Of Bread and Bear 2

Welcome back for Of Bread and Bear Part Two ( alternatively titled, “The Bread also Rises” or ” For Whom the Bear Strolls” or ” The Bear and the Night Visitors” ), further adventures in wildlife and baking, in which the both bread and bear come to a safe conclusion. ( If you have missed Part One, quick click.) Preparing this post took a bit longer than anticipated. Things came up, like the water under the kitchen sink.

When we left off we had revised the meal plan – “Spaghetti Saturday Night” ( Note to non-Canadians – this is a Northern Ontario & Stompin’ Tom Allusion ). The meal proceeded without incident. There was a minor remark about the lack of meatballs, but in these hectic times we must accept some inconvenience. We kept checking on the bear to see if it had proceeded to climb down the tree yet. Eventually, after napping in the swaying boughs it began to work its way down to terra firma.

There was no sign of momma-bear so we could observe from veranda as the cautious and somewhat confused descent occurred. My wife and I remarked on the absence of the mother bear. What kind of parent lets it child wander into a stranger’s backyards looking for food, getting into all sorts of difficult situations. That mother ought to be reported. However, we are in all likelihood dealing with a yearling black bear cub. It is at this stage that the mother would let-encourage the cub to become independent.

A Few Bear Facts ( For more information click Bear1 Bear2)

Males: 125 to 500 pounds common, depending upon age, season, and food. Record: 816 pounds;

Females: 90 to 300 pounds common. Record: 454 pounds; Captive bears may exceed these weights.

Home Range Area Diameter

Yearlings: 2-4 km (1-2 miles). Adult females: 4-10 km (2-6 miles). Adult males: 15-30 km (8-15 miles). Excursions over 200 km (125 miles).

Young bears remain with their mother until the second summer when they are 16-17 months old. They are very playful and investigate everything.

Click image for more information

Most famous black bear cub – In 1914, the community of White River, Ontario, Canada, bid farewell to a little black bear cub. This bear would become the inspiration of author A.A. Milne and subsequently became one of the most loved bears in the world.

Black bears are omnivorous and will eat almost anything available. Most of their food is vegetation, especially in the late summer and autumn when berries and nuts are available. Favourite fruits include blueberries, buffalo berries, strawberries, elderberries, saskatoons, black cherries, and apples. Acorns, hazelnuts, and beechnuts are other preferred foods. Insects such as ants and grasshoppers rate high, and black bears will overturn logs, old stumps, and stones while foraging.

Fish, small mammals, and occasionally birds are also on the black bear’s menu. In the spring some bears may prey upon newborn moose calves, deer fawns, caribou calves, or elk calves. Carrion of any sort is highly prized and its attractiveness to a bear increases with its degree of decomposition. Of course a tree containing honey is always a treat. Bears drink frequently and are usually found in the vicinity of water.

Bears growing up around populated areas, however, have come to associate man with food. Sightings at garbage dumps, logging camps and picnic grounds have become frequent.

Now Liz and I have been living in this community 30 years plus. We would hear about bears in the town, but these reports were mainly from the outer edges most near the main wilderness and larger lakes. We had heard about the jokes about the fast-food dumpsters. In actuality we have had only two previous encounters with bears. On one of our first excursions together we saw a young bear cross the road by Little White River. We also saw bears at the dump the one time. So considering we had never had bears near our first home, which was much closer to a typical bear foraging area we were a bit surprised.

Well the cub sort of came down, but became a bit uncertain as to what to do next. Liz made nice soft vocal encouragements. I tried to point out a human voice may not produce desired calming effect. Her next idea was perhaps he could be coaxed down with more sunflower seeds. So out she went with a plastic bowl to put beneath the tree. By now the several hundred pounds of cub was on a lower bough of the tree. Well my wife with soothing sounds goes to place bowl where cub can see it. I am ready with camera, though somewhat transfixed by all this; perhaps it was the soothing voice or watching a potential accident in slow motion. The bear’s response was not slow, nor was my wife’s return to the veranda.

The cub made a hirumphing sound while moving his front paws vigorously as if slapping the ground. Keep in mind, as he did not, that he was resting on the tree bough. For every action a reaction, especially a springy tree bough. He somehow managed to maintain a position in the tree and my wife did not end up being a soft landing for the bear.

The cub did take notice of the bowl and the seeds and worked his way down. My wife pointed out that if the gate was open he might see it from where the bowl was placed and choose to leave. Maybe if the cub saw someone going through the gate it might get the idea. I wonder who that would be ?

While I was out there I did get a few more pictures, though my wife said I my flash was not conducive to calming the cub. The cub was busy eating.

At one point while taking these shots, with my eye and camera totally concentrating on the cub, my wife excitedly says “Oh Look. Look !”( Expecting another perhaps larger bear to have appeared.) ” A hummingbird!” My heartbeat was now matching the beating wings of the bird, which had flown off – the bird, my heart remained in the vicinity of my chest.

” Would have made a great shot.”

“Sorry dear, I am concentrating on the mammals.”   ( For Hummingbirds see THE COASTAL CRONE   ~  Texas Hummingbird-Baby Huey  )

She obliges by later drawing my attention to the noise to my right, which was a bit louder than my heart beat.

