August 10, 2011

"A Mendocino County woman who transformed her home into a bear bohemia with wading pools and specially prepared banquets..."

"... of corn meal and peanut butter sandwiches will not do jail time for doting on her hairy friends, but she will remain exiled from her property."
[Lynne Gravier, 77], known to almost everyone as the "Bear Woman," has been feeding bruins and other animals for decades, but nobody realized the extent of her devotion until neighbors began complaining. Last Aug. 24, seven fish and game wardens raided Gravier's home. They stumbled on what was essentially an animal hippie commune and shack-out pad.

In all 15 loafing black bears hung out with Gravier inside the house and on her deck, and lumbered around the compound like kings at a feast. Gravier named her oafish friends things like Smiley, Goofy, Connie, Biggie and Wombat. She admitted setting up a kiddie pool for wallowing. She fixed peanut butter sandwiches for her guests, sometimes mixing in glucosamine to ease the arthritis pain in older bears.

Some 6,000 pounds of rolled and cracked corn was delivered every month from a ranch supply house. Gravier stored the food in a 40-foot-long shipping container that she used as an ursine food dispensary.

Knight-errantry was not in evidence among the hulking chowhounds, who turned Gravier's home into a reeking outhouse. The cabin-style home was piled high with filth by the time of the raid and immediately condemned by county authorities.

Gravier also fed 18 cats, three dogs, 40 peacocks and a steady stream of visiting turkeys and deer.
And yet it took decades for the neighbors to begin complaining? And then, in the end, she gets no real punishment, after animal lovers protest the prosecution on behalf of the well-meaning lady. According to the neighbors, her loving ministrations were turning bears into problem bears that break into houses, chase sheep, and end up needing to get killed.
Bothersome bears are a particularly volatile issue in this cattle- and pot-growing town of 1,300 near the South Fork of the Eel River, in the heart of redwood country.
Pot-growing, eh? Seems like you can get away with breaking all kinds of laws these days... at least if your criminality has enough of a hippie vibe.

82 comments:

Lucius said...

Perhaps she can find refuge in a neighbor's bare bohemia then.

A. Shmendrik said...

Why is it that animal hoarding (e.g., Old lady with 93 cats in 2 bedroom home, etc.) is so predominantly a female affliction?

Shouting Thomas said...

Pot growing, within some limits, is not illegal in Mendocino.

At least, it doesn't violate state law. Fed law, yes.

Mendocino is like Woodstock. Too kooky for drawing conclusions.

Unlike Woodstock, much of Mendocino is armed to the teeth to deal with the repercussions of pot growing.

Saint Croix said...

If that was a movie she would be the hero.

Irene said...

"[A]t least if your criminality has enough of a hippie vibe."

Exactly! Imagine if she were a Christian of the Bachman mold or a Mormon.

Bob said...

She's the Crazy Bear Lady. Not going to be a lot of competition for that title, I'm thinking.

bagoh20 said...

So the bears hang out in the pot fields, then get the munchies and go to a banquet. Awesome lifestyle in California!

ndspinelli said...

Grizzly Man's soul sister.

Fred4Pres said...

That ain't chicken feed!

Fred4Pres said...

Some serious scratch was needed to pull off that feeding and hording operation. Was she independently wealthy or growing dope herself? Usually it is dogs and cats. Credit for this woman going the extra step with the bears. Of course, the expected outcome of this story would have been her killed and eaten in her home.

The problem now is how to you get those habituated bears back to eatting berries and nettles after being fed like that so long?

The Crack Emcee said...

Pot-growing, eh? Seems like you can get away with breaking all kinds of laws these days... at least if your criminality has enough of a hippie vibe.

I know the area well - played there many times - and, yes. It's the kind of place where everyone grows pot - everyone - school teachers, cops, everybody. There's so much illegal money the biggest problem most people have, even little kids, is breaking a $20.

If the word hadn't got out I was a Republican, I could've turned my life around up there years ago,...

Fred4Pres said...

One neighbor estimated that 50 to 60 problem bears had to be killed over the years as a result of her feeding.

This went on for how long?

chickenlittle said...

A bear can rest at ease with just the Bare Necessities.

Bear4Pres

The Crack Emcee said...

