What Do you Say to a Bare Bear?

Sheehan’s Law is much the same as Murphy’s Law.

When Jim Sheehan leaves the farm for even a few hours of well deserved rest or recreation, bees swarm, hot water heaters melt down, tires go flat, phones go haywire, computers glitch, porcupines get busy and mayhem makes itself known. When he leaves for a week, books could be written about all the things that come unglued.

This year, Sheehan’s Law began to take effect even before Jim could blow the joint. On Wednesday morning when he was meant to be packing his bag and making a speedy exit for his annual junket to the Masters golf tournament, he found himself instead donning a bee suit to reassemble a bee hive pulled apart by a bear on Tuesday night.

This led Jim to consider not going on his trip, mostly because he was sure I would use poor judgment when dealing with the bear.

Who me?

Under duress he removed the bee suit, dusted himself off and hit the road. Meanwhile, I was left to ponder how to keep the bear from returning for another go at the honey laden beehives. After asking for help from every known Angel and Elemental, I decided to cap our efforts by staging a bit of a Home Alone redo. I assembled a large number of lamps to shine out over the hives and fixed a radio over the hives set at top volume on NPR. This all-nighter was going to look like a party too scary to crash- or perhaps too dull as 12 hours of NPR is a little much- even for a bear.

Night one was icy cold and rainy. A large crash alerted us that our party planning might not have been enough. William (college choice still unknown, by the way) and I pulled on our Inspector Gadget gear and ran out into the dark with flashlights to “case the joint.” This was perhaps the kind of bad judgment Jim was talking about.

Although I think Jim really thought the painting below was more like the kind of stupidity I might engage in with him away from the hilltop.

I guess we’ll never know where our mild manner Inspector Gadget insanity was going to go from there or whether it would have proved to be our worst idea, because right then……

The phone rang. In a breathless whisper our closest neighbor (a full time forester and man of the mountains) hissed into the phone, “The bear is heading for your backyard RIGHT NOW and


Hmmmmmm. Perhaps this wasn’t the moment for a bear serenade or a closer encounter. When our woodsman neighbor describes a bear as big, discretion instead of New Age flute music becomes the better part of valor.

Thus Will and I beat a retreat inside, leaving it to “All Things Considered and then Considered Again and then Again” to keep off the 300 pound bear.

Apparently NPR did the trick as for the past two nights, Mr 300 pounder has remained at a polite distance, deciding he doesn’t want to eat any more honey if it means he has to be up on his current events.

Meanwhile, I am so tired of Robert Siegel’s voice that I never want to hear it again. I am sleeping right upstairs above the beehives with various pots and pans handy to clang if the bear returns. I try to stay alert to bear like noises while ignoring the human radio droning, but it is a struggle.

I will be glad when Jim returns and it’s his turn on patrol. If he doesn’t want to listen for a night or two, all I have to do is get out my penny whistle and tell him I am going to go out and make beautiful healing music with our bear friend. That ought to get him motivated to take a shift.