Yogi? Is that you? (posted by Lani)
My apologies for not posting (again!); I promise to do better, but I've been a little busy and more than a little distracted. First let's get the unpleasant stuff out of the way. Shortly after Laurie and Alex left I found a spot on my leg. I hied myself to the doctor, who agreed that it didn't look good and cut a nice chunk out of my leg (7 stitches in the back of the calf are no fun, by the way, that's just an awkward place to have stitches). Just over a week ago I got the news that the spot was, as we suspected, melanoma. So, on Monday I'll be having a lymph node biopsy and surgery to remove what the surgeon describes as "a shark bite" from my left calf; I'll be laid up for a while and carry a nasty scar, but with any luck this will be all that's needed to take care of it. The quick moral of this story? If you have a spot on your skin that just doesn't look quite right, listen to your intuition and get to the doctor. The earlier it's diagnosed the better your odds are, and I'm all in favor of good odds.
Now that that's out of the way, onwards to the fun stuff! It's been an interesting spring, if you can call it spring, here. Every week has been a series of nice warm days (if by "nice" and "warm" you mean low 60s), followed by a few snowy days. Pippin loves the warm days, as you can see; she actually gets out and plays in the sun whenever she can. She and Zena are still best of friends, and it's great to see them together. Onyx is fond of the warmer days too, although he gets to enjoy the sun somewhat less often than Pippin does since he requires an escort. Onyx wants to grow up to be a mountain lion, and practices whenever we let him.
The warm weather has also brought out the birds, the squirrels and the chipmunks, and we see at least one fox every day. We lined the back porch with an assortment of birdfeeders and for a few weeks we all enjoyed the show ... especially the cats. Kitty TV has been running nonstop here, with all the wildlife perfectly aware of the cats on the other side of the glass and perfectly unconcerned. I'm beginning to see bits of green in the yard as well, and I'm looking forward to seeing the sea of wildflowers that my neighbors have promised me will be blooming shortly.
There's a downside to all this warming, though, and that brings me to the title of this post. Our local bear has reappeared, perhaps in search of BooBoo or pic-a-nic baskets but unwelcome nonetheless. We were awakened early this morning by loud crashing on the back deck, which we initially assumed was the wind somehow dislodging the bird feeders. It was not, as it turns out, the wind ... it was a bear. He destroyed all but one of my birdfeeders (even the ones that look unharmed in the picture are actually pretty well trashed) and tossed some of the deck furniture around before departing, leaving chaos and a few pawprints in his wake. I called the local wildlife agents and reported his visit (first bear contact reported this year in the canyon, I could have done without the honor), then on their advice went to the local hardware store and purchased (a) bear spray, (b) an air horn, and (c) a floodlight. If he comes back tonight, he's getting a very bright, and very loud, reception (from the safety of the bedroom balcony, of course!).
And I'll leave you with a picture of my favorite woodpecker. This guy is bold as brass; when I go outside he'll fly down to a treetrunk nearby and fuss at me, and if I walk around the yard he'll follow me. No bear is going to stop me from feeding this fellow; my last purchase today was another suet feeder for him, already carefully hung from the second floor roof, out of bear reach.