Irene,

Imagine if she were a Christian of the Bachman mold or a Mormon.

I do that kind of thing, believe it or not.

Fred4Pres said...

I agree with Crack, that is a very nice place. It is probably one of the nicest places geographically and weatherwise in the country. And it is flush with dope money.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred4Pres said...

chickenlittle, very nice! Talking about 4Pres...

Check this out.

Saint Croix said...

This morning I wrote like six posts on flash mobs. I was on fire. Good stuff. And I'm like, "Where did everybody go?"

Ahhhhhhh! I'm on the second page! Son of a bitch.

Bears. We're talking about bears now.

Did the bears beat the crap out of anybody? No? I got nothing on bears.

EDH said...

A Mendocino County woman who transformed her home into a bear bohemia...

Or as Andrew Sullivan calls it, Provincetown.

Bears: "[a] subculture of gay men known as bears, who embrace natural body hair" - The New York Times.

Titus? Titus? Titus?

DADvocate said...

When is bear hunting season in Mendocino County?

bagoh20 said...

I do a lot of dog rescue, and often have a large number around the house, but I never have filth laying around. I just don't get how you go there.

chickenlittle said...

@Fred4Pres: "Did you stop to consider how it will feel,
Cold grinding grizzly bear jaws hot on your heels?"
____________
Firesign Theater?

BarryD said...

People in Mendocino County aren't especially eager to call the cops. There are little islands like that in various places, not just in Montana.

Personally, I find it heartening that there ARE still places where people don't call the cops on their neighbors for having a few brown spots on their lawns.

Saint Croix said...

This kinda reminds me of that Reagan ad with that Commie bear.

Damn liberals are soft on Communism and bears.

Mitch H. said...

I keep telling people that black bears aren't particularly dangerous - at least not the sort we get in central Pennsylvania. But deliberately feeding them on an industrial scale, and snuggling up to them like that day in, day out?

How the hell did this woman escape being mauled & eaten decades ago?

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

Personally, I find it heartening that there ARE still places where people don't call the cops on their neighbors for having a few brown spots on their lawns.

And YET, sanity REQUIRES we call the cops, in this case.
1) She has dozens of BEARS, roaming on her property, and being bears they probably don’t just roam HER property but her neighbors as well. You know, BEARS, large Omnivorous animals, not opposed to snacking your dog, your child, or YOU!
2) Large, Federally PROTECTED animals. You can’t just shoot the little darlings if they wander onto your property!
3) In sum large, dangerous, PROTECTED animals are being sheltered by your neighbor, who else do you call BUT the “cops?”
And, were I an Animal Welfare sort, I’d want her in jail. She has done the bears no favours. As someone upthread pointed out, now we have to get the bears back into the wild and acclimated to living, like bears. And if they can’t acclimate they STARVE, and if they WON’T acclimate we will have to euthanize them. How has this “Do-Gooder” done any “good?” And why wouldn’t the neighbors call the cops?

Saint Croix said...

The Bear is a good movie. Particularly if you are a bear, or want to be a bear.

DADvocate said...

How the hell did this woman escape being mauled & eaten decades ago?

I imagine she ketp them well fed.

Saint Croix said...

She has done the bears no favours. As someone upthread pointed out, now we have to get the bears back into the wild and acclimated to living, like bears. And if they can’t acclimate they STARVE, and if they WON’T acclimate we will have to euthanize them.

Damn liberals and their welfare are destroying the bear community.

Self-reliance, bears!

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

How the hell did this woman escape being mauled & eaten decades ago?

I imagine she ketp them well fed

Just remember, she never had to out-run the bears, just her neighbor’s dog or children.

Saint Croix said...

How the hell did this woman escape being mauled & eaten decades ago?

I'll bet she used marijuana. Those bears were totally stoned and mellow.

"Bear Bohemia," that's a code word.

She's a drug-pushin', Commie-lovin', welfare-givin', won't-pick-up-the-poo liberal.

Saint Croix said...

I don't pick up the poo, either. I'm a scofflaw when it comes to pickin' up poo.

It's just dog poo, though. I feel like society can handle dog poo.

Particularly if they can't catch me.

