I call this guy Tenderheart! What a perfect heart he has on his chest!
Robert and I spent a week babysitting the ranch for my cousin who had to go to a wedding in Iowa. We stayed at the Dam house, near Swift Dam the first part of the week. The choke cherries are ripe and the choke cherry trees surround the house and yard. (If you read my previous posts, you'll find info on the ranch and Swift Dam)
We came home from the ranch one evening to find this guy in a tree in the yard.
You can tell, I was so excited to see the bear, my first picture was nothing but a blur! He's that little black lump in the tree.
He sat in the crotch of an aspen tree, about 3 feet off the ground, then bent over to eat choke cherries from the tops of the choke cherry trees. I suppose I was maybe 25 feet from him when I took the clear photo above.....I was standing near the old buckboard when I got the good photos.
I asked Robert if he thought I should go get the key to the house, so we could get inside quickly if we should see the need...he replied, "No! Just keep taking pictures!"
So of course, I took a lot of pictures of this bear! I walked right up to the buck board you see in the blurry photo. Tenderheart finally got tired of me and my camera and he climbed down from his tree to run over the hill behind the house. We followed him. He went up another tree, and we took some more photos, then he started down the tree again.
At that point, the hair was beginning to raise up on the backs of our necks, and we had such a weird feeling we were not alone with this bear. We decided we'd head back to the house, which was still locked.....
Came over the hill and into the yard to see this:
So here we are, cornered between two bears, and all I can hear going through my mind is the Forest Service mantra, "More people are killed and injured by black bears than grizzlies."
I told Robert, "I don't care what you're going to do, I'm going to unlock the house and get inside!" He grabbed the camera and took off in another direction, but this bear ran off before he got more pictures.
The night my cousin and her boyfriend got home from Iowa, this bear- without a heart on his chest- stood up and was looking in the dining room window. My cousin and her boyfriend have two little house dogs, who went crazy when they saw the bear looking in at them. He peeked in through the living room window first, leaving his paw prints on the glass, then moved around to peer into the dining room window. By then, my cousin and her boyfriend had got out of bed to see what the commotion was, and they saw the bear peeking in the window at them.
It's thrilling to live with the bears! I don't know when I've actually felt more alive. But now we're home again, and the most exciting critters we have around here are the donkeys and the cats....
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