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Changing a Stream's Course

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Trees around here take a beating. Here are some fresh pileated woodpecker workings. I ain't sayin' nothin' about bark adhesion or big woodpeckers. I'm just showing it to you.

With a wisdom that is theirs alone, the beavers near our home have changed the course of a stream. They diverted it from its original bed at the base of a rocky slope and have sent it running smack down the middle of a hayfield. For some reason, no one has tried to stop them by trapping them out. That's saying something in Appalachian Ohio.
We're watching and enjoying them, and I'm trying to find out a bit about the landowners, to see how long we might expect to be graced by the presence of these incredible aquatic rodents. Does the landowner dig beavers? Has she simply not gotten around to hiring someone to trap them? I don't know. I'm praying it's Option A.

There's something about a small stream that implores a child to jump over it.
Liam's got a funky style all his own, and he always makes me laugh.
Phoebe's a bit more self-conscious, but still great fun to shoot in action. She sails over the water like the Thoroughbred colt she is.
She found a gas well pipe standing in the meadow, and peered inside. "Mom! Come tell me what this STUFF is, coming out of this RANDOM PIPE." I always jump when they ask me to look at something on our walks. I want to reinforce their innate curiosity. If they get nothing else from me, please let them be curious.
She'd noticed the wasp nest, and then wondered about the other stuff. Science Chimp to the rescue. I pulled the stuff out, to peals of EEEEEYEEEW's from Phoebe and Liam. White-footed mouse mummy!
Didn't warn you. Not sorry, either. I think it's cool, especially the way his organs are still intact. Did he get stung to death by the wasps? Poisoned by a blast of raw natural gas? Dunno. But there he is. We put him back in the pipe for the next curious person who might happen along.

The new stream runs along its course, flooding the road. Surely someone's going to object.
For now, though, we'll keep watching, and rooting for the beavers. Baker adds his contribution to their stream.


Hi Julie!

The whole post was wonderful but I sure hee-hawed at the ending. Baker puts his seal of approval on beavers' work :o)

What I like about visiting here is the constant surprises, i.e. petrified mice, wonderful kids, and the life most people seldom see, thanks to an intuitive Science Chimp.

Go Beavers!


I am praying for those beavers, fervently!

Love the mouse mummy, and the contrasting stream-jumping techniques.

What fun!! And good to know some things haven't changed since my childhood: kids gotta jump over streams, and dogs gotta whiz into them (hope Mether didn't embarrass you too much Chet)...

Isn't it interesting how nature always seems to take over man's intrusions (like that gas pipe and even the road). We try to sugjugate nature, while it is simultaneously assimilating what we leave behind.

Oh, and just be glad it was just Chet Baker that whizzed in the stream. If Liam's still coming to the beaver pond when he's 16, welll...

That, of course, would be "subjugate"... (I should know better than to try typing this early in the morning!)

Hi Julie, Just love the way you describe your kids and the things they do. The way you see the world is so endlessly fascinating and inspiring. You inspire me to a more interesting life!

Hi Julie!

There's always a surprise in your posts, I love them.

Poor thing trapped in that gas pipe :( seems like it wasn't a 'nice' way to go... Anyway, hope the beavers make it! :)

Julie, why do pileated woodpeckers work so far down the tree? What are they gittin' in there down toward the base of the tree? It seems backward that such a big bird scootches all the way down the trunk to make those huge holes...

Oh I am so rooting for the beavers. When will we learn not to displace every living thing that isn't us?
And good for Baker, making his small contribution to the diverted stream. Tee hee!

Now I know which woodpecker made that hole in a tree I found over the weekend! Thanks Science Chimp

(I said EEEYEEEWW for the mouse mummy too!)

I see those kinds of holes around here and I know they are Pileated as well.I've watched pileated woodpeckers make them! I think Geoff Hill and his grad students may have seen a number of Pileated holes looking like those which they have misidentified as the work of Ivory bills. Pileateds strip the bark around the holes like that!
But I still believe I will eventually discover them in Florida!

Oh, and do I ever like beaver dams! Thanks for that!

Something kind of 'Egyptian' about that mouse mummy. Any gold artifacts?

I'm rooting for the possum who's foraging for food among my several neighbors' yards.

I'll add your beavers to my prayer list.

Photos of airborne kids are my favorites.

I'll toss in my good juju for the beavers too, and add that I laughed out loud at the shot of Baker!

Phoebe looks exactly like a young colt, all legs and energy. Liam--what a great kid! I too try to encourage curiosity about natural things with Em, but she's more of a big-picture seer than a tiny-details person. Still--she would've been eeewwwing right along with Phoebe.

I've seen Pileateds working at the bases of trees, too. I've been told they're diggin' for Carpenter Ants.

Is it crazy to say that I love that mummified mouse? I love that its innards are intact. What a cool find.

Great photos of the kids jumping the creek. Their exuberance is a joy to see. Life is good, yes.

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