Thursday, September 17, 2015

Share with the bear

Recently, we have spotted enormous heaps of bear poop everywhere: on many trails around our neighborhood, on our driveway, under our apple tree, on top of my beets!!!  Please!  On top of my beets!  Turns out the bear has been feasting on our apples, of course, but also on the very beets I had planned on making pickled honeyed beets with.  Hmpf.

I saw the bear when I was working on the computer upstairs - in broad daylight.  The reason I looked out the window was because the ducks were quacking more hysterically than usual.  And there he she it was.  A big, black bear with teddy bear ears, looking straight at me.  I started yelling for the rest of the family downstairs to alert them to the bear, and although the window was wide open and the bear heard my shrieks perfectly well, he she it never moved - just kept checking me out.

We all ran outside, and even though we made quite a racket, the bear just serenely stood under the apple tree for a while longer.  When we got closer, it finally bolted.  Here is a very bad photo Steve managed in the excitement.

When we got to the apple tree, I mobilized our family to immediately pick all the apples.  It was a miracle the bear hadn't climbed up the tree and destroyed it already.  When I checked out my vegetable garden right next to the tree I saw bear tracks amidst all the deer tracks, and a big pile of bear poop on top of my beet bed, with half of the beets gone and the rest with the tops eaten off.

Since I had taken a shower earlier, I was still in my bath robe, furiously pulling beets, harvesting basil, and micro-managing the apple picking.  Ahhh. Country livin'...

Instead of the usual dozen or so quarts of honeyed beets, I only made 5 quarts. Hmpf.
Oh well.  I shouldn't be so resentful of the poor bear, who has had a tough time with this droughty, fiery, smokey year without many berries in the mountains.  The bears are hungry.
Talking of hungry: Steve smoked all the salmon that the boys caught on their river adventure.  They continue to catch fish every day, good boys!

Also, I harvested squash a couple of days ago, a little disappointed with the meager crop (compared to other years).  And, of course, I keep making cheese like mad.  This week, I experimented with Gouda, flavored with cracked pepper and mustard seeds.  We'll see in two months how it tastes.  

(By the way, there is still time to sign up for my online cheese making course!)  Have you watched my movie yet?  In it I give FREE tips and tricks for making great Gree Yogurt, Chevre and Gouda.


  1. I live in CO and bear in the area is very common- they mostly go for the sarvisberries and chokecherries.....all except for last summer! We started tomatoes from seed and after giving some away ended up with 14 plants. I babied those things all summer, taking them in and out when needing too, shielding them from wind, etc. I awoke one night to the sounds of snuffling on our deck which is on the back of the house. I looked out and saw a mama and at least two cubs. "Oh no," I thought because the only way back there is the front porch where all the tomatoes were. I thought I would wake up to a few plants down. Oh no! Those bears had eaten every single tomato red or otherwise! Aargh! My husband has been paranoid about the tomatoes this summer telling me I should pick them before the bear gets them. Haha! Every year is just different isn't it?

    1. Oh, no, how heartbreaking, Jennifer! To start everything from seed and tend the plants for months, and then have everything destroyed by a bear. Argh! I feel for ya!

  2. We put up a fence that almost has razor wire on the top but not quite. My deer grass ornamental lingers on and forget the idea of growing sunflowers out front for beauty. Irises are there now. Nothing likes them.

    Do you worry about bears getting your small animals or even you?

    1. Nope. These black bears are not the monsters people think they are. We have co-existed with mountain lions and bears in these mountains for hundreds of years. I am aware of my smallest child being outside though, making sure the kids are together out there.

    2. That's good. I don't have any direct experience with bears except when hiking and then we always try to steer clear and make noise. They run away. I have heard of people in the Sierra's say like around Nevada City where there are a lot of rural houses and bears going into people's houses and getting into trash and those people don't have a good feeling about that and try to find a new home for the bear.


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