November 2012

Monday -- November 5, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.35     Water Temperature: 49

First of all, the pull rope is back up and the ferry/Island is open for business! Drew brought the rope down yesterday at 1:00 (I guess he's not a big "Skins" fan) and the two of us got the thing back up where it belongs.

I also wanted to mention that the river temperature has dropped considerably and that everyone should keep in mind standing rule 6-c which states; "Club canoes or boats cannot be used if the river level is 5 feet or higher, or if the water temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit". Right now the river is a frigid 49 degrees.

Thursday -- November 8, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 46

I want to make sure that everyone knows that the bridge is open, the ferry is running and there is a big WORKFEST this Sunday! I hope you can all come out, it looks like the weather will be nice and there is a ton of work to be done.

The barred owls were making a racket again last evening but strangely I have not heard the red-shouldered hawks since I got back a week ago. I have seen several song birds though, including a ruby-crowned kinglet and today, a golden-crowned kinglet. I've also been seeing a squirrel hanging around. The funny thing is, this squirrel doesn't dash for the closest tree when you get near to it. I think it might be sick or maybe it's blind, it's eyes seem to be kinda glazed over. Or maybe it just had a hard night during the Superstorm.

Wednesday -- November 21, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4     Water Temperature: 46

Well, most of the leaves have fallen and it's nice to be able to see the river from my windows. The leaves that are left on the trees seem to cast a yellow glow over the Island, especially when the autumn sun is setting.

This is the time of year when the beaver are very active, and every morning this week I've had to take inventory of the trees that have been felled. I've tried to do late night vigils and we've wrapped many of the vulnerable trees but those darn beaver are persistent and always manage to find the unwrapped trees. Unless we want to get out the pistols, I guess we just have to accept that the beaver are going to get a few of our trees every year. Maybe it's not that bad, fewer trees mean less leaves to rake up, right?

We had a work crew down here on Sunday and Drew, David Winer and Tryon have built us a beautiful new flight of stairs to the shed. The stairs will make it much easier to use the shed and apparently Drew has big plans to build shelving up there so that all our stuff can be stored where we can find it. It's going to be a big improvement!

I was surprised to see a great egret yesterday, I thought they had flown to Florida weeks ago.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And thanks for everything, I have so much to be grateful for!

Friday -- November 23, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 44

I wanted to let everyone know that Dallas Finn died yesterday, November 22, 2012. She was 93 years old. She and her husband Richard (who passed in 1998) moved to the area and became members back in 1973. They lived next door to Phil Thornson at 7007 Macarthur. Dallas Finn was a long-time Sycamore Islander, a writer, and mother of two daughters. She wrote two books about Victorian Japan and was a lecturer on 19th-century Japan for the Smithsonian Associates. She spent a lot of time overseas but had been confined to her house in recent years. I had the pleasure of getting to know her in just the last three years when she asked me to help her with her trash and her mail. I spoke to Dallas' daughter, Allison, who said she cherished her childhood memories of being on Sycamore Island with her mother. She will be missed.

Sunday -- November 25, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4     Water Temperature: 46

It's been a good-weather weekend and the Island is hopping. Good to see everyone, (and their out-of-town guests) while we celebrate the holiday of gratitude.

Friday -- November 30, 2012
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 45

I guess the theme for the past month has been beaver destruction and a new set of stair for the tool shed. As I mentioned before, the steps are looking beautiful and soon the new door and rails will complete the project. I did the demolition on the old, ladder-like stairs and I installed the plywood to cover the hole in the floor. It's so nice now to have the old steps gone, it adds a lot of extra room in the shed and to the area below!

As far as the beaver, I've been seeing their wet tracks of the boardwalk almost every morning as they do their worst, picked away at our most vulnerable saplings. Usually it is obvious where the beaver are residing and every year about his time I would notice a bouquet of tree branches piling up around the holes dug into the banks near the towpath. But this year those holes were quiet. It didn't look like anyone was living under the towpath, so I decided to try and find out where they were taking all of our trees. My first guess was that they were taking them up to Ruppert's, so we paddled up there first. It did not take long to notice the large piles of fresh tree branches piled high on the south bank of Ruppert's. It was surprising to think that the beaver would travel all the way to another Island to get suitable trees but it was obvious that this beaver was stocking up plenty of food and was getting ready for a long, cold winter.

Like the beaver, I too am bracing myself for the cold winter months on the river. It can be a challenging time, but part of me is actually looking forward to it. There is nothing like the special, quiet, moments on the Island that only winter can bring.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!