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The Beaver Dam

Monday, March 3, 2008

Walks with a destination: one of our favorites is a beaver dam on a county road to the east of our place. To reach it, we cross a wide, wide field. It's so nice to fall behind one's children, after so many years of patiently waiting for them to catch up. I've said elsewhere but it bears repeating: From the very start, I've told my children that I'm not strong enough to carry them. I started telling them this once they started walking on their own. I remember my first walk with little Phoebe toddling alongside. We went to the mailbox, a distance of perhaps 1/5 mile. "Boy, it's a good thing you learned how to walk like a big girl," I told her. "Because you were just about too heavy to carry any more." From that point on, she walked on her own two feet, and neither she nor Liam have ever had the option of being carried by me, unless they were hurt or asleep in the car. They take great pride in being troopers. I love to get them completely tired out.

The beaver dam is maybe a mile away, but it's fairly strenuous hiking, involving some climbs and descents. Oh, the reward once we're there! We get to see what they've done since our last visit. It's usually a considerable amount. On our first visit, this tree was almost all gnawed through. Only two days later, they'd dropped it into the pond. How I would have loved to see that! but I would imagine they fell trees at night. KerSPLASH! It would be interesting living near a beaver pond. The things you'd hear in the dark!

The beavers have cleared the blue-eyed heck out of the woods. They have rodent logging roads running up from the pond into what remains of the forest. This would probably be a good place to set a wildlife camera. Hmmmm.

Here's the main dam for the big impoundment, quite an impressive piece of work:About 50' below that is a second impoundment, contained by this dam:Below that, they've started to work on the hayfield, thinking to turn that into a long, shallow pond:I'm not sure what their plan is here, but I'm fascinated by these long, curving earthworks they're building in the low wet meadow. I can't wait to see what it all pans out into, especially as the spring rains come on.A beaver pond. What a perfect place for a boy to dream. I hope he's still coming here when he's sixteen.


You know he will.


Looks like a great habitat for amphibians. Maybe with our warm rains tonight you'll have some spring peepers? Beavers are fantastic creatures, they've made quite a comeback here in the buckeye state!

Tom @ Ohio Nature

What a fun field trip (and a brilliant "no carry" strategy on your part)!

There's a 2 year-old beaver pond across the road, less than a quarter mile in, where the woods meet a sloping cornfield. I haven't seen or heard them, but a neighbor who hunts the property says he's seen the family from his deer stand. There are two lodges; the newer one looks to be in better repair. It has me wondering if they build new every year.

Before its transformation, it was a much smaller abandoned farm pond where I'd often seen Wood Ducks and, once, at least four snapping turtles, cruising around in all their prehistoric glory. Seeing them made me fear baby woodies might be part of their diet.

Nature's own construction workers at work! So neat! I am sure Liam will be visiting that dam for many years to come. Heck, he'll probably paint the view one day. ;c)

I miss beavers.
We used to see them fairly regularly in NYState--in fact, we all carried custom-chewed walking sticks one fall!

How wonderful to have easy access to one so close.
And to be able to share its developments with your children.

I have a feeling he will be an eager visitor at 16.


Your great post has reminded me to check out the beaver dam near my apartment. It lies in a dramatically different setting, but is well worth the visit. I will post photos of it on my blog soon..

And he will. You teach your children well, Julie, to walk and explore. It's in them for good.

I saw Beavers' work in northern Maryland. Looked like a heavy-duty construction crew had a good day!

Gotta love them beavers!

I used to marvel at their construction projects around here, but I believe they have all been trapped over the last 20 years (sigh). I miss them.

Thanks for sharing your beaver's projects with us. I hope they provide many more years of joy and wonderment for your family.

I always love trips to the Beaver Pond and great time of the year to be visiting them!

Oh, Julie--I do also hope Liam is still going to the beaver pond when he's sixteen. The road to adulthood is sometimes hazardous--a detour past a beaver pond may help provide just the right kind of guidance.

Fascinating photos for those of us without beavers in our country - although there is serious talk of reintroducing them inot the wild in Scotland, so we may get to see them yet.

I had a bad back when my kids were young, so I couldn't carry them. They had to walk everywhere. I still reckon that that's why they're such good walkers now! Last summer they both climbed mountains in northern Spain that would have daunted many adults - I was so proud of them.

Yes he will probably want to be going there...on his motorcycle. :)

Julie, what a wonderful post (as they all invariably are)! Makes me wish my own kids weren't as city-bound as they are. We didn't have beavers to watch, but growing up working on a farm we had plenty of chances to interact with the wildlife around us. I've got to find some good hiking areas that we can escape to on weekends to start teaching my kids more about being up-close-and-personal with the "real" world.

This post almost had me clapping with glee! I love it!

I actually stopped by to see if you've read Barbara Kingsolver's ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE...I'm reading (and loving) it right now, and I think it's right up your alley.

An acquaintance has begun trapping the beavers on his land because of how many trees they are cutting. He says he feels terrible for the beavers but also feels that he has to protect the trees. What I think he doesn't realize is that beavers from elsewhere are just going to keep moving in, and he's started a miserable cycle that he's never going to be able to stop.

And that beavers do some ecological good.

It's very, very sad.

Nice post recounting an awesome trip to a special place Julie. I once came across a beaver on a canoe trip while camping in up state New York. Wow, these guys can really scare the poop put of you with their tail slaps on the water! Amazing creatures indeed. I will be interested to see what the land owner and community make of the beaver's rennovation plans.

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