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One Liner Wednesday – Hey, Bear!

Black bears can survive–and even thrive–on the fringes of civilization, or sometimes right in the midst of it.

Linda Masterson

We woke to the bird feeder poles lying down on the ground. A check on the field camera showed us why.

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One liner Wednesday is brought to us each week by the lovely Linda Hill. Please visit Linda’s blog to read the rules, read other one liners, and possibly join in the fun!

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Prednisone, Cyber Attacks, and Bears

I am coming out of the fog that is shingles. I know I have been very fortunate because I have a very mild case. The miracle drugs they gave me have done their job, but now that I am weening off of them, my old aches and pains are coming back. Prednisone gives me the opportunity to remember what it was like before aches and pains became a normal part of life. Of course, they deteriorate other parts of the body, so everything is a delicate balance.

Yesterday I was awakened by the familiar spinning of my old friend vertigo and I had a bit of a spell of feeling sorry for myself. Now I am realizing I will have some follow-up visits to the doctor to address the ills that remain. But enough of that.

Last night our governor declared a state of emergency due to the gas shortage caused by the cyber-attack on the Colonial pipeline. My husband found many gas stations out of gas and people were already panic buying. I think I have half a tank in my car which should do me until he comes back from Kentucky. I am hopeful he will be able to get there because he has been looking forward to this for a long time. The pipeline supplies most of the gas to a portion of the southeast United States and they do not anticipate it coming back online until the end of the week.

I was in the Air Force during the energy crisis in the early 1970s. Long lines at the gas station, bulbs reduced in the overhead lights, and I even remember all the vending machine lights were turned off. But this time it was an attack from foreign soil – all for the love of money.

I noticed WordPress made another change while I was away. The mobile version (not the app) has a few extra steps before I can get to the dashboard. Change has become their new normal.

Our good friend the black bear has been back snooping around the scent of the bird feeders. Note to self – do not dilly dally getting the feeders in at night. And on that note, I will end this and try to move around a little bit. That’s something I have not done much of this last week.

Blog, Writing

Return of the Night Visitor

Day 211

I decided to get a quick blog out since we have a lot of running around on our calendar today. Tonight we will be attending our grandson’s spring band concert which is always wonderful. For a high school band, they are very impressive and the music selection is always enjoyable.

I woke at 6:30 a.m. this morning. The first thing I noticed was the pole for the bird feeder lying across the ground. I knew without a doubt what that meant. Our night visitor had returned. Bears are common in this area, although I would have thought there might be adequate natural food supplies out there right now. We learned two years ago that you cannot leave bird feeders out all night here.

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To be on the safe side, we took our pocket air horn with us on our morning walk. There was nothing to be seen. When we returned from our walk, I retrieved the card from the trail camera. There he was. A black bear. Most likely a couple of years old. He pushed over the bird feeder pole, found nothing, then went on his way. Look at the size of those paws!

Miscellaneous Catch-Up

  • I decided NOT to go on the writing retreat. I did some research and did not feel the facilitator was a good match for me. I felt the cost far outweighed the value.
  • Yesterday marked my first official day on Medicare. This represents a huge saving for us — at least so far.
  • For the last two or three weeks, every time I look at the clock the time is 11:11. My daughter told me that is a sign of angels being near. I like that. If you have something negative to say about that, keep it to yourself.
  • A meaningful rose produced a bud this morning. It is gorgeous and I know will disappear as quickly as it came.
  • The garden is doing well. We have a few blooms on the tomato plants, some tiny peppers on the pepper plants, small broccoli heads, and the radishes are coming up!
  • I saw what I thought were wild strawberries and I was so excited! Unfortunately, they turned out to be mock strawberries which may be an invasive species.
  • We saw our first black snake yesterday. Maybe he can take care of the moles that are tunneling through our yard.
  • Tomorrow I am going to stay with my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren for 3 or 4 days while my son is out of town. I see cooking and playing on my agenda.

There has been a lot on the news that weighs me down, but I am trying hard to maintain my perspective and focus on making a positive difference in my corner of the world.

Happy Thursday! Feel free to share your good news in the comments!

Blog, Home

The Night Visitors

Day Four

I remember my father telling a story about encountering a black bear while he was alone doing a little fly fishing. I rarely saw my father frightened, but I remember so well how scared he was. He often said he was afraid he was going to have a heart attack that day!

Such is life in the mountains. You learn to live with the creatures that share your space. We have lived here over two years and we are learning to live with nature’s residents. Last year we put out a small container garden. The next morning all the plants had been dug up, but oddly they were fine. Some creature (likely a raccoon) decided to dig in the fresh loose dirt for grubs. Most of the ground here is red clay so finding loosely packed soil must have been a treat. The plants were simply an unintended casualty.

Wild turkeys are a common sight. In the summer, squirrels and chipmunks, field mice and rabbits are seen almost daily. I love capturing them on my camera whenever I can.

We have had several visits from black bears. It is a little unnerving the first time you see one just five feet outside your living room window. We had several bird feeders crushed and several shepherds crooks bent beyond recognition. Needless to say now the bird feeders come in before dusk although when bears are looking for food, they are not necessarily nocturnal. (Party stores carry small air horns perfect for startling an unwelcome visitor.)

We saw bobcats a couple of times, but could never quite capture them on a camera before they were long gone. Majestic creatures in their own right, bobcats are powerful and while they look like an overgrown cat, they are a force to be reckoned with.

After finding evidence of night visitors, we decided to buy a trail camera just to see who was coming by. This morning, my husband brought the SD card in to see what creatures had been around these last few weeks.

black bearWe clicked through the images and saw the rabbit, two raccoons and an opossum. We love opossums because they love to eat ticks! Then we both said – Oh no. Yes, there were several shots of a bear walking down the brick walkway behind our house. You need to understand this walkway actually touches our house, so this means the bear was only about 4 feet from our back wall. A few more clicks and the bear was now standing. Whoah! They look so much larger when they stand on their hind legs!

Black Bear StandingThe images were timestamped around 4:00 am so the bears could still smell the evidence of the bird food. Looking at where his head was in relation to the pole, he was about 5-6′ tall when standing on his hind legs.

Of course, this is life in and around the mountains. It’s all about having respect for your surroundings and for the creatures that lived here long before we did. We love seeing them – at a distance – but we never approach them or try to lure them with food.

I love this calm integration with my homeland. I love seeing the wildlife, the birds and the plants and trees that grow effortlessly around us. It is truly home to all of us.

Thanksgiving Day 2016

“We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.” 
Steve Irwin