Bear poo, on the other hand, look out. That's a big pile of poo.

Rose said...

Feeding the bears causes problems?

The dope growers bring diesel spills, house fires, machine guns and thieves. They don't pay taxes, employee withholding, business licenses, or conform to any rules, regulations or laws that any other people have to follow.

They rent a house, cut up the walls and floors, overload the electrical circuits, fill it up with dirt and mold and eventually it catches fire - they face no consequences and the homeowner is left with astronomical expenses to repair the damage.

That is the unintended consequence of "compassionate use."

I'll take the bear lady as a neighbor any day over those worthless culls.

John said...

Betcha a nickle that the woman is a member of the Abbey Web list.

www.abbeyweb.net

This is the kind of negligent stupidity a number of them think a good thing.

John said...

Why all the bear poo around the house?

I always thought that bears shit in the woods?

John Henry

bagoh20 said...

"I don't pick up the poo, either. I'm a scofflaw when it comes to pickin' up poo."

If you don't, and you don't live on a farm, then you don't deserve to own a dog.

Dog crap left around leads to insane laws restricting dog owners, hatred of dogs, fouled lawn mowers, shoes, lawns and homes. All willfully done to your neighbors.

I will hunt you down and punish you. Please provide your coordinates ... NOW!

Seriously, pick up your shit. The society includes you. You want the benefits? Be responsible.

It's shit! You leave it laying around! WTF?

David said...

She should get a chimpanzee too. That worked out well in Connecticut.

tmitsss said...

Picking up after a large dog such as my Afghan is a lesson in humility.

Clyde said...

@ Mitch H.,

"How the hell did this woman escape being mauled & eaten decades ago?"

I'm guessing she put out, and I'm not talking about the feeder...

traditionalguy said...

Didn't God tell Adam and Eve not to feed the wild animals?

I may be getting my bronze age myths confused here.

I suggest hiring her to negotiate with the Russians since she understands them so well.

bagoh20 said...

If you don't pick up after your dog, humility is exactly what you need.

I pick up dog shit all the time, that's not even my dogs'.

There are too many people looking for a reason to make another law against dog owners. Picking it up is my attempt to protect the freedoms of dogs and their owners.

I'm a shit-picking freedom fighter, God dammit! I need a cape or something.

Carol_Herman said...

People don't read, anymore

Huckleberry Finn has to escape a really crazy, drunken father. (At the end of Tom Sawyer ... because of the gold coins in the cave. Huck Finn starts off rich. And, the judge takes the money to invest (honestly). And, the widow take Huck home. Where he is civilized.

But he runs away. (Or I should say, swims away. It's a long story.)

And, in it, he's locked on an island. In primitive conditions. So the story's adventures tell you what it's like to live with no humanity around.

When Huck casts off (in a canoe) ... he raids the shed. Where his dad had brought him. And, he had unloaded "vittles.")

A 50 bound sack of cornmeal was part of those vittles.

Here? A woman who cared for bears, wasn't eaten alive by bears.

But by her neighbors.

So much civilization is what Huck Finn ran from. It is too much to bare. So said Mark Twain.

Do people read anymore?

Fred4Pres said...

Large, Federally PROTECTED animals. You can’t just shoot the little darlings if they wander onto your property!

Black bears are not federally protected (unless of course they are in some national park). Most states have hunting seasons unless the numbers are way low.

And pretty much everywhere, if perosns, pets/livestock or property are legitimately threatened, you can shoot a black bear out of season on your own property. That does not mean blasting away if the bear is shaking the bird feeder or digging in the trash. A little common sense is necessary in bear country.

Pogo said...

The metaphor for the welfare stater is obvious, but the lesson will not be learned.

The bears will all have to be killed at some point, because they will riot, like in London.

And it's the Mendocino Bear Lady's fault they will die.
Asshole.

traditionalguy said...

Carol...You said that don't read anymore.

You listen. That is cheating.

A traditionalist insists on wood block printed books on velum bound in leather with the S's printed as a big F's.

Pogo said...

It's funny, but all human attempts at utopia end badly, even, apparently, a utopia for bears.

A. Shmendrik said...

I'm an expert at dog shit retrieval. I have technique.

Carol_Herman said...