Excuse Me, I am Trying to Eat Here

At this point it was bear to the left of me, raccoons to the right. Cue music now.

Finally, we went in, but not before the bear decided to move in a direction farthest from the open gate. This would put the cub near my wife’s goldfish pond.

Her soothing voice turn into a scolding one as she tried to discourage the cub from partaking of very fresh sushi. Fortunately, the seeds were more appetizing and he returned to the bowl.

As to the bread, it had risen very well and baking was in order.

Baked Buns on Pan

The bread came out beautifully. I shared some with friends who reported back that they enjoyed it very much. It worked well as sandwich buns as well as going well with jam and butter. A Honey Wheat Sourdough, Winnie the Pooh would have been pleased.

One last bear sighting from our upstairs window , all went quiet and then I closed the gate.

13 thoughts on “Of Bread and Bear 2

  1. That was all hilarious – as seen from over here in Australia. It might have been slightly less amusing over there. I loved the photos in the fern fronds. He looked as if he was all dressed up and ready to go onstage. Perhaps lacking a few sequins, but the general effect was very burlesque.

  2. Of Bear and Bread 2 was even better than Of Bear and Bread 1. Great photos! What an adventure! I can see the two of you out there with more wildlife than you needed at one time. My husband had an easier time phographing Baby Huey the hummingbird. Thanks for the mention/ping. The bread was lovely!

  3. This is amazing and so exciting… I can’t imagine myself, I would have been in panic… You are both great team. Thank you, these bear photographs so lovely especially when he is eating… But all these things mean, they or he will come again, they learned now that they can find food in your garden, doesn’t make you fear… But this is me, what would I have done I don’t know 🙂 It was so beautiful post, have a nice weekend, love, nia

  4. I loved the treatment of the bear photos! Charming like storybook illustrations. Thank goodness he left. That was just too much excitement for one day! Glad we don’t have bears here. 🙂

  5. Michelle Gillies

    You are both so brave, for actually going outside. I have a a groundhog in my backyard that I photograph through the window because I am more afraid of him than he is of me. Mind you he is the biggest groundhog I have ever seen. He actually looks me straight in the eye and laughs at me whenever I try to scare him away.
    Great story. If the bear does come back you may well have the makings of a new Winnie The Pooh type series.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. elmediat

      Thanks. It will be better if it stays away. If it becomes a nuisance in the area, it will be tranked and re-located. Bears can be very persistent and return from long distances. If they don’t stay away, they are shot. Ironically there is strong evidence that more bears are shot now that Ontario eliminated the Spring Bear Hunt. Younger bears are less wary of humans. Instead of hiding from hunters in the bush, they come into the open areas around humans. They are more likely to be shot there than if they stay in the wilderness.

  6. elmediat

    Don’t know if you checked first post, the cub climbed the fence and the police could not remove it without killing it. A bear sighting in mid-afternoon is not normal. It was also visiting homes up the next street, but we didn’t know about that till later in the week.

    We hope it doesn’t return. It headed to the the bird feeder but the noise I made from the upper window discouraged it. Sometime after that it left.

    It knocked over a garbage bin, but we had bear-proof ones. It is plastic so it is not totally bear proof. The town accepts them because no one can afford steel dumpsters and the town would not empty them. The dumpsters would have to be set at the street. The town would not want that because of snowplow issues. The reality is you try to keep the property as uninteresting to bears as possible. If the weather is good there is enough food around- the recent extra warm & dry weather means the bears were up early and some of the food was under-developed.

    In the last few years there have been some unusual bear sightings & incidents. Bears are showing up in areas of the city of Sudbury where they have not been before. In Blind River, town near us, a bear decided that a woman’s car interior smelled of food and tore up the inside of the car a couple of years ago. There wasn’t any food and how it got the door off is a mystery.

  7. 500 pounds of bear?! I can’t even get my mind around that… I mean, I knew they got big, obviously, but… man! That’s… well, that’s impressive! I’m just glad that no one got hurt! Being as that’s the case this sure makes for one incredible story!
    (I particularly enjoyed the humming bird part… laughed out loud at your reaction!)

    1. elmediat

      Thanks. They can be impressive and intimidating creatures. Today on the news, they were discussing the increased bear sightings near a Sudbury elementary school. They have more than doubled. While that was overall a small number, it does mean staff must check before letting students out for recess, in a couple of cases keep students indoors.
      The policy on re-locating troublesome bears, those who return multiple times, has been re-thought ( no money). If the same bears keep returning to the same locations they will be shot.

  8. That was fun, and funny. Loved Stuck In The Middle. I always quickly look at a long blog post before I start reading, and since the great music was there, I listened to it while I read. Thanks.

    1. elmediat

      Thanks. I know what you mean about length of posts. From a media Literacy perspective, I think there are codes and conventions of blog/computer screen that effect how we process lengthy pieces of text. Possibly it is because of the scrolling, our brains take in the information differently than when we flip pages in a book/magazine. Mixing text, images and audio/video appears to make the scrolling text less formidable/easier to process.

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