The beaver is a large, semi aquatic rodent. It is the largest rodent in North America. It is clever, hardworking, stubborn and at this point, winning. All summer we tried to discourage the beaver that came to live on our pond. In the evenings, after dark, we'd go down to the damn and make noise, smack the water with a paddle, and do our best to chase him away. He'd smack the water back at us, loudly with his tail. Then swim back and forth along the dam until we headed up the hill to the house. Each morning, often with my first cup of coffee, I'd don my rubber boots and head down to the dam to clean out the past nights endeavour. By the end of the summer, we had to use the bucket on the tractor to move away the piled high sticks and mud that I'd hauled onto the bank from the overflow pipe. The spillway was more of an issue. This he'd dam with larger material. Sometimes it would take two of us to move the water soaked logs he'd pushed into place the night before. As the weeks went by, and not helped by the extraordinarily wet season we were having, the dam grew soggier. I worried. I fought back. So, did the beaver.
In desperation, we decided to electrify the spillway.
That did work to keep the water flowing. And, if what I read is true, I take great pleasure in thinking about the discomfort and frustration that the sound of the running water must cause him. Small victory, indeed.
I figured that if we could find his lodge, we'd have more to use against him. Beavers, it turns out, don't need a home until winter. We searched.
Eventually, in late summer, we found a place on the island that he'd begun building and an underwater log storage area for his winter food. We worked hard, daily polling our raft over to the island and removing the saplings he was accumulating. Most days, his night's work filled the raft.
As we stole his cache, he upped the ante. The trees he felled became larger. My willows disappeared.
As he built his lodge, we poked holes in it, we sprinkled coyote piss around the perimeter, and even put some inside. Still his stash grew. Above water and below.
At this point, we haven't seen him in months. He works only after dark. I hear him.
I give. Cry Uncle... but to a rodent???