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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia black bear’

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It was 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon when Elsa-the-Dog begged to go out on the deck. She loves just looking around her “estate” from the safety of the rails and rungs.

So out we went to sit in the shade of the eaves and contemplate sudden fair weather.  Surely the wispy breeze and floods of sunshine would make us safe from the dreaded virus.

As I was about to doze off, Elsa suddenly sprang to life and trotted to a corner of the deck.  She likes to chase bumble bees and I thought that was her goal.

But then she zipped over to the opposite end and then zipped back.  She was definitely on the alert and straining to look in one direction through the rails and I too looked in that direction to see what all the fuss was about.

What I saw was a very large VERY LARGE Virginia Black Bear who was ambling along the edge of our woods.  He had obviously been at both ends below our deck and was certainly interested in my hummingbird feeder!

About the time I put this all together in my slowly emerging brain, Elsa was growling and barking, and the BIG BEAR began to run.  Thankfully, it was running away and not toward us.  Elsa kept up a loud piercing bark that I think made her seem to be a giant adversary instead of a little twerp of a dog.

And the VERY LARGE bear ran all the way out of sight and into the forest.

Thank you Elsa-the-Dog for your grand big-dog bark and for your courage in sounding the alarm.  You are my heroine!

Anyway, who said sheltering in place is not exciting?

 

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assemble challenge combine creativity

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You can only watch so much television when sheltering in place, right?  And how many jigsaw puzzles can you do without getting a headache?  I even find myself reading two books at a time!

But, even though our world started to open up again to allow for haircuts and dining in restaurants, the Corona Virus is angrily re-emerging and forcing us aging vulnerables into continued self isolation.

When I started blogging I had no idea the end result would be the addition of people I not only enjoy learning about, but that many have actually become  friends.

And through all the challenges of self isolation, and through the long months of solitude, as if to prove the value of our relationships, my blogger friends continued to create incredible connections.  You offer your experiences, your humor, your photographs, your ways of coping, your thoughts, and mostly your love.

But for quite a while I was reading your experiences and not sharing mine.  I was absent from the blogging world in a writing dry spell I thought would never end, when suddenly I realized that reading your posts was helping me get through the Covid-19 Pandemic lock-down.

The inspiration was there “in plain sight.”  Writing and sharing were the blessed remedies for coping with odd downturns like lockdowns and forced isolation.

Many of your posts made me think of what I would do in similar circumstances.  And my own responses could certainly have been crafted into blog posts.  But, instead of following the urge to write, I sent comments instead.  It was writing in a way, but mostly done to thank you, my blogging friends, for your words, your time  and your continued contributions.  You kept me sane in the insane world of Covid-19!

I am posting things again but the dry spell threatens to return.

I recognize it looming overhead.

Then, as if it was meant to be, a Virginia Black Bear wandered into our yard today and has inspired me to create another post.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As I write this, there is a great big Virginia black bear lounging on my deck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is 10 PM and we are at the end of a mild thunder storm.  I was sitting in the living room watching a weather program about surviving hurricanes when I heard sounds from the deck (right outside the window).

I turned on the outside light and there he is – Bruno!

He is, as I write this, ignoring the storm, but busily scratching himself and looking very content.

Bill went to check things out and said our bird feeder is now gone.  It was full of sunflower seeds.

That’s it for bird feeders!  If we survive, I will remove all feeders forever after!

Bill is spying on the bear now.  I wish I could take a picture but maybe the flash would agitate Bruno.

I am cowering in the back room wondering if we will survive the night.

To be continued.

 

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o-NEIGHBOURHOOD-WATCH-SIGNS-TORONTO-570There were two hummingbird feeders on our deck this week.   Now there is one.

A Dine Until Dark Curfew has been imposed on the little hummers and the one remaining feeder is taken inside when the sun goes down.

What happened?

A mystery intruder  visited and vandalized our peaceful Virginia home.

If you are interested in solving mysteries, here are the clues:

  1. A favorite old hummingbird feeder  was lying in three pieces on our deck,
  2. amid a wide swath of sticky sugar water, 
  3. replete with large animal footprints, and
  4. unidentified animal scat on the deck stairs.

“What critter (or person) could it be?”we wondered.

Bill thought it was a raccoon.  I thought a bear. Can you tell by these observations the differences in our personalities and outlooks on life?

