Some follow-up info on our bear is in order.
I kid sometimes about being eaten by a bear, but I know that they aren't craving any Lee meat. I know that while these bears aren't exactly harmless, they aren't really interested in me. They are prowling for food and are probably only dangerous if you unwittingly startle them or stupidly antagonize them. For instance, when people go blackberry picking, they're warned to be very noisy, giving the bears ample time to leave the area. And people can be stupid. Ridiculously, amazingly stupid. Like the fellow that the game warden said used to put honey on his son's head so that the resident bear would come lick it off. (He swears this is a true story)
It used to be that an occasional bear would be seen and then trapped and taken to the woods of Western Maryland. And then as more and more property became developed there, they started sending their bears to us. Now, the game warden tells me, there are so many bears in the area that they've run out of bear traps and will only place a trap (when it's available) if the bear is troublesome - causing lots of damage or approaching too many people. So for the past few years now, we've been warned to lock up our garbage (preferably inside) and to put away our bird feeders each spring (they love bird seed). But we've been seeing more and more bears in this part of the state.
So far, with the increase of our bear population, only the bears have suffered. Mostly they've been hit by cars. I don't believe that anyone in our area has been seriously hurt or attacked. (Although my son had some scary moments when he was running on a trail in the woods and there were two cubs above him and the mother below him. Nothing happened, but he and his buddy really stepped up their pace to get out of there quickly!)
It's really quite a shame, and what's an even greater shame is that I have neighbors who think it's great fun to feed the bears. And a local restaurant owner who refuses to secure his garbage and you can only imagine what kind of fabulous food is luring bears to his place.
So anyway, Val sent a great comment about the American Black Bear, and I want to share it with you. Val, I hope you don't mind, but I didn't have a way to contact you and I thought you might want readers to have this info.
I'm a National Park Ranger (& stitcher!) in the Sierra Mountains....and I just had to comment on the 'bear story".
Where you live, you have American Black Bears; even with the name they can have fur that is brown, blond, or red. American Black Bears behave much differently around humans than Grizzly bears(found in Montana, northern Idaho, Canada, and Alaska). Black bears are not naturally aggressive towards humans...they are after FOOD! Anything that smells - even suntan lotion - will attract them. When they get a food reward, ie garbage from your trash cans...it's an easier way for them to get calories and they'll keep repeating that behavior as long as they get a food reward...no matter how small. When black bears focus only on human food and/or garbage, that's when the problems happen..they get used to being around humans and sometimes they break into sheds (or cars out here in the National Park I work) etc. When a black bear gets to be that kind of a "problem"...they are killed...zoos don't want them - they have enough and relocation doesn't work - they come back to their home range. So, if you want to save a bear's life (and not worry about them on your early morning runs) work with your local or state wildlife agency and find a solution to latching your trash cans so that bears can't get into them. With no food reward...they won't visit your neighborhood again.
Fun fact: did you know that 95% of a black bears diet consists of vegetation and bugs?
Sorry for the soap box, but after seeing too many bears destroyed because of bad human behavior, I get very passionate about educating folks on good human behavior so a bear can be saved.
WELL! In non-bear related things, I spent a very lazy weekend last week. I don't know... the house needed to be cleaned and if anyone had come over I would have been mortified, but Thursday was NOT a good work day and by the end of the day Friday I was feeling pretty fried. So I decided to be completely self-indulgent over the weekend. Friday night I brought out my stitching and watched TV. Saturday and Sunday I took turns reading my book and stitching. And by Monday I was ready to face the world again.
So here's my progress on Summer Basket: There's a bit more lettering to complete, then the remaining stitching is fairly repetitive. Stars around the border and the band at the bottom border.
And The Namesake? One of the best books I've read so far this year. Amazing.
Yikes! It's after 10! Time to put my nose to the grindstone. My one boss returns home from vacation this weekend and I need to be prepared. I think that when he goes away, he spends most of his time thinking about all of the things he wants me to do when he gets back....and then he kind of throws them all at me at once. Maybe I can convince him that vacations are bad for him? Bed bugs. I'll tell him all about bed bugs attacking travelers.