|Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
dressed in costumes, but a large black bear sauntering by. Yep, my friends, we don't live in the suburbs anymore!
Of course we knew there were black bears in our area, and we even knew one had been on our property; when moved here in June, my children led me through a walk in the woods, and I found bear scat just feet from our house.
But I'd hoped all the commotion of moving, plus noisy children, plus all the engine noise my hubby makes when he's around had scared the bear further into the woods.
Then a neighbor told us he'd seen bear scat nearby, all full of apples. Sure, there are apple trees here and there around people's homes on this mountain, but we have by far the most apple trees - and our orchard is on the edge of logging land, where people are scarce and critters abundant. We wondered if a bear was coming into our yard at night...
Then last weekend, when hubby and I were taking a walk on the logging road just above our house, we saw a bear bed, right by the road, just 5 minutes away from our house. Hmmm...
Then last night, I heard my son banging around downstairs. (He's like a clumsy moose wandering the house when he gets up to use the restroom at night). I was getting out of bed to remind him to be quiet when I noticed one of our motion detector lights was on. So I took a peek out the window as I passed by...and there was the bear, casual as you please.
I woke my hubby because the bear was headed straight for the chickens and my daughter's pet rabbit. Both are secured in cages, but if a bear really wanted in, he probably could break in. Fortunately, black bears mostly eat plants. Still, we listened hard for any commotion. However, the two fruit trees that still have a few apples on them are in that same area - and apples are a much easier food source for a bear who's already pretty well fattened for the winter.
But now I feel like I can't let the kids play outside alone. (Yes, we have a dog, but he's still very much a puppy.) Worse, hubby has to cross the yard in the dark to get to his car in the early morning. "Maybe you should take your spotlight with you every morning," I said. "Um...yeah," he replied.
The good news is, black bear attacks are very rare. Nevertheless, today I'm teaching my kids the best way to deal with a black bear who thinks our orchard is his.
Anyway, better a black bear than a cougar!