It's Canada Day.  The day when we enjoy fabulous weather.  Blue skies.  Hot.  And if we live in the paradise called Barrie, we can swim or row or hike or bike or enjoy great fireworks.  Our national symbol is the red Maple Leaf on our flag.  And the Beaver.

After helping Kid Two and partner move, we packed a cooler, grabbed the dog and headed north to our own piece of heaven on Georgian Bay.  We share this space with lots of wildlife--bears, rattle and fox snakes, deer, fox, water animals.

When you own a cottage,  there's always work to do.  My current project is moving rocks from one location and dropping them in a long line (about 40 feet of length) under the water to form a breakwater (ultimately) for our dock.

This will take the rest of my life. Every time I'm out in the kayak I try to move 100 rocks (by kayak trips) and so far, for the past four years, I've managed to do this.  The first part of my wall is just starting to break the water.

[I must take a moment to tell you there is limited support among my First Husband, and Kid One, Two and friends for this project]

Anyway, I'm just setting the scene.  Moving my final load of rocks, I see something floating towards me.  I squint.  It looks like it might be an animal.  Or a log.  I paddle over to my wall and dump the rocks. I get up on the dock and see that this 'thing' is floating towards me.  I still can't tell what it is; I want it to be a log.  But I think it's an animal.  First Husband comes down to check things out.

It's a Beaver!  Canada's symbol.  Canada's sorry symbol in this case, because it's not alive. About 40-50 pounds, its tail is almost as long as its body.  We had no idea what had happened to it.

Now, when you're in a water-based cottage on the Canadian shield you have no roads and little soil.  Burying a beaver isn't possible.  We spent the rest of Canada Day dealing with Canada's symbol.  We couldn't leave it in our shoreline--dog!  We didn't want to send it floating along to our neighbours--grandchildren and dogs.

We got in our motorboat and we scooped the kayak paddle under the beaver and slowly motored towards a nearby, uninhabited island.  Our goal was to deposit the beaver on the windward side so it didn't float off to other cottages.  This is not a simple thing to do.  The beaver was rolled off the paddle and spun  around in the water.  It took many backups, many scoops to transport Canada's symbol over to its final resting place.

This just felt like the worst thing to happen to a Beaver on Canada Day.  Finally, we deposited Canada's symbol on the reedy shore of a little island and trusted that nature would take its course.

We have a lot of beavers in our area.  With water levels dropping every year, they've built an entire 1000 foot wall in our back bay, about 6 feet high and created a 2 acre lake which now houses many beaver lodges.  We are humbled by their ingenuity and their social system.  When beavers tackle a project as big as a 1000 foot wall, who's the leader?  Who decides when they're finished?  And who got the bright idea to leave enough of a trough that they can still travel from their lake to the open waters of Georgian Bay?

So, you see, we're in awe of these creatures.  Dealing with a dead beaver on Canada Day just isn't right!

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