I Googled SCAT and found some that looked like ours (NO, NOT HUMAN).  Oddly, there are actual animal “poop charts” so you can compare and identify droppings!  Somehow I find this offensive to my sensitive senses.

scat_berries4_800x600

Bear Scat

Anyway, that was as far as I got researching when an email came in from our immediate next door neighbors warning they had seen a mama bear and her two cubs in their back yard!

bear watch

Mystery SOLVED!  IT WAS DEFINITELY A BEAR!!!  AND A VIRGINIA BLACK BEAR WITH TWIN CUBS!!!  Well, what did I expect when we chose to live in the country – civilization?

Then a second email came  and a third.  The word is out and we have a NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH with friends sending email alerts!

  • “We saw a mama bear and two cubs in our back yard this morning.  If you think this is information that should be shared with the neighbors, would you pass it on?”  
  • “Yep! We had some work being done at our house a few weeks ago and they videoed two cubs and the mom on our property.”
  • “Also I saw them crossing the hunt road, heading up the hill into the woods between the pond and the riding ring, just like last summer. My mare has indicated their closeness to our place too. I have not viewed them there personally yet (but, she doesn’t fib).”
It is certainly comforting to know there is a Three Bears Neighborhood Watch, but having the trio on my deck borders on disconcerting!
I have a plan though.,
The trick is stay close to the front door, or the back door, or the car door.
Or if the bear gets inside – to barricade in the bathroom with my cell phone!
So much for summer walks in the woods.

 

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If you think you have seen a bear, you have.

That is what people tell me here in rural Virginia and yes, I have seen a bar (Virginia slang for bear) walk right by my window.  Granted, he didn’t know it was my window.  He just sauntered on by in all his magnificence as if it were his regular route to our peach trees. Bears are supposedly very shy critters and will avoid meeting up with us humans UNLESS we take them by surprise or come between a mama and her cub.  There is at least one other major causative factor leading to human-bear connections, which leads me to a good story.

I live in a semi-wilderness area where twelve human families reside in private dwellings in the middle of 300 acres of jointly managed undeveloped land.  We all know the area is teaming with foxes, ground hogs, squirrels, turkeys, deer, raccoons, possums, and yes, Virginia Black Bears.  Every now and then one of my neighbors reports seeing a huge 350 pound bear!  This may be a slight exaggeration but could be true too. They do grow to large proportions. If I walk along our country lanes I give warning  by  shuffling loudly or clapping my hands, or clearing my throat, or shouting at myself.  I doubt this will help if a bear decides to attack, but I feel better and I do not care if accidental onlookers think there is a madwoman in the area.

HELP!  I AM TRAPPED BY A BEAR!

My neighbors claimed to be trapped in their home by an enormous bear who was banging on their windows and sliding doors.  I have heard numerous versions of the story and have settled on this one.

Dinner was delightful and my neighbors, Joan and John (fictional names), had just put away the dishes and settled down to an exciting night of television sitcoms when they heard noises at the window.  Looking up, they were stunned to see the face of an enormous black bear looking in and periodically pounding on the glass.

Virginia Black Bear

“Make lots of noise and wave your arms,” said John, and they did.  But that only made the bear more determined and he pushed and prodded ever harder on the house and the windows.  Then he moved to the sliding glass door.   “Run,” cried Joan, and they did.  They ran into a back bedroom (which also had two windows) and soon the bear was seen coming toward them again.  “Call the sheriff!” yelled Joan, and that’s what they did.  The conversation must have gone something like this:

“Help!  We are trapped in our house by a bear!”

“Trapped? What do you mean?”

“Oh no Oh no Oh no!  He’s going to break the glass!”

“You mean a bear is out there trying to get into your house”?

“Yes Yes Yes!  Come quickly please!”

So, the good sheriff came quickly, but by the time he arrived there was no sign of the bear.  Perhaps he (Bruno) had heard the squad car drive up and decided to flee the law even though he had not yet succeeded in breaking and entering. The sheriff tried to calm the couple and promised Animal Control would be out in the morning. But, the sheriff had to leave to cover other dire emergencies like a woman who reported footsteps on her roof.

My neighbors returned to their home with great trepidation.  Would the bear come back?  Why had he chosen their house out of all the others in the community?  Should they go to a motel?  Would they be plagued by this mammoth creature all night?  They decided the danger was over and they went to bed. But, the bear returned and kept scouting around the house for points of entry.  Eventually he gave up and around 4 AM Joan and John were able to fall asleep in a closet with no windows.

Later that morning, as promised, Animal Control arrived with a very big bear trap.  They explained the trap was a humane way to subdue and confine Bruno so they could remove him to an even more remote location.  The trap was laced with a big canned ham as bait (taken out of the can of course).  The result?  The ham just stayed there, the bear never returned, and the couple lost sleep night after night worrying about it.

