Asheville Bears

Asheville black bears are generally in their dens from December to March. Cubs are born in January. Mothers don’t leave the den until the cubs are able to follow them about.

John Boyle wrote Where do ‘urban bears’ spend the winter? in the Asheville Citizen Times in his column “Answer Man” on Nov. 12, 2018. Since we have seen bear scat and footprints in our garden, I was pleased to read more about the animals. This article repeated what our son told us, that the bears do not truly hibernate here. They dig out a space under a fallen tree or squeeze in a tree cavity 10 feet or more above ground. Bears can get in any hole that their heads fit through. They sleep a lot, but occasionally go out foraging for food. If food is easily available, they might not den at all. The researchers went into 25 to 30 dens to change out the tracking collars. That is a bit dangerous, since the bear is usually sitting there, fully awake, looking back at them.

For any of you who are familiar with Asheville, one den was found next to the tunnel on Tunnel Road, near the main shopping mall of the city. The study included 150 bears in the metropolitan area. I always understood people should make a lot of noise to scare a bear away. The caption under the picture warned that mama bears with cubs can get defensive after hearing loud noises. I don’t think this means to whisper to the bear to go away as you jump up and down.

We live away from Asheville, very close to the Smoky Mountains National Park. Please keep your fingers crossed that if I see a bear on our property, I can safely get a picture of it.

Elf

Neighbor Logan (8) was the youngest member of the cast of Elf, the Musical. This was something he wanted to do, and he was involved in rehearsals for weeks. We went to the first performance. Because we bumbled to the wrong door at the theater, we saw him just before the show began. His parents were behind him, and John and I are reflected in the door.

111018 (1) Elf Logan before performance.JPG

The show was delightful. My favorite photo, taken during the performance, shows Logan as a child on Santa’s lap at Macy’s. The red cast on his arm blends in nicely with Santa’s red suit.

111018 (3) Logan on fake Santa's lap.JPG

Logan appeared in street scenes several times, including the final scene. He is the child in a blue coat. It was fun to watch him singing and dancing with that lively crew.

111018 (6) Logan in blue coat, final scene.JPG

 

SCAT!!!

I was not scaring a cat with that Scat! John and I found two little piles in the garden and Black bear scat from bing images.pngsaw some big footprints in one of the beds. I jumped to the conclusion it was bear scat. There have been two sightings of a black bear in our neighborhood in the last two weeks, so there was a basis for my hypothesis. Bing images had lots of photos of bear scat, this being the one most like ours.

Son John $ and friend Rose said the pooh piles did not look like ones they’ve seen hiking, but they agreed the appearance would be affected by what the animal had eaten.

110818 Bear pooh in our garden_LI.jpg

What do you think? Have we been visited by a bear?

I thought of the most famous bear I know – Pooh Bear. Instead, I wrote about bear pooh.

Logan Gets a Break

When neighbor Logan came in the house with John, I was shocked to see something bright red on his arm. Two days ago he broke his wrist while roller skating at a rink with a friend. It didn’t interfere with playing checkers. He said his cast is anti-itch, and he will keep it on for a month.

110618 Logan's cast for broken wrist.JPG

It was Logan’s idea to play balloon, and his cast did not slow him down one bit. For the most part, he played one-handed and two-footed. Once in a while, when a balloon came straight at him, he used the cast. We cringed when he kicked the balloon and hit the piano bench with his toe. It was the first time I’d seen a male toe-dancing. With no fanfare, Logan went right on playing with us.

110618 Logan plays balloon with his feet.JPG

Pause while I tried to break my own bones. I pulled cinnamon-pecan rolls from the refrigerator, set them out to warm, tripped over my own foot and couldn’t catch myself on the counter. As the scenery tilted, I said to myself, “I’m going to fall.” Wham! Nothing felt broken. I sat up, scooted over to the table, and did what I’ve been practicing – getting up from the floor, almost gracefully, with the help of a chair.  It was easier 74 years ago.

There was one classic Logan shot – moving parts a blur. He was on the floor as much as on his feet, returning that balloon with a hand, a foot, or a head. We had gotten a pretty good workout before Bob came over to get him.