A friend of my, who was in his 40's when I was 22, told me he had served with General Chennault. During WW2. Detailed to China. To run supplies. He said flying in the first thing that hit your nostrils was the smells of human excrement.

Then? He said it the whole country was controlled by war lords. And, the "supplies" would be endlessly stolen.

He also said that the "night soil" ... the trenched the soldiers had dug out to shit into. Were cleaned each and every morning my Chinese people. Who took the night soil out with their hands. It was their fertilizer.

Getting supplies through ... as deemed necessary by Chennault; involved going into territory controlled by war lords. Who'd easily kill the Americans for what was in the trucks. Dead bodies didn't need no trucks to get on home, either.

That was back in 1943.

The world's changed very, very much.

But before we got Mr. Crapper. And, the flush toilet ... everybody dealt with buckets of poo.

That's why it was said it was dangerous to walk city streets in the morning. The tenants just tossed their poo buckets out the window. Where it was supposed to merge with the open sewer lines.

Women's clothes covered them from head to foot for a reason. Not necessarily religiously dictated.

The invention of the printing press made for the arrival of life's biggest treats. And, thoughts were written down with quill pens. Putting to use everything from last night's dinner bird.

Add flush toilets and society gets worse.

ndspinelli said...

A Schmendrik, Is it call 800-pickpoo?

Carol_Herman said...

Traditon Guy, @ 11:25 AM

I think you're confused.

I said I listen to books on tape while I drive. That means I don't listen to the radio. (And, I don't listen to music.)

Here, I read, too. My myopic eyes love to read.

I can also write.

And, ya know, when I go out to dinner, alone, I take my bookstand. And, I read. Because I only choose restaurants with good light. Whatever I'm reading is carried into the restaurant in my pocketbook. The arrangement is fine. The book is there right above my plate. (And, I don't have to clean up after dinner. Which I consider a double-bonus-point.)

You just like to say "you lie" ... like a bully on the playground. For you it's sport. For me? It makes me giggle.

HA. HA. SCHLEPP!

This is a playground joke. Told to me back in the 1960's. She was teaching Puerto Rican kids. They couldn't catch onto English. They preferred to chatter in Spanish.

She was assigned to "playground duty." When she overheard two kids. One pulling at her friend's arm and pointing to another kid nearby. "Mira, Mira, schlepp!"

You know teachers come back with their experiences, and they tell funny stories. I remembered this one.

ndspinelli said...

I heard this joke in Alaska.

Q: How can you tell if the scat you see is black bear or brown bear?

A: The brown bear scat has bells in it.

Stupid folks wear bells on their shoes ostensibly to let bears know they're in the area.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

Black bears are not federally protected (unless of course they are in some national park). Most states have hunting seasons unless the numbers are way low
My bad, I thought they were…STILL< taking one “out of season” is problematic, and in fact, will REQUIRE official sanction.

bagoh20 said...

"And, ya know, when I go out to dinner, alone, I take my bookstand."

I would love to find that scene, and attempt to sit with you for a while.

Saint Croix said...

Dog crap left around leads to insane laws restricting dog owners, hatred of dogs, fouled lawn mowers, shoes, lawns and homes. All willfully done to your neighbors.

Fouled lawn mowers?

And homes? You know I'm not actually breaking into my neighbors house and willing my dog to poo there, right?

I had a neighbor yell at me the other day because my dog was peeing.

Peeing.

What do you want me to do, suck it up with my lips?

She's a naked animal and she's relieving herself in public. Deal with it, OCD Nation.

traditionalguy said...

Carol...You sound normal to me.

Try not to get dressing and sauce on your books. Chocolate is OK though.

Remember Ben Franklin. He started lending libraries. He also printed books for a living.

You should read his autobiography, or listen to it.

Saint Croix said...

I'm a shit-picking freedom fighter

Awesome!

But of course, if you give me free feces picking up services, I will never learn to pick up feces on my own.

You're turning us into a nation of poo welfare queens.

John said...

Hey Carol,

I listen to audio books too. Used to listen to 15 a year on tape back in the day.

Never did care much for Audible.com books, readers or formatting.

