Notes from the Island
It is wintertime and the Clubhouse is quiet. Temperatures
are cool and the wind blows steadily down the Potomac. Yesterday we
skated above Lock 7 and had a great time, but that was the only
place where the ice is thick enough. Most of the canal is either thin
ice or open water. Slush has been floating down the river and today
it's backing up in the slough. If it freezes tonight we may not be
able to use the ferry tomorrow.
We had a bout of sleet and freezing rain before Christmas,
which made the trail, the bridge and the towpath fairly treacherous.
Last year a friend gave us some strap-on cleats for just such an
occasion and they came in very handy.
Our white goose keeps company with a small entourage of 6
Canada geese. Every morning they wait patiently for the cracked corn
we feed them. If you come to the Island and would like to feed them,
the corn is in a large barrel on the screen porch. Of course you can
always bring bread or other goodies.
Winter is a great time for watching the woodpeckers. We
have a small suet feeder outside our window and mostly we see the
small downy woodpeckers, but recently a red-bellied woodpecker has
been visiting. And occasionally we get a pileated or a red-headed
The beavers have slowed down a bit but they continue to
wreak havoc. This morning I noticed they had chopped down and
carried away a spice bush which used to be close to the house.
Fortunately, those grow back quickly. Maybe we should view beavers
as nature's pruners and landscape artists.
We hope you enjoyed your holidays and we look forward to
seeing you in the coming year.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker