Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Will you be my mommy?

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

These photos were taken by my next-door-neighbor, Aileen, on Monday. They were too cute not to share!  She said this tiny cub was hanging out on her deck for about a half an hour. No mother was around, so it looks like it’s an abandoned cub. It seems to be wondering if their wooden bear might be a good surrogate. It looks kind of right, but it sure doesn’t smell right!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The sad thing is it might be one of the three cubs that were left to fend on their own when their mother was euthanized about a month ago. (The rogue bear that knocked down a man and swiped at his dog in Jungle Habitat.) It looks about the right size because they were “about the size of a Pomeranian” when their mother was killed.

I haven’t seen it around my yard ... yet, but I’ll be keeping a close eye out for the dear little thing.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summation of a weekend

We had a good weekend, did you? Both busy and relaxing: a combo of the two.

On Friday night we drove to Hoboken to have dinner with friends. I am sorry I didn’t take my camera because there were several missed photo opportunities:
1. The skyline of Manhattan
2. Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop (home of the Cake Boss show on TV) where people were lined up 20-30 deep just to get in the door!
3. Great old brownstone buildings.

We ate wonderful authentic Mexican food at Charritos and had a great night out. I want to go back! (with camera)

On Saturday morning friends called to see if we wanted to join them hiking with their dog in Jungle Habitat. Rick was out doing yard work, so I declined, plus it was already getting too hot for out black-coated kids. It’s just as well that we didn’t go with them, because look what they found when they got there:

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Aggressive bear!! Yikes, we’ve never seen a bear while hiking here. A hiker and his dog were “attacked” by the bear while walking the trails. The dog was seriously wounded and had to spend the night in the animal hospital, but the man had only minor injuries as a result of having just been knocked down by the bear. The bear did not maul him or lay a paw on him. Who knows what really happened here.

The wild raspberries and black caps are all ripening now, plus I understand that it is also mating season for the bears. This incident is unfortunate (not only for the poor dog and its human) since it comes within one week of the local fireworks display which takes place in Jungle Habitat. Unless the bear can be trapped by July 2nd, the fireworks will be cancelled. We don’t usually go but this year we were thinking of hiking to the top of the neighbor’s hill behind their house to watch from there.

The rest of Saturday was spent running a few errands in Mia and then relaxing by the pool. It’s so pretty right now with the day lilies in full bloom.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I felt a bit like Cleopatra as Rick pulled me slowly around the pool on my “barge.”

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Then we just floated around. It was a perfect afternoon for the pool. Not too hot and the pool temperature is now up to 82 degrees!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Sunday morning we drove Mia to the market in Warwick to pick up items for our dinner. We came home with a freshly butchered rabbit, fresh peas, bread, the best pesto in the world, cipollini onions, and fresh strawberries and blueberries. We took a different route home hoping to find a road Rick wanted to take but we turned too early and missed it.

After lunch I told Rick I thought we should take another drive and try to find the road we had missed. It’s hard not to take advantage of such great top-down weather. So, that’s exactly what we did. Note to self for next time: remember to put sunscreen on and Rick needs to remember to take a cap with him on these sunny days.

Not only are the day lilies blooming in my back yard but all along the roadsides around us. Everywhere you look they are growing wild. This photo taken from Mia doesn’t begin to give you the scope of how numerous and beautiful they are. Last year they barely bloomed due to all our rain and cool temperatures. But this year they are out in full force, drinking in the sun.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

We found the road we were looking for and them some. Take a look at this sign about halfway through our drive.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The views over the Warwick valley, although seen through the haze of humidity, were pretty.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
See? More roadside lilies!

We passed an old abandoned farm on the historic register. It looked sad and forlorn. Probably because it remembers the road during horse and carriage days.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

After we got home we pooled it for awhile, then on to cooking dinner.

While our proscuitto-wrapped-rabbit-italian sausage & sage skewers cooked ...

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

... we drank a glass of wine on the deck and chatted. I heard a great flapping of wings and some squawking, and turned around to see this momma turkey with her three turkettes in our back yard! She must have flown over the fence while the little ones squeezed under. They pecked around for a while then she took them off into the woods. Very cute.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

As I sat on the deck I saw that the light was hitting a tree in the woods within our yard and lighting it up in a very nice way. I grabbed my camera and headed down to see if it was a good photo prospect. Just as I got to the tree I caught movement out of the corner of my eye—a black bear rump running away from me! Yikes! Here we are up on the deck and we had no idea a bear was over the fence in the wooded part of the yard. He obviously was not bothered by us talking and the smell of our rabbit grilling. Or maybe he thought it smelled too good? He was in the area where we have berry bushes and I guess I spooked him from his snack.

