Notes from the Island
July 1992


It has been a cool wet spring but now the weather has turned hot and humid. The daylilies are blooming, their orange flowers bright against the green foliage. The large flocks of Canada geese have come and gone and now that they have stopped eating the grass, I have to mow the lawn again.

The reptiles are out. We saw a box turtle at the Maryland landing and we heard reports of someone catching a huge snapping turtle out of the canal. The Island has many black snakes, garter snakes and water snakes. All of them are harmless, but it can be disconcerting to run across them unexpectedly.

The George Maluskys were out fishing with friends on Sunday and caught eight big wall-eyed pike over by the Virginia shore. Gordon Mason had mentioned years ago that the Potomac had been stocked with pike at one time, but this is the first time I've seen them in these numbers.

The summer birds are back: great blue heron, green heron, osprey, cormorants, kingfishers, etc. For a few days a night heron rested in the tree by the ferry.

Several trees have fallen. A box elder by the ferry came down after a storm. Now it's easy to walk out its trunk over the river. A large elm at the lower end of the canoe shed also fell. In both cases they seemed like healthy trees, but they appear to have broken off at the base and not to have been uprooted.

The Island is looking great. The deck is finished and the Clubhouse is painted. At the last Saturday work session much was accomplished. Many thanks to Tryon Wells, Leah Hertz, Tove and Miriam Elstrom, Gerry Barton, Al Brown, Marty Burgess, Peter Morabito and Holly Syrrakos. We scraped paint off the doors and cleaned the main room, changing the locations of the pool table and the ping pong table, and removing old chairs, tables, shelves and file cabinets. We are about to jettison an old ping pong table which we would be glad to give to anyone who will haul it away. Otherwise it will probably be burned.

The grounds look nice. Marty Burgess weeded a couple of the beds. And several of us propose that we remove the hedge so the screen porch can get more light and air. Greg and Sue Super have done their usual great job of clearing the upper trail which was cluttered with the debris deposited by the last flood.

Al Brown made a ladder for the aluminum float and figured out a way to attach it. Tryon and I paddled the raft out to its present location. Many thanks to George Malusky and his brother-in- law Alan for the help they gave on this project.

Art Gutnick managed to get the missing parts and make the final installation on the second ceiling fan in the main room upstairs. He also mounted our new Sycamore Island sign at the Maryland landing.

Come and enjoy summer on the Island and we hope to see you at the next Saturday work session.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker