Monday, September 22, 2008

Bear Sighting

I think I saw a bear. I saw something, with my poor vision, and I'm pretty sure it was a bear.

I was in the yard, beautiful sunny day. I had two dogs on tie-outs and Rosie, the alpha dog, loose. The dogs sounded a quick "There's something!" bark. I looked in the direction they were looking to the west, open field. Rosie, quick, was by my side in her guard stance and completely quiet. I saw a large, dark, rectangular bear? run across the far field in front of me from west to east It was moving fast and I didn't have time to go to the house for binoculars. I know it was too big for a dog, no long legs like a horse or deer, very dark color, moving like I've seen bears move. The dogs were very attentive and very quiet. They don't bark at things they don't want to mess with. So yes, I'm pretty sure that was a bear.

There have been many bear and other wildlife sightings this year. I can only assume it's because their habitat is being taken over by people. This bear was moving so fast I wonder if it was upset about something, dogs, people, vehicles? I now see three houses where there were none a couple of years ago. Where's a bear to go? I felt very blessed to see it. I do love livin' in the boonies, no joke.

Monday, September 08, 2008

more garden notes

Gardeners are the eternal optimists. Even when we know all the things that can go wrong, with hope and faith we approach this labor of love. Sometimes we are rewarded, sometimes not. Education, experience, luck, weather, water, attention, a higher power all take their part in this dance. The garden is a complicated world.

Outside the garden I feel almost powerless to have an impact. I only hope that by putting my energy toward what I know to be good for myself and the planet, my efforts will ripple out to others.

One of the great benefits of being at home has been the time spent in the garden. It was somewhat successful this year. I've been eating from it for months and have put up a goodly amount of fruits and vegetables, pesto and tomato sauce. I have a garden bed full of various greens which should go on until a hard freeze.

We may have a cold winter this year so says the old tale that a cold winter follows a good fruit year. It has been a wonderful fruit year, everything large and tasty. I'm just now putting up pears, apples are next. I may pot up and bring in some lovely pepper plants loaded with little peppers, along with some parsley and basil plants. An experiment, they may grow slowly in my garden room. Was just given some mango trees, now a foot tall. They and several other houseplants cry out to be repotted.

Looking forward to putting the garden to bed as soon as frost comes. I'll pant a large bed of garlic and one of strawberries. The rest will be put in winter rye as a green manure crop to be turned under next spring. And so it goes...

I do wish I'd taken pictures even with my %^&*()/ camera. In true gardener logic...there's always next year.

garden notes

A bit of background. Gardens have always been part of my life, from earliest memory. My mother, at 90, is still a wonderful gardener. A child of the depression, she grew and processed veggies from necessity. She quietly put up jars and jars of summer's bounty. Good home cookin' is one of my fondest childhood memories. She also built patios and retaining walls, terracing our back hillside, has always grown loads of trees, flowers, etc. When her new house was barely built, the gardens surrounding them looked like they'd been established for ten years. Her landscapes are lovely all year long. Mother gardens in Latin, her knowledge of plants extensive. On walks anywhere in nature she shares her knowledge and love of flora and fauna. My daughter shares her scientific curiosity. My trees, perennials, shrubs are direct descendants of hers.

So how could I not garden, I've got the gene. All my adult life I've lived in the country and had gardens large and small. I've been on my present property 10+ years more or less. (I was on the road a lot until a few years ago.) When we bought the land in '95 there were no trees; it had been summer pasture for cattle for about 50 years. Where I garden is an upland saddle, high, wide, with deep meadow sod. In the time we've been here it's been wonderful to watch the progression of reforestation.

After years of frustration from feeding the deer, I fenced with 8' deer "invisible" fence. It works great and really is very see-through. I first fenced a quarter acre vegetable garden. I then enclosed the house, shed, gardens, yard and some meadow in a 2+ acre invisible fence. I love it, I can now grow flowers, fruit and trees all around. The deer stroll past just outside the fence. The dogs announce them and watch them go by. The deer seem to have respect for the fence. The dogs don't but that's another story.

Post note. When I learn how to do it properly, I'll post some pictures though I'll make excuses in advance for my $%^&* camera. Post post notes. So here's a couple of old pictures. The first two taken in the front yard, the last at the pond.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


It was like a dream, 4 am, moonless, very dark. I woke to coyotes howling, high, long, loud, several at once, very near, a beautiful, eerie sound.

I know it was coyotes and not dogs because the dogs were standing at the window, SILENT and alert. Had it been dogs, they would have gladly answered in barks and howls, as usual.

The howling was soon over, maybe a minute's worth. I lay awake a long time listening. I heard no more, slept, woke with vivid memories.

The dogs kept very close to home all the next day. My two cats are keeping close. They're not crazy about the owl that's been around... Ah, I do love the boonies.