Notes from the Island
December 1992

We had beautiful weather for the Workfest. John Krasny supervised the bonfire, Leah Hertz painted numbers on lockers, George Loeb waged war on the kudzu, Jim and Fraser Gilbane brought the picnic tables up below the deck, and John Matthews and Tryon Wells led a crew in cleaning up the workshop. Early in the day we reached a critical mass of eight able-bodied members who easily hauled out the floats under John Matthews' supervision. Almost everyone helped rake leaves off the lawn.

The dozen or so members who remained for the potluck supper had a great time sitting by the woodfire, sipping apple cider, sampling each other's dishes and socializing.

Winter is coming and I have shut off the water and removed the sink drains so the pipes won't freeze. Please do not use the toilets or the sinks. There is a chemical toilet in the women's locker room and a working water spigot on the back of the house.

The animals are also preparing for winter. The beavers are chomping down trees and eating the bark. They are also getting bolder. I saw one swimming in the canal this morning. The squirrels are scampering about looking for fruit and nuts. They stripped the persimmon tree before Holly and I could get any of the fruit.

The other night I heard a rustling of leaves outside my window and when I looked outside, I saw a raccoon slowly climbing the stairs to the second floor. As soon as it noticed me it ran away.

Many birds have left for the season, but the ones that remain are easier to see. The red cardinals are beautiful against the grays and browns of the woods and the different woodpeckers are fun to watch as they swoop from tree to tree and hammer against the bark looking for insects.

The Island is quiet this time of year but well worth a visit. And you might want to sharpen your skates in case the canal and river freeze.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker