Springtime is here and the snow is near the valley beside the Hervey Cats property. In fact, the snow is melting so quickly there has been some concern from the other woodland creatures who live in the valley.
Gary and Morris were talking to Kyle, a local prairie dog.
“So that’s the gist of it,” said Kyle. “Our homes are becoming harder to live in as the water starts to build up. I live underground and things are starting to get very wet!”
“Let’s have a look,” said Gary.
“Show us!” said Morris.
The two cats followed Kyle back down to the valley and saw a large crowd of woodland creatures gathered together.
There were animals of all shapes and sizes in the group; deer, mice, rats, squirrels, moose, foxes, a family of wolves, a family of black bears and even some geese! They were all talking and trying to make sense of their situation.
“The floor of our den is soaked!” said the mama black bear.
“And so is mine!” said one of the foxes.
“Our lair is starting to see water flowing in from the front entrance!” said one of the wolves.
“People! Listen!” said Kyle, as he walked back down to the group. “I went to the shelter to talk to Gary and Morris. We know they have access to more resources than we do, human resources, and they are also very smart. Let’s listen to what they have to say.”
Gary and Morris jumped into the middle of the rest of the animals.
“Hey everyone!” said Morris. “We are hearing a lot of talk about the ongoing risk of a flood in your valley, and we understand why you are concerned.”
“We need to take a realistic look at where the water is coming from, and how to protect your habitats,” said Gary.
“Take the day off from worrying and let your families rest assured in knowing we are working on a solution,” said Morris.
Kyle walked back over to the cats and thanked them. He also asked them what their plan was. Both cats looked at Kyle and said, “We don’t know yet!”
Kyle looked concerned, but Gary reassured them they would find a solution. The prairie dog then took both cats on a tour of the problem areas.
The valley had already seen a lot of melting by this point in time. Snow had turned into water, which filtered into the soil, making the ground swell with moisture. This moisture can only go so far until the ground itself becomes saturated and can no longer accept any more. This is why Kyle’s walls had been so wet lately inside his burrow.
“The water that’s going to be coming in the next few days has nowhere to go now,” said Kyle. My walls are full, my floors are full. My entire burrow is one muddy mess.”
“Well, if the ground can’t soak in any more water, we need a plan to divert as much as we can,” said Gary.
“Brilliant!” said Morris.
Kyle interjected, “How are we going to divert water around a valley? The humans don’t even do that!”
“This isn’t a big valley,” said Gary. “If we do our best to move snow and ice to the top of the valley, and we find a way to shore up some areas for it to run down, we can divert it around your homes and into the wetlands.”
“I think I get what you are saying,” said Morris.
“How are we going to accomplish that?” said Kyle.
“Well, we have one of the most diverse groups of animals all together right now down in that valley talking to one another,” said Morris.
“Let’s go tell the group our plan and see if they will help,” said Gary.
“I am sure they will,” said Kyle. “Their homes are on the line.”
Kyle jumped on Gary’s back and the three animals ran back down to the valley where the group of other creatures was still commiserating.
“I don’t want to lose all my food stores!” said one of the bears.
“Me neither!” said a squirrel.
As the cats approached with Kyle, the animals silenced themselves and moved out of the way.
“We have a plan!” said Morris.
The animals silently looked on as he continued to speak.
“We are going to move as much snow and ice back to the top of the valley, then, with your help, create a way to divert it from running back down into the valley, the earth, and your homes.”
The animals seemed excited, but still unsure of the feasibility of this plan.
“Again, with your help, we can do this,” said Gary. “So, first things first, we will need help moving the snow and ice back up the hill.”
“We have the perfect thing for that!” said a voice in the back. Two raccoons were standing in the group.
“What’s that?” said Morris.
“We found something recently!”
The two racoons came forward with their latest prize from late-night rummaging. A big, long, wooden sled.
“That’s absolutely perfect!” said Gary. “Everyone! Start piling snow and ice on the sled! Raccoons, you tie the sled reigns to one of the larger animals and we can start hauling this sled up the side of the valley!”
The animals gave a collective cheer and got to work with the sled. Gary, Morris, and Kyle then turned their thoughts to their diversion plan. And to get the water to move around the valley, they needed a structure.
Luckily for them, most of the snow on one side of the valley had already melted, so they only had to contend with the other. The only problem was that the other side was packed full of tall mountains of snow and ice from the city dumping it there.
We are going to need something strong enough to hold strong in its spot while the water rushes down.
“We need logs,” said Gary. “Big ones.”
“But where will we find them?” said Morris.
“We’re draining this water into the local wetlands,” said Kyle. “Maybe there is a beaver who would be willing to help us.”
The three went down to the water’s edge and looked for a beaver dam. They aren’t hard to find as they are usually quite obvious – a big pile of sticks going from the water into the air. Beavers like to enter their homes exclusively through the water as it keeps most predators away from them.
The cats and prairie dog walked on top of the dam and called out for the beaver. Lucky for them, he was home!
The beaver came outside and asked, “What do you want?”
“My name is Gary, this is Morris, and this is our friend Kyle!”
“That’s great. Congratulations on your friendship. My name is Terrance. Goodbye.”
The beaver disappeared into the water.
“Wait!” shouted Gary.
Terrance resurfaced, “What is that you want?”
