Eventually Chester, our wonderful Labrador who died in 2004, joined our family. For over twelve years, Chester and I wandered the foothills and mountains behind our home on the slopes of Twelve O'Clock Knob.
We would see evidence of bears usually during berry picking season. We also heard a bobcat a few times, including once when it seemed to be stalking us. Still we never saw much in our yards except deer.
Then in 2005 we had a surprise ursine visitor. Not long after that a bear ripped the door off a neighbor's garage and feasted on cookie dough and butter that were in a garage refrigerator.
Likely development that is going farther back into the hills and hollows is driving the animals from their habitat.
Today I was outside trying to win back some ground in our perennial bed from an army of lemon balm. A neighbor whom I did not recognize stopped to warm me than another neighbor's cat had been attacked by a bobcat. I guess there have also been a number trash incidents with bears.
It is interesting how we lived here for fifteen years and only had a deer problem. The deer problem only appeared after our Lab died.
I guess you can only push the animals so far before they have no place to go. At one time I tried to convince Roanoke County to buy the 100 acres behind us on the mountain. It would have made a great park. The hiking trails were already there.
It was not long after my campaign for park that a developer bought the land and put a house right in the middle of it. We lost all our trails and now a driveway runs through what I had hoped would be a park.
Given how few large parcels of land suitable for parks are in this part of Roanoke County, it is a shame the opportunity was missed. I thought we could have a great trail from the river all the way up the mountain and then have it drop back down to Greenhill Park. It would have been a great hike and something that would have been a huge asset to the county.
I guess that I am lucky that our second home in North Carolina is in an area blessed with lots of great trails.