Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lions and tigers and BEARS, Oh my!

Um, only without the lions and tigers.
Yes, we are talking about BEARS. In North Pole. On MY street.
At least that's the official word from The Borough.
J and I headed to town this morning and noticed a bright yellow sign attatched to the stop sign on the corner. "BEAR SIGHTED IN AREA, make sure trash is secure". Complete with a drawing of an angry looking, foraging bear who looks like he is most likely contemplating eating a human, namely, me.

I called the landlord and IMMEDIATELY discontinued any further feeding of my avowed squirrel enemy AND decided to remove the food-baited trap. Last thing I need is to see a bear on my deck, waiting for me to refill the trap-which wasn't working anyway, as Bushy figured out how to get food without triggering the trap. The only thing the trap WAS successful in was attracting a couple field mice, who also escaped capture.
Though if I could lure the bear into EATING Bushy, I may reconsider. Oh wait, no, I won't reconsider. Since the bear would consider Bushy as a tasty appetizer and follow up with the main course: um, me.

The landlord was kind enough to call the Borough and find out more information about the bear sighting. Apparently on Tuesday there were THREE (Three?!? Holy Expletive!) sightings of a "small" black bear, about a block or so from where we live. Um, yikes!
And for the record, in my personal, very humble opinion a "small" bear is either lost and scared enough to eat me, or has a not-so-small Momma Bear nearby, who will probably eat me.
"Small" bear.
And for those of you who are thinking, "Well at least it's not a grizzly", think again. See, a grizzly will pretty much mind his own business. And if you play "dead", might actually leave you alone. Black bears are known for STALKING and PLOTTING thier attacks. For all I know, this "small" black bear knows when I will be out there hanging my next load of laundry on the line, and has already figured out that when I hang the sheets- and am all tangled up trying to get the queen sized fitted sheet on the line- is probably the best time to sneak up on me and eat me.
Even scarier than that: J and I spent all afternoon yesterday traipsing back and forth to the woods with tree debris, as we started cutting up our felled trees for firewood. And since J was the one operating the chainsaw, it was mostly ME traipsing in and out of the woods with debris.
In the woods with a bear. A "small" bear who probably wants to eat me.

WHY did I decide that the best place for the clothes line was right next to my rasperry patch?
Especially now that the plants are dense and tall, and berries are starting to form. WHY did I put my clothesline right next to a bear's favorite summer time treat?
Oh, yeah... I thought the sun ripened berries would make the laundry smell nice.

And another thing... since I've moved here, I have shared my fear of bears with almost anyone that will listen to me panic about them. And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has sworn that they have lived here for years and years and years and (I quote), "NEVER seen a bear outside of Denali park" or outside of areas like Anchorage that are known for bears. NEVER EVER EVER in town. They promised and swore they weren't lying to make me feel safe.
So WHY are there bear warnings posted on my street????

**** ANYHOO***
Enough on that. No offense, but I hope I DON'T have a bear update for you. An update would imply that the bear is still on the loose. Or has eaten me.

This week has been incredibly busy. Last weekend, the landlord brought a few dead trees down in the yard. J's new chain saw has been getting quite the workout, and so have I. Forget fancy diet plans and expensive gym memberships. I've been getting buff the old fashioned way. J cuts the wood, I haul it to the wood pile. Add Beans in the baby backpack, and I was getting a SERIOUS workout.

So, as I was hauling and stacking firewood, the following thoughts (in my usual dorky ways) crossed my mind:
- I have even more respect for Charles Ingalls than I did before I stacked firewood.
- I do not have enough "oomph" to split firewood, especially with a baby on my back.
-If you strike with an axe, you should have a really good, firm grip. Otherwise it's going to hurt.
- My husband DOES have enough "oomph" to split firewood, and showed me how to do it.
- In a strange, lumberjack kind of way, it was kind of sexy, watching him split firewood. Very manly.
-I told him that. (teehee)
-He said he would do something about that later, but first, we had to get the firewood stacked, so I should get back to work instead of watching him. (Well, phooey.)
-Hauling and stacking firewood is hard work.
-I was relieved when the baby finally needed to nurse and dinner needed to be made. I'll take baby duty and housework to cutting and stacking firewood any day!

I would like to add that running into MOOSE crossed my mind while I was hauling the debris into the woods, but a BEAR never crossed my mind. Not once. Until this morning.

Coming up for the rest of our week:
Sending J back to work and enjoying some down time with our friends. Trying to make a sourdough starter. Seeing if I can sew some shorts before the weather turns cool again. Hanging more laundry, copying directions for making a "rag rug" from a friend's magazine,a trip to the library. And hopefully all of that WITHOUT sighting any bears.

Happy and Bear-Free Moose Trails, y'all! (I hope!)


Tammy Kauffman said...

When I lived in AK, 2006 we had bears at the golf course and Cramers Field. They were also on CHSR and down in North Pole. They were near Chena Lakes. When we went to visit they posted the signs. I never saw one in person. I saw pictures in the newspapers but not up close and personal. My husband was fishing on the Gulkana and he said he heard a noise and looked up to see a black bear fishing. My husband got mad because the bear caught a fish and he didn't. He said the bear looked at him and walked away. The bear walked through the campground and then back to the water. He stayed away from everyone. Just make a lot of noise when you hang your clothes on the line. You should be ok. Take care and keep posting. It makes me feel like I'm actually there. If we ever get back, I would love to meet. Have you been to the Farmers Market? If you get good at making aprons you can sell them. They have a wonderful Christmas bazaar at the Carlson Center in Nov/Dec that sells everything made by people here in Alaska. A lot of unique things. Keep posting. Tammy

Kathy, Denton, TX said...

I followed your link today on the ArticCam and loved your blog.

As I was reading I was thinking about how I felt in 1970 when I left Oklahoma to move to Fairbanks.

Enjoy your stay, I hope you make as many lifelong friends and wonderful memories as we did in our 9 years there.

It it is always wonderful to go back and visit and part of our hearts will always remain in Alaska.

Best of luck on your new adventure!