Monday, April 25, 2016

The Bear: Part 1

This was not a good week to be a goose at Cold Antler Farm. Not at all.

The geese have had a nest by the wood pile next to the kitchen. It's a safe little place, tucked right next to the house by the mews and the stacks of firewood. About a dozen eggs were being sat upon, hoping for a hatching of goslings to take to the Poultry Swap in May. About ten feet from them is the garbage cans. Both cans and the nest are less than fifty feet from my small 2-car-garage-sized barn.

I came home from the brewery early. Or, earlier than my friends who stay well into the wee hours. I get up with the sun around 6:30AM right now and staying up until 1Am isn't appealing. So I came home, and when I pulled into the driveway with my pickup, there was not a weird thing going on, at all. There was no panicked sounds of animals or grunts. There was no weird smells. I had been sober as a Judge for a while before I even turned the key in the truck. All was quiet on the Cold Antler Front.

I let the dogs out to pee. I checked the goats to see if any kids had arrived. I counted the flock for all 14 sheep. I made sure the pigs didn't topple their water (I hate waking up thirsty at 3Am, I imagine a pig does, too). So, as far I as knew, the farm was well and good when I crawled upstairs into my bed at 11PM. Honestly, I was so happy about that stair walk, it is embarassing. I had been sleeping on the daybed in the living room all winter, and to have the big full bed, the open windows, the fresh air, the clean sheets, the sprawling GLORY that is a big bed in a clean room... I was more drunk on comfort than anything. And this was the same day I had ran eight miles and fell off a horse. I was ready to sleep.

And while I was sleeping the bear came.

I live on a small mountain, up a winding road. Bears are common, as is bear hunting. There are packs of Plott Hounds that chase bear across my farm fields come fall. I watched them run across corn fields and have seen cubs climbing trees. I love this. I have no qualms with bears as they rarely cause problems. But that night while I slept one bear was on a mission. That mission was calledL DESTROY COLD ANTLER FARM.


Blogger Sparkless said...

I live in a small city and we still have bears come in and destroy stuff. Last year one ripped the wooden doors of our garage off to get to our garbage cans which we thought were safely put away from anything getting to them. Who would of thought a bear could rip through 3/4" plywood to get to some garbage sealed in plastic garbage bags sealed in plastic garbage cans. The bear also bent this metal pipe that the neighbours had as part of their fencing. We couldn't even bend the pipe back it was so strong so how the bear bent it I have no idea.

April 25, 2016 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

Hmm nuisance bear tag? I didn't hunt with dogs, but you might inquire who has them. They might be able to make it less hospitable for a bear. You don't want one with cubs floating around. You don't want your dogs going after them. I don't remember what your farm guns consistent of.....just sayin. The guys in the UP prefer 44 mag revolvers.

(and bear is seriously good eating)

April 25, 2016 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Robin Follette said...

I started looking for tracks in mud in March because of our early spring. I know the bears have been out of hibernation for about a month. The weather turned dry and windy. There isn't any mud and there's little for the bears to eat. I'm taking extra measures to keep the chickens and ducks safe but really, bears do what bears want to do, especially when they're hungry. I sleep with the window open but these days I'm sleeping so soundly I don't think I'd hear anything either.

April 25, 2016 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Robin, honestly, when I think bears I think of you. And when I finally get one for meat, I will be begging for your number!

April 25, 2016 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Ohiofarmgirl said...

...and THEN?!!? where is part two?

April 26, 2016 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Tricky Wolf said...

don't just leave us hanging, what's the damage report?

April 26, 2016 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger loren said...

I used to live in the Colorado mountains. One year there were bears everywhere. Garage more than once and they did not want to leave. Had a mother and cub living in my front door alcove for a few days. I used the side entrance for awhile. Always remember seeing the black hole inside the black shadow with the 2 eyes in it going woof. Had one eat my hot tub cover too. Had to hit him with a 2x4 before he left.
The absolute worse though was one night I was sitting in the hot tub, which was outside and dug in at the edge of a cliff. A really cool spot actually. Anyway, that night I was relaxing with my back against the rim when something with a wet nose stuck it against the back of my neck. I didn't have a dog either. That did pretty much send me up like a Polaris missile test. Spun around with the 9mm and there was a raccoon that I had more or less made a pet of, I fed her anyway. I swear she had a grin on her face.

April 26, 2016 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Per Ohio Farm Girl:

Ditto ...and THEN?!!? where is part two?

Goose Goose

April 27, 2016 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

on bears and humans: In some parts of bear country you can be fined for leaving garbage out, and you aren't supposed to put it out at the curb the night before. Unfortunately it's human behaviour that creates 'nuisance' bears. To Jenna: I hope everything will be ok :( This has reminded me to get my electric set up around my hives. Does anyone have some bear bangers or other deterrents you can use? Stay safe.

April 28, 2016 at 11:58 AM  

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