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Rob Dubbin @robdubbin
, 28 tweets, 19 min read Read on Twitter
OK I've been waiting a couple days to share this because I honestly wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, and I'm still not sure. The first thing you need to know is we have a peach tree. I named it Belvis.
We didn't know about the peach tree when we bought the house. This is how it looked when someone pointed it out to us. Note the cartoonishly ineffective fence – we were advised to build a better one, or deer and bears would eat all the peaches before we could. Not on my watch.
So my deeply human instinct to compete with nature kicked in and I built this big octagonal fence around Belvis. Big for me anyway, as it was my first fence. Here's me last year admiring my work, plus a photo of this fence totally owning some of 2017's hungriest deer.
I cannot overstate how well this worked. All the peaches ripened on the tree, and for two weeks we ate around 200 total. Here's a pie @sealln made and a shot of the last batch I pulled off the tree before the frost. It was the best. I remember saying "haha eat shit bears!"
@sealln Fast forward to this year. Belvis is thriving. If anything there are more peaches on there than last year. They're starting to ripen again and we're planning ahead to pies, salsa, jam, all the delights. Here's a video @sealln took right before what happened next.
@sealln When a peach tree gets to this point, you never quite know if the harvest is ready. And once it starts, it's continuous. So I visit Belvis when I wake up and I visit Belvis before dark. And on Sunday morning I looked inside the fence and saw the large pile of bear scat.
@sealln Sorry, no photos of the bear scat, though the image is forever seared onto my memory. I'm no park ranger but it wasn't hard to see this scat was 95% semi-digested peach matter. Then, looking closer, I saw the pits.
@sealln Twenty peach pits. No, forty peach pits. I got gloves and a shovel, fuming that his bear had easily downed 20% of our harvest in a night. As I shoveled the scat into the woods, my words echoed back to me – "haha eat shit bears!" – truly now the shit was on the other foot.
@sealln There was nothing I wouldn't do to defend Belvis. I researched how to discourage bears, and the thing that kept coming up was they don't like the sound of human voices. There was research suggesting that it had to be conversational, because they'd "figure out music eventually."
@sealln Yeah, I was pretty in my head at this point, making plans and counter-plans to combat our invisible bear. I should have worked faster, because a few hours later the bear came back.
@sealln Sandy spotted it – under the tree, lazily swiping fruit from the low branches. Not even finishing one peach before starting the next, which especially bothered me. I ran outside with a tambourine, yelling at the bear. We realized: It didn't know how to get out.
@sealln So yeah, we had a problem. This rather small, still very much growing bear would soon return if we didn't do anything about it. I decided then and there: I would build a battery-powered machine to play podcasts at the bear until the peaches ripened.
@sealln Ultimately I settled on @ReplyAll because I figured even the most starving bear would quail at the haunting sound of @PJVogt's laughter. I loaded up an old iPhone with 100 episodes and hooked it up to a speaker and a heavy-duty telescope battery, underneath a waterproof hood.
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt Honestly it was kind of a nice way to listen to a podcast. Very speaker-inside-a-fake-rock-at-Disney-World.
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt Yesterday morning: No scat, no pits, no bear. Perhaps it had lurked in the shadows, learning about Pizzagate and the inner workings of Amazon third-party sellers. We did have to shut some windows so we wouldn't hear PJ and Alex from our bathroom. Here's a shot from last night.
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt ...and that's where we stand. The peaches are still 2-3 days away, maybe. I'm rotating batteries to keep the playlist going, and by this morning I'd run out of episodes so I started it fresh from Pizzagate. Every so often I can hear PJ laugh in the distance. Eat shit, bears.
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: Heavy rain last night, the first real test of my waterproofing system. The Belvis Defense Grid greeted me with @AGoldmund’s classic YikYak episode, unfazed by storm or beast. All peaches accounted for, no scat observed.
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt @AGoldmund THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: All systems nominal. No breaches, just peaches. They’re not ripe yet, just on the edge, but it’s sunny today. They also just heard this beautiful moment between PJ and Alex in #93 –Beware All – which I expect will keep them vigilant.
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt @AGoldmund 🍑🍑🍑🍑
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt @AGoldmund Whatever happens tomorrow, some very happy humans ate four peaches tonight. The score stands at Humans 4, Bear 40.
@sealln @replyall @PJVogt @AGoldmund FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Two new peaches and one new @ReplyAll listener.
I know the tale of Belvis has inspired many but I want to be transparent about the hidden price of innovation. Earlier today our neighbor, who lives a quarter mile down the road, drove by asking if I'd "heard any voices at night," maybe something "almost like a worship service?"
Last night before we'd gone to sleep there had been a brief silence, and Sandy asked me "Rob, did you turn up the tree?" I hadn't turned up the tree, but even with the windows closed I had to admit I could feel a certain confident basso vibrating the walls.
So I got dressed and went out with a headlamp. I hardly needed it under the moonlight, which caught the peach fuzz and made them look like holograms. I lowered the volume during an ad for @GimletMedia's podcast about folks who start churches. It was almost like a worship service.
I made eye contact with my neighbor and more or less said "the first thing you need to know is we have a peach tree." Then I explained the rest and apologized, told him I hoped he'd tell me if he could still hear podcasts on the wind tonight. I probably owe him some peaches.
EPILOGUE: Yesterday’s haul of 25 peaches accomplished two key milestones. 1) We cleared 40 total peaches, thus outconsuming the bear. 2) We finally had enough for @sealln to make a whole pie. Here is that pie. Thanks @ReplyAll for basically speaking it into existence. 🍑THE END🍑
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