Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Friday, May 4, 2012

Second Bear Encounter

If you've been keeping up with this blog, you may have read the post about our "First Bear Encounter" back in February.  If you haven't already read it, you may want to stop and read it.  Otherwise, today's post will spoil the ending of that one for you.  Go ahead and read it now.  We'll wait.

(Dramatic pause, whistle, whistle, tap, tap, tap.)

Welcome back!  We had more "Bear" excitement around here on Wednesday.  First, the more recent backstory.  Do you remember seeing this photo of our backyard taken through our office window?

Do you see the green house in that photo?  Fred & his wife live there with their well-behaved dog.  Fred is originally from lower Michigan and is a graduate of Michigan Technological University - way up here in Houghton.  He came here for college and loved this area so much that he didn't want to leave after he graduated. So, they have local jobs and purchased that house at a very reasonable price. They seem as happy as can be - working on their house, kayaking all over the world and raising some chickens.  Yes, they raise some chickens.  They have a little chicken coop attached to the back corner of their house.  You can see it in the following photo.  It's the strange green structure with the yellow trim. 

The chickens don't wake us up in the morning, we don't smell the chickens, we have no problem at all with the chickens.  In fact, if Fred needed to get rid of a few extra eggs, we would buy them from him.  Steve loves a sliced egg on his salad.  Get it?  Chickens - no problem. 

Cut to Wednesday night:  I was trying to quickly finish the dishes on Wednesday before we left for church.  Our dog, Cocoa, suddenly lit off the back deck and ran toward the fence barking as she went.  We try to be good neighbors, so we don't allow her to bark.  I went to the back door to scold her.  As I opened the door, I saw why she was barking.  Bear was out of his pen.  Bear belongs to our next door neighbor.  They have a German Shepherd, a Chihuahua and a black dog named Bear.  Bear is the beast that had Steve trapped in our backyard in February - the subject of our first Bear encounter.  Bear is smaller than the Shepherd, but he's obviously the pack leader.  

Bear was running up and down outside of our fence line, dashing between houses, just looking for trouble with a wild look in his eyes.  We tried to keep an eye on him, but he kept darting out of sight.  The Shepherd and Chihuahua were still in the pen.  I wasn't sure what Bear was going to do, but I knew he could jump our fence and get into our yard.  I didn't want our dog to get hurt, so I put Cocoa on our enclosed back porch and stepped outside.  I tried to get the Chihuahua to bark at me.  If he started up, maybe the neighbors would notice that Bear was missing.  Just my luck, this is the one time that Chihuahua decided to keep quiet.  Any movement in our yard normally causes non-stop yipping!  I suspect he was so entertained with Bear's actions that he didn't care what was happening in our yard.

Steve and I began going from window to window attempting to keep tabs on Bear.  Luckily, it was the dinner hour, so we didn't notice any children playing in the neighborhood.  We were discussing what to do next when I saw Bear prancing around the yard in back of us with a brown object in his mouth.  What's that?  Further inspection led me to suspect it was a chicken.  Steve retrieved his binoculars.  Sure enough, a chicken.  A dead chicken.  By that time, Bear had spit out a mouthful of feathers and commenced eating. 

We realized that Fred's vehicle was gone, so the chicken's owner wasn't home.  I saw some windows cracked next door, so I yelled, "Hey, your dog is out again!  Your dog is eating the neighbor's chicken!"  No movement from the house.  No reaction from the neighbors.  Steve walked over and knocked on their door.  NOW. . . the Chihuahua started yipping and the Shepherd started barking.  The neighbor came to the door looking as if he had just been awakened from a nap.  Steve said, "Larry, your dog is out again and he killed the neighbor's chicken."  As Steve turned to walk back to our house, he repeated, "Can you believe it?  He killed the neighbor's chicken."  Enough said. 

Larry yelled, "Bear!  Bear!  Get back here."  I was still watching Bear.  When Bear heard his "friends" yipping and barking, he picked up the half-consumed chicken as if he planned to take it somewhere.  When he heard his owner yell, he realized his freedom was quickly coming to an end.  Larry came around the back corner of their house, and Bear dropped the chicken and ran to the door of the pen trying to look completely innocent and obedient.  Larry yelled at Bear, put him back in the pen, went back in the house, opened the side door that leads to the dog pen and let all 3 pooches back in the house.  Meanwhile, the lifeless fowl was still on the grass in the backyard of the house behind us with feathers strewn around it.

Excitement over, we were going to be a few minutes late for church.  When we got in the Traverse, Steve noticed Larry was sitting outside on his front steps.  Larry was on the phone.  We wondered if he was going to do the right thing and inform Fred when he got home and offer to reimburse him for Bear's chicken dinner.  By the time we returned from church, Fred's vehicle was home and the carcass of the unfortunate bird had disappeared.  We still don't know the rest of that story.  At some point, we'll see Fred outside and the subject will come up, and we'll share the end of the story with you.  

Things are quiet now.  All is well in the Keweenaw.

Disclosure: Names were changed to protect the identities of the individuals.

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