110618 Logan is a blur playing balloon.JPG

Shedding

This is the season when I need two extra layers of clothing when we go out walking. Although I look at the temperature before we set out, humidity and wind can make a big difference. This morning I put on a sweatshirt, a light windbreaker, and a hat. As soon as I stepped out the front door, I whipped off the hat and stepped back in the house to leave it on the table. I made it to the porch steps before taking off the windbreaker and hanging it on the doorknob. Surely that would be enough. It wasn’t. The sweatshirt hung on Connie’s and Marla’s mailbox post until we came back from the creek. I took a photo when we came home, showing the windbreaker on the door and the two of us reflected in the windows. The sweatshirt was still hanging on my arm. I wonder if anyone ever notices my clothes flapping about in the wind.

110518 Reflections of John and me as we came home.JPG

Down at the creek, we saw a calf wobbling about in the pasture across the water. It must have been a newborn, judging by its lack of coordination. I didn’t try to get a video, because my hand was wobbling more than the calf.

110518 Newborn calf wobbling about.JPG

We took a half-day trip, driving through Rutherfordton, Spindale, and Forest City. This area was settled in the 1780s. The town buildings are old, though not that old. We were surprised to find many of the businesses are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Luckily, the Copper Penny restaurant in Forest City was doing a lively business. I asked John to pose with one of the wall hangings composed of pennies. Below his shoulder is a line of pennies on the wall that went around the whole dining room. Where repairs had been made in the floor of the bathroom, pennies filled the gaps there. I thought that might have been taking things a bit too far. A penny for your thoughts!

110518  JC in Copper Penny restaurant in Forest City NC.JPG

Wind and Flabby-Butt Pumpkin

It was so windy the day after Halloween that I imagined witches were stirring the air with turbo-brooms. After walking for an hour, I had my Einstein hairdo.

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One of my favorite things to do is watch fallen leaves float down the creek. Before they get water-logged, the leaves bob on the water like rudderless boats. I like to pick one and follow its progress, watching to see if it will go toward a deep area and float through the rapids. It might get caught in an eddy and pulled under the water. If it is spewed back to the top, I watch it until it floats out of sight. Since our trees are behind schedule this year, there haven’t been many leaves to watch. That changed on the windy day. Bits of leaves, shredded by the wind, were suspended throughout the water. There were none dancing on top of the stream.

I noticed John’s pumpkin on the porch appeared to be tired. When looking closely, I found its flabby butt sagging over the edge of the railing. It must be rotting, and it would be better to move it sooner rather than later. John was playing with trains in Tennessee, so I fetched a plate and gingerly lifted the pumpkin onto it. Thank heavens it didn’t explode! I dumped it near the fence, and the bottom popped out. How I wish niece Julie were here to watch it! She enjoyed seeing squirrels running up and down the fence, and I’m sure they are going to be busily eating the pumpkin now.

110218  Flabby Butt Pumpkin.JPG

Logan’s Last Stop for Trick or Treating

Neighbor Logan (8) came to us just before his bedtime, wearing his full Halloween costume. He said he’d had a great Halloween, borne out by his beaming smile. I don’t always get everything he says, because he talks as fast as he runs. I have slow ears. I think he was at an event at church, followed by trick or treating with his niece Lily in town. Swooping about on city streets would certainly beat going to three or four homes in our rural neighborhood.

103118 Logan trick or treating.JPG

Logan limited himself to a few Kit Kats from our dish, which I thought showed remarkable restraint. He didn’t know when he stepped in the door that we had something other than sweets for him. A few days ago John gave him a drink, and Logan picked out a new owl mug we had on the shelf. John commented on it later, saying the boy always chose our old owl mug whenever it was out. That’s when we realized he might enjoy owning this new one. He immediately gave us an enthusiastic thank you when John handed it to him. Kudos to his parents’ training! I took a quick photo as Logan posed patiently for me. None of us noticed that the owl mug was facing Logan, so you can’t see its face.

103118 Logan with his owl mug.JPG

We rushed him out the door so that he could get to bed. A few minutes later, Shawn texted his reaction. He told her, “This is my favorite mug ever!”