with spring cometh the bear.
we’re supposed to take down our bird feeders by april 1, but have you seen the weather in the northeast this year? it’s 30 april and we had an inch of snow last night. i was righteously procrastinating. it’s ridiculous how persnickety i get about bringing the feeders in. they’re awkward and heavy, plus someone (not me, if i can help it) has to hustle out first thing in the morning to hang them back up for the birds. we’re actually not supposed to hang up feeders at all when bears aren’t sleeping, but we’ve never had a daytime raid, so we do anyway.
on saturday, the weather was pretty nice. i ran around trying to get all of winter put away in one day, which physically can’t be done. i did grub up 5 gallons of bishop’s weed guts (if you’re ever tempted to plant this shithead plant in your garden, STOP. you are about to cross over to the dark side) from my side hill garden. that was about a third of the bishop’s weed that needed to be obliterated, but my soil is heavy clay with lots of stones and that side hill garden is choked with daylilies and tansy (don’t plant this asshole in your garden, either). my fingers were sore from poking, pinching, yanking, and finessing miles of roots.
i got out my edger and started working on expanding the front garden. the ground there is impossibly stony. i managed to get a one foot wide by six foot long stretch of sod pulled up before i was heartily sick that, too.
i raked a bit, hauled some sticks, moved the goat pen, lopped down some infant evergreen trees along the driveway, picked some driveway stone out of my flower beds. i worked until i was shaking (because i forgot to eat) and a little bit dehydrated and had a really gross rash on my wrist. after a snack break and a glass of water, i went back out to feed the critters and thought “gee, i should probably bring the bird feeders in. this is excellent bear weather.”
but i didn’t. and the bear showed up for a meal.
he bent the cast iron shepherd’s crook hanger almost parallel to the ground. he gently hoovered the seed out of the flat feeder and left it hanging. one tube feeder was pried open and the seed gulped out of it. the other tube feeder was halfway to the woods with the top ripped off. two empty S hooks in the tree were pulled down. fortunately, everything was fixable. at almost $40 a whack, i don’t like to replace the droll yankee tube feeders too often. which makes it all the more ridiculous that i’m so resistant to bringing them indoors.
sunday was rotten cold. i repaired the bear damage, pulled some more sod, worked on some bed prep for a new annual garden, hauled some branches to the burn pile, and killed a dozen more baby evergreen trees (they make good goat browse and horse toys and i have approximately seven billion of them). it was raw and damp and, little did i know, spoiling for some overnight snow. before coming in, i dutifully brought the bird feeders back inside.
what i didn’t realize or remember or even consider is that someone else had brought a bag of household trash out to the shed on saturday afternoon while i was working on the goat pen. deprived of bird feeders, the bear turned his attention to the delightful white plastic gift bag of goodies. he spread the contents of the bag around liberally and left it for the snow to cover in the night.
i’m usually bear savvy, but i’m doing everything wrong this year.
tonight the feeders are in and the trash is locked up. i figure the bear will eat a goat tonight for lack of options.