We were doing some tidying up off our driveway earlier today, at the main road. This is the rural Catskills, so “main road” means we saw two cars pass us in over an hour. One of the drivers even waved at us.
That’s common. I had also never found a driveway marker reflector that had been knocked over two winters ago by our snowplowing company and sent flying who knows where. I had long ago given it up for “lost in the woods” someplace.
As I was cutting some small trees to improve visibility from the driveway entrance, I noticed a flicker from across the road. There is no house there, just “wilderness.” I walked across the road – after carefully looking both ways, in case a car appeared, of course – and stepped down off of it, and it turned out I had found our lost reflector. As I spotted that, I also noticed two small piles of rubbish in the woods a few feet farther away, and two shredded black bags.
My first thought was, “Some S.O.B. has dumped!” (Or “fly-tipped,” as the English would say.) Uh, but when we closer investigated the small messes half-buried under leaves and brush, we realized it was rubbish of ours. And, given its contents, we also realized we had put it out for collection sometime in July-September 2013. (It was rubbish unique to when our niece and nephews visited our house here from England last summer.)
Down low off the road in the trees, the rubbish wasn’t visible from a passing car; and we almost never walk that opposite side of the road. (There are no sidewalks/ pavements here. This is the Catskills. We’re lucky there’s a road.) So the stuff had laid under the winter blanket of snow (that’s now just gone), and before that, last autumn, it had been hidden in the trees.
What happened? We believe it’s more than likely that a bear had one night “helped himself” to our wheelie bin (we can’t see the road, let alone the bin, from our house) to ascertain if there were any “goodies” inside. He must’ve pulled out the rubbish (after having likely knocked over the bin to get at its contents; the garbage company probably found a knocked over empty bin that next morning and just set it upright), and dragged the bags across the road to have a “meal.”
Sadly for him, though, he picked the wrong house. We are recyclers and almost never discard food. Obviously he got a “whiff” of something, but he must have been one really disappointed bear when he realized a smell was pretty much about all there was to be had. 😉
UPDATE: Oh, and also on the subject of local wildlife, I forgot to mention this: This morning, we discovered we had a mouse nest inside our boiler. The engineer doing the service just shook his head and cleared it out: they had gotten in through the air intake.
Second time in three years. They chewed through a mesh covering I had over it. Next up, iron bars, I guess….