Notes from the Island
July 2003

Rain, rain, go away
Don't want to build an ark today.

I saw this on a billboard down at the beach and it made me think about this past spring and all the rain. Yes, the amount of precipitation that we've had to endure has now reached biblical proportions. Maybe instead of a ferry I should have an ark.

I want to welcome the new editor. I'm looking forward to many more quality editions of the Islander. I feel bad for all of you dues-paying islanders; it's a shame that no one can use the island. The weather has been so bad that people may start asking for a refund on their annual dues. I'm afraid the board may ask me to return some of my salary. I still work, even if the ferry isn't operating; but I still feel a little guilty when I don't have to pull the ferry.

There's been a lot of work going on here lately. Unfortunately we had to replace the hot water heater. Even though it was only six years old, it started leaking and before long it was losing about a gallon every hour (of course this happened while my girl friend and her mother were visiting). I was able to keep a bucket under it but not before the floor and the carpet got soaked. The water heater is behind the wall in my bathroom so I had to move the washer/dryer and part of the wall to get to it. The plumber and I were able to remove the leaky, fifty-gallon heater to make room for the new forty-gallon one. We also managed to get the really old, (circa. 1970), heater out of the closet as well. This older one was only a twenty-galloner but was taking up quite a bit of space and I wanted to get it out of there before it decides to start leaking. The plumber redid and removed some of the redundant pipes and valves and I disconnected the wires and removed an old electrical outlet we didn't need. The plumber even took both the old water heaters with him to the dump. I was very pleased with the work and it feels great to have my bathroom back to normal.

The phone man had to come out and replace a fuse in our line. Apparently we had a lightning strike that took out the phone connection. I'm afraid the lightning strike might have damaged my computer as well. I had it unplugged but I didn't think to disconnect the phone line, so I couldn't get on the Internet and enter my daily log into the Sycamore web site.

The surveyors were here. And it won't be long now before Pepco puts up our new utility poles. My next chore has to do with a very large limb that has fallen in the middle of the path to the captain's float. It fell from the old silver maple and it covers the field from the base of the tree to the picnic tables, thirty feet long with an eight-inch diameter and full of leaves. These are the times I wish I had a chainsaw.

The ground hog is becoming a nuisance. It devoured a rose bush and it is starting to eat all the sassafras trees. I know it's not the beaver doing the damage because the teeth marks are not the same. Speaking of the beaver, I spied it at about five o'clock one morning, but it took no notice when I shined my light on him and reluctantly waddled back into the water only after I'd walked right up to it. The two mulberry trees are drawing a crowd. Not one of those berries has gone to waste. The geese and ducks eat from below, the squirrels and birds from above and even the ground hog found a way to climb the tree to get his share. We caught sight of it as it jumped from the tree the other morning. I've seen a lot of mourning doves as they pair up on the ground in groups of six or more. The same goes for the gold finches, as they pick insect from the flood litter. One day I was crossing the field to get a closer look at the gold finches and I almost stepped on a six-foot black snake. I didn't think that this type of snake had rattles but it did manage to get my attention with a tiny rattling noise coming from its tail. I've seen the colorful Baltimore oriole and I think I saw a prothonotary warbler.

Wishing you a dry summer.

-- Joe Hage, Sycamore Island Caretaker