Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bear in the Back Yard (2 pictures) and Other Thoughts

Our d-i-l took these pictures while looking out her family room door.  She said there were also babies with the mother and one of them was playing with Myles soccer ball he left outside.  She also thinks she's looking pregnant because she's rounder in the middle and pants more.  I looked it up and black bear cubs are born in January.  It's so weird that these large bears have cubs only weighing in at 8 oz. at birth.

She looks pregnant to me.

I wonder if these are the bears that had Devan and me trapped in the car when I was dropping her off in the summer?  Probably.  We probably could've gotten out but didn't want to chance it and it was a stranger riding by on a bike that shewed them away for us.  She also had 4 cubs with her that day. .  If this is the same female bear, Mama bear definitely got a lot fuller.  Plus are those her ...what do you call em on a bear ...nipples for nursing?  Pregnancy will do that to a girl. :) I didn't see them in the summer.  Although she charged us and so perhaps not as obvious in downward position. 

We've all been close to bears around here - not by choice.  One came right up to our open sliding door screen with then 12 year old  younger son who had been sitting on the couch. The bear looked right at him from only a foot away from the screen as he quickly closed the inside door. He hollered for the contractor who was working in the house at the time and they both watched as the bear just turned and walked back through a couple of yards into the woods.

Younger son was quicker to react then I was when I was sitting on the sofa and a big bear looked in at me through the screen as he lumbered passed the open sliding door in the family room one night.  But ...I just froze ...held my breath and all and then the second it walked passed the door ...I BOLTED up and slammed the door SHUT!  It just went up the right of way path ...up into the woods.

*I've heard that bears prefer to take paths whenever they can.  And of course they like cutting through properties too.

*You should also NEVER feed the bears.  They've been known to break into houses and get at the food.  It hasn't happened often, but those bears do get put down because they are considered dangerous.

As it is ..they do get into garbage cans and dumpsters.  *And if you camp outside your food has to be in containers and no food scents exposed that would draw the bear into your tent.

We have one neighbor who was continually having to retrieve his garbage pails from the woods.  Once they find an easy feeding area they will return.

I'm pretty sure I've written about this somewhere ...but two things especially intrigue me about animal behavior.  the first is that one day ...Iris and I were sitting out front ...chatting away in the Adirondack chairs (I-R-I-S *SIGH*) and all of a sudden our small Springer Spaniel sprocket came running around to the front form the back yard and sat right between our too chairs.  She was a very calm dog and NEVER barked until once in her old age while chasing another dog away (surprised me as she had never displayed protective/territorial behavior and I wondered what she knew that I didn't - but i digress.).  But she was so anxious ..looking all around us that I said, "SPROCKET ...what's wrong?  Are you okay - what is it girl?"  Iris saw it too.  Then a neighbor came down a side road with a video camera in tow ...stating that a big bear was crossing through our properties.  And sure enough crossed over into the field across the street.

The second time was around midnight when I was alone in the pool ...walking in circles.  Our cat was in the bathroom window ...meowing at me.  if a cat could meow frantically - he was doing it.  Nonstop ..."MEOW, MEOW, MEOW, MEOW, MEOW, MEOW", and so on.  There was also a dark tall figure about 20-30 feet away at the end of the back corner of the house.  I assumed Mr SeaSpray (he no longer smokes - YAY :) had gotten up to have a cigarette. Although, I didn't see the lit ashes.  I was actually a bit nervous ...but pretended I didn't see anything and kept walking in circles and the cat meowed.  Then by the time I had the courage to look again...the dark figure had moved away.  I asked Mr SeaSpray if he was outside the night before and he said he wasn't.  So ...I figured it was a bear.  Although would a bear stand upright in one place for a minute or so?  If not ..then a stranger was standing there.  CREEPY.  And whatever it was ...our cat was trying to warn me.  Sneakers never did that before and never did again.  What was he thinking that he was sounding an alarm for me?

Anyway ..back to the bears.  I think a lot of people in our area probably have some good bear stories to tell.  And to think that as a teenager and in my twenties ...I often took walks ...ALONE ...up in the mountains when I lived in the lake and in the fields and woods near here.  After we moved here ...I loved to take our girls (Mollie and Jenny for a walk in the fields), or walk by myself.  And also gather ground pine to make our own Christmas wreaths ...or go pick black cap berries in the summer make black cap cake or freeze for winter. Of course the fun thing about berry picking also eating them as you go.  And while I am a proponent of washing everything before eating it ...back then I thought just blowing on it would suffice ...unless I happened to see a tiny worm curled up in there - ewe.  :)

With all the walks I took back there or in the woods on the  mountain in the lake ...or in the woods anywhere I went as a teenager ..or in the woods in the lake right behind our house which some of was also watershed (can't build on it) property - I never ...even one time saw one bear.  No one ever talked about bears.  Actually, I didn't even know they lived up here.

But the 90s they began to appear.  Pretty neat ...but also unnerving.  They're so beautiful.  People say it is because there has been so much building encroaching on their natural habitat  While we do still have a lot of woods, farmland, wetlands (can't build on them either) and I believe at least 3 state parks ...there is still a great deal of development since I moved here 43 years ago.  And up here ...we border Pa and NY state ...also rural.  I still love Sussex County though.  :)

Okay last bear story and I know I've told it before, but since it amuses me ...I shall tell it again.  My neighbor called me one night ...stating, "CHIVALRY is DEAD!"


"M and I were floating in the pool when a bear came walking out of the woods toward us.  M BOLTED out of the pool, up onto the deck and closed the gate behind him.  But he only saved himself and LEFT ME FLOATING ON THE RAFT!!"

Oh no - what did you DO?

"I stayed on the raft.  The bear kept walking toward me.  I looked at the bear's eyes. The bear looked at my eyes.  And then the bear just kept walking into neighbor's yard and back into the woods."

Thank God!  Then good friend that I am ...I couldn't help but to bust out laughing!  Hahahahahahaha!  I'm glad you were alright!  That's funny!  Hahahahahahaha! 

*She laughed too and has an excellent sense of humor.  She's one of those friends that I SHOULD hang out with more often because we laugh hard when we're together and you just KNOW that is so good for your mind, body and spirit.  But, life gets busy.

I think these pictures my d-i-l took are A-W-S-O-M-E.

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