By now you are familiar with our ongoing chess game with the beavers, who want to dam our culverts. While we've reached somewhat of a balance, the game goes on.
During the summer and spring, heavy rains and fast run off spur the beavers into action, and minor work is needed to keep the culverts clear. It's like shuffling pawns. By the end of this summer, I had them in check and was feeling pretty good about things. However, when I took my walk this morning, I found that while I had the beavers in check, Mother Nature stepped in to make their next move for them.
As each winter approaches I look forward to break from the chess game, because the pond freezes, snows covers it, and the beavers are less active. We both need the rest, because we know that it's always the calm before the storm. When the spring rains, the melting, and the run-off find their way to the pond, the water level rises, the dam leaks, the beavers react, and the chess game begins once again.
This morning as I walked along the pond, I noticed that most of last week's six inches of snow had melted and found it's way into the pond, BEFORE it froze. This means we may be starting the winter with a pond level that is considerably higher than it has ever been.
That gave me cause for concern, in terms of spring thaw. The pond level should go down some in the next week or so as it always does after a rain. Still, I wanted to do something in case it didn't or in case Mother Nature decided to get nasty.
During the summer, debris collected in the culvert pipes. This kept the flow from upper pond to lower pond slow enough so that the beavers don't get all worked up about it. I just let it stay there, figuring I would clear it in the spring as is my normal routine, but after seeing the level of the pond, I though that removing the debris could be serve as a mini-safety valve. It would drop the level of the water in the culvert basin by about six inches and in a small way, help the movement of water from upper to lower pond. It won't really do a lot, but whatever it does is better than doing nothing.
Now, if Mother Nature removes herself from our chess game, perhaps we can achieve a stalemate next year. Time will tell.