Notes from the Island
December 1991


The Potomac continues to be very low and clear. This morning while canoeing to the Virginia shore, I could see rocks on the bottom all the way across the river. Much to my surprise there was no trash, not even tires. I also didn't see any fish. I wonder where they go in the wintertime.

We had a beautiful day for the Workfest. Many people came down to rake and haul in the floats. Charlie Trammell supervised bricklaying in the men's locker room, John Matthews coordinated clearing out the junk under the workshop, Betty Burchell stoked the bonfire, Bob Black tore down kudzu and other vines, Brad Coolidge cut firewood, and the Supers cleared the trail.

This year no one could stay for the potluck dinner, but Holly and I would like to thank Sue Super for the great chocolate chip cookies she left behind.

Fall has arrived, the flowers are gone and the leaves have dropped off all the trees except for a few maples. Canada geese, mallards and wood ducks keep flying through and the great blue herons are still here, but the other herons and cormorants have moved on. The woodpeckers stay all year but their red patches are much more visible now that the leaves have fallen. While most of the birds are leaving, the seagulls are starting to return to their winter quarters out on Broadwater.

The beaver continue to wreak havoc on the maples at the lower end of Sycamore. They store the saplings in the water at the entrance to their lodge on Box Elder Island so they can eat the bark throughout the winter even when the river freezes.

Be sure to come down on some quiet, balmy day and go out for a walk or a short canoe ride and then sit by the wood stove. You'll have the Island to yourself and you won't have to worry about large parties.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker