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signs of beavers

wakanomori and I went on a New Year's walk yesterday, and we saw signs of beavers

And out in the lake was the beaver lodge:

"What do you think it's like on the inside of the beaver lodge?" Wakanomori asked last night, when we were heading to bed.

"Well, I'm sure there's a sewing machine," I said.

More broadly, something like this. Excuse the blurring on the left--I scanned this Pauline Baynes illustration from my copy of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Here, courtesy of the University of Vermont, is what it's more likely to look like:

(More pictures here.)

And here's a diagram from liviniginthewetlands.pbworks.com:

... If people lived in beaver lodges, then C.S. Lewis's imagination would be perfect. But for beavers themselves, the lodge as it is is cozy and just right. Imagine beaver stories that conceive of humans as beaver-pomorphized creatures, still living in dry-land houses, yes, but with moats all around them so the humano-beavers can get in swimming, because what kind of life doesn't have swimming, and of course humano-beavers will eat like beaver-beavers, a diet of the soft bits of trees like willows and aspens, as well as water plants like cattails--but not fish. (Sorry, C.S. Lewis; beavers don't fish or eat fish.) Humano-beavers, like beaver-beavers, will, in beaver children's tales, mate for life, and both parents will devotedly raise their offspring.


( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2017 02:43 pm (UTC)
Very cool.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:41 pm (UTC)
It was a good walk!
Jan. 2nd, 2017 02:54 pm (UTC)
When I was younger, I had a book called Delver's Danger that told a story about a somewhat less anthropomorphized family of beavers. It came with a stuffed toy beaver as well, although in my memory the book far outlasted the toy. (No idea what happened to it - probably culled in one of the endless toy giveaway rounds.) Being a Smithsonian imprint, the story prominently featured all sorts of nifty facts about beaver life, including the underwater entrance to the den and the way they slap their tails against the water as a warning signal. To the best of my knowledge, Delver's den did not have a sewing machine in it. :)
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:36 pm (UTC)
That looks like a much more real-world book, and wonderful--even without a sewing machine ;-)
Jan. 2nd, 2017 03:53 pm (UTC)
That is so cool.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah; Wakanomori took a picture of one tree where they had started gnawing at one point, given up, and gnawed across the sapling further up. The result was a stump that looked like a sculpture--beaver art.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:32 pm (UTC)
That is fascinating. It's wonderful to be able to see traces of wild creatures.

There is a group trying to reintroduce beavers to Wales. Apparently there are already small colonies in Scotland and England has wild beavers on the River Otter.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, my brother-in-law helped with the project to reintroduce beavers in some part of England (possibly Kent; I know he worked on a nature reserve there, but it might have been before then, at an earlier place he worked at).

I hope the project in Wales works out; reintroductions can be successful!
Jan. 2nd, 2017 05:16 pm (UTC)
I would love to be able to spot beavers locally, or at least see some of their handiwork.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 06:50 pm (UTC)
How exciting! Your Narnia joke cracked me up.

All my actual beaver sightings have been at sunset; the best was probably at Lake Maria State Park, where a beaver was moving sticks from the bank to its dam on a fairly impressive stream. It was quite unconcerned about us: the road crossed the stream on a bridge, where we were standing, and it was probably accustomed to people watching it.

We once saw juvenile beavers playing in a lake at Lake Itasca State Park, also at sunset; but where the sighting above was all in shadow, this one featured the blinding rays of the setting sun, so the diving and frolicking beavers were just silhouettes in golden water.

Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:12 pm (UTC)
Wow, seeing juvenile beavers silhouetted in golden light would be wonderful, even if you weren't able to make out the details of them.

