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just can’t put off that beaver any longer

January 26, 2011

With the birds and the bees now covered, I’d like to tell you about the

rest of the fauna on the farm.  I’ll explore the flora soon with Jude’s

guidance.  She’s the family’s master (mistress?) gardener.  Seriously.

She has a certificate.


I said recently that we’re embroiled in a water dispute with a beaver.

He feels it’s his birthright to block off the outlet creek on the far edge

of our farm.  That would flood a large part of the property and supposedly

attract young females.  I can appreciate that.  When I was just starting

my adult life, I also tried to impress young females.  (I can’t tell you how

difficult it was for me not to go for the cheap sexist laugh and say “young

beavers”.  I must be maturing.)


Anyway, we simply couldn’t allow him to re-engineer the environment,

so off we trundled to deconstruct his work.  Here we see Jude suited up

by the dam.  She can’t show her butt crack because she’s not a member

of a trade union.

The bridge over these troubled waters is just two 2 x 12’s that we

pushed together after this shot.

The bridge is where Slinkee got her name.  We didn’t like the name

she had at the pound, so we were watching her behaviour to see

what would be more appropriate.  Some friends were on the bridge

and there was something urgent to her (likely a squirrel) on the

other side.  She shot around them like a ferret.


Anyway again, we threw the leaves and branches on the banks of

the creek.  He rebuilt.  We rethrew.  He rebuilt.  This went on for

months.  It escalated.  One time he used a section of 2 x 12 as a

brace on the backside of the dam.  We took it out.  Another time

he raided our back yard for a sapling.  It got ugly but we were able

to avoid fatalities and, worse yet, litigation.  Eventally he gave up

for the year.


He was back the next four years.  The stacks of former dam on both

sides of the creek grew into mounds.  He never thought to just push

them back in to make a quick and easy superdam.  Over the years

his efforts lessened.  His beaver heart just didn’t seem to be in it

anymore.


Last year he changed tactics.  He claimed the pond near the house

as his ‘hood.  It worked.  We saw him several times swimming

around with a mate.  He didn’t build a lodge, though.  They would

disappear into a dark area on the far side that we can’t get to.  One

time he brought her home a maple leaf.  That may be the beaver

equivalent of a dozen roses.


It was a startling sight.  Beavers swim really fast and really low in the

water.  He was holding the leaf out of the water.  So all I saw was the

national symbol of Canada sailing across the pond.  I would have sung

the national anthem if I knew all the words.


We have a lot of wolves in the community.  Many of our neighbours

hear them howl often.  We don’t very much, but I did hear some in the

daytime not too long ago when a logging operation blasting nearby

set them off.  A pair of them trotted through our yard early one

morning.  When Jude woke me up I was too sleepy to think about

grabbing the camera.


They were magnificent.  Huge.  Well fed.  The only other one we’ve

seen on our property was a young one playing with Slinkee, again

early in the morning.  Jude yelled frantically at Slinkee to come back,

which she did reluctantly.  Wolves will send a member of the pack

to lure other canines into an ambush.


Our nearest neighbour has lived his whole life out here, so far.  He grew

up with the wolves.  They visit him to play.  One of them once picked

up a bucket in its mouth to initiate a game of keep away.


We also have black bears and cougars on the island.  A bear was sighted

in an apple orchard about six miles away several years ago.  Cougars

are more common.  A friend of ours saw one a few miles from the farm.

Not too long ago, one mauled a goat of  the above-mentioned neighbour.

Another neighbour sewed it up with dental floss.


The deer here are abundant.  You have to watch carefully for them when

you drive, especially at dusk.  We also see the occasional raccoon, opossum

and mink.  The only type of snake I’ve spotted is the garter snake.  It’s cool.

It’s not aggressive.  It’s not even assertive.




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