more back road adventure ~

Yesterday was my last day as a tag along with Dear Hubby ~ running the back roads of the north woods with him on his trap line.  Today he's pulling traps.  His spring beaver trapping season is over.

We drove through some pretty muddy and rutted up roadways on his quest of the beaver ~ 90 miles of it each day.  If the roads weren't muddy ... they were flooded ...

or had obstacles in them .. like rocks (popped up from frost heaves) ... big enough that had to be navigated around.  Even the "good" roads were rough in places and sometimes it felt like you were riding on a roller coaster ...
I kept my camera ready ... never knowing what was around the next bend in the road.

Mother nature didn't disappoint.  Every day I saw something that I wouldn't have seen had I just stayed home and let Dear Hubby go alone.

I thought this was kinda funny ~ It's a real estate sign ... pointing down the holes of a badger den.

Each day we walked past this rock too ... that I  would LOVE to have in my flower garden ...

I just love the looks of it. I even posted about this same rock last   It has such character .. grooves carved out of it from flooded waters over the centuries.  Too bad it's too big and too far down the creek to negotiate into the back of the pick up truck ... or I'd be snagging that little bugger :)

I did find this little chunk of granite to bring home and tuck into my flower bed somewhere:
Around another bend in the road ...
We ran into one of the guys that works for the county road crew.  He was out pulling the grates that are on the ends of the culverts to keep the beaver out.  He and Dear Hubby were chatting about the beaver ~ and where the grates were going to get pulled.  I sat in the truck to sip on some hot coffee and to warm up.  It was only in the 40's and the wind was pretty nippy.  Guy talk ...

Remember this flooded over beaver pond from my prior post ~

Here it is today after the road crew cleaned off the culvert grate ~ now it's back to it's original creek channel:
That's why they like the trappers to help them out with controlling the beaver.  The beaver can flood over an area and road ways in a matter of days.  It's a huge expense to the county (and us tax payers) to have to keep repairing these roads.  The roads they maintain are mostly the black top roads; but the majority of the beaver are on the roads to the north ~ up in the sticks ~ where the water channels originally flow from ... flow down to those areas.   "Up in the sticks"  that's where Dear Hubby goes to trap to eliminate the damage that happens downstream.
He eradicated about 50 of those troublesome beaver this spring trapping season. Not a glamorous job ~ but one that is needs to be done.

Beaver trapping is a hard, strenuous work out ... crawling through the brush ... up and down the creek beds.  They don't come as easy as Dear Hubby makes it look.  He's good at it.
Me ... I'm just the tag along with the camera ~ keeping him company ~ catching snapshots of whatever we see along the way.

another otter:

some mallards:

flying ducks and geese:

ruffed grouse ... talk about good camo coverage ~

and this trip out ... even a little porcupine ~

I hope you enjoyed the back roads adventure and our little detour of spring beaver trapping.

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


continuing the pursuit ~

We're still at it ... pursuing the over populated, yellow gnarly toothed, web footed, tree killing, disease spreading woods rat - the beaver. 

This morning was an early start ... up at 5:00 a.m.  We wanted to get through some of the back woods roads before they thawed and became mud pits. It froze last night leaving a thin layer of ice on some of the ponds and creeks.

Most of them were still open water ...

Here's this same creek up the road a bit where the beaver have it flooded over ~ right up to the side of the road ~ now resembling a pond.  Last fall this was just a creek channel.

The county road crews can't keep up with keeping the culverts cleaned out from the beaver blocking them with mud and sticks; which causes the flooding.  They are really  happy to have someone like Dear Hubby come along and trap the beaver out of there for them :)

We saw quite a few Canadian Geese today, along with Mallards and Wood Ducks.  Sorry, I was too slow with the camera on the ducks; but did get this nice pic of the geese:

I just love reflections of trees and brush on calm, still waters:

Driving past a field we saw a Sandhill Crane and two humps out in the field that looked out of place.  I snapped off a picture of the field ~

and Dear Hubby put on the brakes to me telling  him ... "back up ~ quick ~ I see something!"

There were two coyotes in the field ... all hunkered down ... sneaking on their bellies towards the sandhill crane.  By time I got zoomed in on them one of the coyotes had already taken off for the woods.

I don't think they were too happy with us scaring off their breakfast.
But ... I think the sandhill crane appreciated our gesture:)

 Up the road a bit we came across these tracks of the coyote's big cousin ... the wolf.

