Saturday, July 4, 2020

Return of Castor Canadensis

A dozen new pelts to post for your perusal: Join us below the fold for another bevy of bodacious beavers…

It’s been several years now (2016, 2015, 2015, 2014, 2014, 2014, 2013, 2013 etc.) since the last official “Castor Canadensis” post… though we’ve seen a steady supply of thematically related individual panels during that time.

But I’ve steadily accumulated quite the, ahh, backlog of miscellaneous material which merits it’s own series of resurrected posts. Because – believe me - once you start looking, you’ll begin to see them everywhere.

Hat-tip Tail-slap to Jen for this snapshot from the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve Visitor Center, which is one of several such institutions located in Nome. My BFA thesis show was about the granite tor rock formations from the region, and one of the residual images I’ll always have is of the prehistoric megafauna which populated the area wandering across the tundra, such as mammoths, steppe bison and GIANT FREAKIN’ NEANDERTHAL BEAVERS.

This handy chart illustrates the exact size of these incredible animals (not him). Somewhere I have a script that details scenarios of these beaver behemoths felling entire tress with which to construct massive dams which would flood hundreds of miles.

That concept can be seen in my modification of one of the coloring sheets that the NPS provided for online activities during social distancing while at home with kids. Works well as a harbinger of climate change as well. Let the colonization begin!

The other day I was sipping tea on the cabin porch and a sudden movement caught my eye. As a birder I’m particularly sensitive to such visual alerts, but it was only a birch tree flapping a section of loose bark in the wind. And of course the mind tends to wander. In all seriousness there are responsible methods of harvesting birch bark for artistic purposes that will not cripple the tree.

One of many areas that I’ve been trying to modify as far as sensitivity + awareness of cultural appropriation has been the term for totemic representation as a “spirit animal.” I like the contemporary terminology of “Patronus” just as well.

Speaking of Harry Potter, the Wizarding World was recently wracked with another disappointing missive from author Rowling, which resulted in major backlash amongst the fanbase. This bookends with the similar mental gymnastics required to read Lovecraft, one of my favorite horror authors, whose legacy is similarly tainted in a contemporary context. Fortunately there are some excellent subversions being produced, including this outstanding one starring Nicholas Cage no less.

Details details – de tails! A recent picture ostensibly focused on the funny gumball typo instead led me to discover the history of one of the most iconic vending machine manufacturers. Now I really need to get me one of their uniforms or at least a tshirt. Also I’m thinking of acquiring a gumball machine for my next book signing/art opening, but loaded instead with nuggets….

"This is a STICK up!" Needless to say Alaskan troopers have to be prepared for anything up here in our neck of the woods, including surprise beaver crossings.
Lastly a quick note to say thanks for all the submissions – I appreciate my little online colony of fellow Castor canadensis fans who routinely submit random toothsome items.


  1. Even though I'm getting ready to go to work, I took time to pelt through this post.

    1. You have your priorities in order.
      Time to log on and get back to gnawing on trunks.