Sunday, November 14, 2010

Under normal circumstances, “my husband” and “explosives” are not words you want to see in the same sentence.  However, with our beaver problem going from bad to worse, plus the onset of some of the wettest weather Nova Scotia has seen in recent years, the pairing of these phrases became not only acceptable, but necessary.

As I had already returned home, I can only give a second-hand and necessarily vague report of the shady goings-on down at Beaver Dam.  The first round was a fairly straightforward win: with the aid of a keen eye and a great deal of patience, the final score was Paul: 2, Beaver: 0.  The evidence was left at the dam as a warning.

This is all well and good, but word on the street estimated the beaver population along this waterway to be forty-plus.  If this was the case, we needed to find a more permanent solution.  The gravel surface was now almost completely washed away, and if the erosion continued, our road would become a river.  We had discussed various options: a bridge, a bigger culvert, raising the level of the road.  All of these are costly endeavours which require a backhoe, not to mention a wealth of time and material.  Simpler, more immediate action was needed.

Trust me, there’s a reason why Paul’s nickname is Pierce Gibson McGyver.  See, you leave him by himself for a couple of days and he gets bored.  When he gets bored, he thinks up mad solutions for tough problems.  Hmm, he thinks to himself, what would happen if I used my knowledge for good instead of evil?  Ah, what indeed? 

Around the supper hour, a large boom was heard in the vicinity of Beaver Dam.  The theme from “The Dambusters” may or may not have been playing.  The initial percussion caused a small shock wave, giving local blue jays and chipmunks time to scatter.  Shortly thereafter there was an ominous burbling sound, and a huge mass of mud, tree branches and debris rocketed out of the culvert like a cork from a bottle.  Water began to gush through the cleared culvert and almost immediately the flooded area began to subside. 
Here are a few before and after pictures:


Remember this?  Knee-deep ... and this is the road!

The extent of the flooding, with our car to show scale.


That great big lump that looks like a part of the riverbank?  That was tightly packed inside the culvert.

View downstream showing how quickly the water has receded.

The riverbank which was previously completely submerged.

.... and the road is now dry!

The amount of material blocking the culvert was such that we guess it had not been cleared in years.  As well, when we looked at the photos of the waterway when we first saw the property back in February, it’s obviously been quite a few seasons since the water level has been this low.  We’re hoping that now the culvert is clear, as long as we keep it clear, the water will flow under the road the way it was supposed to.  We can’t stop the beaver activity, but as long as we can maintain a dry road, there’s no reason why we can’t co-exist.

In the meantime, if you chance to meet Pierce Gibson McGyver on a dark night, my advice is to be very, very nice to him.