Journal for November 23, 2006

The beavers have made a huge lake by damming the creek just south of our driveway. Fortunately the creek is still running fast under the driveway and for about another 10 yards before it gets to the lake, so we don’t have to tear out any beaver dams – yet.

We watched two beavers swimming around, surveying their territory. Later when I went closer to investigate, I found paths where the beavers slide their sticks down to the water.

And there’s a patch of muddy bank (covered with muddy paw prints), which I think must be their lodge. It’s covered with mud, and it looks like there’s an underwater entrance.

The beavers have been using the willows that grow along the creek to build their dams.

Here’s the main dam – it’s 5 or 6 feet wide at the base, 4 to 5 feet high, and about 15 feet wide at the top.

There’s a big pile of fresh willow and red osier sticks – probably a winter food stash – floating in the lake.

Here’s a view of Pine Point in the beaver’s lake.

Gun deer hunting started on Saturday in Wisconsin, so all our neighbors are here, and the valleys echo with gunshots. We stay on the road or in our protected valley, and wear bright blaze orange whenever we go out. We have some friends who will hunt on our place later this week – hopefully they’ll be able to keep the deer population under control for another year.

Our car was hit by a deer this week. We didn’t hit the deer; it hit us. It was after dark, and we were going very slow because Buffalo County has so many deer. We saw the deer and slowed down even more, so we were only going about 10 miles an hour. The deer didn’t even hesitate – it raced down the hill, slammed into the side of the car and then went running off into the trees. It didn’t look hurt at all, and we kept driving, but the car’s fender was crumpled.

Mike spent several days this week setting up a weather station for the farm. The station itself is in front of the house, and it has a wireless connection to his computer.

Now we can check on the weather, and even get our own weather forecasts. We had the stations up on the internet for a while, but it’s difficult to keep the links working.  Now we can check them at the farm, but not from the internet.

The wind speed and direction from this weather station aren’t very accurate because it’s down at the bottom of the valley. We’re going to put another station up on top of Western Prairie – it should get more accurate wind data and it will be interesting to see how much difference there is in the temperature between the two places.

I finished cleaning all the seeds except Whorled Milkweed. Here are my shelves full of seeds.

Now I’m ready to start dividing them to get ready for planting.