Now I listen to classics from Librivox.org (Free)

Recently finished a Trollope novel, this morning started on Sinclair Lewis Main Street.

I also read about 2 books a week on my Kindle and Android phone.

Currently reading Corry Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdome" Free download at his site.

John Henry

John said...

I don't know how the Librivox version is but the Autobiography of Ben Franklin is an excellent read. I've read it a number of times over the years.

You can download the audio version here for free

http://librivox.org/the-autobigraphy-of-benjamin-franklin-ed-by-frank-woodworth-pine/

Saint Croix said...

I am totally cool with a flash mob of dog owners leaving their poo in Washington D.C.

Darrell said...

Saint Croix said--
What do you want me to do, suck it up with my lips?

Would you mind? If you do, why don't you keep your fucking dog on your own property and let it shit and piss there? This is something I never understood. I would never want my animals or my kids fouling other people's labors. One day we'll look back at this whole practice and wonder how we could ever be so thoughtless and self-serving.

Until then, we have bats at the ready for the owners.

crosspatch said...

I have a friend who lives basically "next door" to this woman. Take a look using Google Earth of the area East of Laytonville going toward Spyrock (or Spy Rock). It is very rugged, dirt roads, wooded with oaks. It is quite likely that her house is completely invisible to her neighbors and from the road (such as it is a road). The reason her neighbors didn't complain earlier is probably because they didn't know.

My guess is that it took someone like the driver delivering the feed to say something to someone while having lunch at Boomers.

Those people up there mind their own business and generally don't go traipsing into their neighbors' property. Most of the homes up there are behind locked gates on private dirt roads well off the county maintained road. It is very easy to do pretty much anything you want (except grow a lot of non-permitted pot, they check for that by helicopter) without anyone really knowing about it.

Palladian said...

"Saint Croix said-- What do you want me to do, suck it up with my lips?"

Or move to Paris, the dog shit capital of the world.

In America, we respect other people's property enough to pick up after our dogs.

Palladian said...

Or bears.

Saint Croix said...

Why don't you keep your fucking dog on your own property and let it shit and piss there?

Probably similar to why you haven't seen a psychiatrist for your internet blogging dog poo anger management problem.

Darrell said...

@Saint Croix

I knew you didn't have a reasonable explanation why it's OK to bring your dog to another homeowner's property when you don't want to deal with it at yours.

Perhaps you should prractice that straw trick. I just might make you do it next time. Now get the fuck off my lawn.

Saint Croix said...

Why are you threatening me with a baseball bat, anyway? This is America. Everybody knows you threaten people with a gun.

Baseball bat can't stop the poo.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

Baseball bat can't stop the poo
Technically, neither would the gun…HOWEVER, being beaten black and blue or shot might deter future dog poo activities.

prairie wind said...

It's shit! You leave it laying around! WTF?

Thanks for that rant; I'm going to chuckle all afternoon about it. You don't need a cape, bagoh20, you just need a bag, for crying out loud.

BTW, when did the infantile "poo" become common usage? Come on, people. It's shit. If you want to be polite, it is crap. Say poop, if you're really squeamish.

Carol_Herman said...

Traditional Guy, I don't think you could do this while married ... unless you're mmarried to a woman who also loves to read. But if you go to Amazon. And, plug in "book stands" ... you get these choices!

I've got a book stand so light it collapses into a pencil case.

Yeah. Sometimes, I get foods that spritz towards the book. But most times, alas, they land on clothes. So I carry (believe it or not), something called "Gonzo-Take-Me-Along.) A spritz has saved many an item.

The things you can find in the supermarket. And, at Amazon.

Carol_Herman said...

Traditional Guy at 12:12 PM

I must have! Ben Franklin was in Paris. And, was at Voltaire's bedside when he came back to Paris, just before Voltaire died.

Again, our memories can be false collectors of what we once read. Mark Twain says ... our recalls are so faulty ... we can never be telling the truth.

Jefferson was young. And, also in Paris. He took Sally Hemmings with him. He bought her fine gloves. And, in Paris she wasn't a slave. She was free! But only if she stayed in Paris. Instead, she followed Thomas home.

That's how women behave.

Carol_Herman said...

