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Posts Tagged ‘bear’

Last spring the flowing sap triggered a desire in me to do something about our small and raggedy yard. Ideas floundered all over the map before settling on building a deck. Our lot is long and narrow, as is the house.  A short driveway shares the front with a square of open grass. (Next spring, a raised vegetable garden?) The backyard is a jungle under two giant spruce trees. A string of smaller trees and shrubs (two look like the rowans of my youth) provide some privacy from neighbors to the rear.

We were lucky to have stashed away the wherewithal to undertake a significant project, and lucky to be led to John Staub (double-bass player par excellence) as our contractor – though we had to wait a few months ’til he was free. We used the time to order and have shipped up on the barge a sliding-glass access door (6 weeks)  and hot tub (4 weeks.) And we found Patrick at the Glory Hole who labored  to make a gravel walkway along one side of the house, thus providing necessary access to the back.

Since Labor Day John has knocked out the wall from our bedroom to the back yard and  installed the access door with adjacent window (for night-time air)  Next he built a sunken pad for the hot tub and around it a roomy deck. Then 4-5 steps down from the deck on each side, and now he’s building a ten-step stairway up to the yard of our dear ones next door.  The tub was delivered a week ago, requiring a day’s work by an electrician to do magic so the thing actually works. Then we needed professional help from the tub distributor (Lyle’s Home Furnishing) to overcome our intimidation at the knobs and chemicals that came with it. Turned out to be much simpler than it appeared from reading package directions and owner’s manuals.  I think.

Last night, once dark arrived (around 8pm) Bill and I geared ourselves up and, swathed in towel, prepared to open the sliding door and sally forth for the tub’s baptismal sit. Well doggone it, there’s a frigging bear on the deck, sniffing around the tub. Next it ambled across to the (by now tightly locked) glass door to see what was up.  Thankfully the animal was fairly small but still big enough to worry about.  There have been  a few in the neighborhood lately, and one walked behind the deck last week while John was at work. Maybe the same one.  If it has become a “garbage bear” and habituated to finding urban leftovers, it may have a short life.  Decided to notify the authorities, and sent an email to the Juneau Police Department “Ask the Dispatcher” to find out who has the thankless task of removing bears and trying to get them back into the wild out the road.

Meanwhile, it’s Sunday morning and I have a hot cup of coffee in hand. Think I’ll go sit in the tub, look up through the trees, and listen to the birds.  Yesterday, aside from many robins, our back yard hosted a varied thrush, a grey-cheeked thrush, a bunch of juncos, and a pair of song sparrow.  Until now, I didn’t even know they were there.

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Saturday, I joined two other Audubon members to make the trip out the road to its end at Echo Cove (39 miles) and spent a beach_cleanupcouple of hours retrieving human detritus from the rocky shore of that isolated spot. We were among the many who participated in the annual International Coastal Clean Up around the globe. Among items found: one tire, one car fender, one outboard motor, a few rusty shipwreck parts, countless beer cans and cigarette wrappers, a couple of bits of fishing line and, thankfully, no dead or entrapped wildlife.

Later, my neighbor son came by for a  moment to raid our refrigerator for lemon juice (he was making a fig tart) and grabbed a mouthful of cornbread left on the counter from the previous night’s supper. It reminded us how much our family loved those Thomas Corn Toast R Cakes when growing up, and we reminisced that we haven’t seen them anywhere for years.  A quick bit of googling discovered that they’re still available from the Thomas English Muffin company – but no stores in Juneau stock them. We’ll see what we can do about that…..

Our deck project is well underway, sliding door from bedroom to deck has been installed, the deck floor is pretty much done, and the hot-tub was delivered yesterday. A black bear ambled through the yard in the morning to check on progress.

The days are shortening, we’ve lost 6 hours of daylight in the 3 months since solstice. The daily (except Saturday) Juneau Empire awaits us regardless of what time we rise it seems. Lights up our early morning routine along with the automatic coffeemaker, our robes ‘n slippers, and the electric gizmo adding warm ambience from the fireplace. We don’t usually fight over who gets which bit of the paper, it’s pretty much settled that Bill gets the news while I get the bridge problem. The Empire‘s a vanishing species – a  good community newspaper. It recently began redesigning it’s website, albeit with annoying pop-up ads. One supposes they must be essential to help keep any newspaper alive. If you want to get a feel for what life is like here, subscribe to the Empire’s news (RSS) feed and read all about it.

Finally, we’re learning for the anti-health reform pundits that fines are taxes. If we have to coerce you into doing something needed for us to function as a society, it’s a tax.  Does this mean that fines for not carrying automobile insurance are a tax? Are parking fines a tax? Are fines for spilling oil on waterways a tax? Are fines for spitting on other people a tax? Gimme a break.  We are a social animal and there are too many of us.  Without functioning social norms it’s a short slide into anarchy.

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