Friday, March 23, 2012

Beavers. Yes, beavers!

Meg wanted to show me what was going on in the woods by the lake where she lives. A beaver had settled in and she wanted to show me what happens to trees when they get sculpted by an energetic, talented, enthusiastic, driven beaver who apparently has not yet been interrupted with his work.

The beaver would gnaw the trees to a point and position the cut so that the tree would fall towards the lake.....and once it fell, would then complete the job of removing all the bark before floating it to the lodge construction site.

The rest of the trees on this beaver trail of "damstruction" had some of the bark removed prior to being felled.

What that beaver did with just his teeth is incredible...and also exquisite. The wood was so perfectly polished and smooth where it had been cut and where the bark had been removed...I sort of wish I could have brought one of the stumps home and displayed it as an art object because that is what those sculpted trees looked like. Meg admitted to rolling one of the small logs home and hoped the beaver wouldn't miss it.

This tree had a vine wrapping around it which got gnawed off in the same area as the bark that was removed.

This is the back of that tree. Just a little bit more gnawing on the other side will bring this tree down with its top part almost hitting the lake (you can see the lake in the upper left corner).

If you're not already impressed with what those beaver teeth can do, this is a hickory stump. Hickory is a very, very hard wood. It will dull a saw.

This is the rest of the hickory tree on the ground, bark completely removed, ready for shipment.

This beautiful stump of a tree looked like it had been polished. The wood was that smooth. Meg said not to get too impressed with all the trees we had seen so far because there was one at the end of the trail that was the grand finale to this nightly beaver business.

It was a tree that had to be at least a hundred years old. This was the beaver's biggest and most ambitious project yet.

The outer bark had been removed and now the inner wood was being worked on...this would take more than one night to complete (!!!).

And even though this tree was getting killed, it's hard not to just stare with your eyebrows as far up as they will go, and admire what this driven beaver had done.

All of these trees were a short walk from Meg's house and Meg kind of wondered, but didn't really, but kind of thought....why no beaver activity on her land? Well, we discovered he had been busy on her land too. He had just moved on to bigger trees.

There's a reason the word "dam*" goes so well with the word "beaver." Beavers cause so much damage to build their dams but dammit, what they do is pretty amazing.

I was telling Mary V about Meg's neighborhood beaver and Mary said that she and some friends were eating lunch outdoors somewhere in Colorado and while they ate their lunch, they watched some beavers build a dam nearby. By the time Mary and her friends had finished their lunch, the beavers were done building their dam and she insisted that she and her friends were not slow eaters. Beavers are just very fast at getting what they need to get done, done! You just have to beaver-y impressed with what they do, you know?


Leenie said...

Very, very impressive DAM work. I've seen our local beavers do the same kind of engineering around here. If their work conflicts with the city engineers they get packed up and moved out like illegal immigrants. Probably don't even ask to see a green card.

Pix said...

I am impressed Maria! We had beavers nearly take down every tree in our small wooded area at the Lake.

Maria said...

Oh Leenie. I suspect the same thing might happen to this one once the HOA finds out what's going on in the "backyards" of their Tuscany inspired McMansions on the Kansas prairie. :-( There's currently a situation going on with a beaver and an HOA in North Kansas City. The beaver found a drainage pond that is shared by a lot of houses in a neighborhood but the city can't do anything because the pond is on private property.....owned by the HOA. However, the guy who is head of the HOA ran off with all the HOA funds...yet, the neighbors claim not to have a home owner's association. So until things get figured out legally, everybody gets a daily kitchen window view of beaver business.

PIx-You know how I am when it comes to bad animals. I just love to see how far they can go. What those beavers do is pretty amazing though. They're faster than a chainsaw I think. I'm thinking if Stella had a cousin who was a mammal, that would be a beaver. She sure does share that trait of getting something chewed up pretty darn fast...and she doesn't even have teeth! :-P

Cloudia said...

You really have a way with animal portraits!

Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Maria said...

Cloudia-Are you talking about those manipulated ones I did of Violet? That Alice Cooper one kind of gives me the creeps but I will happily take your compliment. :-)