We could hear the sounds of our neighbors that we don’t know on the side of us having a family get-together. The sounds of children playing and laughing carried through the woods. Just after I had spooked the bear and was back up on the deck we heard the kids start screaming next door. Next came silence. No more laughing squealing kids. Then the sound of an air horn went off. Once. Twice. Three times. We knew the bear had just crashed their party! (Many people keep air horns to scare bears away. We don’t have one.)

The rest of the evening passed without any other excitements. Our dinner was delicious!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

So, that was our weekend. How was yours?

UPDATE: Taken from the Thunder in the Highlands website:
The West Milford PAL Board of Directors has postponed the Fireworks display until July 9, 2010 due to unforeseen issues with a “special resident and her cubs” at the Jungle Habitat Property.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It’s been a long time

Since we’ve had a bear visit that is! Yesterday in the heat of the afternoon this is what I saw out the front window laying in the shade. (all photos taken from the safety of an upstairs window)

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

One BIG bear and one smaller one. The small one looks too small to be this year’s cub, but I can’t be sure about that. The small bear was quite entertained with my tree stump that I sometimes pour bird seed into. He was quite sure there was more to this stump than meets the eye.

Maybe if I turn it over ...

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The big bear wonders if the little one might be on to something here.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Yup, definitely something in the bottom here. (Some leftover bird seed fell out.)

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

This bear is not familiar to me. It’s BIG. Look at the size of its head! Very porcine looking! And what is also strange about this bear duo is that the smaller bear has been tagged twice, the big bear has no tags. The big one looks male to me. He was also favoring one leg and I remember that either Luke or my neighbor Aileen had told me of a bear with an injured leg a while back. So, maybe the same one that they saw.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Time for a sit-out. Just look at the position of those back legs. I’d say he looks pretty comfortable, wouldn’t you? They can be so silly.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Sitting was too tiring.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Time to leave!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

In case you are wondering why the big bear is wet, we had a little thunderstorm blow through a couple of hours before their visit. He’s either wet from walking through wet vegetation or he visited Bella’s wading pool in the back yard before visiting the front yard! *(joking here)* There isn’t enough water at this time of year for him to have been wading in our little stream. And yes, the big bear was panting just like a dog. It was hot yesterday!

I hope you enjoyed their visit as much as I did!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Back yard visitors

The other day around 7:00 p.m. I was passing through the sun room and looked out the windows like I probably do about 50 times a day. I knew Alex and Bella were outside enjoying the cool spring evening, so when I saw two black objects down in the woodsy skunk cabbage part of our yard I wasn’t too surprised. I did wonder however what they were doing because they really don’t go down there that much. The very next minute my brain finally went CLICK. I looked on the deck and sure enough, there were Alex and Bella just laying there. The black objects were not my dogs! They were bears; the first ones of the season.

When my brain finally registered the fact that they were bears I couldn’t help but wonder why the dogs weren’t barking? Surely they saw them/heard them and Bella notices everything that even comes close to her yard. Yet there they laid, looking, but not making a sound. I could see now that the bears were not in fact in the yard but right on the other side of our chain link fence that borders the woods. A mother and two cubs. Big cubs for this early in the year. I quietly called the dogs inside and ran to put the zoom lens on the camera.

Here is what they looked like from the back deck where the dogs were laying.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I walked down into the yard to get closer, but not too much closer. After all, I don’t know this bear. Shooting through a chain link fence is not the best and it was getting dark but you get the idea. Here is the mother bear.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

There were having a delightful meal of fresh skunk cabbage, ripping off huge leaves and munching them down like crazy.

She sees me!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I walked back up the house to continue watching them. Within a few minutes of getting back in the house I noticed that one of the cubs had come over the fence and was now technically in my yard. (There is a spot in the fencing that sags from so many bears going over it!) Back down in the yard I went with the camera. He heard the clicks of the camera before he realized I was there. He was very curious about what I was doing.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

His sibling is still on the other side of the fence and curious too.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

how’d he get over there????? maybe I should try ...

