The visitor's eyes grew wide. "Why not?" she gasped.
"Well," I said. "I've run into bears when I walk to work before. And really, all you do is make a little noise and they move on."
Really, the only time I feel mildly concerned about my safety during my mile and a half wilderness wander to work is in October, when the moose are in rut.
But my blasé attitude towards Bruno got me in trouble with my beloved earlier this week.
We've had a bear around all summer. It's probably a two-year-old: a small bear, kind of lost without Mom, looking to make his mark on the world. Mostly Mr. Bear likes to leave his mark in the form of big seedy blobs all over the road. He's also fond of getting into our neighbor's bird feeders and he's been known to crash into our compost pile, although he doesn't often find much to his liking in there. Early this spring, when we were putting together the raised bed, he bit into one of our bags of peat moss, rolled it around, and moved on.
But in the last couple days, he's grown nervier. On Sunday, another neighbor's dog came back to the house with a bear bite in the rump. And on Sunday night, the bear decided to pay us a noctornal visit.
It was my fault, really.
We always get fruit flies this time of year. But I just can't bear putting the fresh tomatoes and peaches in the fridge to save us from a fruit-fly-pocolypse because frankly, putting tomatoes and peaches in the fridge makes them taste of cardboard. So in an attempt to rid the small house of fruit flies, I put the compost bucket out on the porch when I got home on Sunday. Then I sat down during the couch and during the 3 hours that is American Gangster, I forgot about the compost bucket.
I forgot about the compost until I woke up in the middle of the night to find Andy peering out the window with the porch light on.
"What are you doing?" I asked, when I padded out to the kitchen.
"There's a bear out there," Andy hissed.
"The compost bucket," I mumbled.
We both looked at the porch railing where I'd left the compost bucket. The rail was empty. The bear however was standing right at the base of the terrace garden, about 12 feet away from our front door.
"Get me something to throw at the bear," Andy whispered.
"Bang some pots and pans," I yawned. Then I went back to bed. Having imparted that stellar advice, I felt my work was done.
Meanwhile Andy stayed up for the next hour. The bear returned after Andy scared him off once. Now there's shotgun sitting by kitchen counter. I guess sometimes you have to do more than just "make a little noise" for the bears to move on.
On Monday morning, both Andy and I searched for the compost bucket. Nothing. No bent branches where the bear took off in the woods, no spilled compost, no nothing. The only thing Andy found was the little filter that sits in the bucket's lid. I suspect the bear had a lovely compost picnic, probably complete with napkins and a tablecloth, somewhere out back.
If you find a green compost bucket out there missing its filter top, please return it. I use that bucket all the time. And after my lackluster assistance with Bruno, getting the bucket back is the least I could do. Seriously, anyone seen that bucket?!