From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Posts tagged ‘Food’

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Bears n’ Trash

Bears n’ Trash

English: An American Black Bear (Ursus america...

English: An American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) at the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitat. Photo taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 in Avery County, NC, USA. Cropping and post-processing performed with The GIMP. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you know that, according to Environment Canada, more  than 1,000 bears are killed every year,  in British Columbia alone?  That is a sad, but very real statistic.  A majority of them are lured by the irresistible scent of garbage and other human food stuffs.

Bears have very sensitive noses, probably the best sense of smell of any creature on the planet. I have long assumed that, that was the, humble, dog’s greatest claim to fame, Several sources say that a blood hound, the best sniffer in the canine lineage, for example, can track a scent from 300 times further away than we can. That’s pretty amazing, right?

Well, be ready to be even more amazed, because your average Black Bear, can detect that same smell from at least six times further away than even the keenest nosed hound. Rest assured, he’ll smell you long before you’d smell him.

With their brilliant noses, Bears are superb at hunting down sources of food. They can detect dead prey from miles away, So, assume they can also detect the presence of human waste and garbage from a very long way off too, especially the “pongy” type.

In Port Coquitlam, as in many other parts of the world, whether it is to do with global warming or some other strange, weather shifting, phenomenon, the winters are becoming  milder and the bear population sees less or no need for hibernation. So even in the middle of winter, these guys are out there foraging for food. To hungry bears, our trash must seem like an oases in the desert a veritable horn-of-plenty as it were.

According to British Columbia’s Dangerous Wildlife Protection Act – section 88.1, “Feeding bears, even unintentionally, is against the law”

You can be fined rather heavily, for letting the critters chow down on your trash. Oh, and don’t think that hiding your garbage away is going to work either. My neighbor, several houses down, went to great expense to build a bear proof shed, A solid, impenetrable, vault in which to safely store his disposables.

He is a builder by trade, and from my view point, his structure, built on a concrete base out of sturdy timbers and wooden shingles looked to be a sturdy one. That’ll keep ’em out, we thought. “Ha ha, try to get through that chum!.”

Well, the poor “chap” came out early one morning, to investigate a strange noise, only to find his beautiful lean-to, in ruins. A side wall had been smashed into submission! There was a gaping, bear-sized hole in it, surrounded by tell-tale claw marks. The contents were strewn all around.

They have come out with  “Bear Proof” bins, and retro fitted devices that help keep these guys out of our “stuff” now, but we have to leave them unlocked on garbage day and that is when Yogi and his buddies choose to strike.

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We live, fairly, close to a forested area, and as you can see by my pictures, these guys have become a real pest.  They visit us every, single  garbage day.

They, used to, come out in the middle of the night, when our bins were at the curbside.  Then we cunning humans smartened up, and by we, I mean  everyone in the neighborhood, started putting our receptacles out early in the morning. For a while, that seemed to do the trick.

The bears are getting wilier though, and much more brazen, until their raids commonly took place in the harsh, glaring light of day. Our bins have been going out, later and later still, until we are now in serious danger of missing the truck all together!

Our Ursine cousins are pesky and persistent they come back to feast at will. They just love our  garbage. The sad thing is, that so often the only practical solution is to have them shot,  Relocation has proven to be very expensive and perilous pursuit and seldom seems to work. Once these critters get used to human interaction and the taste of our food, they seldom revert back to their natural sources for nourishment.

It is a perplexing problem, and one that wont be solved any time soon. We are destroying the bears’ natural habitat at such an alarming rate, that living in close quarters with these woodland denizens has become commonplace. We are advised by our conservation officers to cut them a wide berth, and let them be. That is becoming an all-consuming and ineffective solution.

Greasy Spoon Cafe

I sat, alone, inside the dimly lit, Greasy Spoon Cafe. It was late, and most of the lunch crowd had long ago faded into oblivion.

I was idly thumbing through the pages of some local rag. The paper was yellowed with age,  dotted and smeared with a real  consortium of beverage and foodstuffs of undetermined vintage. The remnants of some sloppy diners’ meals, no doubt.

