seen and not seen

This morning I saw a respectable whitetail buck on my drive home; I was on a little back road down by the river, just after dawn, and the buck ran down from the road toward the river. He was at least a six-pointer, possibly more. Definitely a nice rack.

What has been unseen, except for physical evidence that points to only one conclusion, is a bear.

The first signs were down at the creek. Rocks were being moved from day to day; some small, some large, often upstream, sometimes leaving clear impressions where they had been dislodged from the soil.

Somebody had been foraging for critters to snack on.

Raccoons and the like might do the same, but a lot of the rocks that were moving were far too large, and had moved too far upstream, for a small animal to have moved them; feral hogs would have torn up the damp ground. The conclusion was obvious. We had a bear, which is cool, we just have to keep our eyes open.

Rocko has picked up the scent. A couple of times he has come running back to me after finding something that evidently worried him in the woods on the mountain behind the house.

A couple of days ago I found definitive evidence for a bear. I was near the northeast corner of the property, which is an overgrown slope with lots of briars and brambles. For the first time in three years, I was able to get through the mess and all the way out to the corner - thanks to a bear.

There was a path pushed through the tangled undergrowth, round at the bottom. Kind of like a narrow glacial valley. Only one animal around here makes a path like that, and that critter is Ursus americanus, the American black bear.

I'm happy to share my little slice of Paradise with a bear or bears. I have no trash outdoors and don't throw out food waste very often anyway.

I've hit a couple more squirrels with my car in the last couple of weeks, too. They're crazy. I've hit more poor beasts with my car this year than I have in the previous three. Then again, I've seen many more animals - ones that lived to see another day - than I have hit. Deer, 'possums, skunks, deer, geese, flocks of turkeys big enough to stop traffic, a bear, even a mink.

Today it is raining heavily. That's good, we need the water. On the first day of November we received 3" of snow here at the Château and temperatures have been generally cold since, with a few exceptions. Today, for example, started out fairly warm at almost 50 degrees F. It warmed up less than 2 degrees before it leveled off.

Naptime. My weekend starts tomorrow morning but that means that I must work tonight.

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