Monday, June 29, 2009

Patches, the bear, and her three cubs

As promised, here is the video of Patches and the cubs. It would have been even better if I had actually had the camera recording when I thought I did. I’ve got to learn how to use that thing properly! You can see one of the little cubs has a white patch on its chest just like its mother!

or you can watch in on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koihAdkTkws

 

or the best quality link with a fast connection:
http://gallery.me.com/bmtndog/100210

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sorry, more boring bear photos

I hope you’re not tired of seeing bear photos just yet. I do have to record them here on the blog when they come around.

Yesterday afternoon I tossed out some stale snack food, chips, and crackers that I had crumbled up for the squirrels. (My way of recycling!) I was typing away here in the office and the dogs were in here with me. I turned around to look out the window and there was Momma and the three cubs! The dogs had not seen her yet, and since the air conditioning was on (hurray!) the windows were closed. The cubs have grown since I first saw them two weeks ago and it’s hard to tell which one was the little one now. They settled in for a good snack.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


hmm ... what’s that? ... oh look ... i found something interesting ...

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


a peanut! yum!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


now just how did i find myself in this ridiculous position? is that my hind foot or my front foot?

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Feeling comfy and just hanging out in this nice lady’s yard underneath this nice big tree.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


I kept this photo in because it shows how large her leg and paw are! yikes.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Pretty soon the cubs got tired of munching and headed up the big oak tree. They settled themselves on branches high up in the tree (level with the top of my house’s roof) and fell sound asleep. I felt like I was hosting an afternoon sleep-over party! Momma Bear stayed below and patiently waited.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I went outside with the video camera and my digital camera to try and get some shots. I was pretty close to Momma Bear but on the opposite side of the fence from her. I took my time and gauged her reaction to my being so close. She looked up at me and made eye contact a few times but never budged. When we get the video put together I’ll be posting it here on the blog in the next few days or so.

I tried to get photos of the cubs in the tree but the branches were in the way. One cub literally hung himself on the branch with all his legs dangling down leaving only his body for balance. Sound asleep!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


This one has its head propped up on the branch using it like a pillow while his two front legs hang off on either side.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


When I took the photo above I didn’t realize that two cubs were cuddled up together.  Can you see them both in this photo? The lighting conditions were not ideal since the sun was behind them.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

They slept for about 45 minutes, sweet as can be. Finally one cub came down first and Bella’s barking finally got to Momma. She started off with the one cub. A second cub came down the tree so fast it was unbelievable and dropped from about 12 feet up to catch up with Mom. I heard the little cub that was left alone in the tree start crying as it came ever so slowly down. (Maybe it’s tree climbing skills aren’t quite as developed as its siblings.) Such a pathetic mewling noise! Momma immediately turned around and came back to the bottom of the tree to wait for it. Once the family was fully reunited, off they went.

Keep watching for the video to be posted!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rudely awakened

5:56 a.m.
The dogs woke me first by jumping up on the bed. It was while laying there desperately trying to go back to sleep for just a tiny bit longer that I heard a noise from outside. A loud thump. Like a trash can being toppled over. Oh no; crap. That can only mean one thing. Should I get up to see? I get up, tweak open the curtains and peek out. Yup, just as I thought. Bear. I watch as it expertly pops off the lid and drags a bag into the yard. It lays down very much at home and begins eating its tasty breakfast of garbage. (I have to apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos. It was still pretty dark out.)

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Rick and I both went out the front door clapping our hands and making shooing noises. The bear just looked at us as if to say “get lost!” Not moving. No way.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


What to do? Rick got in the car and drove to the top of the driveway hoping that would scare it away but it only drug yet another bag to the edge of our neighbor’s woods and continued munching away. Rick opened and closed the car door a few times and the bear decided he’d had enough and moved on. He picked up the trash and put the lids back on. The bear was headed for our neighbor’s trash at the end of our cul-de-sac so Rick drove up to move it along so it didn’t get into more trouble. Kind of like herding a recalcitrant cow. Get along little doggy!

When I asked what it was that the bear had found so tasty, Rick said he had pulled out mostly vegetables, like the leavings of our coleslaw (cabbage, carrots) and not the trimmings from our pulled pork. We think it was the youngster (I am going to call him “Junior”) that camped out in the neighbor’s utility trailer over the winter. He’s a brazen one.

And that’s how our day today started out. How is your day going so far?

This photo looks almost like a watercolor painting (I’d like to think of it that way instead of calling it a blurry photo!) so I’m giving this piece of “artwork” a name.

