* Minor note: it appears while Marge and I were away last week we had an interloper on our property, sorting of a breaking and -- uh, well, not exactly entering, but --
One of our two apple trees appears to have suffered major limb damage, side and top, at the claws of what can only be a black bear. It appears the furry fella (or femme) decided the apples on top were tantalizing enough to scrabble up the tree, snapping a main limb away from the main trunk (splitting it, really, causing some damage we can't repair) and then clambering around on the top branches, snagging everything in reach and mashing and breaking a fair amount of those tender top branches.
It also appears it tried to make it out to a bird nest on the far end of one of the stouter uppermost branches, but gave up.
We've cleaned up what we can, and have plenty of apples left on the tree, but I'm taking one precaution: taking my morning piss around the tree (and its neighbor McIntosh tree) from now on, in hopes of discouraging a return trip. Human smell is a great deterrent!
* Couldn't resist adding this (compliments of HomeyM), to cap the afternoon, though hunting season is a ways away:
A couple of hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing. His eyes are rolled back in his head.
The other guy whips out his mobile phone and calls emergency services. He gasps to the operator: "I am pretty sure my friend is dead! What can I do?"
The operator, in a calm soothing voice, says: "Just take it easy. First, let's make sure he's dead."
There's silence, then a shot is heard.
The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says, "Okay, now what?"