This morning as we were leaving the property to go into town for lunch and some doggy socialization, we spotted a small black bear in the three acre woods between our house and our nearest neighbor’s house.  The bear was only about 150 lbs and may have overnighted in the culvert that goes under our driveway a few hundred feet from the front ofthe house.  I think that might be the case as Ranger was unusually curious about the smells coming from that culvert when he was out for a morning romp with Shadow.  I have only had one other bear sighting since moving here, when one hauled across the width of the upper part of our land like it was being chased and into those same woods.  We know they are up here, hearing tales of them being seen at Mountain Lake or of one being hunted on an adjacent farm, but we seldom see them.  Typically they are shy and are not seen near the houses unless bird feeders are left outside, and I don’t feed the birds here except with berry laden bushes or seed bearing flowers.
     It isn’t uncommon to see squirrel, rabbits, deer, turkeys, chipmunks, an occassional groundhog and the seasonal assortment of birds.
     All of these critters, even the field mice, moles and voles that the cats bring home are expected.
     Our property has wire fence nearly all the way around it, much of it very old and not well maintained, but two adjacent farms have cattle and generally the fencing between their land and ours is better maintained, however, one of these farmers is less diligent about this and there must be a branch or small tree down over it now as “Ferdinand,” his bull (our name for him) has taken a liking to the grass in our front yard, coming over nearly daily.  I wouldn’t mind his assistance at mowing and the fertilizer he leaves behind, except the pups don’t care for the intruder so close to the house and charge after him barking.  He doesn’t have horns, but he is a huge dude and he isn’t frightened by them at all.  We are fearful that one of them may get kicked if they get too close, so every time we are going to let them out, we have to do a bull check first and if he is out there, I have to go get the tractor and run him off, it is the only thing that sends him sauntering back toward his own farm.  He is going over or through a fence, through a deep creek bed and up a steep bank to get on our land, and when run off, he has to stop and show his displeasure by head butting one or more of the cedar trees on the edge of the mowed yard.