Animal Control people did have some questions for the couple on that first day.  They began with,

“Where do you usually put your household garbage?”

Answer:  “Outside in a covered garbage can.”

Animal Control:  “What did you have for dinner last night?”

Joan and John:  “Grilled Salmon.”

There were no more questions.  Everybody knows from watching National Geographic that bears love salmon (especially “wild” salmon which was also the Joan/John preference). Our Bruno must have thought he was on the Colorado River and had fallen into a treasure trove of nature’s salmon bounty.  The fishy scent wafted over the treetops to wherever he was roaming and lured him right to my neighbor’s back yard. And the remains of that one delightful fish were just the appetizer.  “There must be more.  Maybe there’s more in that house,” thought Bruno. “If I could just get through this hard place that looks like air, I know there will be more!”

There is a moral to every story, and although this story has been ever so slightly embellished for dramatic effect, there is definitely a moral.

DON’T LEAVE THE REMAINS OF EDIBLE GARBAGE OUTSIDE, ESPECIALLY NOT SALMON, BECAUSE IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SEEN A BEAR, YOU HAVE!

*This story is founded in fact. My neighbors were indeed trapped in their home by a bear and wound up calling the local sheriff. And they did leave the remains of a fish dinner in their outside garbage can. Animal Control did come out with a ham-baited bear trap but Bruno never returned.  The rest is fiction.

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A Virginia Black Bear

Two campers are walking through the forest when they suddenly encounter a bear.  The bear rears up on his hind legs and lets out a terrifying roar.  Both campers are frozen in their tracks.  The first camper whispers, “I’m sure glad I wore my running shoes today.”  “It doesn’t matter what kind of shoes you’re wearing, you’re not gonna outrun that bear,” replies the second.  “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun YOU,” he answers.  

They say, “If you think you have seen a bear, you have”.   Bears are supposedly shy, reclusive creatures unless they are very hungry or if you take them by surprise.   I have lived here 24 years and never saw a bear – until today.

 Today was different.

A quiet afternoon chat with my husband was quickly interrupted.  I was seated facing him and a living room window behind him, when I  saw a flash of black moving outside in the driveway.  No idea how I knew, but I instantly recognized it as a bear!

I jumped up and whisper-shouted, “Bill – Look! Look! Look!  It’s a Bear!”

And sure enough, a young Bruno was walking along with a prize fighter’s swagger, slightly bow legged, and presenting a picture of a lithe, lean, very black, Virginia  bear in motion.  Why our big bad guard dog, Rozie,  was not barking, I’ll never know.  Bill estimated the bear was 150 pounds.  I estimate closer to 250 pounds, but then I tend to exaggerate imminent danger.

It didn’t seem real at first.  A BEAR was actually in our driveway?  And acting like he was just stopping by to say hello?

And he was heading straight for the garage and the door was open!  Uh Oh!  But Bruno didn’t seem interested in penetrating the interior to wreak havoc.  Instead he ambled along the exterior wall of the garage and around to the back of the house.

He’s in the orchard!

Now we could see him clearly from the kitchen window as he headed for our Peach Orchard.

Orchard? Ha!  There are precisely two trees there, and although they bear  yield delicious fruit, we have only shared one peach in 24 years.  Trust me, this is true.  We compete with squirrels, deer, crows – and now bears? I call it Sustaining Wildlife Habitat but secretly I’m jealous.   Anyway, that’s where Bruno was heading.   And we were able to creep outside onto the deck to watch his next moves.

He’s pulling on the tree branches and shaking the fruit loose!  Clever fellow, but if he can shake a whole tree, what could he do to me?

And he’s sitting down for a peach feast.  OMG, we are witnessing a Bear Picnic!

He’s on his way again, hits on the second tree,  and comes to a three-board fence, bends down, and nonchalantly steps on through like he has done it a million times before.  Maybe he has?  Has he been here before?  Where was my trusty watch dog?  Where is she now?  Why isn’t she barking?

Finally, Bruno is into the woods and going, going, gone from our view.

MY HUSBAND AND I ARE THRILLED!  IT WAS A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MOMENT THAT LASTED ABOUT 15 MINUTES AND WE WILL NEVER FORGET IT!  AND OUR BIG BAD GUARD DOG, ROZIE MISSED THE WHOLE THING.

As you can probably tell, I could not tear myself away from our eyewitness adventure long enough to get my camera.  Shugar! – as they say “outchere” in the county.

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