Notes from the Island
The Workfest was a great success. Many people came down
early and, with the help of George Malusky, Mark Flor, Roger Herst,
Judy Bader and others, we put the canoe and swim floats into the
river by mid-morning, where Chris and Alicia Belden cleaned them off.
A great deal of work was done in the Clubhouse. Nancy
Metzger stained some of the bare wood on the deck, Jack Colwell
painted a second coat in the women's bathroom while Blair Bower and
Bill Eichbaum painted a first coat on the plywood downstairs. Ann
Kip, Eric Simpson, Rene Maycock, Ruth Stapko, Peggy Thomson and others
conducted a Spring cleaning upstairs.
After our most recent safety discussion Bill Eichbaum built a
prototype rack for the life preservers and Warren Brown purchased a
few new pfds and washed and dried the old ones.
Outside, Mark, Adam and David Brenneman and Mark Ambre dug a
trench for the water line to the new all-weather toilet stall. Gerry
Barton and Mark Ambre rebuilt a picnic table and helped carry the
remaining tables from under the deck out onto the lawn. John Stapko
cut up firewood for next winter. And then he and John Matthews
raised the ferry landing so we won't have to use a plank in high
There was also some grounds work. David Winer and Lee
Gravatte transplanted some sycamore saplings for erosion control. And
then they joined Trip Reid, Madeleine Oakley and Joe and Tammy Belden
in taming the wild rose and tackling the dreaded nettles. Hilary and
Maddie Thomson brought their own rakes and cleared a section of the
lawn we had missed last fall, while Greg and Jamie Super worked on
the trail at the upper end of the Island.
On a beautiful sunny Saturday morning Joan Heidemann led a
dozen or so members on the annual wildflower walk. Coming down the
path we saw rock cress, saxifrage, star chickweed and corydalis. And
along the towpath and down by the river we saw Virginia bluebells,
spring beauties, lesser celandine, Dutchman's breeches, squirrel corn,
golden ragwort, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.
Most of those flowers are gone now, but the wild blue phlox
and the golden ragwort are still plentiful and the may apples are
starting to bloom.
This is Spring and the birds are going crazy. I saw my first
hummingbird on Sunday and my first goslings on Monday. The warblers
are passing through and the air is filled with song. Birds are
nesting in bizarre places. You might want to check your canoes
before you turn them over.
We have had very little rain and there has been no flooding
so far this year, which is very unusual. The river level is low and
the water is clear. Eric Simpson reports that he caught some large
bass last Saturday morning and Holly and I have both seen what
looked like large bass in the canal.
To the best of my knowledge Ann Kip is the first swimmer of
the year. It looks like the season has begun.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker