My apologies to my long term readers for not having much to report lately. I’ve been involved in an intense renovation project here at home, and it hasn’t left much time for other things.
The weather has been rainy and muggy for the past couple of weeks, and the pattern looks set to continue. According to the UGA’s Georgia Weather site, we’ve had 44.54 inches of rain this year, a pace that’s well above normal (our average annual rainfall is about 58 inches). There’s been a bit of an afternoon thunderstorm pattern going on. I believe it rained more here thirty years ago, but I don’t have the data to prove it. I can report that the poison ivy is having a big year, and that things look very green out there.
If you are thinking about coming up for the weekend, you may wonder if people are generally wearing masks and taking precautions. In a word, no. There are a few people wearing masks, and I see that the Ingles employees are back to wearing masks. But most are not. I know they are having fireworks in Meeks Park in Blairsville, and I see that fireworks are on the 4th as usual at the lake. The best viewing is from a boat near the dam, but the second best is Morganton Point. But if you go, be prepared to interact with many people who are scoffing the virus precautions.
There’s a been a pretty big bear in my neighborhood lately, looking for garbage. I think it’s a male bear, so it isn’t as dangerous as as a female with cubs would be. But … it’s still a hazard for people and dogs. Especially for dogs, as they will loyally attack the bear. But is ain’t a fair fight, because the dog isn’t ready for the sideways paw swipe, as dogs can’t do that. The number one attractants are garbage and bird feeders, and if you think the bear won’t climb up to your porch to get your feeders, you’re sadly mistaken. Hopefully, you don’t have misguided tourists leaving out food for the bears to attract them. If you do, that has to be dealt with immediately.
It would seem to be a simple matter to get people to stop leaving their garbage out and feeding the bears, but given human nature, and how selfish and anti-social our culture has become, it really isn’t easy. So … if you see a bear, don’t approach it. If it’s a female with cubs, get out of there. You don’t want to run, as that will trigger the bear’s instinct to attack. That’s reportedly what happened over on Goforth Creek, when a mother was skinny dipping with her children. One of them panicked and ran, and the bear killed her. Instead, try to make yourself big, yell loud, and back away. At least that’s the usual advice. The Forest Service used to advise playing dead, but they’ve come to realize that only works if it’s a defensive attack (mother with cubs). If the bear wants to eat you, that just makes it too easy. Black bears are nowhere as dangerous as grizzly bears, and we don’t have grizzly bears. But they’re still, you know, bears.
It’s worth noting that it’s in the bear’s own interest not to feed it or let it eat garbage. The DNR says, “A fed bear is a dead bear,” meaning that sooner or later, they’ll lose their fear of man, get in trouble, and have to be destroyed.