Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The muskrats ate my floating dock

I know, I know, it sounds crazy, in fact it is crazy. We live on a lake, guess that is obvious from the title and one day we were paddling our canoe and met one of our neighbors, a history professor at a local community college. He and his next door neighbor share the biggest dock on the lake. We complimented him on his dock, he told us its history, it used to be at Alan Yorke Statie Parke, but they were replacing it with a newer model and they figured out how to cut it into sections and transport it and rebuild it on our lake. There must have been a lot of men involved since that is a big dock.

Then he said it is sinking. Oh, I said, I thought styrofoam lasts forever if shielded from the sunlight. He said, the muskrats are eating it. He was a nice guy, seemed to be intelligent, but who or what could eat styrofoam. And that is a LOT of styrofoam.

Then we went away for a long time. When we came back, we were excited about canoeing on our lake. Kathy jumped down from the upper dock to the floating dock and said, "Uh Oh". About one third of our styrofoam was missing. We could still launch the canoe and we paddled around the lake and we saw our neighbor. He had a new dock, it was a bit smaller, but he, (and his next door neighbor) still have the largest dock on the lake. This one, as I am sure you have guessed did not have styrofoam flotation.

Kathy and I had two business trips to do, a month later we got back to the lake house and our floating dock was 50% floating and 50% sunk. Muskrats are 2 to 4 pounds according to the Washington State website. For the life of me I cannot understand how they eat that much styrofoam, or even why. The answer is they do not eat, they burrow, from the website: "Floating dock barriers: Muskrats will burrow into floating docks, generally those floating on Styrofoam, scattering the broken white foam along the shoreline. This becomes an environmental danger, due to birds and other small animal eating this foam. To solve this problem, the dock needs to be pulled up on shore and 1-inch mesh hardware cloth (aluminum and stainless steel are also available) needs to be used to cover the Styrofoam."

Too late, our dock is dead. Now what to do? I started brainstorming lots of ideas, but on another canoe trip, we noticed another dock. It was not near the shore, it was operating like a boat, but I knew I had seen it as a dock. Later when they parked it or whatever they do, we canoed over it had a sticker that said rollingbarge.com. I went to their website. Wow, that looks like fun.

However, they sell kits and at the time I was suffering some pretty serious health problems. Somehow, or another, in our communication they said they would build it at cost if they could have the photo rights.

Yesterday, we planted some blueberries. One of the holes was harder than normal because I had to dig up an existing wild cherry, (cherries and blackberries can cause a lot of trouble in Washington). But we got the job done. Kathy had brought down some water bottles with ice and we laid on our Rolling Barge floating dock. It was a beautiful day, the trex decking felt great, it doesn't get better than this.

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