What Do Black Bears and Building a Garage for a Recreational Vehicle Have in Common?

Being a family business, we get all kinds of building requests, and the best part is that no job is ever the same. They all take on a life of their own, so to speak, like this story about the Recreational Vehicle garage we built in Woodstock, Vermont.

Our customer needed an extraordinarily large garage to store his Recreational Vehicle during the winter months. The garage is situated on a beautiful plot of land in Woodstock, Vermont, with other neighboring log cabins just a stone's throw away.

We were told that the neighbor adjacent to our customer had bears in his back yard, which he fed. And, being on the job site early in the morning, we noticed what we thought were bear prints in the fresh foundation soil.

Of course, since we had business to attend to we thought nothing more of them.

Like most curious people, it wasn't long after the hammering of nails, the buzzing of saws, and the sound of strange voices in the air that our customer's neighbor dropped by to chat a bit and invite us to "see" the bears at dusk. Again, we thought nothing more of it until late in the afternoon, when the work was done for the day and we were packing up our tools and tidying up the grounds.

Bob, always being a little more skeptical than most of our crew, went on ahead of us to "see" the bears while we were still packing up the last bit of tools.

Moments later, Bob, running as fast as he could, and all out of breath, came back to the job site and said, (well, we can't really use the expletive he said, but suffice it to say what he saw was extraordinary). "He's got 5 bears in his back yard, And, they're about 300 to 350 pounds each! I'm not going up there!"

With all that commotion, the bear-feeding neighbor invited us to view the bears from inside his log cabin. So we did. And, we were glad there was at least a glass wall between us and the 5 bears that were there that evening.

You see, these are wild bears, and he hand feeds them twinkies, doughnuts and other expired-date treats he gets from the local pastry shops. He explained that he goes through about 300 pounds per week, and that it's taken him 15 years to get the bears to trust him. In fact, he was so close to one bear that he scratched the bear's head. He went on to say that each fall, just before hunting season begins in Vermont, he scares the bears away with the sound of a shotgun in the air. Otherwise, he says, they would be easy game for the hunters.

But each spring, after hibernating all winter, the bears come back to the "sweet pot of honey" he has so generously laid out for them each year.

Of course, we had to ask him if he's ever scared of the bears...to which he replied, "Yes, especially when there's a new bear that visits me for the first time. The bear will sniff me up and down and all over, and I won't know until it's over whether I'll be the bear's dinner or the bear will stay for my dinner."

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