Friday, July 31, 2009

A Hot Busy, Mountain Lion Infested Week

It's busy around here! The bishop is coming on Sunday to our tiny parish, for the first time since our new pastor arrived last August, so there's lots to do. I'm in charge of cleaning the parish hall for July, so we're running in to Mass today (in fifteen minutes) and then going over to make sure the hall is ready for the pot luck dinner that will be held after the Mass. We're keeping our fingers crossed that there's enough food for everybody. There usually is, but the sign up list hardly has any names on it (I can't say anything about that because while I'm planning on making several things I haven't signed up yet either). Everything always seems to work out in the end!

The weather people have continued to string our hopes along, by constantly promising cool (think mid 90s) by the end of the week (each week) and then changing the forecast as each day arrives (we've been in the triple digits for weeks now). We have even brought Sadie's little blow up pool inside (dry) and have discovered that she thinks it's great, even without water (did you know that a blow up pool could be worn as a hat? It's pretty little.).

We've also had a new animal visitor this past week, which is making me more than a little nervous. We have bears, foxes and coyotes, along with tons of deer and jack rabbits where we live. The deer and jack rabbits make it hard to have gardens (but are very cute to watch, Sadie goes to the window and points them out for us) but we manage, with quite a few plant casualties each year. The bears haven't had enough food this year and have been quite aggressive, coming up on the porch to rip down the bird feeder (at my parents and grandparents houses up the way) and even breaking in to one of the neighbors houses to grab a bag of tortilla chips. Usually however, when the bears see people, they take off, so I don't worry much about them. And while I'm sure I'll worry about the coyotes when Sadie is a little bit older, they usually only bother people who have dogs around here. The foxes in the area have been known to be rabid, so we watch out for them, but the main interaction that goes on is when they steal a shoe off the porch, or one of my dad's work gloves off of a chair. We usually find them, dropped a few dozen yards from the house.

Mountain lions, however, are something else entirely. Let me say that I am not a big fan of mountain lions. When we lived in Dunsmuir, a few hours away, a mountain lion killed both of my cats (I was ten, it was devastating!) and attacked our horses several times. I came face to face with one when I was walking to the car after drama practice in high school. We hear quite a few stories every year about lions waiting on people's porches outside of their cat doors and picking off their cats one by one. When these cat owners call fish and game or the sheriff expecting help ("hi, there's a mountain lion on my porch") they are told that mountain lions can only be shot if they are threatening live stock (which is usually raised to be slaughtered... unlike the family cat or dog). Luckily, we have livestock.

I should have known something was up when I was walking earlier this week and found an entire osprey wing. I remember wondering what kind of animal would take out an osprey, then pushing the idea of a cougar aside and hoping that it was a very old bird that had just happened to die and be ripped apart near our home. Unfortunately my grandmother saw a large cat rip a bird out of the sky earlier this week. The strange thing is that the cat was black. My dad saw the same cat earlier this week. And then the news came home with my husband from work that several people have spotted a black mountain lion prowling around the area. Locals thinks that it's because we've had such bad fires for so many years and the lions are actually starting to have darker fur to blend in with the burnt environment. I don't know about that but I do know that I'm not happy about whatever it is killing stuff in our backyard!

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