Bear with Trash

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

P.S. They do sell bear-proof trash cans here but we’ve never had trouble. Maybe we need to think about purchasing one with Junior around ...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Momma Bear’s front yard visit

Yesterday evening I was on the phone with Rick when the neighbor’s dogs started barking. Then our dogs started barking their “mom, something is in the yard” bark and they were all gathered in the office, noses pointing to the front yard. Sure enough, there was a large black bear hanging out in the front yard next to a tree. It was a bigger bear than the other visitor we had. So, someone new. This could be the bear who visited in the dark the other night.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

As I watched, look what popped out from behind the tree!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Awww ... such a tiny baby! I had about given up the idea that we were going to have any new bear babies this year as they usually make their appearance before now. It was rather dim outside, the day never really brightening back up since our morning thunderstorms, so it was not the best light for taking photos and the bears are always on the move.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

There is nothing cuter than a new bear cub! Look how adorable!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Bears make such great mothers. They take great care with their offspring. Here is a sweet nose touch.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

As they started across the road, another cub came scrambling down the tree and joined them. Twins! Don’t leave me behind!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Just as they crossed the road there was quick blur as a third cub dropped out of the tree and raced to catch up with the rest of the family. Triplets! I was thrilled. They entered the neighbor’s woods and visited them for a while. Pretty soon I looked out and saw momma just laying smack in the middle of the road. She looks pretty at home, don’t you think?

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I am trying to identify this bear, and because of the placement of the ear tags and the patch of brown on her chest, I am making the assumption it’s Patches from last year.

She heard noises coming from the other neighbor’s yard and sat up to try and decide if it was a threat. She already knew I had my head and camera poking out of the upstairs window and had decided I was fine where I was.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Okay, kids. Quit your playing in the woods and let’s go! she says as she heads straight for my yard again.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey


And then they were gone, crossing over my front yard, then my driveway, and down into the woods headed for the brook. I hope she brings them back soon for another visit! Now you can see why I worry about leaving our basement door open all night!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Weekend wrap-up

Outside temperature: 79
Pool temperature: 70-ish
First swim of the year! At first we were just going to go in the pool just to see if we could entice Bella back in. I am still kicking myself for not pushing the right button to record when Bella jumped in and swam to Rick on Saturday. Darn it anyway! We were not successful in getting her back in with us. We bobbed around a while on our new cushy lounges while the sun went in and out of clouds. It couldn’t seem to make up its mind. I got out and Rick decided he was going to try to really get wet and swim. He was standing at what I call the “brink of no return” (where the shallow end of our pool starts dropping off gradually from 3 feet to 9 feet). He was stuck there. Trust me, it’s hard to make that decision to dunk yourself in that cold water! So, I asked him if it would help if I got in too. I walked in to meet him and my right foot went a little too far—right off the brink of no return. kerplunk. I was in the icy water. Oh well, might as well swim since I’m in! Rick was annoyed with me because he wanted to be the one who got wet first this year. Trust me, I didn’t plan it. He said the expression on my face was priceless. We swam five laps or so and that was enough. Actually it felt kind of refreshing once you got used to it.

The water so far this year is crystal clear. Last year we struggled so with algae. I hope we don’t have that problem this year. It was a real pain. We have these little bugs this time of year that we are always finding floating in the pool. They look just like a fly Rick used in Colorado for fly fishing: a wooly bugger. I was never sure about the spelling. Maybe it’s a wooly booger. They are always dry, never wet. Anyway, this is what they look like:

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I have tons of foxglove that is on the verge of blooming. They must reseed themselves pretty readily because I used to only have two or three and now I have at least ten different plants coming up everywhere. I like them though so I let them go. The bees like them too.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I don’t know what this is. Something in the pea family, but exactly what I don’t know. It’s a pretty tall plant; about 3.5 feet.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The day lilies are getting ready to make their debut poolside soon. I love it when they’re blooming. So cheery and bright.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

It wasn’t all sitting idle by the pool this weekend. We also trimmed the forsythia hedge into some semblance of order and the burning bushes in front of our windows have now been taken down a notch. If we let it go we would not be able to see out the windows. After living in Colorado for so long and coaxing things to grow, New Jersey sometimes feels like a jungle. I am always pulling baby trees up and the ferns are taking over the day lilies!

We had a nighttime visitor on Saturday. We had just gone to bed when Hailey and Alex started barking like crazy from the office downstairs. Rick went to investigate (Bella and I stayed in bed) and turned on the front outside light. He saw a big black shape over in the area where we feed the birds. Ho-hum, just a bear. Back to bed. He did think, however, to check to make sure we had closed the sliding doors in the sun room—we had not. Good thing he checked. But the next day while we were eating our breakfast of strawberries and fresh melon down by the pool I glanced up to see the door to the basement standing wide open. Uh oh. (It’s our habit to leave the door open when we are outside with the dogs in summer. They get hot and go in to the basement to keep cool and out of the sun.) Bravely I went in to check it out. No bear. whew. But how stupid to leave the door open all night! I’m sure the bear would enjoy cozying up in there without our knowledge! I think we need to do a full door check before going to bed from now on.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Bella says:
hey mom, you and dad can go in that big water bowl as much as you want but I think i’ll stay on the sides and look cute. don’t the new flowers make a lovely backdrop for my head?

About

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.

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