Notes from the Island
June 1996

This morning I looked out my window and watched a raccoon amble across the lawn, climb up an old maple tree and disappear into a hole. A while later it reappeared with a baby raccoon in its mouth, climbed down the tree and scampered across the yard to parts unknown.

Later, as I was ferrying Holly off to work, we surprised a mallard and her five ducklings. And then on the Maryland shore we saw a water snake swimming in the river.

The river is muddy and dropping after a small flood due to rain in West Virginia. The Club was only closed for a few days. None of the boats were affected.

Last weekend John Matthews, David Lyles, Blair Bower, John Stapko, John Stapko, Jr., Holly Syrrakos and I brought down the canoe shed. John Stapko brought his chain saw and cut the cross braces. We set up a block and tackle and all of us pulled. At first it barely budged, so we cut a few chains from their anchors and John Stapko knocked cross braces out. The second time we pulled, the shed came right down. We've started to remove the tin roof and there is much that remains to be done.

There are many goslings this year and they seem to be growing quickly. They start small and almost chartreuse. As they grow they turn yellow, then gray, and finally the black and white that we are so accustomed to. I've seen some orioles and hummingbirds. And I hear lots of new birdsong that I don't recognize.

The Spring flowers have mostly passed. But there is still a good crop of Solomon's Seal and wild blue phlox. The wild rose is blooming and occasionally fleabane pops up in the lawn. It's a bad year for nettles and poison ivy, so be careful.

June is often our busiest month on the Island. With a little luck the weather will cooperate, the floods will subside, the water level will drop and members can enjoy the Club again.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker