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Glimpses of an unordinary life

There are times for me when writing — anything — has all the appeal of smashing my thumb repeatedly with a ball-peen hammer. And so during these times I don’t. Write. Anything. Unless someone is paying for it, but then that’s another story.

The best remedy for this is usually outside work, and I’ve had plenty of that to do lately. At the ranch I manage I’ve moved the cattle to summer pasture, an act of wishful thinking. And I’ve built a new fence with the help of my friend Kevin Madler.

The other day when I walked into the barn tack room over there I found the old chest freezer we use to store feed tipped over, and the entire tack room in disarray. Not too hard to figure out a bear had gotten in there overnight.

I picked things up and turned the freezer back over. Mostly the bear had eaten cat food. I called Justin Krall, our local Division of Wildlife officer, and we discussed what to do.

I bolted the door shut that night and the next morning found the bear had unlocked the bolt and ransacked the tack room once again. Now this is a room with a door inside a barn. And the cat food is in a freezer. Pretty brazen stuff, not too far a reach, say, from breaking into a house.

Today Justin came by with an “unwelcome mat” to place in front of the door. Essentially it’s a piece of plywood with screws sticking up through it to make it uncomfortable for the bear to step in front of the door. I also removed all cat food from the premises, and improved the seat for the door bolt. If the mat doesn’t work the next step is a contraption that shoots pepper spray.

In addition to bear repellents, Justin, also had in his truck a young golden eagle that had been hit by a car on Highway 69 near Westcliffe. He was transporting it to the Pueblo Raptor Center where it was to be treated by a vet. The prognosis seemed good, as there was a lot of life in that eagle’s eyes. This explains the accompanying photo.

I suppose the purpose of a blog such as mine is to share some parts of my unordinary life, though sometimes I feel like bears running amok and wounded eagles up close and personal are just part of the daily scene around here. When I’m lucky it inspires me to write something or take a photo. Thanks for “bearing” with me.

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4 Responses to “Glimpses of an unordinary life”

  1. G Imrie Says:

    We used about 10 Unwelcome Mats around a remote Sierra cabin (elev 7400 ft) to keep a bear from returning. S/he had ripped a heavy door off its hinges. Found we had to put similar Bear Bars across the seasonal shutters, too. Had 6-inch nails pounded through them, all looked very Medieval, but worked. As our mutual friend likes to quote: “Mother Nature bats last!”

  2. Stan Says:

    We all go through dry spells, something like a low-grade depression. Thankfully, they don’t last. One day nothing seems worth writing about; the next, anything or everything is great column or blog or article material.

  3. Randy Rhodes Says:

    Thanks for the update. I enjoyed the news. It is routine for you but a treat for me to read.

    Thanks for taking the time.

  4. Brenda Hayes Says:

    I just got the notification on my FB page regarding your recent post. I enjoy reading your stuff and am very curious still about this burro racing phenomenon. I’m not sure I “get it”. Guess I need to read some older posts where I am certain you explain this in detail.

    Hope your bear “deterrent” works! And to think I was a bit upset by running over a raccoon on the road the other night!

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