"You are no match for that guy," said my sweet Sven.
"You are only antagonizing him."
I looked at the pile of black, smelly, branches I had pulled out of the inside of the fence that Sven had placed in the pond in front of the culvert.
"Face it," he said. "That beaver wants it more than you do."
I do not know how your summer of 2022 has been. But here in the black hole just outside Harmony Grove, it went like this.
Hunter Bunter, man's best friend, as well as king of the jungle, became one of the worlds dearly departed.
Three days later a bride and groom with matching overbites set up housekeeping in the bank of the pond behind our house. This explained Hunter's strange behavior in his last days, which we had chalked up to senility. Perhaps there had always been an explanation for his sordid ways and all that barking.
We will never know, unless he slips us a note from heaven. If he ever makes his way out of furgatory, that is.
Having furry new neighbors was exciting at the start. Other than clogging up the culvert that runs under our driveway with mud and sticks, they seemed nice enough.
We managed to get it cleared out with a bit of hard work and then a pricey visit from a guy with a truck and a hose with a jet engine propelled power washer to unstop what had been stopped. To ensure it did not happen again Sven clamored around in the not so pleasant water and installed a fence a few feet in front of the culvert.
That pissed off Mr. Cleaver, so he came into our front yard, when Tuna, our watch cat, who is not supposed to be out after dark, was not on patrol, and he took a large bite out of a tree. More fencing was wrapped around the poplars out front.
This kept the Cleavers at bay.
We proudly reclaimed our pier that had been in need of repair and had been submerged for a while on account of the rising water.
Again, the flow was not as fluid as it should have been, so we blasted the shit out of everything with a power washer, which turned out to be lots of fun. But, to no avail.
I ordered a pair of flyfishing waders and joined Sven in the murk in order to clear things up once and for all. We did the best we could leaving a twenty-foot rebar stuck inside the culvert while trying to break through the beaver made wall.
We sat back exhausted. Peace fell upon the black hole. We watched the couple splash around in the water from our back deck and congratulated ourselves for coexisting with such assholes.
But alas, a large tree came crashing down. Thankfully it did not fall across the driveway, so we were not trapped, other than with a chainsaw. There are however several more trees just like it in the vicinity that could cause quite a commotion depending on where they land.
I took advice from my friend Bev and mixed paint with sand, just like the internet explained and painted the chosen poplars that I chose, from the base on up about three to four feet.
Beavers do not prefer to chew on sand. Who does? I remember sandbar camping on the Wisconsin River. It was fun, except for all the grit in our teeth no matter how careful we were.
There is not much that a bucket of paint cannot cure. However, I am not accustomed to getting scratched to smithereens making my way to whatever my canvas may be. In this case it was the chosen trees. Of course, I left some of the good, flavored ones for the Cleavers, just like the internet advised. I would not want anybody starving to death over a little bit of head-butting over a gosh darn culvert.
The sandy paint must have left a bad taste in Mr. Cleaver's mouth.
I think that might be why that douchebag piled branches over and into the culvert side of the fence inside the pond.
This was after he had already plugged up every square inch of our defense with mud.
With a pitchfork atop the driveway, I broke up the perfectly packed in squares of mud as best as I could watching water come trickling through. And I retrieved a wheelbarrow of branches out of the fenced off area.
It was all good.
I was headed that way with all my weapons in the wheelbarrow a couple days later. That is when Sven stopped me and said, "Face it. That beaver wants it more than you do."
"I think you should just leave it alone."
"Maybe there's a level of flow that we can all live with. He cannot completely dam up the pond."
Why had I not thought of this?
This is totally me.
Look the other way.
I do it all the time.
How bad can it get?
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For more Millie and Sven beaver adventure stories click above on The Cleaver Family.