As newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver moved into our backyard here in the black hole just outside Harmony Grove in the spring of 2022.
The oversized rodents who had eyes only for each other were cute.
Soon however, our lives were turned upside down as our tranquil little piece of heaven broke out into an all out war over, you guessed it, a dam.
After several victories and several more defeats, the mister and missus became our back deck evening talk as my sweet Sven and I plotted and mapped out our plans to coexist with these neighbors from hell.
We did not wave a white flag or hold our hands up but, our last tactic was, let's just live and let live.
After all the fighting we realized that it was not the end of the world for our pond to rise three feet and a few trees to be felled and others to slowly turn brown and die from foot rot as the water filled in around them.
At least not the end of our world.
We also discovered it was not that big a deal that the first section of the pier floated away.
We hardly ever used it anyway.
And with it sitting just on top of the water, so many turtles, ducks and geese seemed to enjoy it.
Our only real worry was the driveway.
While Mr. Cleaver spent most of his nights plugging up the culvert that runs underneath it we spent a good portion of our days unplugging it.
The winter proved to be cold and snowy and relaxing.
But then along with the spring of 2023 came a drought and a set of fuzzy tattle-tale brothers, Wally and Theodore, with buck teeth just like their ma and pa. They began splashing around in the pond behind our house and the battle over the culvert picked up right where it left off.
I learned a lot this summer.
"Sven, you just have to make a pinhole of a leak," I said. "That way that bastard doesn't come rushing out to plug it up with heavy machinery and super glue."
And so the pattern went.
I would create a small leak, he would patch it up. I would create a small leak, he would patch it up.
Things were running quite smoothly. We neighbors were getting the yin and the yang of it.
The water level that had once creeped all the way up to the metal ferry stake in our backyard started to recede ever so slowly.
And there it stayed.
The rusted arch was no longer submerged.
"It would be better if the pond was about three inches lower than this," said Sven.
"Mr. Cleaver does not want it three inches lower than this."
One day I noticed that nobody was plugging up my incredible sneaky little leaks that I was so proud of. No one was cutting down any more trees. And there were no babies splashing around.
Grief took over as I searched for signs of our annoying neighbors who had moved in and ransacked the place.
"Do you have anything to do with their disappearance?" I asked point blank.
"Get real," said Sven.
Our backyard has not always been perfect.
It is a pond after all, not a heated pool with a water slide and fountain. By June it is typically a Petrie dish with a bubbling brew of whatever makes this world go round.
Mr. Cleaver had transformed it into something that almost qualifies as beautiful.
If it had not been for all his hard work, with the lack of rain this year, the spring fed body of water would have dried up into nothing but a plate of the blackest and smelliest mud on this here planet, hatching Guinness Book records of mosquitos and horseflies.
Beavers create reservoirs. They also dig tunnels along the banks in case there are torrential rains, so if flooding were to occur, the excess water would run into these spaces, keeping the level consistent with their needs.
I continued to mope.
Every morning I would check out the situation.
The water was always running through the culvert at a sweet little steady rate.
"Maybe they decided to move because that crazy lady wouldn't stop messing with their dam," said Sven.
Sven is doing just fine without the Cleavers.
And then about a week ago I went to check the water flow like I always do.
To my dismay, someone had piled black mud, thick and heavy with branches, all along the stone wall.
Someone who meant business.
"I am so happy!" I screamed.
"You are insane."
I still have not caught sight of any of the Cleaver family. I still wonder where they are spending their time. And I still wonder if it was something I said.
But, I have hopes and dreams and aspirations of building bridges and knocking down dams for years to come.
Because I can.
Keep your fingers crossed.
Find more stories about the adventures of Millie and Sven and the beavers, click above on The Cleaver Family.
Thanks for reading.