Those are mighty big words, little lady…

I might just have to furrow my brow and flex my entire upper torso and let the cortisol run free!!  Settle down, Wally.  You are going to put yourself into an early grave the way you react to every little thing that is a surprise!!  Parasitoid…  Well, that’s just a fancy, college-level word for a species that lives off another species- sort light fighting fire with fire I suppose…  or not…  also known as a bio-control agent, and it appears that there are many natural enemies of the EAB (that’s Emerald Ash Borer…)

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Oh, and as previously mentioned, Abbey Powell is a real person…  here’s her picture

And we’re back…

Sorry, campers!  Had to go away for a few days!!  Travel should be over for a while now…  While I was gone I did pick up a comment that pointed out to me that Abbey Powell is also real!  Right along with the other USDA stuff!!  So, with Wally Wood sporting his lobotomy scar, he tells Abbey that  he has “several acres of trees.”

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Don’t you mean several hundred acres, Wally? I mean, c’mon… have you never heard of scale??  There’s not a fortune hiding in a measly several acres… to me that means about 4 or 5…

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Yes how could you possible know, Abbey, that this is the “Northern Tip” of Wally’s expansive (not) property? Maybe because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and right now the sun is still rising??  At which point Wally reveals that his lobotomy scar has shifted to the other side of his head!  Bugs may be scary and all, but I don’t like the way that looks!!

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Purple Traps?!? Mark finds that intriguing!  Slumber Mountain??  We’ve been here before!  Remember, dear readers, this is where Wes crashed his plane and set him and Mark on a perilous journey back to Cherry and Shelley (with two e’s)

And in case the rest of you were wondering (I am sure…) whether Abbey passed her orienteering test, I had to draw out what she was describing…

Map sketch 3  Yes!  The bugs are heading south in the general direction of Wally’s Woods!  From the south side of Slumber Mountain where the USDA set Purple Traps…  Oh my… can’t you just feel the tension??

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So, while Wally prepares to paint the forest floor with his vomitus, (no wonder mark refused pancakes this morning!) Abbey Powell from the USDA will save the day!  And down-range our intrepid beaver pair is oblivious to the human drama unfolding nearby.  Lucky them!!

I should never have doubted…

Meet the face of the USDA.  I of course underestimated the reach and resources of and available from the Federal Government… And in case my small and devoted readership hasn’t figured this out by now, I find these revelations troubling…  are we all going be on a government payroll at some point?  Whatever happened to the phrase, “Just because we can, does that mean we should??”  While I am sure that we all benefit from a Farm Bill that has grown to such massive proportions, at what point does this just become too much??

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…and yes, the website is for real…  hungrypests.com… brought to you by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.  I don’t even know what to say about that.

Here’s the “mascot” I suppose… creepy enough?  And just like Abbey (with an “e”) declared, April IS ‘Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month…’  If you click on the video- you will find that Mr. Pest has a British accent… sort of like Jihad John…

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And how the USDA is tracking movement of 15 “hungry Pests…”

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So happy to learn that the Wally Woods of the world can benefit from our deficit spending practices…  So keep up the good work, USDA, and make sure you thank James Allen, whose tech savvy and web awareness is opening the Trailverse onto new and exciting vistas!!

…Said the Ruffed Grouse…

Yup, back at Lost Forest where the coffee’s always on!  And even the wildlife is getting into the act.  Oh, wait, that’s Mark talking…  No pancakes, sweetheart, I have to watch my waistline.  Even those of us that don’t age have to work at it…

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So… not sure what fun YOU have planned for the day, but I need to go spend valuable, un-billable time with my friend Wally Wood!  Sure hope Doc has some clients… not sure what we live on around here… Say did that check from Woods and Wildlife ever show up?  Oh, that’s right, I haven’t written anything in quite a while… funny how I don’t get paid for getting 80-foot sailboats blown up and spoiling business deals…

Tirelessly? How about Miraculously??

Good Heavens!  It took the Creator 6 days plus one to do His work… Are we suggesting that two beavers, pulling an all-nighter can block a stream and build a lodge?

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…and judging by the lighting, it’s only dawn.  Note the nice little spill-way on our right/ their left side of the dam!  how clever.  Hold enough water back but not all of it so that the water pressure doesn’t build and take out the entire structure.  And assuming that they spent all night taking down Wally’s trees and flooding his forest, the stage is now set for the man-beaver smack-down.  Let’s hope Wally doesn’t own a gun…

Predators can now only watch in vain as their would-be meals are safe in their own little world!

