Tuesday, 11 August 2009


After running and feeding the puppies this morning, I grabbed a container, hopped on my Quad, called Bet and headed off into the woods to do some berry picking. Bet happily roared out of the yard beside me looking forward to a good run. She was rather puzzled when I stopped after a short distance and started walking into the woods.
She stood on the trail staring at me for a long time before realizing I was fixing to stay put for a bit and drifting over to the general vicinity I was picking blueberries in. She sniffed the ground for a bit but was clearly confused by what I found so interesting on the forest floor. I explained that her job while I was out in the woods was to do 'bear patrol'. She gave me a shocked look and suggested that the 'contract' she had agreed to come live with us under didn't mention bears. "Running with puppies and holding down dog beds" seemed to be all she could remember. I told her that 'bear patrol' fell under the "and various other tasks" clause.
She was disgusted and was muttering about 'small print' and 'signing contracts without consulting a lawyer' while wandering around in the woods.
I picked like I normally do early in the season - pick for a bit in one spot, then move to another. That works well when the berries aren't all ripe and gives me a good feel for where the good patches will be in a few more weeks.

Bet and I worked a few patches and were finding more blueberries then I thought I was going to find, when I noticed her rolling around on the ground. I headed over to see what she had found. FRESH BEAR SCAT - which was now smeared all over the side of her face and caked on the white part of her neck. She was very proud of herself for pointing out the fresh bear signs, after all wasn't that her job??? I suggested that she stay downwind of me. She rolled her eyes and insisted I was impossible to please.

We finished up picking and headed back to the house for lunch. I raced Bet the last bit into the yard to make sure she didn't dash into the house through the 'cat door' and threw her in the bathtub. Much to her dismay, I scrubbed her face, her ears, her neck and all the rest of her body THREE TIMES before setting her free.

Mark and I had lunch. Bet joined me on a trip into Perryvale for a mail and I did a few other tasks around the house before decided to head out and do a bit more berry picking. I decided to leave Bet home this time, as she was still damp from her bath.

As I headed out the door, Bet shot me a glance as she readjusted her position on the Cloud. I could swear the look and matching smirk said "Watch out for bears".



Andi Louise said...

Yikes. I'd be packin' my pistol!

JohnRettig said...

I was in Olympic National Park last week on a Mt. Olympus climb. Above 800 meters elevation, black bears were pretty thick - especially around Salmonberries and huckleberries. What surprised me though was a large male that walked *toward* us (a group of 7 with large multi-day backpacks, shouting and banging rocks together), and didn't break off his agressive approach until he was 10 meters away. And he was in no hurry to get away from us.

No dogs with us (park rules), but I don't know if that would have made a difference.

These guys have learned that humans=food, due to people's stupidity in leaving food lay around instead of up on the bear wires. And I guess his tactic was to try to intimidate us enough to get us to drop our packs to fight him.

ElizabethMC said...

The closest we came to bears was when we were in Yellowstone last year - and that was the required 25 ft minimum. Well, we were closer, but he was making a mad dash to a bison carcass we had sighted down in Lamar Valley. It was on a mission other than us - got some nice shots too! The black bear sighting caused a traffic jam as 2 teenage boys got very close to this bear! The bear stopped momentarily to check the boys out and then ambled on its way. The boys - teenagers - were hooting and shouting that this was the best thing that had ever happened to them.
Saw a grizzly sow, but she was more interested in feeding. Thankfully.
Lucky you did not encounter a bear, they might have viewed you as a tastey morsel to go with their blueberries.

yukonmusher said...

EEEWWW. Our border collie did this last week. I was wondering around our new acerage and smelled bear. I kept going and kept smelling it. then I decided to tie her up for the night as we were moving into the tent, and didnt want to be tripping over her. The next day Hayden went and took her for a ride in the truck and said he had to pull over and swim her clean for 20 mins. lol

Shmoo said...

Meeshka will be sending Bet something via e-mail.

Shmoo said...

For your amazing ingenuity for getting out of dangerous uncontracted duties, I hereby award you with the coveted HULA certificate and welcome you as an honorary Siberian Husky.




Kaos Siberians said...

That or she was saying "I TOLD you that wasn't in my contract."

Pardon me while I run off to explain to Robin that her method of devouring a good book isn't acceptable.

Andi Louise said...

I recently read about a lady who was found dead from a bear attack. Apparently she had been feeding the bears. Think she should get a Darwin award?