We were out for a walk near our house when we wandered through a cloud of stench at the top of the hill. The odor, which - over the past number of weeks - had become rather familiar, was the first clue that something immense, wild and sour was hanging around nearby.
The second, found further down the hill... this:
Now, since moving to the country, I’ve encountered a lot of wildlife including – but not limited to – a moose, deer, a coyote, raccoons, porcupines, rabbits, a turtle, a weasel, wild turkeys, ruffled grouse, eagles, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, June bugs…
And, to be clear, when I say I’ve encountered wildlife, I mean I’ve watched or heard creatures, doing things, outside… from the comfort of my living room. Or car.
Except the June bugs. The June bugs were under my bed. Thanks to the 5 year old.
But here’s the thing about living at the edge of the wilderness, next to a heavily wooded area. You know there are critters in the thicket (after all, you’re not an idiot), but you conveniently “forget” they exist, so you can still walk down your driveway, open your windows and barbecue potatoes on your porch.
I love potatoes.
Still, no matter how hard you try to ignore them, the signs of wildlife sneak up and whack you on the back when you least expect it. Not unlike that really irritating dude you knew in college who wore that one green t-shirt, chewed Extra gum and referred to himself as “Cheeks”.
I hated that guy.
However, like Cheeks, there are many ways in which a wild animal will make its presence known. If it’s a bird, it squawks, tweets or slaps its wings against the ground. If it’s a deer, it thunders in front of your car. If it’s a coyote, it howls into the night. If it’s a bear, it craps on your yard.
Two days after seeing the pile at the end of the road and one day after my friend Jessi informed me that she was pretty sure a bear had toppled our neighbor's duck house while they were away on vacation, we woke up to see this, at one side of our house.
Upon finding the evidence, I did what anyone in my shoes would have done. I posted the poop to Facebook, which prompted a therapeutic conversation with my friend Sharon.
Meanwhile, my friend Ashley who lives two houses away, sent me this.
Ashley won the bear scat photo contest with that entry because holy freaking crap, do you see the size of that pile RIGHT NEXT TO HER HOUSE?
But that wasn't all. Our neighborhood bear had a dark side as is evidenced by this picture of Ashley's duck house.
Oh the humanity.
So, Ashley called the authorities and shortly after, a barrel was dropped off in her front yard.
We had a killer beast with bad manners wandering where children play and now we had... a barrel.
Me: "So... you just wait?"
Shockingly, early the next morning, this happened:
So up the road to Ashley's house we went - wearing pajamas and slippers and carrying a camera. Because, of course we did.
Once there, I proceeded to be helpful.
"Is he in there?"Geoff glanced at me briefly, hopped out of the truck, shone his bike light on the barrel and captured this - but not before grabbing the 5 year old to carry her over for a closer look.
"I can't see anything."
"Holy *&#% that stinks!"
"Don't get too close!"
"Don't touch it! Don't touch it! DON'T TOUCH IT!"
|Is it just me or does he look medicated?|
Later that day, the Department of Natural Resources picked up the hairy hooligan who they estimated to be around 2 years old (a teenager in bear years) and drove him to a forest far, far away which made everyone very, very happy, except my daughter who - on our next walk - lamented, "I miss seeing the bear poop."