The Bears are Back!

June 27, 2016

ruth_day_1_1003The weather’s been so beautiful here lately.  This was what I saw last night.

And then, when I went down the hill this morning, I was confronted with this….I put these pictures here for all you nonbelievers who doubt my bear tales….




We built this extremely sturdy shed to keep the bears out of the garbage.  But they huffed and they puffed and they clawed the doors down.  If anyone has any suggestions for ways to foil them, I’m open to anything. There are few less pleasant ways to start a day than by cleaning up after the bears.

If you’ve read this far, I feel I ought to at least offer you a recipe. So here’s what I’m about to make: easy, pretty, very delicious. And I’m fairly convinced that the bears will have zero interest in this classic James Beard recipe.

128_Reic_9781400069989_art_r1James Beard’s “Onion Rings”

Shopping list: 1 loaf brioche or challah, 4 small onions, 1 bunch parsley

Staples: mayonnaise, salt

Begin with a sliced loaf of sturdy white bread, or a loaf of brioche. Take an inch and a half round cookie cutter and cut circles out of the bread.  Slather them with good commercial mayonnaise and sprinkle that with salt.

Slice 4 small white onions very thinly.  Put a slice of onion on a circle of bread and sandwich it with a second piece. 

Chop a bunch of parsley.  Spread mayonnaise on the edge of each sandwich and then roll it in parsley. 

You are done.




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  • s mattes says:

    metal sheds and heavy chains hold lids on metal cans-no wood no plastics…and good luck!

  • We also have a lot of bears in Colorado; they are very smart, have great sense of smell and are determined animals when it comes to food. Try getting a bear-proof grabage can (that is what works in the Colorado mountains and elsewhere in the Rockies) and if you have a shotgun use some shells of rubber buckshot or crackershells to break their habituation to your garbage — adversive training.

  • Katie Trieller says:

    Living in the country!

  • Carol Fluke says:

    Purchase a Bear-Barker, and you’ll have bears no more – that is what we use all around Lake Tahoe. Or just breathe that onion sandwich on them at no cost at all.

  • Kiki Kennedy Bird says:

    A long time ago, in a gold country far from here, we had ‘a bear problem’ — I made some stock or soup one day, and since it was cold outside, I put it in the trash can right on the well-lit porch. I didn’t even think about the bear getting into it. And then he (or she) arrived. I heard the sound outside, and sure enough, there it was. A big black bear, just stuffing it’s face, sticking it’s cute head in the can. It was pretty funny to see a big bear butt sticking out of a garbage can at 11 o’clock at night. However, I carefully reached over to lock the door, feeling the intense rush of fear and adrenaline, but curiosity and adoration were there, not long thereafter. I figured we had to make peace with him. I named him Maury. I was happy to know when Maury was arriving and departing. Sure, he got into the trash. We tried to dissuade him, but hey. Mountains=bears. Might as well enjoy it! I still think of Maury sometimes…

  • Edy Klang says:

    I’m also in bear country in the Lake Tahoe region. I just spray a little bleach in the trash & that seems to work well. Many neighbors here have installed bear boxes and they seem to work also, but bleach is easy & inexpensive. The raccoons not bother anymore either.

  • Stephanie S. says:

    The sad thing is that bears and people don’t mix. If the bears get habituated to ‘people food’ they naturally want more (smart bears when it comes to finding easy food!) and eventually come in conflict with people. Then the bears always lose. Hard thing, keeping wild places wild when we love them.

  • Joella West says:

    Another voice from CO–when you allow the bear to raid your trash, you are signing that bear’s death warrant. A habituated bear is a dead bear. Purchase a good bear-proof container and keep it outside your (formerly) sturdy shed if you want to keep the shed standing. Here’s a link to a recent article from our local paper:

  • John Grasso says:

    My camping experience in the Adirondack mountains, leads me to suggest a lockable steel container for your trash.
    Good luck.

  • Joy Kramer says:

    You got a lot of good bear advice. I don’t know anything as I live in a city where there are no bears. I can see that steel or metal is the answer, although bleach sounds good for all varmints. Wouldn’t want to habituate a bear to human food whereby they end up shot as a threat. The bear stories were good, enjoyed them.

    Oh, the recipe…even I could make that, assuming I could find brioche. White bread would work.

  • Margo Margolis says:

    A steel shipping container with lock-down handle.

  • Jan Cheney says:

    Ruth, in Boulder, CO an ordinance passed recently requiring bear-proof trash containers in specific neighborhoods. These specifications are: BearSaver Grizzly Poly Cart models (PC32-G, PC65-G, and PC95-G).
    Bearicuda Basic, Classic, and Stealth models
    (PAK130, PAK132, PAK164, PAK195, STL135, STL264, and STL296).
    Additional info, including building enclosures, at
    Hope that helps…you are not alone!

  • Susan says:

    In Upstate NY we had several bears visit our garbage cans late at night. We had good results with an old fashioned remedy…tie the lid of the garbage can with a bungee cord. Then soak a rag with household amonia and slip it under the bungee cord. Bears have a keen sense of smell and our bears just kept on walking when they smelt the amonia.

  • Linda Bissinger says:

    Up here in Toronna, we have raccoons who get almost as big as a small bear, getting into the garbage. Somewhere on the web, there is a photo of a raccoon getting into the latest “raccoon-proof” “container for food scraps that go to be composted. If you Google “Toronto raccoons getting into garbage” it might come up.
    A couple of weeks ago, I walked by a neighbour’s house about 7 pm and a raccoon was up on the porch steps overturning the Green Bin and working on the clamp that held it “closed.” It didn’t flinch when I yelled at it.

    A friend of mine found herself not far away from a mother bear and her cubs in a berry patch up near Algonquin Park. Needless to say, my friend left quietly. But she was in the bear’s territory, not the other way around.

    Linda Bissinger