Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Beaver Ate My Trees

Yep, we are still fighting beaver on my lakeside place. You'd think on a 50,000-acre lake with hundreds of coves, that this beaver would find someplace else to take his mission. The Clarks have declared war on the furry bastard.
When we bought this land six years ago, we selectively cleared, reshaped, drained and landscaped three acres - reclaiming it from poison ivy and beetle-infested pines. Damn hard work. I can work a  hacksaw, ax and shovel with the best of them.

We bought and planted two dozen flowering cherry trees only to have all but three die due to poor soil. One in particular, however, thrived. In five years, it grew an eight-inch thick trunk and a 15-foot canopy. A glorious thing to behold in the spring.

At the other end of the place we planted a pear. A deer yanked a major branch one night and split the trunk, and I treated, babied and tied it until it grew back. Twelve feet tall in four years. Last year it made its first pears - two.

Add to that four crape myrtles - two years old - bright red reflecting beautifully against the water in the summer. They'd begun to thicken up nicely. Buds indicated a strong showing for June.

All slain in the path of a beaver in the course of ten days. I teared up at sight of my full-bloom cherry tree on the ground, wood shavings scattered for a five-foot radius around the trunk.

I wanted to kill that animal.

Then I stopped and thought. He was here before me. He gathered the best limbs and trees that suited his purpose. Just because mine were slaughtered in his path wasn't his fault. He had to fulfill his mission to build a home with the right material, to create the best result, satisfy the other beavers.

If I was to make an anology about all this, and I've been known to turn anything into a writer's lesson, I'd call some publishers and agents beavers. If I wanted to be evil, I'd paint them with gnashing yellow teeth, claws, squinty eyes and ugly scaly-looking tails. I'd call them destructive, a blight on Mother Nature's ...um, authors' plans.

Instead, I put metal protection around the base of my remaining trees. I surrounded the bottoms of the trees that have been cut down, because they put out new growth. When I plant new trees, I understand how to keep a beaver's wrath at bay.

In other words, putting this in writer's terms, I've learned from the pain and decided to write better so that no beaver hones its teeth on my work. And never will I allow a beaver to completely destroy my effort to the point I don't regroup and plant again. Instead, I arm myself with the proper knowledge to keep me gardening.

And the beaver moves on to another locale, leaving my babies to thrive in the arms of birds and squirrels who appreciate my trees for what they have become - beautiful.

8 comments:

Sioux said...

Way to take a negative and turn it into a positive...

(The photo you've chosen actually has the beaver look like it's plotting. Great picture.)

The Sprouting Acorn said...

Nice analogy…
(Although, I'm thinking the photo is actually of an otter)

widdershins said...

There's always a third option.

Kathleen Ewing said...

Sorry, Hope. That's not a beaver in the pic. It's an otter.

Hope Clark said...

Yes, I know, but I couldn't find any evil-looking beavers!

Susan said...

That was a good post, Hope. You hate destructive beavers like I hate the wretched squirrels around here. They are ruthless and lunched heartily on daffodil bulbs that would have made beautiful flowers this spring. Finally, chicken wire deterred the little munchers. Take care and good luck with the trees. Sounds like you've done a lot of work on the land. Susan p.s. I would never have known an otter from a beaver! ha!

Anonymous said...

I'm telling you, that ain't a beaver. It's an otter.

Valerie B said...

Oh, Hope, you made me laugh! I live next to woods and I am privy to many wild creatures and I delight in having close encounters with deer, turkey, groundhogs (one adopted my husband), rabbits, birds and everything else (I once saved a mouse!). I made the mistake of thinking I could have a simple vegetable garden, but my woodland friends decided it was their garden too and all I ended up with for the fruits of my labors was about 5 unscathed green beans. I could have rebuilt the garden like Fort Knox, or killed the "pests", but I didn't because I realized I share this space with them. I'm in their world as much as they're in mine and when it comes down to it, we both want the same thing - to survive. I'm glad instead of taking negative action against the beaver, you were able to stand back and realize this too.