Along the Lakeshore: Oct. 30

Preventing damage to the lakeshore, the USS Slater

Skaneateles Creek continues to flow and is slowly lowering the lake level, which will prevent lots of damage if we get one of those November blows. Remember that the Edmund Fitzgerald went down in the Great Lakes and all were lost in one of those blows in November 1975. A 40 mph wind when the lake level is below 861 does not do much damage to docks, but a higher lake level can wash treasures off docks and beaches or destroy infrastructure such as lawns and sea walls.

Folks that have pipe docks find it hard to pick a level in mid-June that will last through September. My pipe dock is set so it is just about awash when the lake is at 863 feet. I do not remove it anymore since these days we don’t seem to get much ice. The dock only has to survive three or four winters and I can afford a nice new dock rather than pay the normal in and out charges.

In the fall of 2012, when the lake was quite low, at 860.5 to 861 feet, I got a call from Judge Major who said that he couldn’t remember when the lake was so low. I reminded him that on one occasion Lester Tucker and I removed “the Hudson River sloop” from the Smith family boathouse on West Lake Street. We drove down the village ramp with a Jeep and boat trailer. We continued along the seawall, turned south, backed up to the boathouse, and eased the old boat on to Les’s trailer. I also remember that the lake was quite low when the city pier was rebuilt.

Charlie Major sent me a picture of him feeding what must be a tame hawk. The bird was clutching a stick and eating pieces of meat from his fingers. It is a beautiful bird and I enjoyed seeing it. Charlie also sent me a picture of a black duck with the profile of a mallard and a large white triangle on its throat. I assumed it was a hybrid cross of a mallard and a domestic duck. I looked up mallards in Sibley’s Guide and found a picture that looks just like a dumpy version of Charlie’s duck. The book stated that all types of shapes and colors can result from these hybrid unions.

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