest inside the screen porch. Today and yesterday a prothonotary warbler was seen looking for nesting spots inside the screen porch as well. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. We also have eagles across the way, of course, and wood ducks and woodpeckers, all proliferating on the island.

Spring is also the time to catch migrating fish and I was lucky enough to go fishing with the areas best fisherman two Saturdays in a row. Both days we arrived at fletchers boat house (along with a hundred other people) at 6:00 am. You have to get there early or all the rental boats are gone. We tooloed out to the middle of the river and it wasn't long before we were hauling foot-long hickory shad. The best part was that it seemed like our boat was the only one catching any fish. Next we snagged some herring, a smaller fish, and used them for bait. The herring were quickly fileted as we drifted down river beyond all the other boats. With few expectations I threw my line out and waited. It wasn't long before our rods were bending and the reels were wizzing. Catfish after catfish, we used about eight herring and caught about that many cats, one was 36lbs.! We even caught a couple rock fish! Apparently, the big fish floow the herring as they migrate upriver. Later in the season the big fish will drift back downstream.

The workfest is over but the work on the island goes on. Jody Benjinim is kicking butt in the painting department. She has single-handedly finished all the tough painting that needed to be done down in the locker room and bathrooms. She has put in many days with long shifts and deserves our gratitude.

Meanwhile Tryon and I were working on the trail lights today. We got the cable across the river and worked hard to get it as far from the river as pssible. So far, we have two of the six lights working on the mainland.