Tag Archives: Bears

Way Back in the Woods

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It’s been so long since I posted. I’ve been painting instead of writing. Got into a semi-abstract painting phase and I love it. I have an interesting show in Baker City, Oregon right now at the Short Term Gallery. Baker City is a small town with lots of art and truly creative people. Since I got home from the opening of the show I’ve been reading, walking my dog Cody, wrangling cats and doing a lot of thinking.
I like having a break. I’ve lived in the woods for a long time and am used to being alone. Timber Valley is totally different from Portland, Seattle, The Dalles or Hood River. Sometimes it can seem really lonely when you are fourteen miles up from the Columbia River Gorge and you aren’t a windsurfer, kayaker or fisherman.  The woods and mountain are beautiful.  Lots of places to hike and hang out on the Klickitat River or the Columbia. But if we want to go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner it involvesmaking a plan“. There are no meals to buy within walking distance. The closest actual business  is the Appleton Post Office…with an outhouse and a tiny woodstove. Even it is only open four half-days per week.  There is no Starbucks or even a Taco Bell (my favorite) in Timber Valley.  It’s a 50 minute drive to get to the nearest place to have a meal out.  When we moved up here from Portland years ago I’m sure some of our friends thought we had disappeared into the wild. We are out of sight, unreachable by car especially in the winter, invisible, gone but not forgotten. Everyone is busy.  I know.  I don’t often leave home for Portland to visit either.  Our lives are too fast and complicated even though we would like to keep in touch with everyone. Living this far away from civilization is even harder when you have the curse of slow dial up on your computer.  Because of that most of my life is off line. I know that not being “connected” is unheard of these days.  I have totally accepted it. I try to keep up with what everyone is doing. Believe it our not I am on Facebook. I am on S- L- O- W  Facebook.  For me to write a simple post it takes at least ten times longer than anyone else. The computer keeps timing out. Often it freezes. Any unwanted advertising, or “Like this Page” notifications get so complicated that my computer will sit forever before it downloads anything and usually will just turn off. I’m “timed out”. I must “refresh”. I spend most of my on-line time just waiting for something to happen. But I love to see what my friends are doing…they are so amazing.  I’m beginning to accept the wait just for the news.  Sometimes I feel weird putting my life into short posts for everyone in the universe to read…or  not read but just respond. Facebook sometimes makes me sad for the silliest reasons.  I don’t have a better connection. I don’t have more online friends (I guess over 200 isn’t enough for me).   I don’t get enough likes. Am I crazy? I never know what to post. I have some odd interests that don’t seem to be anything most people want to chat about or share. I guess I’ll have to learn patience, wait, and accept my own slow cyberspace or perhaps get up out of my chair and take a hike!
Bear Wakes Up (acrylic on canvas) 14 x18 175.00
It is bear season in Timber Valley. It’s always bear season in Timber Valley but this year there are more than usual. They have been clearcutting lots of the properties on SDS lands. Log trucks, chain saws, mud and old found tires litter the roads. Think beautiful Doug Firs, tall and elegant, ripped down, cut and stacked on now barren properties. Much land that used to be green and lush is now brown. The lupine is gone, the vetch is gone and all of the ground cover is gone. The animals are all confused. They have to move into new territory, rebuild nests, hives and other homes. Logging companies leave enough green to make it seem “not so bad”. They re-plant baby trees…usually pine instead of Doug Fir…and line many of them up near the highway hoping no one will notice how many are missing. This year our favorite pond, Disappearing Pond, has been so disrupted we only have one nesting pair of ducks and only three ducklings there.  More bears are around this spring. Mother bears and baby bears. Bears up trees and bears climbing up phone poles are seen early in the morning. I haven’t seen our usual bear who steals our crabapples yet. Who knows where he is hanging out now? Maybe he’s thinking of moving to Portland or Seattle.
I’m going to post a couple of my new acrylic pieces for anyone that wants to see them. Remember these are at Short Term Gallery in Baker City if you want to buy one. Hope you “like” this post. I don’t get lots of hits on my website but it is certainly a good place for me to ramble.

Black Bear

Late Summer in Timber Valley

It’s the third week of August. Summer has almost come to an end. It is hot here. It has been hot all summer. Smoke hangs in the air. Fires are burning up my mountain. I drive up to my mailbox where I can always see Mt. Adams. All I see is drifting dark clouds. The mountain is gone. I look for it.

Around the cabin it is very quiet. Hornets have taken over the hummingbird feeders. No hummingbirds come to drink. Deer rest near the shade in the back field. A doe and her two fawns don’t move when I go outside on the deck. Back in my studio I watch them through the window. If the doe leaves the fawns for a short rest, the two of them make a strange sound…somewhere between a bark and a cry. She returns. On occasion the babies nibble on a Hermiston melon that I put out for them near the drinking water. The mother lets them eat. She watches.

The crabapple tree is dripping with fruit. It’s been two years since there have been apples on it. It stopped fruiting after a black bear climbed up the tree and put her arms around it pulling all of the ripe fruit to her mouth. Hugging the branches to her body she fell backwards, mouth full. She pulled down half of the tree. Full and happy she ran from the field.

Two years have passed and the fruit is back. I will watch for her return.

I’m happy. I’m back in my studio painting. I’m working on a series of nature paintings and prints. I am selling my work at Art on Oak in Hood River, the Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan and the Attic Gallery in Portland. If you are interested in my work contact me at fenter@gorge.net.

Black Bear by Jerry Fenter framed, 22″ x 17″. $115.00 (plus shipping)