[This is the first of two or maybe three posts, that together tell a saga.]
It is November, and I am now cocooning, planning a bathroom painting project, stocking the freezer, and knitting a Christmas stocking for my granddaughter. But a beaver’s version of settling in for the winter is much harder work.
They survive the cold months largely inside their lodge, built of sticks and mud, with an underwater entrance. This is much more work than choosing the right paint color. The supply chain logistics are formidable.
First you cut down your tree(s):
If necessary, you drag them cross-country, including down steep hills, to the water’s edge:
You cut off all the small branches (see later), but don’t waste all that nutritious cambium. Then you chew off all the outer layers from the trunks that are too big to use.
The middle-sized branches and slender trunks are cut into pieces small enough to manage:
Finally, you float everything useful down the canals that you’ve created through the rushes, to your distant lodge:
Once you have your raw materials in place, you have two tasks. Get the lodge watertight and cosy, and lay down food supplies for the winter. And that is the subject of my next post.