Notes from the Island
The weather has been mild. A warm humid breeze has been
blowing upriver for several days now. However, the sky has darkened,
the wind has picked up, and I hear that a cold front is coming
The leaves have been changing and falling onto the lawn and
into the river. The poplars turn yellow, the sycamores brown and the
box elder and maples stay green until the end of the season.
Some Canada geese and wood ducks have returned. I'm not
sure if they are on their way south or whether they will stay the
winter. I continue to see the brown domestic duck, which has picked
up a mallard friend.
Now that the branches are barer, it's easier to spot the
woodpeckers. A pileated was hammering away at a sycamore outside
our window yesterday.
Various trees are giving nuts and fruit. The black walnuts
litter the ground around the old canoe shed. The pawpaws and the
persimmons were damaged by the flood. The only persimmons I see are
high up in the branches. But they look ripe from a distance.
The river washed away a great deal of the undergrowth.
Today I noticed that some of the plants that are not flood plain
species, such as the azalea and the hemlock, look a little tired after
the stress of inundation. The only flowers I see left are the
There also seem to be fewer beavers now. Usually I'm
running around with chicken wire protecting trees this time of year.
But I haven't seen any toothmarks on the bark yet.
And as the anglers all know, the fishing has been bad all
year. Maybe the fish population will recover over the winter.
The fall workfest will be on Sunday, November 17. In addition
to our usual chores of raking, pulling in the floats, cutting firewood,
and bringing up the picnic tables, we will need to tidy up and rebrick
the porch, clean up the tool shed and replace the latticework, remove
debris, and dig out the old chlorinator. Bring gloves and rakes.
Holly and I are moving to Takoma Park this month. We will
miss the Island and all the wonderful members. See you at the
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker