Name that bear and what is stuck on its fur!
It’s been so busy I haven’t had time to share photos with you. Some places at the Museum had as much as 3 inches of snow, and we were closed on Wednesday.
Aaron and I noticed lots of tracks in the snow in the wolf yard. Sorry, no photos as I couldn’t hold a camera, broom, pool skimmer (to break the ice and remove it from the pool), food, and bucket.
All the bears were in their usual winter spots. Yona would not get out of bed to get her treatments (Cosequin, vitamin supplements, and a de-wormer). I honestly sat their (yup, on a rock after clearing off the snow) for almost 15 minutes. Luckily for me Virginia came over huffed and stomped at Yona who got up and ran out of bed.
Sorry, no photos of the farmyard- maybe next snow.
Our bear exhibit is large and it can be difficult to spot a bear in normal weather but when it is cold it can be very difficult. So, where are the bears when it is very cold?
(Below) Yona in her hay bed on top of the cliff, in the background you can see the bear house where another bear likes to spend her time.
(Below) Va in her hay bed on the cliff but it is on the opposite side of the cliff so that she is away from Yona.
(Below) Sweet Mimi in her stall o’ hay. She can be rather difficult to get up in the mornings to go outside.
(Below) Gus has claimed the cave as his own. In this pic, it is difficult to see him and on most days all you see is either one of his big ears or his rump.
Twas the night before Christmas and left at my house, a bag of sweet potatoes for the Museum Bears. (If I were Sarah, I am sure I could have come up with some great rhyme… in fact she probably could write my entire Christmas post to the Poem Twas the night before Christmas- check out her previous poems here and here).
The day started with me very very tired, and unable to find my glasses. I’ve got about 10-15 pillows on my bed and even removing all of them still no glasses. I gave up, found my spare glasses, made a cup of coffee, and made my way to the Museum around 5:15
I move all the logbooks in one space and check out my “to do” lists, and in a room that has light not on a timer so I can see easier.
Yesterday, we solved the mystery as to why the waterfall at wolves was not running, so I was able to cross that off my list. (The wolves- I assume the male wolf – ate the electrical wires. That will have to be a separate post at a later date). Concerns about the muskrat were top priority so I donned my headlamp to go check him out. I couldn’t really see him, but did see that he had eaten overnight so I sigh of relief for now.
I fumble around- not getting into any sort of groove. I put all the diets on the kitchen counter to help me make a plan of attack. My plan of attack is quite chaotic. I start something, realize I can’t see too well in the dark, re group, start something else…things go on like this for a while and before I know it I’ve been here 90 minutes.
Katy warned me that the ferrets would be difficult to keep in their exhibit and would rush the door upon closing. I felt confident in my plan however: I knocked on their door to wake them up (wanting them to use the litter pans before cleaning). Came back in five minutes with a CRATE and put all four inside:
Katy said to put them all in the yellow ring (below) upon leaving and that gives you enough time to close the door. However, what really gives you enough time to close the door is spilling furotone (oil supplement) on each ferret so that everyone is licking everyone else and not even concerned about the door!
It’s light enough so I go make sure I can see the remaining animals. Franklin is busy eating his food and everyone else seems fine.
Donald and his granddaughter Caroline arrive a few minutes before 8AM. Caroline looks tired (I feel her pain), but Donald gets her to pose for the camera. I’ve never seen Donald not smile. It’s really amazing if you think about it. We review the plan for the Farmyard, get Caroline some gloves, and head outside.
It takes a little effort to get our vehicles started, but we prevail. I was so hot working inside that I forgot it was just over 30 degrees outside and my drive is more than quite chilly.
I take a bit of a skid through the icy patch at the MIST entrance in Catch the Wind. I hit wolves first. Both the wolves are waiting at the den area. No issues at all here. Everything is fine so move quickly to the bear exhibit.
Mimi, as expected, is sleeping in the house. I wake her, she huffs at me, I feel badly, she huffs at me again, I toss out food, she goes and eats. Gus is snoozing in the cave (sorry about the bad photo): he lifts his head and then puts it back down.
Lemurs is the next stop. Absolutely no problems here- it’s actually a bit confusing. No one yelled at me, no one peed on me. I did not step in anything I didn’t want to. I did not dump my poop bucket. No lemur exited their stall. I think this is a first on Christmas to not have even one small problem occur. (Although as I type I realize I left the dustpan in the disinfectant can… I’ll have to remember to get that tonight.
The last stop is the bear cliff to check things out and give Yona her meds. I thought this would be a bit difficult, but Virginia has made her way down into the yard, so Yona just needs to stretch, stare at me for a minute or two, and then wander over to me at the fence.
I was even prepared: I had no yogurt cup but grabbed an extra bowl from lemurs to give Yona her meds in.
I head back to the Farmyard, deal with the raptors, and then head to the building. Dishes goes much better than last year (I just did not wear my glasses).
It’s possibly been one of the easiest Christmas’ I’ve worked – and I’ve worked every Christmas since 1993! I know the afternoon is still coming, but so far, so good. Merry Christmas everyone.
(Click here to read about some of my past Christmas’ at the Museum).
My development friends think I should join their team since I am so good at raising $$. I recently sold a BUNCH of peanuts to raise money for programs that support the prevention of child abuse (For the Exchange Clubs Family Center of Durham). This is a fun time for me: I ask for money to help support the prevention of child abuse (who can turn that down!) and then I mention that the Museum’s bears seem to LOVE peanuts. People hand me money for the peanuts and then hand me the peanuts to give to the bears. A WIN-WIN!
Thanks everyone for the support!
Sunny, quiet mornings are always the best time, in my opinion, to call in the bears and go scoop poop in the bear yard. This past week, Volunteer Colet and Human Resources Lady, Maureen, put on their grubby sneakers and went in with me.
It only takes about an hour to finish scooping and scatter the day’s food around the exhibit. Sometimes, though, we find cool surprises!
Meanwhile, in the bear house:
Once we’re done scooping and let bears back onto exhibit, it’s always worth hanging around for a few minutes to see what the bears do. This time of year, it can be a bit harder to tell the bears apart if you’re not looking at them head-on. All of the bears have shed out their summer “highlights” and are packing on the pounds for the winter.
So you know we can get dirty: clothes stained, shoes covered in mud and poop, the list actually goes on and on. Work in the bear yard can be challenging. It’s hard to even see your feet when walking in the bear yard the grass is so tall. If you don’t step in a pile of poop you are lucky. I’ve even had to “swim” in the bear pool, so I never wear traditional business attire. Last week we had a great group of folks from Biogen Idec working hard in the bear yard (scooping, mowing, removing weeds, pruning, clearing fences…). They all came dressed in clothes ready to work.
Our development folks on the other had… Well, let’s just say I had to mow a path so they could walk into the yard.
Here’s my new rule: no pumps in the bear yard! (and let me add I never thought I would be writing about the kind of pumps you wear on your feet, just the kind that move and filter water and cause more frustration that humor!)