On the Border Eagles Tribute band onstage in Cleveland, NC

Band, Beezus, and Bears on the Balcony

I should begin by saying there were fifteen guitars onstage. I counted them (twice).

Lance tells me this is normal. Some people have lots of kids, and guitar players tend to have lots of guitars.

To be fair, there were six people in the band, and four of them were guitar players.

It was an excellent surprise date.

Lance surprised me with this little trip; last time we tried to see this Eagles tribute band called On The Border, we got rained on pretty hard and ended up leaving early. So he checked their tour dates, researched and booked a campground, and announced his gift once it was all taken care of.

I was thrilled.

So off we went, arriving early enough in Cleveland, NC to let the church folk fry Lance a giant slab of fish for his sandwich (I felt for the men tending those fryers outside in the heat), and for me to get a couple of sliders and a giant soda with lots of ice before the show began. We also beat the 800 or so people who turned out for the event and got our chairs established pretty close to the stage.

On the Border, Eagles tribute band
On the Border, Eagles tribute band

Funny story, y’all.

Before the band went on, the mayor of this little town came out to speak, and he introduced a preacher (same church as fried the fish) who had us all stand and led us in prayer. And just in case that wasn’t enough, the mayor had us all say the Lord’s Prayer after the preacher left. AND THEN we all had to say the Pledge of Allegiance. True story.

When’s the last time you prayed twiced (as the country folk say) and pledged allegiance to the flag before a rock concert?

Life in a small southern town.

Anyway. The band was excellent.

Even though the band had traveled to and played 5 shows in the previous 52 hours (!!), they sounded phenomenal and were everything we expected. They even played two or three encores.

Great surprise, great date.

Lance & Lisa at the concert
Lance & Lisa at the concert

We came home from our trip to two more surprises.

First of all, I saw that ALL the Turk’s cap lilies had not been eaten by deer this year. I had just about decided I would not get to see any of them bloom, but there behind one of our woodpiles was a single stalk with multiple buds and two big, pretty bloom heads with petals curled out and up like black-speckled orange delights.

Beezus was there to greet us, too, and paced up and down the woodpile waiting for us to get out and pet her. (She claimed to have kept the deer from eating this Turk’s cap, and I believed her. Mostly.)

Turk's cap lilies
Turk’s cap lilies
Beezus on the woodpile
Beezus on the woodpile

And yet another surprise awaited us once we got in the house.

We have a small balcony off our bedroom on the second floor. It looks out on the old bee yard, and the mountain that stretches up long and lean and forested above us. We sometimes eat out there, we do yoga out there, and nearly every night we brush our teeth out there. I know, weird, but there are fireflies! It’s magical. We leave the deck door open (and the screen door shut) to the cool night air all spring, summer, and fall.

looking out on the bee yard
looking out on the old bee yard from our upper balcony

This time when we went out on the bedroom balcony, we saw something we’ve never seen on our upper deck: a giant pile of bear poop. Yep. Don’t read any farther if you don’t want to see the photo. Because you know I took a photo.

There’s absolutely nothing else this could be, although just to be sure, we asked if, while we were away, Isaac had had any friends over, who might have had a large dog, who might have been out on our deck. He said no, and in any case, this scat was dark with berry juice and full of seeds as well. Bear food, not dog food.

We were just a bit horrified to learn that a bear had climbed up (and thankfully, down) our deck.

There are no stairs outside that lead to our upper balcony. The bear would have had to come straight up the 4×4 support posts, then over the railing.

Bear scat on our upper balcony
Bear scat on our upper balcony

We are not new to living in the country.

We know not to keep bird feeders. No pet food outside. No compost. No garbage. We do all that specifically to avoid attracting bears. They are creatures of habit, and where they go once, they usually go again, following a regular route of known food sources.

Tourists to our mountains think bears are adorable. They hope to see one, they want to get a photo. For that matter, even some people who live here like to attract bears. But a bear is a wild creature, they weigh up to 500 pounds (that’s a LOT bigger than a large dog) and if it’s hungry, startled, or threatened, a bear can do some damage.

We already know a bear travels through our property; we’ve found scats and wallows before near our bee yard, and in other places in these woods. But we do not want to attract bears! We want them to stay on the several hundreds of acres of forested mountain all around us rather than at our actual house, on our actual upper deck.

I don’t want to surprise a bear in a small space as I walk out at night to brush my teeth.

Sigh.

Hopefully the bear decided we were not a good food source, despite our bee hive and raspberry patch. And the truth is we’re happy to share raspberries. We just don’t want to share honey, because a bear in your honey means the hive gets destroyed.

One trick I’ve used before to ward off bears is to scatter ashes—which they apparently don’t like the smell of—around an area I’m asking them to stay out of. I’ve done that before for the bee yard. This time of year, though, I’m not sure I can scrape up enough ashes from our fire pit to do the job.

It may be time for me to petition the mountain again for a little assistance with this. Here’s to more firefly nights with no bears on our balcony.

Night field with fireflies
Night field with fireflies

6 comments on “Band, Beezus, and Bears on the Balcony

  1. Heather Elkins

    Glad you’re bearing up.

  2. Sandra Wilson

    You and Lance have created a most amazing life.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      It was totally worth NOT waiting to retire, then move. Totally!!

  3. Whoa. A bear on the balcony??? I can’t even imagine. Otherwise, a mighty nice day.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Definitely a good day otherwise. Do you see bears up your way?

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