This photograph conveys the essence of a beaver’s summer – eating and grooming… more eating, more grooming. During the summer months, beavers feed on non-woody vegetation (grasses, ferns, aquatic plants, etc.) 90% or more of the time. (During March/April and October/November, their diet switches to 60%-90% tree bark, and during the winter, bark from trees stored under water composes 100% of their diet.)
When beavers are not eating, much of their time during the warmer months is spent grooming, both themselves as well as each other. Combing debris out of their coat (with the help of a split nail on both hind feet) and applying oily material from their anal glands to waterproof their fur consume much of their waking hours, both at night as well as at both ends of the day. (Castoreum, produced in castor sacs, differs from anal gland secretion, and is used primarily to mark territory.) (Thanks to Roger and Eleanor Shepard, and Sara and Warren Demont for photo op.)
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One year ago today my daughter Sadie lost Waylon– her husband, best friend and the father of her son Otis and daughter Lily Piper. In the past twelve months Sadie has showered Otis with love and has given birth to his sister, Lily Piper. Relatives, Naturally Curious readers and friends have given her their love and support but at the end of the day, Sadie has met the challenges of single-parenting by herself: two children in diapers, the demands of a job, daycare, an active toddler, a nursing infant, meals, daily laundering, shopping, etc. While the physical tasks are daunting, she also has lived through every poignant and bittersweet holiday and birthday remembering past ones shared with Waylon. Sadie’s strength, resiliency and passion for her children’s well-being will serve as an inspiration to me for the rest of my life. I am honored to be her mother. Thank you, dear readers, from Sadie, Otis, Lily Piper and myself for your immeasurable help during this first challenging year.