Notes from the Island
Last night a strong north wind blew down the river and this
morning there was ice on the puddles in the swamp. Two great blue
heron were huddled at the lower tip of Rupperts, basking in the sun.
A lone osprey soared overhead. I can tell winter is here: John
Matthews has taken his canoe away, the geese start honking for their
corn as soon as I open my door in the morning, and the seagulls spend
their days floating down the river and then flying back upstream.
The beavers are still around, but they haven't caused as
much damage as in previous years. Holly and I were disturbed to
notice that they had been munching on a sycamore tree by the canal.
Usually the beavers prefer maples or box elders and I don't even
bother putting chicken wire around the sycamores. But if their tastes
are changing, I will have many more trees to wrap.
We weathered the last flood without incident. Actually it
was two floods. The river rose into the canoe shed, dropped down
and then rose back up again. Dick Dianich happened to be jogging by
and showed me a new technique for raising the ferry rope well above
the rushing waters.
This is a quiet time of the year. The leaves and flowers
are gone. A few birds, like the woodpeckers, cardinals, titmice and
chickadees stay around. The pawpaws and persimmons have fallen from
the trees, but occasionally I'll still see the seeds in animal scat.
I hope you have your skates and cross-country skis ready in
case we have lots of snow and ice. However, if this winter is as
mild as the last two, you can always come down, fire up the wood
stove and spend a quiet afternoon just reading a book and looking out
over the Potomac.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker