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July 12, 2012 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Bear-ing in mind.

Barely able to consider – it’s such a land mind  land mine.

(Woody Guthrie wrote that, right? “This land is your land. This land is my land….“)

Not to be confused with a landfill. (Although much these days really does belong there.)

Traveling notes. Odd observations. Puzzling chuckles.

Note to DC areas hit by storms:

Quite whining.

(And yes, actual experience there.)

It’s been hot before – and folks survived without AC and power in the past.

(And they wore a lot more clothes back then. Heavy long-sleeved ones.)

A word: Hedge clippers, tree trimmer poles. No sabe chainsaw?

(Lowe’s or Home Depot can fix you right up.)

Look, if you nice folks would trim all your bushes and tree limbs back from the wires like they do in hurricane country, maybe there’d be disruption after storms…

Washington area storm damage. (Image: Brown)

Never seen so much overgrown vegetation.

Might be nice to trim trees and bushes across sidewalks so people could walk without having to hop into the street or bend over to get under limbs…just a little more neighborly.

Oh, you’re too busy and someone else should….

Hmmm. Will consider your importance, too.

Odd all those branches, twigs, and downed trees still sitting in yards, on sidewalks, in gutters…

(One must be cognizant of live power lines….but after the power companies have been through and cut lines down and strung new wire….)

Arlington’s oldest tree damaged: survived 250 years. (Image

Sadly, there were a good number of monster trees down.

Bad storm. Bad winds.

In many other places, industrious entrepreneurs would be knocking on doors.

Asking, “Hey, see ya got a tree down. We’ll remove it if you’ll let us have the wood.”

A little chopping or feeding a wood splitter yields a fine crop of fire wood and barbecue smoking wood chips to be sold for a profit.

Storm damaged trees. (Image:

But maybe there’s no market for firewood in this area.

Must be a regional thing.

Anyway, barely able to keep on track here –

Thoughts hiking all over the place.

Just paws in the title.

So back to bruin.

Did you know that Yellowstone Park used to offer bear feeds to watch?

Yep. It was considered quite a tourist attraction in the 1880’s.

The rangers would dump all the garbage in one spot – often behind big hotels – and people would watch the bears from bleachers.

Postcard of Bear Feed. (1911 image by F. Jay Haynes)

People lumbered to the park to interact with bears.

Fed them from horse-drawn wagons. Begging bears actually created traffic jams around 1910.

Postcard of feeding bear from wagon.
(1912 image by F. Jay Haynes)

By the 1950’s bears had gotten really good at panhandling.

Those cute little cubs just loved those marshmallows thrown out car windows!

Hey, set little Cindy on that bear and we’ll get a darling picture!

Yep, Yellowstone Bear Momma #264 would actually let people pet her cubs (1990’s).

Unfortunately Momma was killed by a car when she dashed in front of a truck.

Those determined momma and poppa bears looked so cute ripping the stuffing out of car seats while people squealed!

(In delight, right? Gotta love those bears! You did pay the car insurance, right?)

Bears got quite clever at rolling a cooler down the hills until it crashed open…

Well, maybe a little bear nail ripping and prying helped.

“Hey, hey, hey. Yogi is smarter than the average bear!

Lovable Yogi Bear! Watch the DVD cartoon.

Whole bear families would cruise the camp grounds.

Bears weren’t in the showers looking for shampoo.

We were serious when we rattled the doors and asked “Any bears in there?’ before entering.

The National Parks Service had to step in around 1970.

Bears had gotten too brave, too bold, and too demanding around humans. Cranky if food wasn’t offered.

Some bears were eating so much human junk food, they weren’t surviving winter hibernation because of poor nutrition.

Another concern, cubs of junk food addicted bear moms were born too frail and small.

Garbage dumps in and around the park were closed.

The National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, now asks tourists to “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.

Sound reasoning and logic.

Good policy – Best for bears and humans!

No doubt there!

 It’s summer.

Always think of traveling and bears in the summer.

But eventually everyone returns home and gets back to ordinary routine.

So what’s this?

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever.

And spending lots of money encouraging people to sign up?

In addition, some are concerned that helping people buy junk food isn’t a good idea.

It’s unhealthy.

It’s unwise.

(They tested out that theory on bears.)

Something to bear in mind?

Powerless to ponder more.

Bears watching.

Stuff to chew on (not garbage),

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Read more: 

“This Land is your Land” CD cover (Image


  1. shoreacres / Jul 12 2012 2:45 am

    The morning after Hurricane Ike rolled through East Texas, I had to make a drive from Tyler to Nacogdoches. Tyler wasn’t hit badly, but fifteen miles out of town I found the hurricane’s path. There was no power either along the road or in Nacogodches. Trees were down everywhere. There were some lines hanging, of course.

    And the road was wide open All along the route, people already had been out with their chainsaws, tractors and front-loaders clearing the highway. Emergency workers coming in from every direction had free passage, at least past Lufkin, Corrigan and so on. People knew what to do, and they did it.
    There’s that competence, again. And personal initiative. And neighborliness, for all that. Good thing they didn’t have a manual and government guidelines. That road might still be closed.

    Speaking of the guv’mint – that food stamp business bears watching. Keep taking those goodies and the next thing you know they’ll be handing out hats and tambourines for folks to dance at the end of a chain. Just sayin’.

    Great post!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 1:34 pm

      We were through East Texas after Ike a few days after you. The storm path was obvious from the damage – but as you commented, all roads were cleared by local residents for emergency vehicles and they were all busy cleaning up their property – and their neighbors’.
      Different mind set, I guess.
      Thanks for foraging over here. (Great tree post by the way – need to update and link to that one!)


  2. EllaDee / Jul 12 2012 2:57 am

    Bear-y good post. As usual the damage, the disasters, the errors in judgement are courtesy humans but nature is blamed. We’ve been down this [tree lined, bear begging] road before, trees are wild, storms are wild, animals are wild. Humans are civilised but have a tendency to a tenuous grip on reality. In a free contest wild will outsmart civilised – hungry bears don’t count as a free contest… “A genius never questions his instincts, Boo-Boo. When you have a mind like mine, you can’t blink or you’ll put a kink in your think!”… Maybe those DC storm area residents aren’t doing the squirrel thing & preparing for winter. I’m pretty sure in the country area where our house is, and wood fires are a winter essential, the utes, trailer & chainsaws would be out in force, if they were allowed (there are laws for everything these days) or even if they weren’t & there was a chance they wouldn’t get caught. Welcome back.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 1:40 pm

      Yogi made such great observations – so many right on target.
      Seems better to be proactive than reactive about life. But bear in mind, that’s just me.
      Thanks for the wave hello.


  3. Sunshine / Jul 12 2012 3:50 am

    I bare-ly knew all of that bear necessity news…wow, nice postcards too.
    Ah, you bring back memories of the Jungle Book… hehe ;0


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 1:41 pm

      And those bear adventures have such singable songs! Just makes you want to smile. Thanks for dancing by


  4. jannatwrites / Jul 12 2012 3:54 am

    Funny the government is looking for more people to sign up for food stamps. Here I thought the deficit was already high. Sure, it does make sense to spend more money 🙂 Interesting comparison to feeding the bears….will the food stamps recipients also get impatient and want more than scraps? Hard to believe there was a day when humans thought feeding bears was a good idea. (They had to close some camp grounds in Arizona after several bear attacks this season. It seems nylon tents are like Twinkie wrappers to hungry bears, and people are the delicious cream filling.)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 1:47 pm

      It’s funny the way people act around bears. I did see a father telling his wife to set their daughter up on a bear. And throw marshmallows at bears. It’s a wild bear, people. Think!
      Campers tried to say hanging their food in trees would work…seems to just irritate the bears and has them looking for ladders and something to stand on.
      All the wild fires worry me as now there is now less for the bears to eat – so they will be wandering into human areas. Not great.
      Hoping for a peaceful season with few bear – human encounters.
      Thanks for adding morsels to the dialogue!


  5. roughseasinthemed / Jul 12 2012 6:27 am

    Strange that post bears similarities to my life so far away. You might remember a few weeks ago I did a post about cutting back our plumbago that grows onto the street because the cars were avoiding it. Looks pretty, but don’t want to cause problems for people.

    And the bears? Sound just like our monkeys. People feed them when they shouldn’t and then get annoyed when they grab for plastic bags because being smart, they know shopping bags contain junk food….. which of course, gives them diabetes and causes other health problems.

    I can never get over the fact that you have food stamps in America.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 1:56 pm

      The odd similarities between our locations is something that intrigues me about your posts. Is it that old saying true: the more you travel, the farther away – the more you see it’s all the same?
      Thanks for hiking over (Hi adorable Pippa!)


      • roughseasinthemed / Jul 12 2012 2:26 pm

        Maybe we’re all the same after all? And certainly whether we are bears, people, or monkeys – a junk food diet is hardly going to do wonders for our health [just been researching diet and cataracts 😦 ]. It is interesting to spot the strange parallels though in our observations of life.

        I forgot to say we have no aircon in the flat, none at the finca and none in any of our Land Rovers. I don’t like air-con, it is expensive, uses electricity so therefore takes resources, and if not maintained has the potential to cause legionella. I will confess to a couple of fans to keep the mozzies away at night. I may write an air-con post now 🙂

        Pippa barks ‘zzzzzzz’ because it is too warm to ha-roo any more in a flat without A/C 😉


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 3:14 pm

          AC is also annoying after a while – the constant hum and the house stays all closed up. Isolated bubbles.
          But it’s use makes it easier to keep down the mold and allows for high occupancy use of land. Heat affects activity level and productivity in certain climates – but people can live just fine without it if all are willing to adapt. It’s a trade off. (But sleeping in a cool room, aaaah!)
          (Oh, Legoinaire’s disease – also spread a lot by all those outdoor misting units at amusement parks and restaurants – fun fact!)
          Oh, Pippa, all the “cool” countries have downtime during midday heat. Naps are just so refreshing…and makes it easier to stay up late – when it’s cooler!


  6. Honie Briggs / Jul 12 2012 11:26 am

    I cannot believe This Land Is Your Land was just running through my head the other day. I don’t know why. 4th of July maybe. Great post!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 1:58 pm

      It’s just such a great song. Hope a new generation “discovers” some of those rich melodies and verses. Thanks for following the tracks this way


  7. sandylikeabeach / Jul 12 2012 11:45 am

    I liked your people have lived without air conditioning comment. The house I grew up in did hot have air conditioning until I was 10 years old and I completed twelve years of school without air-conditioning and my first car did not have AC. Oh yeah, I grew up in central Florida.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 2:08 pm

      I remember being in school and the sweat dripping off after recess – a little glaring sun and heat never slowed us down – we just ran around like crazy- then went back to the books. (And standardized test scores were still higher than now.) Lots of people waited to see if AC units actually would work.
      Amazing what people accept/tolerate if that’s just the way it is.
      Thanks for pawsing to chat.


  8. Ally Bean / Jul 12 2012 12:28 pm

    “A word: Hedge clippers, tree trimmer poles. No sabe chainsaw?”

    That’s exactly what I was thinking when I saw on TV all that tree/shrub mess on the east coast. We were hit by some very strong winds here [midwest], but most of our trees stood up to it. Why? Because we maintain our properties with the aforementioned items. *duh*

    And on a less snarky note, I did not know anything about feeding the bears in Yellowstone. I always thought Yogi was sort of a bear fantasy cartoon & not a bear reality cartoon. If that makes any sense…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 2:18 pm

      A little preventative lawn/tree management would go a long way.
      Gee, you may be right: Yogi Bear and Jellystone was the first TV reality show? A bear ahead of his time.
      Thanks for noticing that.


  9. sportsattitudes / Jul 12 2012 2:24 pm

    Due to the DC situation, there has been renewed debate throughout the Northeast US regarding the necessity to relocate electrical wires underground where they don’t already reside. The cost and disruption would be enormous, but the cost and disruption to clean up over and over again is mounting also. I fear as the nation continues to heat up and we start to see more of these super-thunderstorms acting like hurricanes, the grid system providing electricity is even more vulnerable than ever, which of course impacts the economy when businesses can’t open, goods can’t travel, etc. And even if you move all the wiring underground, at some point it rises up to meet up with a transformer or other relay device not currently underground either. A lot of our problems in the Philly area are with older trees the utilities have not cut back or removed, opposed to property owners not doing their jobs in the matter. If Yogi Bear was National Utility Manager, he would bear down and fix all this mess.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 3:02 pm

      We always hear about relocating line underground after storms, too. But there are problems with it. Running liquid nitrogen reduces heat/water issue some (High water table here…not to mention temps). Many of the new developments have underground utilities – looks nicer and works better with our storms summer and winter.
      Just skirted Philly, but was in multiple areas. None seem to do preventative trimming as the power companies do every single year here. It goes a long way. People also need to consider that appropriate trimming and reducing tree canopies can mean the difference of a massive tree surviving a microblast or strong wind storm or not.
      Houston lost more tree due to drought damage than hurricane force winds.
      Yogi probably would calmly fix it all – with a sense of humor and style – but then he’s smarter than the average bear.
      Thanks for heading this way


  10. gingerfightback / Jul 12 2012 2:42 pm

    Never knew that about Yellowstone. Thanks


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 3:04 pm

      Jellystone, oops Yellowstone is a great place. You can get run down by a herd of buffalo or trampled by a moose, too. (they have traffic right a way). Thanks for driving by


      • gingerfightback / Jul 12 2012 3:31 pm

        Always a pleasure – you put the UK’s wildlife to shame where traiifc comes to a standstill at the sight of a Hedgehog.


  11. PiedType / Jul 12 2012 6:46 pm

    I worry about national security when the DC area is sans power; hope they have back-up generators for the important stuff. And I sure hope everyone who lost power is back up now. I would absolutely die without my a/c.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 12 2012 7:12 pm

      All major areas/high occupancy areas had power fairly quickly – the neighborhoods and individual homes suffered longer.
      (A few private clubs were complaining as those were last on the hook-up list…I mean after all, they had pools that could keep people cool if the pumps could run….Really? and would EVERYONE be welcomed to cool off there in that”cooling center”?)
      There were many many back-up generators – people were complaining about the costs of running them.
      One metro line was down because of the rail kinked (metal was already hot and running fast train made it too hot.) All the trains had to slow down.
      The government buildings, national mall and museum district seemed fine – just 104…but cooler with breezes in the shade.
      The big problem early seemed to be that all the street lights were down – and people were being rude and mot taking turns politely – so lots of car wrecks! Everyone needs to play nice in emergencies…even the important people.
      Hope you’re in a cooler spot.


  12. The Hook / Jul 13 2012 1:17 pm

    We often feel so powerful, but we’re NOTHING compared to the awesome power of Mother Nature, right?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 13 2012 2:04 pm

      So true.
      Just to see that, some night go sit out,alone, in complete darkness someplace like a National Park – find out just how small and unimportant one human is in the universe. A little perspective, there. Even better try it in the middle of a storm?
      Thanks for hiking over!
      (Anyone reading this – do yourself a favor and click over to Hook’s blog and roll with laughter over his book. People need to laugh more! Makes it easier to be such an unimportant being.)


  13. Kourtney Heintz / Jul 13 2012 9:50 pm

    Maybe we should just leave the bears alone. Why do we think it’s our right to invade their turf? They don’t come barreling through Manhattan demanding entertainment. That would be quite a sight. 😛


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 14 2012 2:43 pm

      There was a thing last night on TV about tourist “adventure vacations” with a guide looking for bears in Yellowstone. I chuckled thinking of your comment. It would be quite a sight seeing the bear family on vacation.(with the smallest whining for berries while the dad grumbled about trying new local foods when traveling)…and unloading the luggage at the hotel (honey combs?)
      Thanks for logging in with all that!



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