Notes from the Island
October was an eventful month. First, the Potomac rose two feet
overnight and by the next morning the offshore swim float had disappeared.
When the water subsided, I discovered that the Island end of the cable was
still attached to the chain wrapped around a tree, but the other end was
stuck on something in the river. I suppose it's possible that the float
sank somehow. Bring your wetsuit to the Workfest and we can investigate.
A few days later we had a windstorm. Part of a sycamore dropped on
the back lawn and I cut it up for firewood. A large tree fell over the
remaining swim float, snapping off the top of a maple and lodging in the
crotch of another tree. The float itself was unharmed and John Stapko has
volunteered to saw down the tree during the Workfest.
Then heavy rains fell and the Island flooded. The water level reached
nine feet, which brought it half way up the walk but not into the canoe
shed. The Club was closed for several days and a large party was
cancelled. The river deposited inches of silt and mud on the banks, which
is messy to walk through but which leaves excellent impressions of the
footprints of raccoons, squirrels and muskrats.
We usually see more beaver during floods. The lodge on the small
island above Rupperts was washed out again, and the beaver haven't started
repairing it yet. One night during the high water I was tying up canoes
by the swim float and I could hear the tails slapping the water in the
dark. The next day I could see the rodents had been feasting on the
branches of the fallen tree.
One evening Holly and I were admiring the sunset reflecting off the
swollen river, when we saw a huge beaver paddle through the current, amble
up the bank and start gnawing the bark off a branch. Our presence didn't
bother it at all.
Aside from that, October was a warm sunny month. The leaves are
changing color late this year: the sycamores are turning brown and the
maples are still green. Yesterday I saw turtles on a log near Minnie's
Island and a garter snake on the walk by the clubhouse.
The Canada geese, mallards and wood ducks are flying south. Seagulls
are already returning to Broadwater for the winter.
Holly and I want to invite all of you to come and view the new
addition on the day of the Workfest. We hope to see you then.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker