July 2012

Friday -- July 6, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 90

It was pretty dead down here yesterday, I guess it's on account of the heat. We did get a few picnickers on the Holiday and it was good to hear the horse shoes hitting the metal, and then the subsequent cheers.

I painted the swim float yesterday. The bare wood was beginning to splinter so I threw on two coats of some red paint that I had laying around. Of course, I put some Island sand in the mix to keep it from getting too slippery. I kind of like the red-colored dock.

Wednesday -- July 11, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 84

The river is all brown now after that big deluge we had last night. I was really surprised at the amount of rain that we got. There were two fishermen out in it and we had two swimmers that had to swim through the wall of rain drops to get back to the dock. We waited around for the rain to die down but some got impatient and we pulled the ferry in the driving rain. There was also a small book club that had to retreat to the screen porch from the captains float but they seemed to enjoy watching the storm from the screen porch.

The muddy water will hurt the fishing which has been great, but on a positive note, the water has cooled from over 90 degrees to a nice 84 degrees.

There is a Club meeting tonight. I won't be there but Club members will vote on new rules for the waitlisters so make sure you come out and vote.

Saturday -- July 21, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 84

I'm back from my vacation to the mid-west. It was a great trip and I crossed a lot of great rivers along the way, the Youghiogheny, the Allegheny, the Mississippi, the St Croix, the Minnesota just to name a few. So many rivers, so little time.

I wasn't too happy with the way I found the Island when I got back. I always seem to have a lot of cleaning up to do after I go away for a week. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but I hope everyone was happy with my substitute.

I also discovered that one of the new life rings is missing.

We're having ant trouble in the Club kitchen so it is especially important to not leave any mess in there. Do your dishes and wipe down the counters.

We continue to work on the fallen trees on the Island. John Stapko was here yesterday and made another big dent in the tree work. There is much more grunt work that needs to be done so don't be shy if you want to get you hands dirty.

On the environmental front. There is a new film about the dangers of fracking and its threat to safe drinking water. Check out

Wednesday -- July 25, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 80

This place is literally crawling with bugs. We've got spiders of all varieties, potato bugs, moth larvae, slugs and now, thousands of tiny catapillars that I find covering the walkways and climbing the walls every morning, yuck.

Speaking on unwanted pests, I've spent a good part of the last couple of days pulling kudzu and other prolific vines (one seeded bur cucumber, ie). I've also been busy keeping the grass cut and the trails clear. Everything is growing so fast with the rain we've been getting, that it's hard to keep up with it all.

I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about trash. It's a busy time of year on the Island and inevitably some trash is going to be left behind, but I want to remind people to please take their trash with them when they leave. This is important, not just to spare me the task of carrying up more trash, but the fact is that Sycamore Island does not have trash pick up. Since the Club is not a residence, and is considered a business in the eyes of the county waste management, we do not get curbside pick up. Over the years this has been dealt with in a number of ways but right now it is only the generosity of my neighbors that keeps me from having to drive to the dump every week.

There are 36 new waitlist families that are now using the club during the week. It makes for a busier time for me but its fun to see the new faces and to get this influx of toddlers. As a matter of fact there is a group of new Sycamore Island moms here right now.

Tuesday -- July 31, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 85

There is a lot of beaver activity on and around the Island lately. We strolled down to the foot of the Island one evening and there we found two massive beaver. They were chewing on the short-trimed weeds like a couple of grazing cows. They were almost the size of cows too and I doubt I could have lifted either one of them. After we had frieghtened them into the water, we made our way around the horn of the Island. There we found another beaver, but this one was a tiny litle baby beaver, about the size of a cat. The beaver are cool to see and watch, and the babies are so cute, I just wish they wouldn't cut down our trees.

I'll be talking about my next kayak trip at this special Potomac Riverkeeper event. Hope you can make it, August 9, 6:30- 8:00 PM. 1100 15th Street, NW, 11th floor. More details below.

Potomac Riverkeeper members are invited to an evening with Garret Peck, best-selling author of The Potomac River: A History and Guide. Garrett will be joined by Potomac Riverkeeper's Whit Overstreet and Sycamore Island Caretaker, Joe Hage as they recount their adventures on and off the Potomac. Whit and Joe will also discuss their upcoming Island to Island trip. Event is FREE to members. Please RSVP by August 6! Not a member? Join today for a special introductory rate of $20!

Garret Peck's new book about the Potomac is a must-have for any lover of this River

Finally I want to say thank you to all the Club members as I celebrate my ten-year anniversary as the Caretaker of Sycamore Island. It is rare to be able to do something you love for ten years straight. I feel very lucky, it has been a pleasure to work here and an honor to be included in this great community.