We're modern day pioneers, Boo and I, except for the small fact the bank owns our soul, we never actually participated in the construction of our home and I try to avoid as much manual labour as possible. In fact, I make a really lousy pioneer woman, although I look kinda cute in an apron.
Our yard is our paradise, if paradise is defined by 20 acres of forest, un-mowed lawn and a garden filled with a lovely assortment of weeds. I couldn't ever imagine living anywhere else, somewhere tame. I like my property rough and wild. Just like I like my ... er, never mind. Family blog and all that.
Over the years, we've had a variety of wild life run-ins, and we've learned to live with dogs that bark at everything that moves outside our windows. There is a lot of wildlife that lives outside our windows. Especially that one damn squirrel that literally dances on our living room windowsill just to taunt and torture our dogs.
We've had bear in the yard, cougar, and once, an jailbird wild boar with scary-arse tusks who was on the lam from the law (or the farmer who owned his arse). We've got deer and a herd of moose hanging out in my trees pooping on my lawn. There is a den of red tailed fox living at the end of our driveway, picking off our kittens one by one.
Then there are the birds, the skunks, the porcupines, rabbits and coyotes that all wander around the joint only to wander out again.
Animals, I have them. It's like I live in a damn zoo, really. And that's not even counting the teenagers inside the house that like to rattle their cages and make me twitch.
But there has been one animal that has never caused me any grief. It's never pooped on my lawn, nibbled on my garden's bounty, sprayed my dogs, ate my kittens or tore open my trash.
This animal has been the perfect neighbour, silent in its proud majestic nobleness.
It is the mighty beaver, Canada's national animal and my imaginary spirit guide. (That is, if I had a spirit guide.)
On the back edge of our property, our forest stops and the water begins. What was once a tiny lake is now just a giant pond, filled with goose poop and cattails. For the first time in years, we've our very own beaver dam.
For the most part, we've always been able to cohabitate peacefully with our wild life neighbours. I expected nothing different when I learned the beaver had set up camp in our muddy waters. After all, the beaver are a peaceful creature and surely they would know how I worship them.
My husband was less than certain the beaver would make friendly neighbours. Personally, I believe it's because he's carrying the guilt of many years of blowing up beaver dams in his heart. He has no real respect for the buck toothed kings of Nature and secretly, I'm sure he fears these wild animals and the retribution they seek on behalf of their deceased ancestors my husband has blown to smithereens.
Boo insists I need medication and informs me it is because the proud beaver have built their dam dangerously close to the pump we have down there to suck up the pond and water my garden and my flower beds. Something about the noise of the motor combined with the fact we are stealing their water would anger the mighty beaver.
"Carry a stick down with you when you go down to start the pump," he warned our children, thereby instilling a fear of beaver into our kids.
"Ignore him. You never have to fear a beaver. They are a peaceful loving creature," I argued against my wildly prejudicial husband.
My children have all but refused to go down and start the pump. Turns out the image of an angry beaver out weighs the image of a loving docile beaver. Damn you Boo.
So it's been delegated my job to go start up the pump, make peace with the beavs, and then wrangle our hose to water my weeds.
I wandered down to the swamp, with out a stick (because I am a brave beaver lover) and marveled at the majesty of the dam my flat tailed friends had so beautifully constructed. I swatted mosquitoes and hummed softly to myself as I bent over to start our water pump.
And that's when I made eye contact with my proud and noble friend.
I do believe it hissed at me.
I backed away slowly as the pump started up with a furious roar and kept track of my new friend out of the corner of my eye.
And the little shit charged me. For the record, the beaver moves a hell of a lot faster than those nature shows would lead you to believe.
I hotfooted it out the area, laughing while a beaver scampered behind me, smacking his (her? how can you tell?) tail loudly behind me as it gave chase.
Once I made it up to the house, I was sweaty, out of breath from laughing and slightly annoyed with my new neighbours. After years of paying homage to my beautiful friend and this is how it treats its number one fan? I was indignant. And grateful my legs were longer than his.
My kids saw me run into the house like my arse was on fire and immediately asked what was wrong. Laughing I told them, somewhat sheepishly, that their father had been correct and instead of having peaceful new pets we literally inherited a clan of rabid beavers.
"Didn't you carry a stick like Dad said to?"
"No. Stick schmick. I don't need no stinking stick for protection. The beaver is no match for me," I declared like the arse I am.
Fric eyeballed me in my ratty shorts and dirty tee, sweaty, out of breath, with scratches on my legs and twigs in my hair and raised her eyebrow.
"What?" I asked, while surveying my image in the mirror hanging in our front entrance.
"You know, you shouldn't taunt the wild life Mom. It's not nice."
"Excuse me? I did no such thing. There was no taunting. I went down, quiet as a mouse, started my pump to get my water and the greedy beaver decided he didn't want to share the natural resources your father and I rightfully purchased!"
"Really Mom? Really? Have you looked at your legs? The poor beaver probably caught one look at your unshaven stumps and thought to himself 'Wow, look at those furry trees. They'd make a mighty fine addition to my home.'"
I looked down and realized exactly how hairy my unshaven legs were.
"Whatever. That beaver was just blinded by my beauty and felt threatened."
"Ya sure Mom," my kid dryly replied as she rolled her eyes. "That or it really couldn't see the forest for the trees."
The next day I found a new razor on my bathroom counter with a note attached: Do it for the Beaver. It's Be Kind to the Wild Life Week.
Damn beavers. They always ruin everything.