A recent light but steady rain raised the creek level a bit:
The sound of rushing water made tiny light bulbs appear over the heads of several beavers:
This is a bad, bad, bad location for a dam. Flooding here could affect the neighbor's property, and would likely damage the gate that (sometimes) keeps their cows from visiting.
So one beautiful day last week I decided to do some deconstruction:
When I told my husband what I'd been doing he had a "Are you insane?!" sort of reaction, since I'd been having so many back problems lately. And especially since it was beaver-dam removal that had initiated his need for $25,000 worth of back surgery a few years ago.
But this partially completed dam was in such an open area that I really was able to approach it just like playing Jenga: slide the sticks out, rather than lift. No back pain at all.
In fact, it felt so nice outside that I went back in the afternoon and worked some more:
You can see at lower right that I conveniently left all the sticks just lying there for easy retrieval by the beavers. But no attempts were made to rebuild, since (as I suspected) this dam had already been abandoned... they must have switched all their labors to that mammoth 8-foot tall one downstream.
And I was right, it didn't cause any more back pain. What I hadn't counted on though, was the fact that I was doing a lot more bending from the waist than normal. Using leg muscles that did not normally get so much of a workout... those sadly neglected muscles screamed at me about that for about 3 days straight.
One of my tracking books said that you rarely find beaver scat, since it's almost always left underwater. The beavers left me an educational exhibit, but just in case not everyone is interested in examining beaver poo, I've linked the picture here.
I want to save some of these nice straight sticks to use in the garden. The shorter ones will go to a neighbor of my sister's, who uses them in her artwork.