Nature’s Engineers…

The beaver is an amazing creature.  Built to do one thing- chew through wood, drop trees and block up streams.  Create their own habitat.  Is there another animal that does likewise?  Other than man?  Which is why man and beaver continue to compete over territory.

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And there are those in the species homo sapiens who are big fans and actively work to relocate Beaver where their natural gifts and instincts can help restore water tables and ecosystems… So it will be interesting to see what side our story teller takes here…

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Wally’s Trees!!

Running water??  Trees??  Perfect!!  What more could the two young beavers possible want?  We have to assume that these are the same trees that represent Wally’s bid for economic legitimacy…  and now it won’t just be beetles, it will be beavers, too!  Oh, this will be epic!  Wally’s going to have another melt-down…

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So get on with the gnawing, you two!  Conflict is what makes a story line interesting, and this pot has been simmering long enough!

Faith in Government

Mark.  Seriously.  Get off this kick that the USDA will “take care of Wally’s beetle problem…”  What? with a massive tree-crop-failure subsidy?  Or maybe it’s the Georgia State Dept of Agriculture…  who knows… regardless, or irregardless as is popular to say nowadays, Wally better gird himself for the worst and start protecting his stand…

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So off Mark and Cherry go, in their open-topped Jeep Wrangler, and neither of them a hair out of place…  and what’s with all the insects flying about?  I know that every Mart Trail strip has to have a nod to nature, but this seems a bit contrived.  Unless, of course, they are the third leg of this stool, the real demons in this story line… Not Man, not Beaver, but Beetle!

So good that Mark and cherry are getting the straight dope on Wally and Susan’s intentions vis-a-vis impending nuptials.  So like a “happily married” couple- always wanting to draw in more unsuspecting singles…  “C’mon in guys, water’s fine… oh, never mind the swirling eddies and the protruding dorsal fins…”

Home for the evening??

Wait a gosh-darned minute here… Mark and Cherry were carrying at least overnight bags in a previous installment as they were heading out for their visit and making their way to the car…  And even Mark’s language is curious- nothing new here, of course… but “Cherry and I are going home for the evening” implies what?  That they are then going someplace else the following day?  Or maybe they had made a hugely wrong assumption that Wally and Susan were putting them up for the night… which is consistent with their default thinking that the world owes them a bed…  I’m so confused.

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Wally, Wally, Wally.  This is your business!  Do you know nothing?  Are you content to stand there beaten before the bell for Round 1 even rings?  Satisfied to throw in with Mark Trail and his “people?”  Funny how much, in panel 3,  Wally looks like Chris “Dirty” Dyer from the African Odyssey

Either they had a lot of green ink to use up…

… or it is the Emerald Ash Borer…  Wally, you are screwed.  Your Life’s work up in flames, or down in beetle dust…

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Can’t decide whether the story of the intrepid beaver pair or the man against nature story line is more compelling… but on the advice of faithful reader Bill Schulz, to keep an eye out for beaver whilst away on vacation, it’s funny how easy that was…

First stop at the Royal Ontario Museum, (or ROM,) we came face to face with Castor Canadensis, The America Beaver!  Imagine the excitement!  Or not…

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But then imagine my surprise when yet another Beaver made his way into the financial press of the local market…  While two points define a straight line but not necessarily a trend, I was starting to wonder about the prevalence of Beaver at the core of the Canadian culture…

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But then it got downright strange as we were making our way to the Distillery District and the St. Lawrence Market, and stumbled upon this little fellow attached to a Transit Shelter, bidding creative Canadians to have a hand in designing their currency…  The Beaver Theme continues!!

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On to the CN Tower for lunch!  Rising 1,815 ft., 5 inches into the Canadian Sky, the tower boasts views in every direction, out over Lake Ontario, north into the Canadian outback…  and straight down via glass floors.  To coax the reluctant, which includes your’s truly, posters were hung showing how many of different species could be supported by the “glass” used in the floor…  and to our surprise, there was the Beaver again… this time proclaiming that over 1,000 Beavers could be held up by the see-through floor…

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Here’s a shot of the “glass floor…”

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and two brave travelers making their way onto it…

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And finally a trip to Casa Loma, a mansion built by the early 20th Century financier Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife Lady Mary Pellatt.  Below is a picture of Sir Pellatt’s top hat, no doubt fashioned from a beaver hide…  So maybe a bit of a stretch, but I believe now the Beaver Circle is complete and unbroken… 

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Whether by providence or suggestion, reader Schulz knew more than maybe he was letting on…