Notes from the Island
July 1993

Summer is here and the daylilies and roses are blooming. The birds and squirrels are fighting over the mulberries while the geese wait for the fruit to drop in the river below. The goslings are growing and their color is turning from yellow to gray to faint black and white. In the shallows large carp are flopping around. The water willows have tiny purple and white orchid-like flowers and you can see hundreds of the blooms floating down the river. John Thomson will be glad to hear that we have a good crop of paw paws this year, but if we want any we will have to harvest them before the squirrels do.

A small but dedicated group came to our work session on June 20. Ann Kip weeded daylily beds while Eric Simpson, Rene Maycock and John Krasny cleared out undergrowth on the Virginia side of the Island opening up the view.

The flooding this spring had eroded the volleyball court but had deposited sand near the swim float, so Bob Palermo, Alison Levine and I transported many wheelbarrow loads of sand over to the playing area which is now more level than it was before.

John Matthews and Brad Coolidge have been working diligently on our new ferry. John brought down the wood for the railings and the pontoons should be here tomorrow.

David Holdridge and I are working on a new pulley system to lift the ferry safety cable in case of high water. In the last flood the old system failed to prevent a tree from catching on the cable and now we are going to try to raise the wire higher.

The other night I went down to the swim float for a dip, but there were at least three beavers playing around in the river. I watched them for fifteen minutes and waited until they left before I dove into the water.

Occasionally I tie up my canoe to some tree roots on the Maryland shore when I leave the Island. This spring I noticed that the beavers were chewing through the roots. Not long ago I had trouble getting on shore and I was swearing at the person who had dumped a number of branches and limbs in my way, when I realized that the beavers had done it. They were making a lodge in the middle of my exit path.

Now that summer is here, come down and enjoy the swimming. I understand that Al Brown and John Stapko are both working on replacing the ladders to the floats. Hope to see you soon.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker