Thursday, October 18, 2007

bear at gate directing traffic

I guess the bear came down from the mountain just to meet the pumpkin pickers.

I can't think of any other reason.

We haven't seen hide nor hair of the beers since early summer, and then this weekend, there he was, standing outside the gate, in broad daylight, I guess waving hello's to shareholders as they came in to get their pumpkins.

Since several carloads of visitors showed pictures of the same bear standing out in our driveway I guess they weren't telling stories.

A young black bear, maybe 150 pounds right outside the gate.

Later in the day, early in the afternoon, my neighbors came over with their daughter and there the bear was again. This time he had slipped in through the open gate and was intently examining the half dozen beehives by the driveway.

I guess trying to figure out how to get to the yummy honey inside the hives without getting stung by the bees flying in a cloud around the outside.

I guess he didn't figure it out because the hives remained intact, though, apparently, he did give one of the larger hives a shove.

Almost knocking it off its stand.

But that was it. Not enough of a shove to knock it over. Just enough, probably, to irritate the hives defensive forces that they came out and stung him, in mass, on his tender nose.

The young bear, apparently, was convinced that getting stung wasn't worth the pleasure of eating several combs full of honey..

Actually, that's a bear's usual of attack. To push the different hives , one at a time, trying to figure out which one is the easiest picking. A bear will spend sometimes a week gradually wearing down a hive. First knocking the hive over, then coming back and spreading the boxes apart and finally coming back a third and maybe fourth night throwing the hive boxes even further apart until finally the bees give up and the honey is just there for the taking.

Wenonah, of course, was upset about the bear. She was upset she didn't get to see it bear.

Here she has grown up on our farm, and all that time, as a little girl climbing all over the valley, up to the cliffs, into the rock caves, down the valley, along the creek. Looking through the old falling down homesteads. Never seeing a bear. Even now for the past 20 years since we moved back, she has not once seen a bear. And now, first time visitors from the city are stopped on the driveway by a visiting baby bear.

For the last week Wenonah has been out every morning and evening looking for the bear. Walking down the driveway with a camera, visiting all the bee hives. But still, no sightings.

I even set out a couple dozen apples at his last known location and set a wildlife camera to take his photo of him just for her, with no luck.

Maybe, though, he'll come back, just to tweak Wenonah. Maybe this weekend he'll be around for the gleaning.

What do you think?

Here's the farm news. The last farm news for the season.

1. So, another season coming to a close. This is the last week of vegetable delivery.

2. We're taking early sign up's for the 08 season. If you want to reserve a share for next year at this year's price e-mail me and send a check for half the cost by the end of the month. Pay $225 now and the rest in the spring for a two person, and $172 for the one person.

3. Gleaning, which I'm sure you know means in our case to search the fields for left over produce, is this Saturday, starting at 10 am. The vegetables for the shareholders that usually pick up one Saturdays will be set out separately. Right now, I think there will be still in the fields a collection of string beans, Italian basil, Thai basil, parsley, winter squash, bells, hot peppers, eggplant, sorrel, various salad greens, mustards, tomatoes celosia (I'm putting the zinnias off limits so they can brighten our tables), luffas, summer squash, and maybe a cucumber or two out in the fields. There has been a request for apple cider so when I go out to the orchards tomorrow to get apples for the remaining days of the week I'll pick up a few dozen gallons.

Gleaning rules. This is really an activity for shareholders. So you need to be a current shareholder. (or if you have already signed up for the 08 season). Please try to keep it in proportion. Meaning, if you are the first one out to find the pumpkins, take one or two and leave the others to other gleaners. Yes, technically one person could possibly find a use for half a dozen pumpkins, however...

Also please stay in the fields. Don't go searching through our outbuildings or greenhouses or home. And if there is rye (looks like grass) planted in the field, try to stay off of it. We've just planted several of our fields with rye as a winter cover crop. There aren't any vegetables there, and since it just came up its pretty tender.

But, so much for rules and lecturing. Thank you very much for being a shareholder during a rather rough and tough season. We survived it without too much hardship. And hopefully this drought, a drought that looks something like one in a hundred, will be ending soon

I hope you have a really bodacious winter, and if you want you are invited to come out and visit.

(I will be continuing these newsletter during the winter, only probably not as frequently. I you want to be taken off the list, tell me.)

Thanks for being part of our farm.

Leigh Hauter

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