Thursday, June 9, 2011

After Dinner

Summer is here and I am going to try to post once a week. Yesterday eve was lovely and so rather than back shortbread for the strawberries, we rallied outside for a walk.

We headed down to the summer bridge site (not in yet; still waiting on the water drop) and decided to go canoeing. The canoes were still there from the teammates visit last weekend, so we flipped one over headed upstream toward the ford. Just past the willows and under a medium-sized ash, there is a deep excavation were the beavers have dug a den. It is hard to see up inside with the brightness out and the darkness in, but the claw marks of the beavers are scoured all across the margin with the water. Interestingly, there weren't any beaver sticks lying around. Maybe its otters instead. I'm still trying to sort out raccoon, otter and beaver tracks and these weren't full prints, so there was no way to tell.

Done with canoes, we headed over to Evening Sun Beach. Evening Sun just formed this past winter. The creek is always shifting and moving like a hose writhing across a lawn. This year it threw up a big, west-facing sand bar just above the giant logs the Forest Service put in to provide structure and salmon habitat. I hacked through the blackberries and we traipsed across the big logs to the beach. Lucie immediately undressed and started playing in the water. Helen and Opal began to explore underneath the logs. Mizu and I weeded canary grass. Opal got brave enough clamber on the logs by herself and realized she could jump the six feet down onto the sand without getting hurt. Helen sloughed off a chunk of bark to reveal a swarming ant colony. After they'd run off, she found a crawdad carcass/slough to poke with a stick. The stink determined it was a carcass.

Time for bed. On the way back across the pasture we stopped to swing on the rope swings hanging from the wedding tree. It was my turn to exercise, so Mizu put the girls to bed and I went for a bike ride. It was still a lovely evening, but the high point was watching a family of beavers for about ten minutes. There is a flat stretch in the road above our house where the creek and the road run parallel for a couple hundred yards. I love looking in the water at that stretch, particularly during salmon season because it is so easy to see into. Last night I was rewarded by three beavers just chilling. They spent about 80% of their time grooming, scratching, licking, rubbing. They had an incredibly human way of sitting on their haunches and scratching their chest with both front paws and an incredibly doggy way of scratching the side of their belly with their hind feet. (A fat, fat, fat dog.) They did a little snuggling and grooming of each other. They'd kind of circle hug in the water and gnaw gently on each other. They ate a little, mostly gnawing on sticks that I assumed were willow, but that Mizu who has also watched these beaver, thought were blackberries. I also saw them eating canary grass!

Then home. I made a Manhattan and read while Mizu worked.

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