Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Bear in the Driveway!

One or more of our dogs has been barking at night lately. We've been too lazy to get up and see what's wrong. Yesterday morning we discovered that we had forgotten to close the small outside chicken door the night before. Johnny found all but two eggs smashed and eaten in the morning. No chickens were missing, thank goodness. So we are double checking at night to be sure the chicken's outside door is barricaded shut. It may have been an opossum. I've seen one visiting the chicken yard occasionally at night to drink the milk that I leave out for the chickens. Although the chicken yard is securely fenced, apparently opossums, like raccoons, can get in by climbing from trees to the chicken house roof and then down the shrubbery into the chicken yard.

Last night, or rather 1:30 this morning, Johnny got up to see why one of the dogs was barking. I think he hoped to catch the egg eater on its way to the chicken yard. I didn't hear Johnny leave and was sound asleep until a knock on the bedroom window woke me up... and a beam of light, Johnny's flashlight, shone in from outside. I opened the window and Johnny said, "There's a bear in the driveway! Maybe you could get a picture!"

At 1:30 in the morning.

I declined to try.

The bear, Johnny told me, disappeared quickly into the bushes, but the broken pear branch that had been lying in the driveway for the last several days... right outside our bedroom window... was now stripped of pears.

In the fall, bears routinely browse under our apple trees in the horse pasture, eating downfalls and leaving big piles of spit up apples. But only a few trees have apples this year and those have only just begun to fall. Blackberries are very late to ripen this odd weather year and there are not many of them. So I think the bears are branching out. One bear annoyed some of our neighbors a few weeks ago by getting into their garbage cans every night. Someone finally shot at it.

We've never minded having the bears around. They have never bothered our livestock. But they are apparently hungry this year, with fewer berries to eat. Today I picked up the apples that have fallen off the tree just outside our bedroom window, next to the pear tree. And I picked all the pears on the dwarf pear tree on the other side of our house. I don't mind bears in the driveway, but I would rather not have them quite so near my house.

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