Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ursine Visitation

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, and today we had our first rummaging bear encounter. For the past two years, we've seen bears in the area and even on our property; but they were always content to munch on the berries and stay away from the human areas and noises. However, our new neighbor's grill left on the trail at the end of the driveway proved to be more a temptation than our running generator was a deterrent.

No one was hurt, and the bear skedaddled when discovered; so hopefully this won't be the beginning of a bad trend, and the bear hasn't learned that people means food. I suspect he was one of the cubs that we saw with their mom during one of the previous autumns, so maybe he was just investigating now that he's out on his own. He didn't really get too much food, just some glue and vinegar, but he did find some candy... and, of course, the grill smelled really good. Fingers crossed that we don't have more issues.

This is why it's essential to be near-immaculate with your food and refuse out here in the middle of the wild. If your grill is out unattended, it has to be thoroughly cleaned after every use. You can't rely on just charring and brushing off the grates each time you cook because the smell is still there attracting critters. Securing your grills, coolers and garbage cans and cleaning up utensils and spills to eliminate yummy smells is the only way to keep bears and other critters from learning that your homestead (or your neighbors!!) is a source of easy food. Once they figure out that you mean food, both you and they are in danger of some very unfortunate encounters that could have been easily avoided.

If an animal is already hanging about because of careless trash handling and food storage/prep while you're clearing and building, just imagine how much more of a problem they're going to be when you have a compost pile, garden and livestock! Don't create a problem. Don't leave it out. Don't leave it stinky.

Think food in your kitchen is secure? Think again, bears are extremely agile!

Think food in your vehicle is secure? Think again, bears are extremely smart and very persistent!

Think your dog or enclosure will keep your livestock secure? Think again, a hungry bear often ignores barking dogs and fences! Mmm mmm -- chicken, it's what's for dinner.

A shining example why letting pasture animals keep their horns might be a good idea in bear country.

Love barbecue and smoked meats? So does Mr. Bear!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Whole lot of nothing

Not much happening here on the building front. Motivation is a bit flagging.The weather has been horrible. Alternating between heavy rains and hot humidity. We've got the majority of the drywall hung, but the damp is keeping the mud/plaster from drying. Neither of us feel comfortable running power tools off the generator in an ungrounded system during thunderstorms, so that makes progress a little problematic as well.

Hanging the drywall downstairs is going much faster and easier than the drywall in the loft. I starting patching and mudding the loft already and helping G-man with the downstairs because the 12' panels are too heavy and unruly to hang alone. Hopefully the tongue-n-groove flooring will go even faster, at least the 6" x 12' planks will be easier for one person to handle than the drywall panels. Still hoping to have the walls and floors done by the end of July so we can move in on our 2 year Alaskan Anniversary (also my birthday). A lot depends on whether the mud, paint and polyurethane dries though. **fingers crossed**

All the recent thunderstorms are also sparking lightning-strike wildfires throughout the region. Luckily, none are in our immediate area yet; but we've been keeping a close eye on the fire maps and watching for smoke after each storm. Doing a bit of clearing and trail maintenance here and there just to be on the safe side.