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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Too Much to Bear

Pepper's had a rough couple of days - even though he doesn't realize it.

Our orchard is in full production. During the past week, Karen and I have been picking domestic and wild plums, Italian prunes, and apples. We've eaten some, dehydrated some, and taken some to the Post Falls Food Bank. Even so, the deer and bear have taken their share. We've seen deer for years, and this morning had a herd of about a dozen on the edge of our lower meadow, some eating, some lying down digesting breakfast. We've only seen a bear once, a black cub that shinnied up a tree near some apple trees. This year, however, there's been more bear scat along with the deer droppings under the apple trees.

On Thursday, Karen was picking fruit for the food bank, with Pepper for company. He's a digger - we've known that since we got him in May. We didn't know he also was a scat scooter. He came home with his chest and neck covered in bear scat. Maybe he thought the scent would protect him from coyotes. No, I'm being too generous. It was just a doggy thing to do.

I got him by the collar outside the garage and hosed him down with water from our hydrant, enduring his shake-down dry-off. Then the shampoo and another hosing, followed by a towel rub in the mud room. Fortunately, I don't have as sensitive a nose as does Karen, who insists he still smells like a bear den. Pepper's been something of a pariah in the house, but since he performed a valuable service for us yesterday (waking me up to tell me our cat, Geordie, was at the front door and wanted in), he's back in our good graces and enjoying the fireplace in the living room.

As for the bear, since we know for a fact that it shits in the woods, we bought a game camera at Cabela's yesterday and affixed it to a tree where two trails join down near the orchard. No images last night - other than shots of me setting up the camera - but we're looking forward to seeing some of the critters that dine in our orchard. If we get some, I'll post them.

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