Bears, Bees, Bacon and Morels

While I’m in Maine getting the summer garden underway,  husband Bill, aka Mr. Mushroom ( see his most recent morel hunting tips here) has been holding down the Hudson Valley end: feeding cats, cutting vast quantities of asparagus, mulching peonies, tending the bees , collecting morels – and being inspired by your responses to send another  guest post:

Bears, Bees, Bacon and Morels

by Bill Bakaitis

Flash!  My neighbor just informed me that the bears are back.

A few days ago he went out in early morning to feed his horse and discovered that the large bin which stored the sweet feed and biscuit treats was missing. Well, not quite missing as there were drag marks and when followed led to one of the neighborhood bears (last year there were five) having an early morning snack of the biscuits. After a brief encounter and short stand-off the bear beat a retreat.

End of that story, but Whoops, thought I, I sure better check the electric fence around our bees and rebait the hot wires with the Rancid Bacon Bear Bait stored in the freezer for just such occasions.


A spreading patch of bloodroot is now encroaching into our small fenced-in bee yard, and over the past few rainy days had grown tall enough to be in contact with the lowest hot wire of the electric fence. 

The errant bloodroot leaves sizzled, snapped, crackled, popped and were draining the voltage of the wire. Good timing, I thought and went to the shed for a small sickle, to the freezer for the bear bait, and after disconnecting the solar charger trimmed all of the bloodroot and other vegetation under the fence. That’s when I found the morels.

They were growing right under the lowest hot wire.   Whoa!  Is this a new morel habitat, I wondered?  Should I begin to check other electric fences in the area? Bee Yards? Bloodroot patches?  Bear Shit?

These must be omens of some sort.  After all, the neighbor’s horse is named Lightning, and after trimming the weeds and stringing up the bacon all the lights of the fence tester now glowed: five thousand five hundred volts. Zounds!

Bears and morel poachers be forewarned.


Two young esculenta, part of a much larger patch, growing under the electric fence of our bee yard, their pitted surface looking very much like a section of drawn honeycomb.


Five thousand, five hundred volts pulse only inches above this morel. No bear is going to poach on this patch!

(More about the bears and bees, with solar electric fence construction details, is here. )

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