Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Excavator

Please welcome Maggie Nutter back to the Hayseed Files! Maggie writes true and very entertaining stories from her cattle ranch in Sunburst, Montana. (If you missed her story in the last post, "Deer Feet and Dog Puke," be sure to catch it.) I don't have any grizzly photos--we don't have them around here, thank goodness--but my sis, Jenny Robinson, kindly sketched a grizzly for us. Thanks so much, Maggie and Jenny!

With all the grizzly bear issues in this area, there has been some unforeseen incidents. Grizzly bears are opportunistic omnivores, meaning they eat whatever they find available. They are led by a highly sensitive nose to whatever may become their next dinner. That nose can take them five miles across country and even eight feet down to find a buried animal carcass. Grizzlies’ digging skills put a badger to shame. You think riding into field full of badger holes is bad; an area where a griz has dug gophers and field mice looks like a war zone.  They have excavation down to a T.  

This last spring, in a Rocky Mountain Front Hutterite Colony, an elder passed away.  There were two solemn days of a wake where High German songs filled the air until past midnight. A lengthy four hour service was read to the congregation as they sat on wooden benches. Then came a slow procession on foot to the cemetery at the edge of the colony housing, where the homemade wooden casket was lowered into the hole that had been prepared. The first few shovelfuls of dirt were tossed on and tears were shed. Loud, wailing High German prayers that carried centuries of history were repeated. The dirt was dumped in from the back of the farm truck and the group slowly left for their meal and fellowship.

The colony woke up Sunday morning and looked out their windows to see dirt flying. An old bore griz was in the process of excavating the gravesite. Farm boss and a pick-up hazed him away. They replaced the dirt. Old women were horrified and men were angered.

Monday morning again proved that the soft loose dirt and smell of dinner had lured the bear back to restart his excavation. Fortunately the bear did not get the prize. An electric fence was erected until the alluring smell that only the grizzly could appreciate with his sensitive nose was dissipated.

I can find humor in the story, but if it was my mother or family I too might be angered,  not just at the digging but because the grizzly was in the farmstead, only a few hundred yards from children’s homes and school. 

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