Friday, April 5, 2013

Calling Jerry Mathers

Leave It To Beaver.

Seeing an actual beaver may be as elusive as finding re-runs of that favorite '60s and '70s TV show (1957-1963), since we don't have Nick at Night or TV Land on our satellite television subscription.

If I could find my local beaver, he wouldn't look a thing like Jerry Mathers. Instead, he might look something like this:
Photo from Wilderness Classroom
We do, however, see evidence that the Beav and maybe a friend or two are at our Peace Creek pasture. Just like the TV character, our local Beaver is leaving a trail of mischief behind him.
The beaver and his friends have their equivalent of the Holiday Inn built on Peace Creek about a half mile into the pasture. We rode the 4-wheeler to their "construction site." They built the lodge from the cattails and grasses that they've chomped off with their sharp teeth. They've used their tails to pack down dirt for a dam, backing the water into a small pond along the creek.

The beavers also left their calling card much closer to the road. They are mighty productive - or destructive - depending upon how you look at it. During the past three years, we've watched their progress on felling a tree. Since it's near the entrance to the pasture and to where the guys load up silage in the winter, we've witnessed the beavers' prowess - even though we never see them.

Randy first showed me the tree in January 2011.
January 1, 2011
By the next January, the beavers had almost gnawed through the entire tree trunk. It was not a measly tree either.
January 4, 2012
Now the tree is completely severed and has fallen into Peace Creek.
March 2013
All this without the aid of power tools - unless you count their teeth.
Beavers' ability to change the landscape is second only to humans. That is just one reason why we find the flat-tailed species fascinating. While some beaver behavior is instinctive, they also learn by imitation and from experience. Dr. Donald Griffin, the father of animal cognition, has said, "When we think of the kinds of animal behavior that suggest conscious thinking, the beaver comes naturally to mind." 
Their sharp teeth and this soft, dreamy scene don't seem to have much in common. But this is what happens when your husband takes you on a "date" on the 4-wheeler ... and you carry your camera in a fanny pack ... and it goes to a special "soft" setting without you knowing it.
Some dates involve soft candlelight. Mine involves a soft camera setting. And that's just the way I like it.


  1. Well, you haven't said, but are you leaving the lodge alone???

    1. Yes. I guess, as a good reporter, I should ask the whys and wherefores of that, shouldn't I? I'll let you know. We did give a young man permission to trap along the creek, but so far, I believe the beavers have outsmarted him.

  2. Hey Kim, I wanted to let you know that you won the copy of the book "Life After Art" that I am giving away on my blog (my son drew your name from the bowl!).

    Can you please send me your mailing address so we can send you the book. Please email it to me at michellederusha1@gmail.com. Thanks and congrats!

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I look forward to reading it.