Housekeeping note: I posted a recipe yesterday, but it was never emailed and I've finally figured out why. I have the email set to be sent daily between the hours of 5 and 7 pm EDT. Apparently, "between the hours of" means 2 minutes after 5 pm and I didn't get yesterday's done until 5:05 pm. I believe it will go out with this one and be right below it. You really don't want to miss it because it's a great recipe for Jambalaya!
Sunday afternoon, Zoe was standing by the kitchen sliding glass door, wagging her tail in her usual "Please let me out" stance. Being the doting mom that I am, I immediately walked over and opened the door. She was out like a shot and when I followed her with my eyes, I was startled to see her nose-to-nose with a big, black, shaggy dog. When the other dog turned to run - with Zoe in hot pursuit - I realized it wasn't a dog, but a bear cub. Hubby and I were out the door in an instant, hollering for her. We'd watched a mama bear and two cubs forage for acorns in a tree that sits at the edge of our field about a week ago and figured mama and sibling were close by. If Zoe ran headlong into Mama, she'd be in big trouble. Cub and dog disappeared into the woods and then there was silence. We continued to yell and about 60 seconds later Zoe came prancing out of the woods looking very pleased with herself. We figured the cub had outrun her, but she wasn't going to admit that. She'd chased it off and was tickled to death with her own bravery. It's easy to be brave when the intruder is your own size (well, only double your size). Last fall, she was far more cautious when Papa Bear came to visit.
There are four, very large oak trees in our yard that produce thousands of acorns. Just walking across the grass this time of year is like walking across a dry, rocky creek bed. The bears, who have to consume something like three times their weight before snuggling down in a cozy cave to sleep through the winter (both of which sound pretty damn good to me), seem to love our particular kind of acorns. How do I know this? One Saturday morning last October, I crawled out of bed and happened to glance out the window on my way to the bathroom.
There was a very large bear calmly walking across the yard. I went out on the porch, made some noise and it disappeared back into the woods. We left for the day shortly after that and when we started up our road late that afternoon, I jokingly said to hubby, "I wonder if Mr. Bear is there waiting for us."
He hung around for seven straight days. Zoe lay quietly on the kitchen side of the glass slider and watched him. When she needed to go out, I'd open the door, tell him to "Shoo!" and off he'd go. She'd go out, do her business, looking over her shoulder nervously as the slightest sound. Then she's scuttle back in the house and resume her watch dog watching.
Our neighbor showed these pictures to a NH Fish & Game Warden who said it was the largest black bear she had ever seen. She estimated his size to be 450 to 500 pounds.
Yesterday afternoon, I saw Junior scamper across the yard. No sign of the rest of the family. Yet.