and checking it twice. That’s what the busy beavers on a friend’s property appear to be doing right now as they ready for winter.
When JoAnne asked if I wanted to see the recent beaver works, I jumped at the opportunity.
Today’s rain didn’t stop us from heading out to explore. She first discovered this new pond when she walked down a sloping field and noticed through the trees what looked like water–where it wasn’t supposed to be.
A creek flows through her neighbor’s property and once supported several mill sites.
It continues, or should I say continued, across her property, coming in from the right. That is, until things changed.
This past summer, in the middle of what is now the pond, JoAnne stood beside the then creek and marked a property boundary with pink tape.
The ribboned tree was on the far side of the creek before her new neighbors came knocking.
At a former dam site, they took it upon themselves to do their own construction. It needs work as we could see some holes, but I’ve no doubt that they’ll be on that in no time.
Their industrious nature was evident everywhere we looked. No tree species was spared. Once felled, they trimmed the branches and carried or dragged them to the water.
With their large front teeth, beavers bite chips off trunks. Their rodent teeth never stop growing so gnawing wood helps keep them in check. Because their lips are located behind their teeth, they can keep their mouths closed while they work. No need to hum a logging tune.
Some trees are particularly tasty and it seems that they like more than just the bark and cambian layer, the softwood just beneath the bark. Or perhaps they are cutting them into log-size pieces to make for easier carrying and maneuvering in the water.
Nothing was safe, including the sapling that had grown beside the shed.
Sometimes things don’t work out quite the way they intend.
The upper part catches on other trees. All that effort . . . for naught.
We stood in awe and wondered about how nature plays tricks on them occasionally.
We marveled at the thought of them standing on their hind feet to work.
And we noticed their oft-traveled roadways throughout the area.
One of the truly curious things–most of the trees have fallen toward the water. Chance? Instinct? Engineering skills? They’ve learned how to fell a tree in that direction, thus creating the quickest route back to safety?
The lodge is large. Accessible only via underwater entrances, the beaver family has protection from some predators. Outside, we could see part of their winter feed pile. We suspect there are more sticks below the water that will be available once the ice finally forms.
When all is said and done, statues like this will remain to remind JoAnne and others of these natural engineers and how they altered the land to create the water world they need for survival, which will ultimately benefit other wildlife.
As for their checklist:
*lodge in good repair?
*food cut, moved and stored?
How about you? Have you made your list and checked it twice?