We're in the midst of a bathroom/bedroom remodel at the moment. It's not as arduous as a kitchen-remodel but more bothersome than a room add-on. I miss my bed and my nesting materials on the night stand. Mostly I just hate that darn dumpster in the driveway.

Prior to taking on yet another remodel, there was talk of countertops, tile and tubs. There was the zip-zap sound of the measuring tape, and lots of gesturing. Eventually it was agreed that the architect should have his say, because if we've learned anything after all our houses and homes; it's that the details will get you every time.

Then came more talk about  fancier concepts like integrity, resolution and transition. That brought on more gesturing.

Then they just jackhammered out the old bathroom, which of course cracked the walls in the entry hall. Not having just fallen off the remodeling boat yesterday, I didn't even flinch. I'm always simply grateful when the house doesn't blow up.

To escape the dust and noise we took a walk over to the creek to check on the ice. While we were there I checked on the beaver lodge too, and true to the saying, the beavers were busy. The beaver lodge never ceases to amaze me. A massive behemoth of sticks and mud, this one sits below the boardwalk for our observation and pleasure. How many times does one get such a perspective?

I like to think how the twiggy homes vary from place to place according to available vegetation and debris, this one given a little flourish with the addition of red-twigged dogwood branches. And then you might ask, if there is competition, a sort of keeping up with the Jones', especially when you see the ambitious aftermath of some undertakings.

But I can't help but wonder about the beaver and his inner architect? How does he know to do that and how does he do that? You can read about the physical adaptations that allow them to accomplish such a feat; goggle-like membranes for the eyes, a flat tail for balance not unlike a built-in campstool, and lips behind the teeth to avoid drowning while swimming with sticks. Don't forget the thick, oily fur for insulation from the cold.

Yet what tells him to build dams? Supposedly the rushing stream and  the sway of the current triggers the urge to still the waters. Beavers are associated with healthier bodies of water; cleaner water and abundant plant life. The flip side is the damage to trees and the flooding they cause.

Their pelts were the reason behind the push of settlement in Minnesota. Funny enough, they are a renewable resource, more sustainable than the petroleum-based faux fur we are forced to wear in deference to new thought.

Astoundingly the beaver is only second to man in his ability to manipulate his environment to such a degree. Is it just instinct or some cumulative memory that tells him to do this and how? Do the beaver and his wife have those discussions about where the door should be and how high the ceilings should go? Perhaps I am the only one out Minnetonka way, kept up at night with questions about these buck-toothed little engineers.  Maybe I just need my own bed back.









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