Monday, December 10, 2018

Griz Housekeeping

Several years ago I was surprised and not happy to find myself setting up camp for the night in grizzly territory. A night on the cold, cold ground zipped into featherweight tenting like a snack bar with a pulse did nothing for my sense of sport. It did prove to be a useful reminder of the basics of  housekeeping, though. I did my damnedest to make sure that the only scent of food in the tent was, unavoidably, me. My hands and person were clean, there were no food spills on my shirt, and there were no crumbs around the camp site.

I chanced to compare notes with another member of the party recently and was happy to learn that she, too, had gone into housekeeping overdrive. Laura got up in the middle of the night to patrol the cooking shelter to make sure no one had forgotten a fruit rind or morsel of something that might attract a predator. You know you're in real bear country when the garbage cans seem to have been manufactured in a shipyard.

Previous outings with the same party honed my crumb-control skills, because field mice carry hanta virus, a source of problems with blood pressure. It's easy to get careless in town, where the built environment seems more forgiving. My house predates structural innovations in vermin-proofing, so housekeeping has always been the front line. Basic table manners protect the individual and the group from the low-profile but surely mortal threats of pest and micro-organism and from the lessee risk presented by an angry housekeeper -30-

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