Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

One Bear, Two Bear

One Bear, Two Bear

It seems we may have two bears roaming the neighborhood in search of a free chicken dinner. We came home from a birthday party Sunday night around 7 p.m. The husband had been cutting dead trees on the north side of the property earlier in the day. He headed back there to check on a few things. I went upstairs to contemplate working on a sewing project. All of a sudden, I heard the chickens making a huge commotion and Lila barking and flinging herself against the kitchen door in an attempt to get outside. By the time I got down the stairs and out the door, I had a pretty good idea of what was going on. Rusty was on the far side of the chicken coop barking his head off and Lila—now outside—was running back and forth along the electric fence line. I yelled for the husband and ran back inside to grab the bear spray.

The bear was sitting on its haunches in the woods, about 30 feet from the chicken coop, moving its head back and forth. I had a clear view of it. By that time, the husband was there, so I handed him the bear spray and ran inside to get the shotgun. He went out into the woods after the bear—if someone can get close enough to hit the bear with pepper spray, we’re pretty sure it won’t want to come back. We don’t want to shoot it but it’s prudent to have the shotgun handy. The bear took off.

Seeing a bear in the woods is a completely different experience from seeing one in a zoo. There is no comparison, in fact. As I was watching the bear and yelling for the husband, I found myself thinking, “That bear is actually pretty cute,” but I still know enough to keep a respectful distance.

The one in our woods Sunday night one was a smallish, cinnamon-colored black bear. I talked to my friend around the corner yesterday morning—the one who had the bear trap in her yard—and she said that the bear in her yard was larger and black and had been there again a few hours before. When I phoned the guy at FWP, he said that they have had enough calls from this area that they also believe there might be two bears. The husband suspects that the larger black one may be the one that broke into the coop last fall. He said the one we saw last night wasn’t that bear. We haven’t seen the larger black one.

And now I think I must make quite the sight when I head out to do my rounds every day. My gardening apron—what the husband calls my “kitchen nail bag”—is slung around my hips and holding the house keys, my phone, the .22 magazine, and a big-ass can of bear spray, and I am carrying the .22. The .22 is for ground squirrels, not bears, as all it would do is annoy a bear. There is a very brazen ground squirrel in the garden, however, that needs to be dealt with.

Living my best life.

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We’re still in a period of intermittent showers and I wasn’t able to get out in the garden until yesterday afternoon. (I got rained anyway on but I won’t melt.) I worked on the scrap quilt in the morning. I am sewing it in three sections—easier to wrangle through Vittorio, the Necchi BF—and I have two sections done:

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The third section has five rows, three of which are complete. It shouldn’t take long to finish the last couple of rows. The sections will get trimmed evenly when they are assembled. I have to retrieve my sewing machine from the dealer in Spokane before I can quilt this one, though.

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The cowpeas are up!

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These are the reason I want that ground squirrel out of the garden. I don’t need it snacking on my precious cowpeas.

The Apron Class That Almost Wasn't

The Apron Class That Almost Wasn't

Quilts on the Fence

Quilts on the Fence