Sunday -- December 9, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 41

Alright! They installed the fiber-optic cable and we now have high-speed internet and limitless WIFI possibilities!

Just kidding, the technician showed up on Friday and he had the same dumbfounded look that the three previous technicians had when they realized that the phone service was out on an island. We may be making progress though. They said that they would send out a surveyor next week. I'd never heard mention of a surveyor before so maybe that's a good sign. Will keep you posted.

Totally dead here today but it looks like a few people signed in yesterday.

Thursday -- December 6, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 45

The ferry is officially open and running normally again! Hallelujah!

Sadly, the swimming, fishing, and canoeing season is over, but it's still nice, and worth the trip, to come over the Island in the wintertime. There is a space heater in the kitchen if you want to get warmed up while you make some hot tea or cocoa(bring your own cocoa). There is also a woodstove in the clubhouse if you feel like making a fire, gotta love that smell of wood smoke in the fresh winter air.

I had to winterize the plumbing yesterday, so there is no running water in the kitchen. However, the men's room has been converted into our "winter bathroom", so you can get potable water in there

Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow is the day that Verizon promises to come down here and replace our old copper phone wires with the new, state-of-the-art, fiber-optic cable. This will be a big change and my internet will be much faster and maybe there will be better WIFI in the clubhouse. Verizon tells me that I should be excited but I'm keeping a damper on my enthusiasm for now. There are some major obstacles (two roads, a canal and a river) that Verizon needs to hurdle before we get new service out here on the Island. Tomorrow will be their forth trip out here and so far they haven't been able to overcome those challenges. The other thing I'm concerned about is that with copper, the phone and internet work even if the power goes out. With fiber optics no dice. When the backup battery dies you're screwed.

We had the woodstove vendor out here yesterday to give us an estimate for a new stove. After what I heard, and considering the frequency of use, maybe we can get by with the slightly faulty stove that we have now.

BTW, I posted some new pictures on the Canal By Canoe website. Go to to read our blog all about the Potomac River and C&O Canal. You can also subscribe to the blog if you want.

Tuesday -- December 4, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.4     Water Temperature: 45

The ferry is closed again today but there is hope that the ferry will be running again on Thursday of Friday.

We finally had the workfest on Sunday. We had somewhat of a skeleton crew but I was surprised at how many people actually knew that the workfest was happening. I learned that an announcement email did finally go out on Friday or Saturday but apparently I am not on that email list, so I had no idea that the members got the notice. I'm glad that they did and we had a rather successful work day. It was nice to have Stan, the club captain, here to help with getting the floats onto shore. There are still a few leaves to rake up but all of the canoes have been bailed out and we stacked up a respectable amount of firewood.

I'd like to send out a great big THANK YOU to George and Shelly Malusky. Sunday was their last day as serving as the entertainment committee. They took over the grilling and filled the big shoes of George and Marcia Loeb way back in 2003. In 2004 George brought down our first big grill, the Smoker Joe. That original grill wore out and George brought down another Smoker Joe last year. I'd say that that's a pretty good run, to wear out a grill and need a second before you retire. Way to go George and Shelly!!

So we are now looking for a new grill master to take over for the Malusky's.

Monday -- December 3, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.4     Water Temperature: 45

The ferry is closed and it looks like we will be above five feet most of week.

Friday -- November 30, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.4     Water Temperature: 45

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! There WILL be a workday here on Sunday come hell or high water! The river is high and so are we but we're having the worfest regardless. The fun begins at 9:00 am. Bring a rake, bring a dish. See you Sunday!!

Wednesday -- November 28, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.3     Water Temperature: 45

There is no rain expected between now and Sunday, so we hope that the river will go down enough by Sunday so that we can have our work day. I think we are going to have it even if the river is a little above the cut-off of five feet. Sometimes you have to make exceptions.

We have been working on bailing out the Club canoes and kayaks and many boats got put away by various members that pitched in and volunteered back in October. There are still over a dozen or so canoes that need bailing so hopefully we can tackle that job on Sunday. I tried Richards idea of siphoning the water out of the canoes with a piece of garden hose, like the way we used to siphon gas out of our dads car back in the seventies. It worked pretty good but it's kind of slow compared to the other method of dipping a five-gallon bucket into it and bailing it out gallons at a time. Plus, when you siphon, you can't help but get some of that nasty water in your mouth.

Monday -- November 26, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 7.4     Water Temperature: 45

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. It's sad that no one was able to visit the Island yesterday, Sunday, it was such a nice and sunny day, for a change. I didn't expect that arctic blast that we got on Thanksgiving night. It got down into the twenties that night and, even though it was not part of my holiday plan, I had to paddle over to the Island to make sure that the pipes didn't freeze and burst.

Yes, lately, for the last three weeks in fact, I've been coming and going in a canoe. It's not unusual, these days, to see me by my van at the top of the hill, changing into my river boots and putting on my life jacket before I trudge down the hill.

It doesn't look like we are going to have any kind of meaningful workfest this fall. We hope to have everyone here on Sunday December 2nd, but that's a big maybe at this point. We are also looking for someone to run the grill that day since I don't think that George can make it. The good news is that some of the heavy work of bringing in the docks has been done. Since the river was high this morning, I had a solo workfest and I was able to haul the docks all the way on shore with the help of the rising river. So now, two of the four docks are in. The canoe dock is going to take some work and we will have to wait until the river goes down before we can free it from the driftwood and bring it ashore. The swim float also needs to come in.

I've been working on the leaves as well and I've been using our new leaf blower to keep the gutters clean and the decks and roofs cleared off.

I'm almost done hanging the new screen doors. They look awesome! What an improvement.

It has been pretty lonely and quiet down here and not much wildlife to keep me company either. I don't have any birds at the bird feeder since I had to quit putting out the bird seed. The seeds attracted a rat that got washed up here during a flood, so we had to put a stop to that. There was a large doe here one afternoon, and there is evidence of a beaver coming here at night. (the beaver cut down the small willow tree that was just downstream of the ferry) Most of the cormorants have departed and so far not many wintering birds. Strangely, our local geese have not been on the Island lately either.

Thursday -- November 15, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.3     Water Temperature: 55

It's snowing! I sure wish that we had the workfest last Sunday, then we could have gotten all the leaves before the got wet.

Sadly, the workfest will have to be postponed again since the river will be swollen for a few more days. No workfest this Sunday.

The plan now is to have the work day on the Island on December 2, since many volunteers will be away on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That happens to be the first day on Hanukkah, so I hope that doesn't interfere with turnout. Workfest in December, oh brother.

Saturday -- November 10, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.9     Water Temperature: 55

The ferry is closed and oh yeah, the work-fest has been postponed. Sorry that there was not an email notification but the work-fest is not happening tomorrow. Please plan to be down here on next Sunday, the 18th on November. Thanks!

Monday -- November 5, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 55

Update, as of 1:30 today the ferry is closed. The river is 5.1 feet now and rising to over six feet later on. That was a lot of rain last night and it looks like Sycamore Island will not be the place to go on your election-day holiday. Sorry.

The ferry has re-opened, at least for the time being. The river is predicted to go up again tomorrow.

Saturday -- November 3, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 53

The ferry is closed today because of high water.