October 2013

Friday -- October 11, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 67

The gauge at Little falls does not seem to be accurate. I'm looking at the river and it is already above 4 feet.

It looks like we will be forced to close the ferry tomorrow. The river is predicted to go above five feet at about 8 am.

Saturday -- October 12, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.0     Water Temperature: 62

The river level right now is 6 feet. The gauge at Little Falls isn't working but we do have the Sycamore Island gauge. Some of the other gauges upstream don't seem to be working either but I think the river will be up for a couple of days. The Monocacy reached flood stage but will crest soon, along with all the other smaller streams in the area. Not much rain fell in the western part of the watershed so no real threat from far up river. The rain gauge here on the Island recorded 6 inches of rain!

Monday -- October 14, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 62

Happy Columbus Day, or, as us of Norwegian heritage like to say, Happy Lief Ericsson Day.(He discovered America long before Columbus)

The river has settled back down and the ferry is running once again. I must say, it was a nice break.

Tuesday -- October 29, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.99     Water Temperature: 53

I guess I should get everyone caught up with all of the October happenings. The month started with the Old timers picnic on the second. This happened to be the same day that the Federal Government was forced to shut down, so there was a lot of confusion and phone-calling going on that morning. Since The C and O canal Historic Park was officially closed, it was unclear whether we would be able to get to the Island. It was decided that we had the right of way since we were here before the canal was a Federal Park, and besides, who was going to stop us anyway. Well it turned out to be a good decision and we all had a good time and no one was arrested. One problem that we had during the Shutdown was that they closed off the parking lot on the parkway. That didn't seem to bother Charlotte Brewer when she arrived for the picnic, she went behind the barriers and parked there anyway, hilarious!

The following week, Fall arrived. After having experienced the mildest summer in all of my life in D.C., the cold and rain hit us on October 7. Suddenly summer was over. The fishing died, the swimming died and the leaves began flying all around. It's hard to let the summer go but Autumn offers it's own set of delights. The Autumn sunsets are the best and I love it when the sun reflects off of the clouds, creating a golden-glow effect all across the Island. Add to this the bright yellow hickory leaves and and deep red Virginia creeper and the scene is breath-taking.

I already talked about the soaking rain we got. The river only got up to six feet, but that was impressive, considering that it was only at 2.75 before the rain started. Thankfully for us, the rain stay to the east and the flooding was minimal. I did have to shovel some mud and untangle the captains float. I also paddled out to the swim float to remove all of the big logs,trash and debris that had collected there.

The stormy weather did bring down some branches and one particularly large branch fell and took out or lights on the trail down the hill. The problem wasn't too serious but I did have to take the ladder over there and rewire the lights and replace the broken bulbs.

While I was up on the ladder, Bill Endicott (former Olympic Canoeing coach) came walking by. He was frustrated, like the rest of us, about the fact that the canal never seems to have water in it. He told me that he talked to some Park officials and found out that there is a construction project down stream, where the canal meets Wisconsin ave., and that they were draining the canal to keep it from leaking into the building site. Obviously a serious case of conflicting interests.

It looks to me that we have a new fishing guru for the Club. Michael grant has surpassed George Malusky as the expert on fishing from Sycamore Island. Michael spent the summer outfitting his new fishing kayak and has been going after the fish with reckless abandon. George? Didn't see him all summer. Sorry George.

I've spent most of this month and part of last month waiting for the roofer to show up. I guess roofers are not to hungry these days, because I can't seem to beg one to come down and replace the little roof above my foyer. We also had some minor leaks in the main roof that I was hoping that they could fix but since they never showed, I decided to take matters into my own hands. We won't know until we get another hard rain but I think I found the problem with the leak by the record player. There was a very suspicious nail sticking up from the shingles so I pounded it back in and sealed it good with some roofing caulk. I also put some caulk along the other minor leaks by the front door and in back by the pool table. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

I cut the grass one last time and I borrowed a friends blower to work on the leaves and gutters. The blower works great! I'm not sure now why I was so resistant them, maybe it was the noise, but they get the work done. Might have to get one for the Club.

I hear it all the time, "You're so lucky to live on an Island". It's true, I am lucky, and even as I prepare for my 12th winter on Sycamore Island, I still take time to appreciate all of the wonders of living here. However, like any job, being a caretaker has it's challenges, and sometimes it's difficult to keep everyone happy. Believe it or not, it really isn't that easy being the sole employee of the MSIC. But I want you to know that I'm willing to face those challenges and try to keep Sycamore Island the warm and friendly place that it should be, as long as I feel like I'm being appreciated for what I do for the Club.

Wednesday -- October 30, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.97     Water Temperature: 53

We had a pretty good downpour this morning and guess what? My patch worked and the roof didn't leak! Maybe I should go into the roof-patching business.

I hosted the Cub Scouts from Den 2, Troop 499, here on Sunday. They brought us a home made bird feeder made out of recycled materials and full of birdseed. I talked to them about the river and it's history but mostly they wanted to see the cannon ball and ride the zip line and rope swing. We all had a great time, including some of the young club members that joined in.

If you walk up to the head of the Island, you might think that a herd of elephant had been there but it was only me going crazy on all the invasive vines and knotweed. I'm determined not to let the kudzu, the knotweed or the oriental bittersweet take over the Island. And I'm proud to say, that so far I've been successful. It's hard work but very gratifying.

My 15 minutes of fame are not over yet. Tonight Whit Overstreet and myself will be giving a slide show and talking about our two kayak trips down the lower Potomac. This time we'll be hosted by The Potomac River Smallmouth Club. They have been around for 25 years and I'm looking forward to meeting them and learning more about their club.

Thursday -- October 31, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.98     Water Temperature: 53

I hear it all the time, "You're so lucky to live on an Island". It's true, I am lucky, and even as I prepare for my 12th winter on Sycamore Island, I still take time to appreciate all of the wonders of living here. However, it is a job, and like any job, being caretaker has it's challenges. Believe it or not, it isn't always easy being the sole employee of the MSIC. But, as long as I feel like I'm being appreciated for what I do and have done for the Club, I'm happy to stay on and try to make Sycamore Island the fun and friendly place it should be.

Special Notice: Colonel Josh and the Honky Tonk Heroes at Haydee's in Mt Pleasant, Saturday, November 10th!