Saturday, March 9, 2013

Signs of the times in our cabins

These three signs are posted in the kitchen areas of all our cabins.
The bear-shaped sign is a reminder that we live in black bear country here and we must always take them into consideration in our daily life. There really is only one thing to be especially mindful about: food.
With few exceptions, we can live in complete harmony with these magnificent animals if we always remember to keep food -- and food waste -- inside our cabins. Do that and the bears do their thing and we do ours and there is never disagreement. But it only takes one mistake to upset the situation.
Take last summer for example. One day our dog, Sam, and Ben's dog, Buck, were both sick. We quickly traced the problem to a shallow hole behind one of the cabins. The cabin occupants had dumped cooking grease on the ground there and the dogs had found it and eaten a noticeable bit of the dirt where the grease had been thrown. As it turned out, it was fortunate they did so, even if it did make them vomit as a result.
The next day one of the early risers at camp spotted a bear walking right through the front yard. We backtracked the bruin in the dew and guess what he had been doing? Sniffing the spot where the grease had been tossed. His tracks showed he had come from the forest right to that spot which was now largely void of grease since the dogs had already eaten it. There was nothing left for the bear, so he left. Had there been something for him to eat, even greasy dirt, then experience has taught us that he would be back again and again, getting bolder with each visit until eventually he would have been shot.
A very apt saying in the bush is: "A fed bear is a dead bear."
That was the only bear that came into camp the entire season, for many seasons, actually.
So what should have been done with the grease? We provide gallon cans for grease and will pick them up whenever needed. We store all the grease and used cooking oil in a pail, locked up in our shed, until it can be safely disposed of. We try to notice when the grease cans are full but if we forget, just bring it to our attention and we will empty the can immediately.
Never leave food on your porch or in your boat. We empty the compost pails from inside the cabin and the trash cans on the porches daily.
Speaking of food, one of the other signs pleads not to feed Sam. Someone once claimed they saw Sam with a magic marker stroking out the word "Don't" on each line.
The third sign lets everyone know that all of the water in our cabins is excellent for drinking. We have a top-of-the-line water treatment system that filters and treats water from every faucet. It is great tasting too. You can do a lot for the environment by bringing a refillable water bottle with you instead of cases of plastic bottles.

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