Thursday, June 30, 2016

Black Bears

There’s a bear in the Truro woods.
People have seen it - three or four, 
or two, or one.

from The Truro Woods
  By Mary Oliver

I had great hopes that, based on the trauma that two young bears  I 
wrote about in my last post suffered, they would after sober second 
thought and quiet reflection decide on a change in venue and possibly
enrol in the Peace Corps, enlist or maybe join a bear friendly religious
order, something with fryers perhaps? But in the manner of teenagers 
everywhere and most adults I have meet, all they learned from their
past mistake was "lets try it again and see if it works out differently". 
The very next evening they appeared in the same spot, however they
did get a different result, the resident bear did not appear and after
swimming across the slough they disappeared in a different direction
and as far as we know did not approach the cabin. While we were
thrilled to see them hopefully they are adventuring in a different area
and we can resume the even tenor of our days.

"The bear went over the river, 
To see what he could see.

And all that he could see, 
Was the other side of the river,
The other side of the river, 

Was all that he could see."

uncredited Children's Song

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Black Bears

"Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street,
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, "Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all of the squares!"
And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and steps on a line.""

from Line and Squares
by A.A. Milne

We were sitting in the screened in porch having supper with my 
mother-in-law last evening when we noticed two young bears on 
 the spit of land that juts out into the slough about 400 yards 
from our cabin. This is the same spit of land where
earlier in June we saw what appears to be our resident 
bear poking around. We have had a single bear here for some years
 ( whether it is the same one I cannot tell you)
who mainly avoids close proximity to the cabin, I suspect the noisy dogs 
help. My brother-in-law, who has had a lot of experience with bears has
 said this is the best kind, it leaves you alone but it's presence will
 discourage other bears from moving in. 

It is probably male as we never see cubs,
 another complication we would like to avoid. 
One of my brother-in-law's experiences with bears
 occurred when a mother with cubs chased him into this 
very slough in this same spot. 
My wife asked him when he decided to run, and he answered decide?

But I digress, the two young bears wandered about eating for about 
an hour. Four beavers that had been on the opposite shore
disappeared. One approached closer to the bears to keep them in 
sight and then slapped it's tail as they moved about.
 Finally the young bears started running, a larger bear 
( the resident as promised? ) 
came out of the bush after them. We though we had seen the last of 
them  but about 10:30 last night we were in bed when Nina started 
barking. She often alerts us to beavers eating the nearby  trees. 

My wife looked out the window and shrieked in surprise 
( similar to her mouse on the cupboard shriek) 
when she saw one the young bears behind the cabin
  The shriek and the barking that followed seem to have frightened 
it off and we have added an airhorn to the bear spray 
we already had on hand. 

Sorry about the picture quality this is thru a screen and 
I am some distance away ( which I like ). 

"No, Yogi! We promised the Ranger we would stay away. 
 You're right. I'm losing control, Boo-Boo. I don't know who's steering 
the ship! "

Yogi and Boo-Boo

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My wife looked out the window this morning and there were 
three males Orioles sporting in the Saskatoon bushes.
 Can they be getting ready to leave already?

“He was thinking what a long and wide thing time is, to have so many happenings in it.” 

 from Soonchild
    by Russell Hoban

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"A moose has come out of
the impenetrable wood
and stands there, looms, rather, 
in the middle of the road.
It approaches; it sniffs at
the bus’s hot hood.

Towering, antlerless, 
high as a church,
homely as a house
(or, safe as houses)."

from The Moose
by Elizabeth Bishop

Each year at the cabin is different. Some birds are common one year, scare the next. This year spring was a month early and we missed a great deal of it. Last year we stayed three months at the cabin and did not see a moose on the entire trip, we saw no deer on our 80 acres and only a handful on the trip. This year I was able to photograph a moose and calf from the front porch on Monday night, the night of the Solstice. The next night I was able to photograph a deer that had come up the lane and stopped because the SUV was moved to in front of the cabin because the beavers are falling trees by the parking spot. I photographed it through the kitchen window so the screen did not help. But we have great hopes for critter watching this year.

"When for too long I don't go deep enough 
into the woods to see them, they begin to 
enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the 
pinewoods of my inner life."

from The Faces of Deer
By Mary Oliver

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pelican, seen from the cabin porch on a day of rain.

"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, —and done a hundred things.
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along,"

from High Flight
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Saturday, June 18, 2016


"What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left.
O let them be left, wildness and wet:
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet."

                           Gerald Manley Hopkins (1881)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Cold War?

At the Bomb Testing Site
by William Stafford

At noon in the desert a panting lizard 
waited for history, its elbows tense, 
watching the curve of a particular road 
as if something might happen. 

It was looking at something farther off 
than people could see, an important scene 
acted in stone for little selves 
at the flute end of consequences. 

There was just a continent without much on it 
under a sky that never cared less. 
Ready for a change, the elbows waited.
The hands gripped hard on the desert.

Spiritwood Saskatchewan, June 2016
I think the b&w treatment gives this photo an interesting cold war vibe.

For all my little classmates who joined me in crawling 
under our desks when the principal rang the bell.

"The men were waiting! What was the order? They hunched
over the firing controls, waiting . . . The firing controls…?
"Do It!" Do It!" Do It! Do It! Do It!" 

from The Big Flash
by Norman Spinrad

Thursday, June 16, 2016


"In personalities I like mild colourless people.
And in colors I prefer gray and brown."

                          from Passing Remark
                       by William Stafford

A rainy day on the metal roof here so it is time to look thru some photos. I have come to love the catbirds I see at the cabin. They seem fairly habitat specific haunting the low scrub and saplings along the slopes edging the slough. The fairly open areas they frequent do make for some good views.

"My people, now it is time
for us all to shake hands with the rain.
It's a neighbour, lives here all winter.
Talkative, yes. It will tap late 
at night on your door and stay there
gossiping. It goes away without goodbye
leaving its gray touch on old wood.

—- barefoot, it has walked 
with us with its silver passport all over the world."

from Wovoka's Witness
by William Stafford

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ruffed Grouse

"But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,"

you know who

First week at the cabin, the season seems a month early due to the early arrival of warm weather so most of the birds have already nested and brooded and we are not seeing as many but we did encounter this heartsick swain and his lady love.

" She walks in beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 
And all that’s best of dark and bright 
Meet in her aspect and her eyes; "

from She Walks In Beauty
by Lord Byron