August 2016

Wednesday -- August 3, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4     Water Temperature: 86

So far August has been pretty quiet down here. Gerry came down on Monday and we had a fun group of kids here as well, but that's it.

While Gerry was here he helped me with some plumbing chores. There were two toilets that were leaking and they both needed new seals where the tank meets the bowl. We bought new washers and screws and rebuilt the toilets in the men's room and also the second toilet in the ladies room. So now there are no more leaks and there are now two working toilets in the ladies room. I liked having only one toilet in the ladies room to save well water, but I decided that it looked tacky having a toilet there that didn't work.

Thursday -- August 4, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 84

The river is dropping and clearing up. I predict that the fishing will be much better by this weekend.

Exciting news! The grand daughter of legendary caretaker, Frank Davis, is going to visit the Island on Saturday! Candace Thornton, Frank Davis' granddaughter, recently contacted the Club and has arrange for herself and 11 family members, including Frank Davis' great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, to visit the Island. Frank Davis was a retired trolley conductor and lived on the Island from 1956-1972. I'm not sure he ever served as caretaker after the 1972 flood but there are memories of Frank having a little shanty on the Island post Hurricane Agnes. Sadly he died one year later, in June of 1973.

I sincerely hope that Candace has some photos she can share. It would be great to have a picture of Frank Davis pulling the ferry back in the 50's or 60's.

If you want to learn more about Mr. Davis here is the link to the Island website with more stories.

Here is the link to the story of Franks rescue during the flood of 1972.

Candace said that they will be arriving between 11 and 1 on Saturday so I plan to be here to meet them on my day off. I really want to get a picture of all of Frank Davis' progeny on Sycamore Island, standing next to the Frank Davis memorial stone grill!

Thursday -- August 18, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 84

August seems to be sailing by and we haven't even rigged up Mary's sailing canoe yet this year. I also haven't had a chance to write about our visit from past caretaker, Frank Davis' family.

They were here back on August 6th and I think they had a great time. I believe there were nine of them all together. One granddaughter, three great-granddaughters, one husband, one great-great grandson and three great-great granddaughters. They brought a picture of Frank Davis standing on the ferry back in the early 1960's. He was well dressed and the ferry was very different. It was low to the water and made entirely of wood, with orange-painted railings. I hope to get a copy of the picture and get it hung up somewhere in the clubhouse.

I saw a paw-paw fruit lying on the trail yesterday, that is a sign that even though it may be super hot and muggy now, we know that cooler weather is on the way. I also noticed that the spice bushes are starting to bear fruit and their pretty green berries are now turning a splendid shade of red. This is also the time of year to come and see all of the wonderful late-summer wildflowers. Unlike the low-growing wildflowers of the Spring, these flowers are as tall as a person and are barely able to support themselves as they stretch towards the sun. Cardinal flowers, NY ironweed, and two or three types of sunflowers. There is not a lot of wildlife activity right now and I haven't seen the great egret for a while. The osprey are very busy however and they are entertaining us with their kamakazi-type plunges into the river. They do whatever it takes to get a fish.

The lawn mower quit working. Somehow, I don't know how, the drive belt came off of the pulley and the thing would not move. Thankfully, I was able to fix it myself and I didn't have to do the hard job of hauling the mower up the hill to the repair shop on the mainland. Now all I have to do is get back to keeping the grass trimmed back, which is not easy since the grass seems to be growing very well for this late in the season.

Wednesday -- August 24, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.94     Water Temperature: 81

The air must have been cooler than the water yesterday morning for there was a cloudy mist on the surface of the river when I got up. That morning fog is so pretty in the early light and is always so inviting for us romantic paddlers. No fog this morning though, which makes sense since the river temperature has dropped to 81 degrees.

It's hard to believe that Labor Day is just around the corner and that some schools are already back in session. All the members are coming back from their summer vacations and I've been hearing about some great adventures. We have the coolest members in the world. Not only are they smart enough to be members of Sycamore Island but they also do amazing things when they aren't on the Island. The Winklers were in the Boundary Waters, Mac Thornton took his scouts to the Kennebec River in Maine, and The Sturms went backpacking in Glacier National Park!

Sunday -- August 28, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.82     Water Temperature: 86

The river is low. Very low. The rocks are growing out of the river like weeds in a flower bed. This is the lowest that it has been since last September, which means I'll be doing some more dredging at the ferry landing. Too bad, no rain in the forecast until Thursday.

I was lucky enough to go fishing with some old-timer Sycamore Islanders yesterday. Luther Carter, a long-time member that has since resigned, was there and we had a great talk about the past caretakers that he has known. Luther is in his mid-eighties so he has known a few caretakers in his time. He fondly remembered Peter Day and his dog, Hard Times, and he spoke highly of one of our most revered caretakers, Ken Fasler. He asked me with a curious grin on his face, how long I had been doing the caretaker job. After I told him that I had been here for 14 years, he added that all of the caretakers he had known in his time were genuine oddballs. I decided to take that as a compliment. Thanks Luther.

So, everyone knows that there are a lot of spiders on the Island. You can see their webs spun on the bridge on your way down the hill, and if you walk on the trails of the Island you are bound to walk into a web or two. And of course, everyone has a story about the large wolf spider they encountered at the swim float. Personally, I encounter webs and spiders daily, sometime hourly. The spiders are simply everywhere, so it wasn't a real surprised for me to see a very large specimen of a wolf spider perched on the back of the clubhouse by the back door. The thing that did give me a start, and a horrified shudder was the sight of the wolf spider's offspring gathered there on the side of the house. What at first looked like little balls of lint stuck to the siding, turned out to be groups of hundreds of microscopic little baby spiders all balled up together.