Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I had the good fortune to be able to visit a beautiful area that surrounds the Melton Hill Reservoir near Oakridge west of where I live.  I used to be assigned to Melton Hill Lake ten years ago.  I sure miss it.  Anyway, I went with an agency friend while he was feeding wild turkeys at a place called Freels Bend.  There is a history behind this place but I'll save that for another time.  I want you to see the capabilities of an industrious beaver.  Check this out:
 My co-worker was just through here two days ago and this wasn't here.  The diameter of the tree is huge for a beaver to cut all the way through in two evenings.  Note the large quantity of wood chips.  

I've seen many, many beaver chewed trees but never have I seen one that has been gnawed entirely around in such an even and consistent fashion that the tree finally fell when the "center" section of trunk was rendered too small to support the mass of the tree.  Usually a beaver will gnaw out a deep notch in one side of the tree leaving a print much as an ax would.
Look how evenly he chewed around the tree.  How do they know how to do that?
This seems very destructible but, this tree will supply food and building material as well as lining material for his burrow for a long time.  It's just natures way and humans get all bent out of shape over it.
 Teeth marks.
 Notice how the beaver is stripping all the bark off the tree below.  I think he likes this particular tree's taste.
I guess it would be appropriate to show you the lay of the land and water here.
There is some great canoe water back in here and I'm going to be using it.  This land is off limits to the general public as its in close proximity to the National Labs in Oakridge.  I can get in though. You know about the National Labs and their relationship to the nuclear bomb I'm sure.  

The wildlife habitat here is sensational.  We did see one coyote and a group of tom turkeys.  Of course, I left my big camera in the truck.  

The place is beautiful.  TWRA plants native species of mast bearing plants and assures maximum food production by utilizing modern agriculture processes including controlled burns.  It pays off as this entire tract is an amazing food producing area for all animals.
 The fences indicate there was a farm here of sorts a hundred years ago.  I'll look into the history of this area soon and do a little story about the place while on a future canoe paddle trip.

I'll stop here with this as it's getting late.  We have some very bad weather moving in tonight and it's to last through the weekend.  Many counties in Tennessee have already spread liquid salt on the roads in preparation for the snow that is predicted and schools have been ordered shut down starting tomorrow.  We'll have to see what happens.  This has been a demoralizing winter for Tennesseans so far.