Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Dam Good Weekend!

This adventure actually happened at Leahaven, our Alabama get-away farm, but it belongs here.  Any resemblence to Zephyr Hill characters is purely intentional.  Names have not been changed to protect the guilty!
We arrived at Leahaven Friday afternoon, unloaded the car, and headed out for a walk.  As we got to the stock pond, we were astounded to see it so full that it was encroaching on the road, seeping into the tire ruts.  "I wonder if something is blocking the outflow," Herb said.

Sure enough, it was!  Dam!  We have beavers!  I was dam delighted; Herb much less so!  He's dam unhappy about the water soaking the road (which is actually on the dam that holds the pond), making it soft and vulnerable to damage from the weight of the tractor going over it.

Have you ever drawn a beaver dam when you were a kid?  You drew a bunch of sticks, right?  Well, I was astonished to see that there was actually more mud and debris than there were tree branches and trunks.  Those that are there seem to be placed more as buttresses, sticking down into the ground below the dam, than serving as the actual fabric of the dam.   Up close you can actually see the teeth marks that stripped the bark from them!  I went online last night and learned a lot about beavers.  The dam actually holds back the pond to make it deep enough for them to build a lodge somewhere in the pond, and that is where they actually live.  They have at least two underwater chambers--one for drying off, and one for living in!  Pretty smart, huh?  Who wants to sleep in a wet bed?!  They store bark in their lodge to eat throughout the winter.  And they mate for life!  There are also some pretty scary videos online of beavers attacking people, so if we ever get to actually see them, I'm definitely using the telephoto lens!

Zephyr immediately realized that she can now walk across the pond!  She proceeded to do so, several times.  Much as I marvel at the beavers' constructions skills, I don't think they planned for a 20 lb. dog to walk on their dam, so of course bits of it came loose and allowed water to wash over it.  I decided it would be fun to see if they would repair it overnight or whether they were hibernating.  Keep reading and then you tell me, do you think beavers hibernate?

On the left is Friday's picture after Zephyr damaged the dam. On the right is the same view on Saturday.  Pretend you're a kid again, reading "Highlight" magazine in the doctor's office:  Can you spot the differences?

I wish I could say that Zephyr left the poor beavers alone after her first exploit, but she is a real home-wrecker!  She did it again, so I guess they didn't get to sleep much last night!  Google told me that they usually work at night.  I guess that's where "busy as a beaver" comes from!  They also dig channels to help them swim back and forth with branches, so I guess that would explain the run-off channel being deeper than it used to be!

The fate of the beavers is still being debated between Herb and me.  Stay tuned to find out who wins!  Will this monogamous couple get to keep their dam, or will it be destroyed?  Hint:  Google is on my side!  Go google "beaver dams" and see why!


  1. PS I just showed this post to Herb and asked, "Could you honestly cause so much strife in the life of this monogamous couple?" And he said, "Yes!" Truly heartless!

  2. I love the post and can't wait to meet my busy beaver relatives!

  3. I'd love to actually see them! Only with my telephoto lens, though, and if you don't know what I mean, go look up "beaver attack" on YouTube!


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