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

All too soon they had their fill of cabbage and moved on. It was nice to see them! I hope they come back soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I love living here and close encounters of the bear kind

Sometimes it just hits me in the face how beautiful it really is here in New Jersey. Forget about the crummy summer we are experiencing with all the rain and 100% humidity. (Hey, it’s good for the skin!)

Yesterday I drove to our CSA to pick up our share. I took the back roads instead of the main road. The back roads are twisty and turny with plenty of hills. I pass all kinds of styles of houses nestled cosily in the woods. No cookie-cutter housing developments here. Some make me want to stop, knock on their door, and ask I can come in and tour their home. My Mom was always wanting to do that. I think she would have made a great realtor. Has it really been two years since her passing?

I also pass two or three (or is it four?) small lakes with their clusters of houses. Some are log cabins which must go back to the days when this was a popular place to come in the summer from the city. Now they are permanent homes for some lucky family. I love the look and feel of these small lakeside communities. My favorite is Lindy’s Lake. There is so much foot traffic going back and forth from houses to the private beach that they put out orange traffic cones. As I drive slowly by keeping a sharp eye out for stray children, I get a quick glimpse of kids swimming and splashing while the moms chat in small groups or sit on beach towels in the sun.

Also yesterday there was a bear parade down the street in front of my house. Patches had the kids out for a stroll. I stood in my driveway and tried to snap a few photos. They were on the move so the photos are not the best. First came Patches.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

and then the three amigos.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The went into our neighbor’s yard and then their woods, coming back out on the road again. Patches was curious about our new driveway (We had our driveway resurfaced on Monday and the asphalt smell is still very strong.) and she came over to have a sniff.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

She was probably planning on coming into my front yard but she knew I was out there so she changed her plans and took the family on down the road.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

It was midday and very hot. I was pretty surprised to see them out and about. But that would not be the only bear encounter of the day. Oh no, not the last.

Several hours later I let the dogs out after their meal. Bella didn’t show up at the door to come back inside and I knew she must be up to something. The dogs never want to stay outside when it’s as hot as it was yesterday. I went out to see what she up to and I could see her back by the fence. I called her. She ignored me. I walked a little further and could see she was just sitting there at the fence intently staring back into the woods. Hmm ... very suspicious! Sure enough, there was Patches sitting at the base of a large tree, and looking up I could see the cubs in the tree. I got Bella back inside and went out with my camera, hoping to get some shots of the cubs up the tree.

Patches was laying down when I approached the fence. She picked her head up and looked at me. I went to the fence, and standing on a rock, positioned my camera on the top of the chain link, preparing to take a photo of her. She stood up with her front legs on the tree as if to climb it and I figured I was making her nervous and she was going to call the cubs down from their perch high above. As I stood there, quicker than lightning, another bigger bear came charging at her from somewhere on my left making scary noises. I didn’t get my photo but I nearly peed my pants. Where did that bear come from? Patches went up the tree and there was a lot of vocalizing going on in bear talk. I was still standing there dumbstruck when the bigger bear turned in my direction, looked straight at me and started walking at a quick pace towards me and the fence. I have to admit I was pretty scared (especially not knowing what kind of scene I had just watched the bears play out). So what did I do? I backed away as quickly as I could keeping my eye on the bear at all times. I knew it could come over that fence in a heartbeat if it wanted to. (And speaking of heartbeats, mine was pretty rapid right about then!) The big bear got almost to the fence and then turned around and went back to the base of the tree where Patches and the kids still were. Holy crap! I have never witnessed anything like that before. I stood there in the yard for a little while trying to peer through the trees to see what was going on. I saw a cub come down the tree and the bigger adults moving around, but no more confrontations. I left them to it and went back inside to call my neighbor Aileen to be on the lookout for them in case they headed in her direction.

I don’t know which bear it was, but it was big. Much bigger than Patches because she looked like a cub next to it!  Yikes.

When I told Rick my story he had this to say “Gee, too bad you didn’t get it on video.” Not gee Lynne maybe you should be more careful or how scary or anything like that. No. He’s wishing I had gotten it on video. Well, now that I think about it and my heart rate is back to normal again, I’m thinking how very cool it would have been to have it on video. Think I should try again?


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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