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Pasture Bear

[....and we wrap up our tales of recurring bear visits from the month of August....]

Saturday morning, I was still rubbing my eyes and yawning when Kay called me outside in a hurry. She pointed to a bear in the pasture, out in the ferns where the deer like to congregate at night. Just on the edge of the poplars. We stood in the sugar bush, camouflaged from the bear, and assessed the situation. The bear who’s been visiting us? Or just another bear in this town that sure seems to have a lot of bears.

“Hey bear!” Kay shouted. Then she laughed. The bear glanced our way, but mostly seemed to be relaxing among the ferns and hawthorn saplings in the morning sun.

We kept talking, louder and louder. We had been planning to let the sheep out, but the bear would need to leave us. It began slowly moseying toward the poplars but kept stopping to smell the goldenrods. Knowing there is old tensile fence between where it was and where I was, I began to walk towards it. Black bears are kinda dumb and it didn’t even notice me. I climbed a small hill in the back of the pasture and had a good look at the beast in the brush below me. I clapped my hands loudly. “Hey bear! Get out of here! Go!” Its sleepy bristly head shot up and saw me, and it bounced into the trees – and into the 90 acres of woods behind our farm.

Then we let the sheep out, who had a marvelous day. Mittens raced straight for a milk thistle and gobbled the leaves like there were Snickers bars hanging off the stem. Grass got grazed.

Ever since we began having nightly “visitors,” I’ve been having silly little nightmares about the cheeps, usually in the half-awake moments before my alarm goes off. In one, I go out and the door to the Chickshaw is open. Roo stands in the doorway and not a cheep is to be found. Roo doesn’t even live in the shaw – he lives in the coop – so that means the coop has been broken into also! I panic and think about Brownie and the Cuckoos, the poor girls – and I wake up.

In another dream, I go into the cheep run to wrangle them up at dusk, but the tarp above them is gone and all the cheeps fly into the trees. It is at the cusp of darkness and I can’t see any of them through the leaves – and I wake up.

Every morning since the pasture bear moment, I go outside and the fence is hot. The birds are fine. Roo and the Cuckoo Marans are clawing at the gate, ready to go. Brownie, a late riser, still snoozing on the perch. And in the shaw, the open-beaked baby rooster prince and his 23 pullet queens all waiting to explode upon their grain and waterer, ready for chicken parkour and the straightening out of their hierarchy, however that’s being arranged. Business as usual.

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