Here's a shot of my foot next to the wolf tracks ~ to give a better perspective of the size of these critters.

Down another road, around some bends and past some swamps ... we came across a flock of hen turkeys ~

Off ... in the edge of the woods was Mr. Turkey ... all ruffled out and strutting about ... calling to his ladies ~

 do you see him?
now do you see him?

It was a good day.

A plentiful harvest.

~ Today and yesterdays catch hanging ... 
the day before's catch on the boards drying ... lining the walls of the workshop.

Time to take the dried pelts off the drying boards ~ and take the yard stick to measure them up ... they sell according to size in inches in diameter ...

brush them clean ...

and get them ready for the fur market

Tomorrow we start all over again with our harvesting of the beaver.

 It a way of life for us in the north woods ~ supplementing our income and doing our small part in the preservation and conservation of the natural resources that the Good Lord has provided.

note:  Beaver trapping, along with all other fur trapping and hunting is regulated by the State of Wisconsin.  You have to attend classes and hold a valid trapping license issued by the state to harvest fur bearing animals. 
My husband is a state certified trapping instructor in conjuction with the Department of Natural Resources.  He has been an instructor for over 15 years.  He also holds a title of a top lot trapper with NAFA (North American Fur Auctions) in Canada.  

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


spring trapping season~

It's that time of the year again ... when Dear Hubby can't sit in the house or his office at work ... it's spring time beaver season ... and a trapping he must go!  Like the generations before him ... he is still a trapper ... and will continue to be a trapper until his dying day.  Our family has always been supplemented by the fur industry.  It's our  livelihood ~ not always understood by many; but a vital important part of management of the natural resources.  Because of controlled management; hopefully our great grandchildren and their great grandchildren will also be able to go out into the woods like we do and see the things we see.

The snow is just about gone in most of the areas we've been trapping in.  You can see a little bit of snow along the ditches ~
The cricks and creeks, ponds, lakes and river are all thawed.  Surprisingly, the water levels though are quite low for this time of the year.  Despite our last snow storm we are still coming off a drought and the water tables are not as full as normal. 
Speaking of cricks and creeks ... do you know the difference?  A crick is a small trickle of water that you can most likely take a running leap and navigate your way across it without getting wet.  A creek, is grander than a crick.  A creek has a span of water too big to leap across from shoreline to shoreline and most times is worthy enough of getting  a name.  Most cricks are smaller tributaries of a larger creek.  At least, that's the way we see them in my neck of the woods :)

This morning we had a live beaver in one of the sets ~ and it was also a black one ... a little rarer than the usual brown.  Still ugly though, if you ask me.  They really are just big old woods rats with webbed feet  ... that love to swim, kill trees, cause flooding and spread disease.

Don't go squeamish on me now ... the following may contain some pics of dead beaver.  Just quit reading my post if it bothers you.

Look at the size of these yellow teeth ... no wonder they can take down a tree in a few chomps as fast as a buzz saw ~
and quite the toenails these beaver have ... here's a pic of the front feet

and a pic of the webbed hind feet ~ or should I say a pic of a hind foot
The back feet of 50+ pound beaver are larger than a human's hand.  With those big webbed feet and canoe paddle tail no wonder they can swim so fast.

Do you know where perfume comes from?  Beaver scent glands is one place ~ do an internet search if you don't believe me ... beaver castors.  Enough on that subject. lol

On to something prettier ~ how about geese?

The Canadian Geese are back in the area ... claiming their nesting grounds along the river.

The Boat Tailed Gracko is also back ~ claiming it's territory for the breeding season and being quite boisterous at that!  Boy... you get a flock of them going in the trees and they are loud.

Although not quite leafed out ... the trees and alder brush are beginning to bloom ~ especially the Pussy Willows.

I love the clustered blossoms of the alder brush ~

We may not be in our full summer and fall colors ~ but color is returning to the north woods after it's winter white and gray:
The days are getting longer .. the sky seems bluer ... the snow and ice are gone and the waters are flowing:

I even woke up a chipmunk this morning from it's sleep ~ when I stepped behind a tree to take a pee ...

and also had an otter looking at me...
Yes, spring has sprung in the north woods ... and I'll be a hard person to track down if I'm running with my man on the trap line.  He's earning a living and I just follow along with my camera.  Can't get much better than that.  I'm loving it!

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.