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Page 6-B?THE BRUNSWICK BEACON, Thursday, Uccc
On Duff oris
BY SUSAN USHER
A few beavers are all Wilmington needs to clear the
algae and vegetation from its Greenfield Cake, suggests
Aubrey Dutton of the Regan's Crossroads community.
Not expensive chemicals or imported algae-eating
fich inuf a fntir finrrntv(>fl uinnt rr?f|pnt?; from RninSll'if'k
County, he says.
He'd be happy to let them take a few from his
300-acre spread in western Brunswick County, where
man and beaver have coexisted iri more or less harmony
for about 10 to 12 years on this natural preserve.
Dubbed the Horseshoe Farm, the name lingers
though the horses owned by Aubrey and Iris Dutton's
children are gone?as are all but one of their four girls
and three hoys.
Scott, the youngest, remains on the farm, the sixth
generation of Dutlons to clear and plant the land in this
Dutton's farm and surrounding woodlands drain into
three maninade ponds ranging in size from 10 to 30 acres.
The ponds were built over the years by pushing up earthen
dams with spillways. Dutton, an engineer by train
nig, cieuieu inc uuge.si in mt mil i> moos it) i luuuiug uiu
rice fields farmed by his grandfather.
Ditches that once drained the fields are clearly visible
as he slowly paddles a large John boat into a crazy
quilt pattern of thin, crackling ice.
A fishing cap and a lightweight pastel sweater are
Dutton's token gestures toward the cold. Ilis toughened
hands, stiff and swollen with arthritis, grip the paddles
firmly as the former World War II Navy pilot paces the
trip across the pond. In his mid-f>0s, he still has the look
and gentle strength of the outdoorsman he is.
Crinkles around Dutton's eyes hint at the selfproclaimed
"great kidder," a man of both properly and
convictions -and laughter.
"I don't understand people wlr go around all the
time and never smile at anything," he noted, guffawing
over the story of a pond 'gator named Wally and some
No friendly alligators in sight, the acid-stained
waters stand dark and clear, casting perfect reflections
of tlie cypress trees that tower above the flat-bottomed
Hundreds of ducks that usually roost on the farm left
mysteriously following a storm earlier in the month,
leaving the pond abnormally quid and barren even for
An occasional hint flits by, hut no furry creatures
with sharp teeth and flat tails are visible nil this cold,
mid l )eceni!>er day
4 a b o 11
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On The Island
Ocean Isle Booth t>27<>
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mbcr 26, 1985
However, evidence of their past activity is all around
as the trip across the pond continues:
Trees cut with expert ease into nothing but pointed
stubs?some years old, others cut perhaps only yesterday.
Other trees stripped entirely of their protective bark
and left to die.
Well-worn trails used by beaver, otter, muskrat and
other animals to cross from the pond to Scippio Swamp.
Dams blocking the ditches that drain Scott Dutton's
corn and soybean fields.
From a distance Scippio Swamp to the west looks unchanged
from years past, but inside its dark hollows, the
beavers' work is taking a different kind of toll. Their
dams have cut off the flow of water through the swamp,
leaving the giant hardwoods and pines standing in water
year-round. They will die, the pines first, then the hardwoods,
"They're both a liability and an asset," Dutton says
of the beavers who have built enormous lodges in the
middle of the big pond. In anticipation of winter food
needs when the pond ices over, the bark-eating beavers
nave uuiiiiii 11 piles in ii 1SII-CUL saplings an annum men
lodges?mostly gum and willow, no cypress.
"They cut a lot of trees down," he continued, surveying
the pointed stumps and half-submerged logs. "But
they won't touch the cypress and they only eat the bark of
the pine a little when the sap is rising in the spring."
The beavers also pay their dues around the farm.
When muskrats liore large holes or dens in Dutton's manmade
dam, he says, "they dauble it right back up."
I.ike other creatures in Dutton's woods, the beavers
rights aren't ignored.
"They're part of nature," he says. "It takes all of it to
make the wheel go around, so I don't let it bother me
Dutton's favorite time of day is just before daylight,
when the animals first begin to stir around the ponds. He
sits quietly, listening and observing, closer to God in
these moments than any other time.
A lover of all nature, when the beavers first appeared
on his ponds 10 or 12 years ago, said Dutton, "I was tickled
Some time earlier he had seen his first beaver dam
up on Simmons' Bay, off the Waccamaw River in Columbus
County, when a canal was cut to Cattail Bay. He
never thought he would have I leavers on his on ponds.
Kven today, he said, "Nearly everybody I talk to in
the county says they've never seen or heard of no beavers
in the county.
"They haven't liven here."
uj|i 1 871 Deeds
l/wl During November, 871 deeds and
vP deeds of trusts were recorded by the
,j,v| Brunswick County Register of Deeds
ky ^ . v,hii<vMlllliKT".'Ml?l ? VVVIIUV .
K Irregular instruments, which inelude
filing of corporations, eontrucLs,
innrriuKcs. hirths, drattis,
finiincinl stntcnients and other services,
generated $4,485 Heal estate
excise tax collections totaled $14,306.
Thirty plats were recorded for
$418; for $25,932 In total revenues.
. J Kxpenscs for the month include
9Unt- T postage, $147; telephone, $222;
A I departmental supplies, $4%; equip
r i 1 ment rental. $11,293 contracted ser
Oars I vices, $4,245; elues and subscriptions
t to $40: for a total of $16 443. cxcludini
rwish . . .. .
. , In Bolivia
11 11 S (RING HOMl
On Sain At
A I COmPltX CAFtTtRIA
7 54-8 1 65 STATION A GROCtRT
Lacquer By LANE
, 1 -5 Drawer Chest
1-8 Drawer Dresser
1 -Cedar Chest
I to Vol tvt Ready For 1986
AUBURN DUTTON of Regan's Crossroads says
beavers are a liability as well as a boon. However, this
lover of all wild creatures lives In harmony with the
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Bolivia & Varnamtown
253-5534 or 253-5540 gg
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May each and eve
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STAFF PHOTO BY SUSAN USHER
colonies on his farm. Dutton said he prefers watching
beavers to killing them, bni he did trap one (above)
which he had mounted.
\^h3clf^S Dufch Bulbs
'h ^3 Fern Baskets f
iers $600 I
See, gg, \
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our fine customers
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ry one of you have
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