Before you reach for the comment button below and tell me to make room in the garage for my garbage cans; or put them in a more secure location; or remind me that the bears were here first, I already know.
I know I live in cookie-cutter suburbia plopped into the middle of bear county, where I happen to love living. The garbage cans are also behind a locked fence. I’ve lived here 13 years. The bears have only been in my yard and garbage cans three times. The third time was enough.
Bears are smart and superb (yet awkward) fence climbers. I have neighbors who do exactly what the City of Snoqualmie hates – put their garbage cans curbside the night before pick up day – basically setting the table for a nice, late night bear dinner.
Apparently, though, the bears in my neighborhood have discerning taste – and are willing to climb for it.
Last week, when numerous garbage cans sat in my cul-de-sac overnight with easy accessibility, one discerning bear left those ‘ripe for the picking’ cans alone and climbed the fence into my backyard.
Why? My family decided it was because I had roasted a chicken during the week.
So… that bear ignored the easy-to-get-to cans and went straight to the bottom of our “behind-the-fence-not-going-curbside-until-pick-up-morning” garbage can. He even bypassed the bag on top with icky bathroom garbage, and found the “good bag.” He drug it from the side of the house into the middle of the backyard – the preferred dining location – and began his dinner. He got scared, though, (blame the camera flash) and ran off halfway through the dinner hour.
But alas, he returned with company for the FRIENDS and FAMILY dinner special. Three hours later (2:45AM) that bear came back, along with three other dinner guests, including his [assumed]very large mother. Even big momma scaled the fence, which is still standing.
Those FOUR bears then got the rest of the garbage out – all of it. They ripped open every bag, dumped over the yard waster container – where that formerly roasted chicken carcass was hidden amidst the stinky yard stuff – and enjoyed dinner. I am quite the hostess, as I assume they left full.
[Did I mention bears are smart? They even got the lid off of a small, 18oz peanut butter jar.]
Time for a New Garbage Can
Last Tuesday precisely at 7AM, three hours after those bears left my yard and right as Waste Management opened for the day, I ordered our bear-resistant garbage can. Next up is the bear-resistant yard waste container.
The cost for my family? $3 more per month. Yes, I could re-arrange my whole garage and probably squeeze those containers inside. But somehow we already manage to fit two, full-size SUV’s in our cookie cutter home’s small garage. There isn’t that much room left to spare – and I am not moving the garage refrigerator.
The new, bear-resistant can isn’t that much bigger, as we already had a 60-gallon can for our family of six. The lid is SUPER heavy. You let it drop and it locks. You reach inside a small, protected cylinder attached to the lid and slide a metal latch to open the can. Pretty simple.
The true test will be the next time I roast a chicken and the kids clean me out of peanut butter. Anyone care to place a bet?
Those bear sure are impressive to see up close, though.
[Side note: I did not have to clean up the bear mess. My husband was kind enough to do that and still get the cans curbside before pick up time.]