Notes from the Island
The weather has been hot and muggy during the day. We have
a dedicated group of swimmers, including Betty Burchell, Ann Kip, John
Krasny, the Elfstroms, and Harry Schwartz, who usually show up in the
evening to cool off with a quick dip in the river. Al Brown's ladders
are holding up well and I made a quick emergency repair on the
gangplank to the swim float which should last us until the fall
The sultry overcast days often end with violent
thundershowers. The sky darkens, the wind whips around, trees sway
back and forth, and branches crack and fall. At first you hear the
thunder in the distance, then you see raindrops out on the Potomac
and suddenly sheets of water pour out of the sky, lightning flashes
in the darkness and thunderclaps seem to explode all around you. The
storms can be very dramatic, but it is best to view them from inside.
Fortunately, we haven't lost any trees yet this summer.
Although thundershowers can flood the smaller streams, the
rain does not raise the river level because the storms are scattered
and the precipitation is not widespread throughout the watershed. On
the other hand, the flooding from Minnehaha and Cabin John creeks will
turn the river a reddish muddy color, and cause tons of debris -
leaves, twigs, branches, logs, paper cups, plastic bottles, etc. - to
float down the Potomac towards the sea. I have also heard that the
runoff from the rain can cause the bacteria count to rise in the
river, and that it is better not to swim after a storm.
The Spring Workfest weeding has produced a nice harvest of
daylilies and lemon lilies. There was even a blue flag or two. The
pink roses have come and gone and now I'm looking forward to the
spectacular summer flowers that bloom in August.
The mulberries are ripe and everyone from the members to
the squirrels to the geese seem to think they are very good this
year. The geese and the carp wait in the water underneath the
branches waiting for the berries to drop in the river.
The rough-winged swallows are returning to their regular
perches on the ferry rope and cable. Members have spotted beavers
in the early evening, but I have seen no sign of major destruction
Many thanks to waiting list members Joe and Luisa McBride
for painting another coat on the wooden tables for the deck. Thanks
also to Mark Ambre for his carpentry work on the picnic tables.
Holly and I will be on vacation backpacking in the Sierras by
the time you receive this, but we will return in time for the next
Club meeting. See you there.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker