June 2010

Saturday -- June 12, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4     Water Temperature: 78

I'm sorry I haven't written more in the log lately. I've been very busy doing some major projects down here.

We finally got the locker room ceiling done, I don't think it had been painted since '36. We also put some finishing touches on the mens room. Of course I'm still laboring away on the exterior painting. Its a slow process scrapping and burning all the siding but I'm counting on the high rewards of a lasting paint job.

I acquired some free lumber that we carried down here last night. I've decided to use it to build a small porch off of my new bedroom back door.

I spent some time clearing trails as well. Many of the trails were still overwhelmed by the fallen trees of last winter.

The grass is growing too so we had to cut the entire field and finish picking up the last of the debris from the flood back in March.

The river is a little murky still and we're still waiting for the fishing to improve. I spent five hours fishing last Saturday and only caught one bass.

I finally got a good look at the muskrat. It swam past me as I was sitting on the swim float. It didn't notice me as it busily dug at the bank for food.

Thursday -- June 17, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 78

It's a beautiful day. It's a perfect day for painting, but sadly I'm out of commission. It seems I've injured my ankle and I have to stay off my feet. There was no cause and effect but the doctor says I strained my tendons and ligaments somehow, maybe from standing on a ladder for hours. This sucks. It also means that I will be needing some help with the ferry.

All of these gully washers are keeping our river from clearing up. I'm waiting for clear water before I go fishing again.

I saw a cuckoo down by the captains float, a striking bird with a curved beak and long tail.

The Island is getting some good use lately, in between the thunderstorms that is. Besides the crews of swimmers, we've had a few parties too. We had a big party here on Tuesday evening, complete with an old fashioned "country boil". Tomorrow there will be a kids birthday party here and on Monday a group will be celebrating the Summer Solstice.

Thursday -- June 21, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 80

Happy first day of summer! This is the season to be on the Island!

The river is down to 3.0 feet and it's taking a little to get used to the return of the low water. We haven't seen the river this low since way back in early November, that's over 7 months ago!

My sprained ankle is slowly getting better. I've been working hard at being sedentary and thankfully I've had a lot of good help over the weekend to help with the ferry. I'm still trying to not use my ankle today and since I didn't hire a replacement I may need help today as well. I've been camping out in the chair by my front door, reading and watching all the goings on. In my stationary position I've had the perfect vantage point to watch the carolina wren as it diligently looks after its young offspring. This crazy pair of wrens decided to build their nest inside my box of screws at knee level on a shelf in the screen porch. Every five minutes or so an adult wren will slip through a small tear in the screen and feed a beak full of bugs to a small head in a box. Nonstop activity until the sun drops, and then the wrens are quiet. Of course, once the sun is back up, the wren will again live up to its nick name of "rooster of the Island".

It won't be long before the young wrens are out of the nest and on their own. The prothonotary warblers are done with their nest in the bird feeder, and I think our young eagle across the river should be ready to fly any day now.

This news did not make it into the Islander for some reason but I'm planning to have a few friends over on Friday afternoon/evening. I guess you could call it a large party. FYI.

Thursday -- June 29, 2010
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 86

The river went all the way down to 2.8 feet on Sunday night but the heavy rains yesterday have brought it back up to 3.0 again. This is still very low and it is a little worrisome since its only the end of June and we're headed for a drought already.

I've been conditioned to fear floods and I find myself hoping that I never have to face them. They are a major inconvenience and they can be costly and dangerous. While all of these things are true I think I need to change my attitude towards floods. In India and in ancient Egypt, for example, the annual flooding was a welcome and necessary part of daily survival. Crop yeilds could be predicted by the height of the river during annual floods and groundwater stores could be quickly replenished during the wet season. Here on the Potomac its the same thing and it is making me realize that drought, and not flooding, is the biggest threat to life on the Island. It would be so much harder, if not impossible, to live here if there was not a good well and a ready supply of fresh groundwater. That's why this recent bit of record-setting weather has got me a little nervous and has me (almost) hoping for a good summer flood.

I was rounding the pedestian bridge yesterday afternoon when I heard the commotion of five or six blue jays squacking from the red maple there. Somehow, by the sound of their calls, I could tell they were in a panic and not just having a freindly blue jay chat. I figured they must be sqaucking at a predator or other intruder. My first thought was that it was a hawk and sure enough, on the ground below me, at the base of the tree, there was an immature red-tailed. It was awesome to get this close look at this bird and surprisngly it didn't shy away. I knew it was a red-tail by it's deep orange tail feathers but some of the tail feathers were different with white and brown bars across them, thats how I knew it was not fully mature yet. Maybe it's lack of experience can explain why it didn't seem the least bit afraid of me. I walked down the ramp and over to the tree. I had fun getting very close to it before it lifted itself off to a low branch on a dogwood. I took one last good look at its mottled plummage and headed off down the path.

We have refrigerator problems. The fridge up in the clubhouse kitchen is not very cold, 44 degrees. The freezer seems to work fine but the fridge just won't get any colder, not in this heat wave anyway. I unplugged the unit and made sure it was all frost free. I removed the back cover and vacummed out the fan and condenser but it didn't seem to make much difference. The fridge is also infested with large black ants so I took eveything out and scrubbed it, inside and out. I'm afraid there may be something seriously wrong with our refrigerator.