An elderly waitress, looking very out of place in a clean cotton summer frock and starched white apron, smiled and handed me a menu. I was tempted to order the pale green stuff that was smeared over the bi-line on page three, but instead opted for a toasted club sandwich and coffee.
She shuffled away and I went back to my paper.

I looked up as the door chimes rang and a young couple walked in. She of medium height, fair hair, and shapely physique, He, a tall and very lean, stoop-shouldered lad, with mop of frizzy, black, hair and what appeared to be a permanent grin.

After much deliberation, they settled on a table in the far corner, and sat down on opposite sides to wait.

She reached over and held his hand, and they gazed into each other’s love-struck eyes. It didn’t last though, for their smiles seemed to turn rather quickly to frowns. I couldn’t make out actual words, but their raised voices carried clear across the room.

Just then, the waitress arrived with my food and coffee, and turned my attention from Romeo and Juliette to the most delectable, clubhouse sandwich this side of Main Street.

Later, when my lunch was reduced to a few crumbs, and my coffee a distant memory, I. glanced back over at the restaurants only other occupied table.

The young man’s chair was abandoned and the young lady sat sobbing uncontrollably into her paper napkin.

I hesitated for a few minutes, weighing up the pros and cons of interfering, then heart beat brains.

I got up from my seat and walked toward her.

She was running short of dry spots on her napkin, and her eyes were beet red. I approached her and said that I knew it wasn’t any of my business, but was everything alright.

She stared up at me, in silence for a very long minute, then, having, somehow, determined I wasn’t the neighborhood rapist, she spoke.

“He broke up with me,” She said and glanced vacantly at the napkin.
The words gushed out of her, and a fresh flood of tears poured down her cheeks.
I handed her my freshly laundered handkerchief. She took it and dabbed at her swollen eyes.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, “You seemed so into each other.” I paused and pointed to my table, “That’s how it looked, from my vantage point, anyway”

She smiled sardonicly. “Ya, mine too! Rex and I were talking about getting married next fall.”

I’ve often been called an old softy, and I guess I sorta am, but, hey, she seemed like a sweet kid and she was clearly broken up about it. The least I could do is lend an ear.

“So, what happened?” I asked.
She blew her nose and sighed.

“I wish I knew!” we’re sitting here making all these wonderful plans, one minute; then the next he says he’s done. never wants to see me again!”

I mulled it over briefly unsure of what to say.

“Listen,” I said, marriage is a huge step, maybe he just needs time to let it sink in.”

She seemed to consider this, because a faint smile, momentarily replaced her frown.

I sat down in the empty spot, and for the next twenty minutes, or so. I, quietly listened, while Stella talked.

She told me about future plans and dreams, Like; taking a train out east to meet his parents, visiting Whistler Mountain Resort to plan their reception party and honeymooning on the beach in Waikiki.
Then she stared, intently, at the tablecloth.

‘But none of that matters anymore!”

“People fight all the time,” I said finally, “are you sure it’s truly over?”

She nodded glumly.

“Yes, says he can’t stand the sight of me.”

Her whole body quivered and convulsed and I sat there feeling utterly useless as the tears started, all over again.

Next thing i knew, old Rex
was there, looming over me, and before I could utter that old chestnut ‘This isn’t what it looks like!” I noticed his big, toothy grin.
He looked at Stella, she looked at him, and they burst out laughing.

Now, everyone deals with things differently, and grief can manifest itself in many different ways, but even a fool like me could see there was something odd here.

Confused? So was I, but the answer was about to reveal itself…
Turns out these two love birds were in a College Theater Arts Program together and the whole thing was an act. There’s was no breakup, this was all part of an elaborate ruse. A Prank played on, unsuspecting suckers like me for practise and giggles.

After their somewhat lenghly explanation, Rex handed me a pair of tickets.and backstage passes to a new production the two of them were performing in.

“No hard feelings?” he asked.

I tried to affect a scowl, but my smile broke through in stark defiance.

“Nope, I’m just glad you two are okay, I said. Then I thought for half a second. “How did you know I would fall for it?” I asked finally. “I could’ve just walked away.

Stella glanced at Rex, then back at me and she smiled warmly.

“‘Cause I’m a good judge of character.”

Copyright2013

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