May, 2006

Threatdown: Bears
(warning: may offend liberals, conservatives, environmentalists, and the proprietous)

While working on her flowers in early May, Pauline heard Neko and Pumpkin barking excitedly down near the creek. On investigation, she witnessed a bear climb a tree just across the creek, with two very excited dogs at the base. Fortunately, when the bear decided to come down, it ran away rather than attack the dogs. Based on her description, we think it may be the same bear Gary and Arthur spotted in September, 2004. It is unfortunate the dogs now seem to think they are Karelian Bear Dogs because a threatened black bear is very dangerous if it decides offense is the best defense. Evidence indicates the bears are rummaging through rotting tree stumps on our side of the creek, looking for insects.

As if the bears are not enough, the coyotes are getting bolder. Pauline checked on the barking dogs to find a coyote in front of the Carriage House. Pumpkin had a brief tussle with the coyote before it noticed Gary running at it with arms waving. Of course, the dogs gave chase and we had a hard time getting them back. One coyote in particular seems to be hanging around and distressing the dogs, as we have seen it since. Now we cannot trust the dogs out alone.

This month, we were visited by Jim and Denise, Mike and Lisa, and Gary's mother Wanda. We added them to our Attila's Gallery. We took Jim and Denise on a long hike around the upper fence and accompanied Mike and Lisa through Yellowstone to Cody.

May is when the flowers start to show. However, late June is probably the best time for flowers. At left is Low Larkspur (Delphinium Bicolor).

The weather for early May was hot and dry; there were highs of 88°F. This accelerated the snow melt and raised concerns that summer stream flows might be low. Mid to late May brought thunderstorms, lower temperatures and snow, as in late May of 2003 and 2004. This time, the snow did not stick, so no pictures. We're hoping for a normal year to come, with just enough rain to keep fire danger low. It was a bit frustrating that construction could not start (due to scheduling and planning delays) during all that dry weather. It did start on May 30 — follow the link below to see.

Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

Parting Shot

On our trip through Yellowstone, we spotted this Grizzly Bear. The park rules say not to approach within 100 yards of a Grizzly. Gary clearly got closer than that to take this picture (probably less than 100 feet). Says he: "A park ranger was standing nearby, so I walked over to her, making sure to get no closer than she did! I kept my eye on the bear at all times." This must be a rather young bear (3-4 years), judging from the size and the musculature about the shoulders.

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