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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bear vs. Compost Bin

I didn't know where else to put the cool photo of this cloud, so it's here.
Our neighbor Chelsea mentioned last week that she had seen a bear in her garbage cans. This was quite surprising to me, as we had been told that folks had only seen coyotes and lions (local slang for cougars), but NO bears. When I went up Thursday, I saw that said bear had visited our compost bin inside the fenced "orchard". This is totally unacceptable. Since he had already left the area, we could not have words with him. But we did think of a way to convey our disapproval of future visits.

Mr. Bear knocked over the bin, and then it rained like an SOB, and now the compost is VERY heavy and difficult to move. Dumb bear. Whaddya get? A few cherry pits? Some crushed egg shells? I hope you are happy, you dumb bear.
These bins are not made to be moved once they are set up and have stuff in them. Dumb bear.

How am I supposed to get this thing upright and straightened out with 60 pounds of wet compost holding it to the ground? Dumb, dumb bear.
You can see that Mikey was not happy with the bear's antics.

This should keep it from happening again.

Where Have All the Cottonwood Leaves Gone? Into Caterpillers Tummys, Every One (To the Tune of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone")

What the hell is this on Mikey's leg?
Over the last few weeks, we noticed that some of the cottonwood trees around the Cañon land, even the ones close to the Arkansas River, were turning brown. Were they dying?

These were bright green this spring.

Sunday we went down to Cañon so Mikey could caulk the gap between the house and the gutters. We took some time to go down to the ponds, and found that scores of cottonwood trees had been stripped of their leaves or were in the process of turning brown from stress. Who was doing this? We think the culprit is the Western Tent Caterpillar.

This young cottonwood shows a bit of new leaf growth despite all of the old leaves having been nommed by something. There are several somethings on the branches.

This doesn't really look like the tents of the western tent caterpillar - it looks more like the nest of the fall webworm. But fall webworms aren't known for completely defoliating trees.

See the tree on the left? May or June 2011

Same group of trees from a different angle - August 2011.
From what I've been able to learn so far, even the complete defoliation of a tree at this time of year will not be fatal unless there are other stressors present, like drought or a repeated defoliation. But it sure feels bad to look at all those previously lush trees and now see this. And all the little creepy crawlies on the ground. They are everywhere. Ick.

Julia Mae and Her Entourage

 Last Saturday we had the pleasure babysitting the lovely and vivacious Julia Mae Baumgardner for the day. It has been a long time since either of us has had a baby in the house. The best thing about it, other than the extraordinary presence of J.M.B. herself was that Mikey made funny faces and baby talked to her.

Hoopa is a good dog, but there were a few times when she looked at Julia as if she was a possible candidate for the luncheon entree.

Bubba looks very much like Julia's companion, Phoenix, so I'm sure there was some confusion in her 5 month old mind. There certainly was in Bubba's. 

Bubba kept jumping up on the side of the playpen. No one knows why, not even the Bubs.

What shall we watch? Baseball or golf?

Some of us got tired.

The afternoon crash was unexpected.

Oh, that silly Poppi.