Once I saw a beaver swimming--I was struck by how large it was.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 06:59 pm (UTC)
As far as I know, there are no beavers locally, although there are rivers and creeks. But they do sound nifty. I love the Eisbibers on GRIMM.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:15 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Grimm, so I went to the Wiki to read up on Eisbibers and they sound like excellent characters--and then I did an image search, and I like how they look, too :-)
Jan. 3rd, 2017 05:58 pm (UTC)
And their personalities -- unrelentingly industrious, innovative, but a bit twitchy around predators -- fit perfectly!
Jan. 2nd, 2017 07:09 pm (UTC)
Nice! The beaver was re-introduced here in 1999, and they're doing well. I haven't seen one yet, though. :)
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:16 pm (UTC)
Glad they're doing well--I love that wildlife can be successfully reintroduced to a place. ("Wildlife, meet your old haunts. Place, meet an old friend from years past.")
Jan. 4th, 2017 04:38 am (UTC)
Hehehe yeah... in this case 1,000 years!

The elk has been reintroduced as well, and the wolf is coming back on its own, bringing the golden jackal with it, but there are a lot more mixed feelings about that.

Jan. 4th, 2017 04:47 am (UTC)
There were jackals in Denmark?! I associate them with hot climates.
Jan. 4th, 2017 05:06 am (UTC)
You're right, it's far north for a jackal (although this one is closer related to wolves than the African jackals). We haven't had a really cold, snowy winter since the 2010/2011 one, though, so that might have something to do with it.

Edited at 2017-01-04 05:07 am (UTC)
Jan. 2nd, 2017 07:56 pm (UTC)
Very cool! I guess the humane-beavers would also be given beaver-like traits, like ambition, jealousy and whimsy.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:17 pm (UTC)
Yikes! Beavers and humans are more similar than I knew.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:02 pm (UTC)
Imagine beaver stories that conceive of humans as beaver-pomorphized creatures, still living in dry-land houses, yes, but with moats all around them so the humano-beavers can get in swimming, because what kind of life doesn't have swimming, and of course humano-beavers will eat like beaver-beavers, a diet of the soft bits of trees like willows and aspens, as well as water plants like cattails--but not fish.

I like your beaver stories.

The photographs are also very lovely.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:18 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you do. And thank you--I like the way that first gnawed stump has a twisted-off look to it, kind of like the end of a tootsie roll or something.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:47 pm (UTC)
I like the humano-beavers very much! Didn't Venice begin as a settlement guarded by impassible-to-strangers swamps? Which is only a short step from the swift dive underwater to get to the entrance to the Doge's palace - and no wonder the marriage to the water-guardians! :)
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:20 pm (UTC)
Haha! Maybe Venetians are humano-beavers!

I only just learned about that marriage-to-the-water-guardians thing the other day, reading a book called Arabian Wine, which is set in early 17th century Venice.
Jan. 4th, 2017 04:04 am (UTC)
Isn't it fun when something one has come across in one context turns up pretty soon after in a totally different context? :)
Jan. 4th, 2017 04:47 am (UTC)
It seems to happen fairly frequently--maybe because once you know [about] a thing, you're primed to notice it.
Jan. 2nd, 2017 10:45 pm (UTC)

This was fun

Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:21 pm (UTC)
I'm glad--you can use some fun these days.

Jan. 3rd, 2017 07:34 am (UTC)
Mr. and Mrs. Beaver were one of my favorite parts of Narnia :)
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:21 pm (UTC)
When my mother first read me The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I loved the beavers' house even more than Mr. Tumnus's house, and yeah, I loved the beavers themselves, too.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 12:04 pm (UTC)
...maybe like the house with the secret watery basement inSheri S. Tepper's Singer from the Sea....
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:29 pm (UTC)
I didn't know the novel, but was interested to read about it on Goodreads. Humano-beavers would definitely not mind--in fact would prefer--watery basements, I think.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 12:07 pm (UTC)
A library would look like a larder.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:30 pm (UTC)
Because humano-beavers would eat the pages?
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, of course! As a sort of confection!
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:38 pm (UTC)
Mmmm--my mouth is watering! I'm imagining the edible paperlike stuff that comes around Torrone candies.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:43 pm (UTC)
Yum! or at least, what the rice paper on Torrone seems like to us. :)
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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