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11/16/2004 Archived Entry: "Beavers"

Beavers use bags of bucks for building dam. "Busy beavers found a use for thousands of dollars stolen from a Greensburg casino and thrown into a creek, authorities said Sunday night. Beavers building a dam on the creek apparently tore open one of three money bags and wove many of the bills into the sticks and brush of their dam." I wish the dams built by beavers on our gravel road were so laudable. As it is....

we do battle on a yearly basis with those flat-tailed vermin. And, no, I am not being "harsh" on the beaver issue. Those cute little industrious creatures that most people have met through Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" are just that: Disney creatures. Actual beavers can weigh over 60 pounds and measure up to three feet from nose to tail-tip. When backed into a corner, they become vicious, using their tail as ballast and balance to free up all four paws that slash at you as it rears up. Beavers have injured my dogs, cut down my favorite shade tree, half-submerged a neighbor's farm...I could run on and on. My most proximate neighbor does yoewoman's work each year in ridding the area of beavers. (Her property is the most ideally suited for Beaver dams and, so, she bears the brunt of any immigration.) Beaver dams are incredibly difficult to tear down. Beavers take young tree trunks that are about 1-2 inches wide and plant the ends deep in the stream's bed and other stabilizing places. Then they weave smaller branches in and out of the structure, rather like basketweaving. Then they meticulously pack the woven barrier with thick clay-like soil and sometimes stones so that there are no openings through which water can flow. And then they plaster the clay with leaves, bark, paper...anything that gives the cement-like filling protection from being washed away by the water's flow. It is at this last stage that the beavers would have used money on the dam. Those who tried to tear down a medium-sized dam know that it takes hours and leaves you exhausted. The worst part: if you come back the next day, its almost built up again. So I guess the industrious part of the Disney image is. But industry toward an *evil* end is not a virtue.

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