Early this month we joined a group of legislators, conservationists and foresters on a tour of community conservation projects-in-progress in Jefferson County, Washington. About 10 days later we hosted a visit by Dr. Tak Watanabe—an anthropologist at Sophia University in Tokyo who is studying the possibility of community conservation projects in Japan, where the concept doesn’t exist. West met east. The group tour started at the mouth of Chimacum Creek, a salmon stream that had been so badly degraded that the August-breeding population of chum salmon—the summer run—was extinct. Restoring the stream was one of the first large, complex projects
Yogi Berra said it best: “You can observe a lot by just watching.” This week our friend Sarah Spaeth helped us do some watching. She led a tracking workshop at our place for members of Jefferson Land Trust—the organization that she works for and that upholds the conservation easements we’ve placed on our land. Few people in Washington state have done more for conservation than Sarah; she is also one of the best cooks I’ve ever met. But she always maintains that her true obsession is wildlife tracking. She is a protégé of David Moskowitz—perhaps the premier tracker in the
About a half carcass of a beaver splayed open; guts are out, in another pile about 30 yards away.
While clearing trail this morning, brushcutter slung over one shoulder, I came across a murder mystery: a fresh kill. Not more than three steps from the banks of Tarboo Creek, I found a pile of guts. I recognized the stomach, large intestine and part of the small intestine, but the most remarkable thing was the cecum: a sac the size and shape of a Revolutionary War powderhorn; a miniature wine bota. Developmentally and structurally, the cecum is the equivalent of the human appendix. It’s an outpocketing of the gut—a blind sac. Food material that is traveling from the mouth to
Leave it to beavers: They left us. At least, the family that lodged at our place for years disappeared, four years ago. Why? We’ll never know. It must’ve been something we said. Their dam had created a pond that was ducky. And froggy, and kingfishery. But the dam broke in a winter flood, and without the maintenance crew, it stayed broke. The pond drained, leaving a muddy mess rimmed with 50 stark-naked tree trunks, drowned in the formerly high water and now dead to the world. Six months later, that muddy mess had been invaded by an invasive: reed canary