Saturday, April 04, 2015

Bears in them thar woods

Twice in the last couple of weeks, we've heard people hiking in the area beyond our back acre.  Our back acre adjoins a whole bunch more undeveloped acres that belong to various counties or parks or residents or who knows.  I think it's been the same hikers both times - a boy around 10 years old, and his dad, and they aren't really hikers, but residents on a street around the corner from ours.  I think their property also adjoins the acreage and they hike down from their own backyard.

So today I decided to walk over to the street they live on, and see if I could walk to my own backyard from the public property that exists at the end of that street.  I was not successful because that same resident seems to have effectively taken over the entire street, even posting "no trespassing"
signs on what I know is public land.  On the one property that is opposite the hikers house, two men and one woman were outside, along with a mean unleashed dog.  Thanks to the unleashed dog, I didn't feel comfortable stamping my little foot and waving a county assessor's map at them, so after my friendly "hello" got no response, I turned around and went back home.

Back at home, Mike pulled up an aerial photo on Zillow, and we looked for a long time, until Mike got so curious he drove over to the mean dog's house with a pair of binoculars.   He introduced himself as a neighbor, just surveying his own property, and was welcomed and invited to stay and talk for a few hours.  The now-friendly neighbor explained many things.  He confirmed the identities of the hikers/neighbors I've heard a couple times.  Said they are troublemakers, though I don't think that's so.  We also learned that our own property is on the edge of Oregon City. Beyond us is unincorporated county.  We learned that some of the county acreage is leased to the Oregon Zoo, where the zoo raises birds.  And the neighbor also confirmed that the mass of acreage behind us is, as I suspected, home to bears and wildcats.

When we were first purchasing our home and we were in the escrow process, we sent a list of questions to the homeowners.  One of the questions I asked - what kind of animals and pests are present in the area?  I said "animals" because I truly did suspect bears, and I said "pests" because the house smelled suspiciously of Raid.  When the owners responded, they said there were no "pests", and they even put it in quotation marks to indicate how ridiculous my question was.  A year later I would have liked to have written back, "Really?  Really?!?  Not even, say, TARANTULAS?!?!?"  but they didn't mention ants or bees that somehow get inside (but only Libby's room) or tarantulas, or bears, or cougars.  I think they only mentioned raccoons and deer and maybe skunks, and they underscored how cute and friendly they are and how they are not pests.

I forgot that we also recently learned that allegedly our little waterfall has an official name, but I need to find out what it is.

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