Grizzly Raids March 20 2016
What a relief to put a couple of mountain ranges between me and Yuppieville and shake the summer crop-dusters off my soul.
Taking the back route on the old wagon trail I crested the divide into the golden aspens and paused as a burst of sunlight illuminated the deep valley below. I felt thrust into a larger-than-life Bierstadt painting overhung by yet another vast range of snow-capped peaks.
Home again. Breathing easy and free, I downshifted and began the long decent.
The mountain gardens were yielding a prolific and on-going harvest from the raised beds. The early frosts had wilted the less-hardy specimens but the perma-culture and Hugelkultur experiments were still producing huge fall crops. Of course we had to deal with the usual pests of the natural “critter” kind but I gladly accepted them in lieu of the abominations of the man-made kind.
Give me gophers, mice, voles, rabbits, coons and deer to deal with and keep those mad scientists and their pestilential products out of my area of operations.
Last Spring we threw up the impromptu 8 foot fence around the beds when it became clear that the more extensive electric fence under construction would not be completed in time for the growing season. Our temporary fence had worked fairly well with the deer so far through the summer but with the approach of October I began to have some qualms about the proximity of the apple orchard to the garden and the annual bear invasions.
Adding to my concerns was the failure of the White Bark Pine-nut crop, a bear staple in the surrounding high country. The mountain berry crops in our end of the valley had been pretty skimpy this season and the increasing bear scat in the orchard did not bode well for the apple crop. The bears come down every night for “easy pickins” in their fall feeding frenzy to fatten up before the deep Montana winter.
Remember I said the fence was working “fairly well.” Assorted small critters were still getting in and eating a fair amount, but the harvest was so abundant and time was always so short for proper fence maintenance that we let it slide in the interest of expediency—until the fall, when curiosity got the better of us.
On the next trip to town we bought an infrared game camera with a motion sensor, determined to establish the identity of the nocturnal guests who continued to dine on our vegetables.
My-oh-my! What the camera did reveal.
Note the pair of timid eyes at the edge of the light beyond the fence.
Yep. It was a small bear hanging around until something frightened it.
Well, Mr. Grizz strolled nonchalantly through our fence and helped himself to only two items in the garden. Matter of fact he was downright fastidious.
Guess what he ate?
I am willing to give five pounds of our premium Alpine Varietal of Painted Mountain Corn seed, absolutely free, to the first person who can name the two items the Grizzly ate.
Heck. Anybody who can guess even one of the items the Grizzly ate will get a half-pound of seed absolutely free.
***THE CONTEST IS CLOSED***
Find out what the grizzly ate - stay tuned for the answers.
March 31, 2016
NOTE: Due to the prohibitive cost of international shipping, international folks will pay shipping on their free seed.
Your personal information will be kept secure & private. We will not use your information for any purpose other than communicating the winning answers for this contest and arranging for your shipment of free seed if you submit a winning answer. Your identity as a contestant will be kept anonymous. The contest ends March 31st.