25 July 2023

Bear With Me

We had SUCH a nice rainstorm last Thursday. That meant I didn't have to water on Friday!

And good thing. Not just for water conservation. I had visitors!!! Didn't know I'd spend the morning pretending to be Goldilocks and the Two Bears!

It's been quite the summer so far.

First, we had the largest spider I'd ever seen (other than tarantulas in the butterfly museum) in our problem child window well. Yes, the very same window well that had been flooding our basement seemingly every time we visited my parents in California. But more frequently for the last three years. Once we successfully (so far) fixed all the various errant water sources, I thought it would be so cool to put a diorama in that window well. I imagined changing it out for every holiday. But that window will not be opened without good cause anymore!!!

Turns out our visitor was a dark fishing spider, which doesn't actually live near water and is one of the good guys. Or, in this case, a good lady. The males don't reach this size... three inches long!!! Perhaps she was checking out my now dry real estate because I think we've finally eliminated the bog in our backyard... My new lady friend apparently didn't like being photographed through the sealed basement window and found another location to set up housekeeping. Which is fine with me because I really don't need 2,000 more just like her in my window well, much less inside my house!

Then we had a garter snake near the front porch. That was kind of fun. Garter snakes also are good guys. This one wasn't very big at all, and I was happy to have been able to avoid accidentally stepping on it. It would live to slither another day.

I fear, however, this little character managed to fall into our basement somehow. We ended up calling upon the charitable service of a trained snake handler to successfully relocate the young garter snake back into the garden where it belongs. (Accomplished while I was on a work conference call!!!)

Then came the raccoon. Raided the growing pot of strawberries on my porch. Every night! She eventually tried to tunnel beneath our porch. Took two cheap packages of bulk washcloths and six bottles of ammonia to successfully deter what may have been her attempt to find a safe nesting spot. (And yes, we did make sure there were no babies before we used any ammonia.) We ultimately will have to cement the gap the critter dug beneath our porch. But for now, she's gone.

Then, during a walk, I discovered another very large spider, not quite as large as our previous temporary visitor, but still much bigger than most spiders I encounter. This one was covered with bumps, so I thought it was another new (to me) species. Googled my telephoto photo and discovered wolf spiders carry their babies on their backs!!! I zoomed in on the photo for closer inspection, and sure enough, there are tons of little legs attached to those little bumps! Totally left the critter alone; it wasn't there when we returned. Wolf spiders also are garden helpers, not garden terrorists. I happily kept my distance.

Last week, my neighbors tipped me off before I had a chance to go out to water that they currently had a mama and baby bear in their yard. I got a few great shots from a safe distance (that telephoto lens sure comes in handy!) before the bears meandered away.

Then came the rain and no need to water the garden. Thank heavens!!! Mama and toddler next slept in MY tree! I am SO thankful the neighbors again alerted me before I went outside.

14 years ago, our second year in our house, I had begun composting in the backyard. One morning I took out the previous day's scraps, only to discover the previous collections had been dug up and devoured. It was the first time I'd ever seen bear tracks. Ever since that day, I've been vigilant when going into the backyard. I always check both corners of the yard. We've had many bruin visitors, and I have always wished they'd stay long enough for me to capture good photos. Through the window, of course.

I even lamented the ability of AI (artifical intelligence) to appropriately render a bear froclicking in my lavender garden after Lizard witnessed such an act and the bear was gone by the time I returned to the living room with my camera.

Now, I'm going to have to look up in the trees each time I go into the backyard because that's where mama and her baby hung out for about three hours, a repeat of what they did in the neighbor's yard the day before. It isn't the picture perfect piece of art for which I long, but I finally got an actual photo of the bears in my lavender!!!

real life bear frolicking in my real life lavender garden

1 comment :

  1. You are having quite an adventurous life. The most unusual animal we had in our garden was a fox sitting next to the hens. Fortunatelly, it wasn't hungry.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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