Shouting Thomas, at 9:33 AM

You know, I don't think Woodstock was in Woodstock. I think the grounds were built on Max Yasgur's farm? (Sp?) How should I know? All I remember was the rains that came ... We drove up early. And, got to park "in the back." Then, when I put my naked foot down on the ground ... as I exited the GTO ... (which had its top up). My foot went ankle deep into the manure.

Tires were supposed to spread it. But you couldn't reach this part of the farm ... once the rains came down.

Once one foot goes deep into manure ... you learn what it's like to walk through such a field. And, yes. You do. But you leave the shoes in the car.

Was I at Woodstock? Could'a fooled me.

Carol_Herman said...

John, what do you download into?

I used to listen to books on cassette. (my car's old enough it still has this part.) But I've switched to CD's. (And, Amazon no longer offers this ... unless I really hunt.)

I thought you needed an "MP3" to download ... And, then gimmicky stuff. Where you stuck wires into holes on your dashboard.

Don't know, though.

Whahoo! Glad to see people listening as well as reading!

Great to see a "Down and Out" about Disney! That myth's spreading about Main Street ... is the worst! But it makes money like nobody's business! That's why corporations go into "Disney mode."

You make money when you attract customers.

In my yoot, that's why my parents decorated their store's front windows. I loved that part of the business! The dummies had arms you could take off. And, you put a shirt onto a dummy. Buttoned it up. And, slipped the fake arms inside. To a kid the dummies looked like large dolls!)

Oh, boy. You could walk down 5th Avenue before Christmas ... and those stores front windows were schmaltz to the eyeballs!

jeff said...

"I'll take the bear lady as a neighbor any day over those worthless culls."

Ah. I missed the part where you had to choose one or the other. I would take the worthless culls as a neighbor over Adolf Hitler! Just in case they changed the choices.

mariner said...

Fred4Pres,
The problem now is how to you get those habituated bears back to eatting berries and nettles after being fed like that so long?

I wonder if the answer is, "you don't", and the choice is to put them down, or turn them out to the wild where they'll starve.

mariner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue@9 said...

Effin' bear hoarders.

They should just force her to put up a big fence and a one way entrance for the bears. That way she can keep her bears and they won't bother the neighbors.

William said...

Bears prefer the taste of peanut butter to that of old woman. Do they prefer wild berries to old woman?

MadisonMan said...

I was waiting to read that she had been killed by a bear.

David R. Graham said...

Love and loneliness are an old person's poverty. When they have means and initiative, they will effuse with the one to sublimate the other. Who can condemn a woman and her love, or an animal and theirs? It is love that is on trial here, hers and theirs. But love is never wrong, never guilty. She couldn't clean up, age and infirmity take their toll, but she could love and be loved. And neighbors and state have their justifiable frames of reference. The tragic element of life is omnipresent until the end of time. No one condemns the old woman's love for animals or theirs for her. It is a tender moment in time and not so unusual a one, as experienced livers know. The weather in Mendocino is heavenly, the sea air and grasses intoxicating. The trees and shrubs and sands seeming eternal. The winds purifying.

John said...

Carol,

I have an MP3 player NOT and I-Pod, that I bought at Best Buy 3 years ago.

I download the book files, 1 mp3 file per chapter, to my desktop or laptop.

I connect the player to the computer as a mass storage device (like a thumb drive) then drag and drop them into a directory on the player I named "Books"

In your case, download the book files to your computer, then use Windows Media Player or another program to burn them as audio files to CDs.

Or, if your car player will paly MP3 files off a CD, burn them as MP3 files.

You can download the audio books from Librivox as a single zip file but it has a 64K bitrate. I usually download the individual chapter files which have a 128K bitrate. Better sounding, though that is not a big issue with spoken word.

E-mail me at johnhenry@changeover.com if you have any questions or problems.

John Henry

JAL said...

Mendocino County?

Pot?

Budding Prospects by T.C. Boyle (1984)

Though everyone up here now probably has a license to grow ...

craig said...

Saint Croix said...

"She's a naked animal and she's relieving herself in public. Deal with it, OCD Nation."

I'll deal with it, all right. She's food, notwithstanding your affection for her. Shoot her, gut her, and make a stew out of her. Deal with it, Fifi Nation.