Friday, 14 September 2012

Science Lessons Naturally

This past weekend we were packing up ready to leave a family reunion.  I saw my parents and the rest of my family behind a truck talking to someone. When I came out of the cabin again my mother was waving me to come. I always obey my mom, so down the road I went.

The camp professes to have no dangerous wildlife. If there is a situation where a bear fails to read the no trespassing sign, the trapper on staff quickly removes the threat. The government also uses his services and recently requested him to take some pesky beavers out from a cottager's vicinity because they had the nerve to start making a dam in preparation for their young and protection from the winter.
So there they were, two dead beavers lying on the road behind the truck at the back of the camp property.

Jim was talking passionately about the animals; how they are monogamous and how they want and need just the one home. He explained how the fur used in coats is not taken from a whole animal;  the grade of fur around the neck is of the highest quality then the next section below that is of a little lesser grade and the bottom section is much coarser. When you purchase a beaver article it would be made of many strips from the same part of many beavers and the quality would depend on which section of strips made your coat.

Jim sharing his passion about the wildlife in the area

Jim told us that beaver meat, pound for pound was the highest nutrition for bears bulking up for winter and that the secret to the best show dogs was that they were fed beaver meat. If hunters wish to garner the highest profit and least waste from each animal, they can sell the fur on a tanned hide, the castors and the scent glands and even the beaver tails can be tanned and used as a wallet or small satchel.

Jim was going to drop these beavers in the woods for the bears.  He looked at me incredulously as I asked him if I could have the beaver tails but he obliged and hacked both off and I took them home in my suitcase. Right now they are in the fridge but will go in the freezer until a family friend comes over to help me clean and tan the tails.

Science lessons do not always happen in scheduled blocks of time.  Take advantage of a passionate hunter who willingly and eagerly shares his knowledge.


  1. I take it you will be writing a sequels to Jean Craighead George's Tarantula in My Purse... Beaver Tales in My Suitcase!

  2. Thank you for an awesome title to that post! I'm waiting to have the nerve to take them out of the freezer.

  3. Jennifer, I have three children and one mom here who can't wait to hear about the post-freezer results!

  4. Jennifer, I should also add that "loscinconomads" is Laurel. :)

  5. Thank you, Laurel, I was wondering who you were.
    I will take your enthusiasm for the severed bits and get to it soon.

  6. We have a snail in a jar right now. It does sound as glamourous as having beaver tails in the freezer....

  7. The snail in a jar is a great idea, I find them outside and watch them but never thought of bringing them inside. Great idea. I did have a wild spider living in the corner of my kitchen for a while..