Blueprints and Builders

When a friend gave me directions to a new eco-home under construction a few miles from our place, I grabbed my camera and hunted the area until I found the footings. Even the foundation would be built entirely from what the builders would harvest nearby. I could already see that the waterfront structure would boast craftsmanship in every inch.

Three trees felled by beavers

And I’ve seen the blueprint. With underwater food storage as well as cooling and insulation from natural materials, the home will have virtually no need for outside utilities, and given its exceptional security system, the occupants will sleep without fear of intruders.

Standing tree chewed by a beaver.

Most amazing, the home’s placement will create a new ecosystem that will replenish the water table, filter toxins, provide wildlife habitat, control flooding, store water more efficiently than man-made dams, irrigate adjacent property in even the driest summer and create fertile meadows for generations to enjoy.

You’d think they’d charge an arm and a leg.

Nope. They do it for free.

Limbed tree ready for beaver dam

I knew it was a long shot, but I had to meet these guys–or at least one of them. I kept prowling the edge of the creek until I spotted an opening under a heavy mat of canary grass. Inside, a bobcat-sized creature nibbled a sprig of Douglas fir needles. Her flat tail extended like an oar into the grassy stream.

Beaver in cave

Hello, Beaver. 

I figured she could teach me something.

She did— by simply doing what she’s make to do.  By following step-by-step instructionsGod’s design for her. Hm. God’s design. She follows his instructions.

Beaver closeup

She taught me that as she chews those trees and hauls those sticks and builds her eco-home and dams the stream with it—as she follows God’s plan—she builds a whole ecosystem of shelter, provision and safety for her family—and builds an environment that enhances everything in her neighborhood, turning even arid ground into an oasis. 

So can I.

So can you.


“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind . . .To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” —Job 12:7-10, 13,


Beaver stream

P.S. If Beavers show up on your land, I hope you’ll consider letting them stay. There may be ways to make that work without flooding your basement. Whatever you do, please don’t kill them. There are people and resources to help you work with them or relocate them. For more info, click here.

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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

13 thoughts on “Blueprints and Builders

  1. To do what I’m designed by God to do….to listen to His instructions and calling. Just what I need to be reminded of today! Thanks, Cheryl


      1. I’m waiting To Hear What God Has Planned For Me, And I Will Listen. Thank You Cheryl for Your Inspiring Thoughts, Joni


  2. A pity beavers don’t always pay attention to the county wetlands policies, getting permits for their dam building or doing what is best for salmon habitat. Even so I’m glad they do what they do just as they have for thousands of years. Great photos!


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