“We need help! Our homes are at risk and only you can help us!” said Kyle.
“What?” said Terrance. “How on earth does any of that make sense?”
“We are trying to avoid a large flood in the valley where we live,” said Kyle. “We need your help to acquire the logs required for a diversion,” said Kyle.
“Right,” said Terrance. “You need a strong solution. Drainage? Are you going for drainage? Because right now the ground is soaked, and drainage is likely your best bet. You aren’t going to dissipate no matter how hard you try. Water doesn’t just disappear unless it is evaporating and in this case…”
Terrance continued to talk for about another five minutes.
“Yes… more or less,” said Gary.
“You boys run along and grab a larger creature and some rope. I’ll get your logs ready by the time you return. I will require payment for my services. If you have any extra food items, I will accept them with no complaints. Right now, times aren’t exactly bad but it’s always good to be careful. You know me, I don’t leave things to chance. One time I left something to chance…”
Terrance continued to talk for about five minutes.
The cats looked at each other and then at the beaver. “No problem!” they both said.
Kyle, once more, hopped on Gary’s back and the three rode off to their destination.
Once back at the valley, Kyle approached the family of bears. “We have a plan! We are going to diver the water using giant logs! All of you are so big and strong, we need your help to pull the logs back from Terrance the beaver’s place to this here valley. Are you in?”
The bear family wanted nothing more than a dry place to call home, so they were more than eager to help. Kyle hopped on the back of one of the bears and directed all four of them to Terrance’s dam.
Meanwhile, Gary and Morris went back to the shelter to grab food for Terrance. They had a surplus of cat food leftover from the winter and dragged a medium-sized bag down to the wetlands.
As they approached, they saw the bears leaving with large tree logs in tow, with Kyle barking orders from his tiny little mouth, standing atop the papa bear. They noticed Terrance had even stripped the branches off each log, leaving a nice clean surface.
“Thank you so much, Terrance. You are a lifesaver,” said Morris.
They presented the food bag to him.
“It was a pleasure doing business with the both of you. You are welcome to come visit anytime.”
The cats took off, shocked that Terrance didn’t keep talking. They were headed back to the valley to ensure the logs got where they needed to go to yield the best possible diversion.
Once back at the valley’s edge, Gary and Morris got to work showing the bears where the logs needed to go when they ran into a problem. The logs were rolling out of place!
“We need something to shore up the logs so they don’t move,” said Kyle.
“Agreed, but what can we use?” said Morris.
“What about all of those big rocks down at the bottom of the valley?” said Kyle. “We have lots of boulders down there, we just need to get them up here!”
Kyle and the cats ran down the side of the valley once more to talk to the animals moving snow and ice.
“Can we borrow your help, and your sled for a moment?” said Gary.
Gary ran over and talked to the animals about what needed to happen. Essentially, the bigger animals would need to move rocks onto the sled, then the biggest and strongest of the bunch would have to haul the sled uphill.
All the animals got excited and piled as many rocks as they could onto the sled. Once they were all gathered, they put the reigns on their moose friend Bullwinkle. He had grown a decent amount over the winter and his muscles were quite big now!
“I am ready!” said Bullwinkle. “Let’s do this!”
He started pulling the sled with no issue. It was slow-going, but he was doing it! That is… until he got to the steeper side of the valley.
“This is starting to get difficult!” said Bullwinkle. “I might need some help!”
“We overloaded the sled!” said Kyle.
The bears wanted to help but they had logs tied to them that would otherwise roll down the hill.
The raccoons grabbed the rope, but they weren’t strong enough to make much of a difference.
The foxes grabbed the rope and started pulling but they, too, were not strong enough to make much of a difference. All the wolves ran over and grabbed the rope, which started to make things a bit easier, and suddenly the group realized their collective efforts might be able to get the rocks up the hill.
“Come on everyone! Let’s do this!” shouted Kyle.
Suddenly the rest of the animals in the valley rushed in to either grab the rope and pull or to push from behind. One really strong buck deer placed his big antlers on the back of the sled and started to push.
They were doing it! It was working!
Once at the summit, the animals all cheered. The bears started to move the logs into place and the other woodland creatures, big and small, moved rocks into place to ensure the logs wouldn’t slide down the valley wall. They also stuffed plants and mud into the cracks between the logs and ground.
With everything in place, the water stopped trickling past their feet and started to collect on the sides of the logs and flow as one down towards the wetlands.
“It’s working! It’s working!” they all shouted together!
The group of animals sat down on the logs and sighed a collective breath of relief. Suddenly, Terrance could be seen approaching in the distance.
Once the beaver arrived, he started to inspect the logs, slapping them with his tail and tapping them with his hands.
“Great project everyone. I approve greatly.”
“I’ve compiled a list of areas where improvements could be made. As this is an amateur build, I understand it’s not perfect, but here we go. Number one…”
He then spoke for about five minutes.
Terrance was a detail guy.
“Beavers are pretty meticulous creatures, eh?” said Morris.
“I guess so,” said Gary. “Nature’s engineers.”
The animals all listened to Terrance yammer on with his notes while basking in the sun and enjoying a moment of peace. Spring had come, and so had the water, but they were all safe.
“I’m looking forward to the summer!” said Gary.
“Me too,” said Morris. “Bring it on!”