Friday, November 20, 2009


Last night, as I walked past the old machine shed after dark, headed for the horse barn, a loud clattering in the shed startled me. I shone my light inside, expecting to see something big, like a bear. I remembered I'd left a bucket of apples in the shed after gathering them off the ground earlier that day.

What I saw was a beaver, shuffling away from the spilled bucket of apples, toward the pond, which is inside the shed at this point, thanks to the beavers' pond-enlargement efforts. This beaver was much smaller than the recently deceased guy... one of this year's kits, no doubt. I need not have worried about having a beaver-less pond. As I continued on over the dam, the beaver, from the safety of the middle of the pond, slapped its tail hard.

Today the poor beaver had another scare, I'm sure, when the road crew managed, after two days efforts, to dislodge the branches and mud clogging the culvert under the road a quarter mile upstream. The liberated water came roaring down the creek. The water level in our pond rose very quickly... now I understand what can happen in a flash flood, or when a dam breaks... I worried that the beaver dam upstream from our pond, but downstream from the culvert, would wash out and all that material would clog our overflow, flooding the walkway over the dam.

But the beaver-built dam held firm. The beavers had done a good job of constructing it. They had used our property line woven wire fence that cuts across the stream as their framework.
Once the lake of backed up water on the other side of the road had emptied and surged over our pond spillway and downstream, the water level returned to normal.

It must have been rather frightening for the beaver(s) to have a wall of water suddenly surge through their abode. It will give them stories to tell their grandchildren in years to come. "You can imagine my terror when a Human nearly stepped on me as I foraged for apples, causing me to quickly exit the bucket, which toppled over making an unearthly clatter. The next morning, while peacefully sleeping after my night's scare, a huge roaring sound gave me barely enough time to escape to safety before an enormous wave hit. Ah yes, my children, I lived through great dangers in my youth."

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