Part of the reason this house enchanted Shannon and I so much when we were looking this past winter is the fact that it's surrounded by woodland. Our 2 acres are cleared but we back on woodland that goes back for miles and miles. It's not a green belt but genuine forest. It's meant the kids have seen a wide variety of birds, chipmunks, squirrels, deer and all of it close up, within 10 or 15 feet of the french doors in our dining room.
So we have what we wanted and we've been loving it.
And then today I woke up to see a healthy young black bear rifling through our organics cart not 10 feet from those french doors.
I yelled for the kids and husband. Catherine saw it but before Shannon and Harry got there the dog saw it and began barking and that sent the bear running back to the woods.
I'm not all that worried about bears. We have bobcats, lynx and (according to some) cougars in our province and any one of those three concern me more then an easy-to-spook omnivore. But still, it's made the husband and I realize our choice to live here does mean there are a few inherrant risks we should be prepared to deal with.
As we cleaned up the organics mess, shoveled a pile of bear poop up and examined the paw prints with the kids we decided that it would not be a bad thing for the two of us to get our firearms certificates (here you have to take a course before you're allowed to purchase firearms) and pick up a rifle. Our compost will be getting moved out front into the open where a shy bloke from the forest might be more reluctant to visit and we've also decided that perhaps the backyard, which is really only a small strip of lawn between the house and the forest, isn't the best place for the kids to play.
I have to admit though, sobering though the black bear visit was, it was also completely and totally awesome. Catherine hasn't stopped talking about it and I'm secretly hoping I get to see him again.