Janet Day: Sign of the times: Free couches, bears in town and the restaurant shuffle
Talk of the Valley
Signs of the Times. There’s a little nip in the early morning air and a lot of other signs pointing to the change of seasons.
The end of a tourist season always seems to be marked in our residential areas by the weekenders or seasonal renters who move their unwanted, tattered pieces of furniture and barely functioning appliances to the side of the road with a hand-painted “FREE” sign lazily propped next to them. What makes these people think anyone wants their unusable castoffs? A plaid couch with two ripped cushions? A three-legged table? A television that may have been serviceable when “The Simpsons” debuted?
If these items didn’t go during the “everything must go” yard sale, it’s unlikely anyone will want them for free, especially after they’ve been rained on, covered in road dust and marked by every dog in the neighborhood. Attention roadside depositors: if no one has picked up your discards after a day or, at most, two, take the stuff to the dump. Otherwise, it’s just littering.
Hungry bears, marauding chipmunks and ground squirrels, the increasingly vocal early morning howling of coyotes and the appearance of heavy red rosehips also signal the onset of pre-winter.
I’ve been chasing little critters out of my office with some regularity lately. They’re just a cute nuisance. The bears, on the other hand, are a serious problem. They’re everywhere and getting into everything. My neighborhood has one that cruises the dumpsters and trash cans after midnight, hoping for a few more tourists who don’t lock containers. A couple particularly brazen bruins are wandering around Old Town and Winter Park Resort in broad daylight. I fear for their future as they seem to have become too accustomed to people.
So please, be bear aware. Keep food, including pet food, inside. Use locking garbage containers and don’t leave them outside until trash pickup day. Lock the bear bars on dumpsters. If you see a bear, make some noise to shoo it away, but don’t try to get close for a photo. And if a bear does get into the trash, clean it up before magpies, foxes and dogs spread it around the neighborhood.
The most interesting and amusing anti-bear tip I’ve seen recently was to put rags soaked in Pine-Sol on trash containers. I know most animals don’t like pine, mint or citrus smells and tastes, but I can’t get out of my head the image of a bear sniffing around cleanser-studded trash and thinking “Hmmm, maybe I should just go home and tidy up the den before hibernation.”
Another sign of the changing seasons is the changing face of the local retail and restaurant scene. A flurry of openings, closures and moves seems to take place every Fall and Spring in advance of new seasons of tourists. Mo Henry’s Trout Shop has moved more often in a few years’ time than even Fontenot’s restaurant. Base Camp Bakery is now the Rise and Shine Cafe ($4.50 breakfasts for locals) and Mama Falzitto’s is becoming a sushi restaurant. I can eat my weight in sushi a few times a month, but it will be interesting to see if this small community can support two raw fish restaurants.
The Grand Theater Company wrapped up its summer of murders, mysteries and pirates. But we won’t be without community theater — the company just opened a new show, Honky Tonk Laundry, which will play through September.
A few vestiges of summer are hanging around. Mountain biking. Patio dining. And a hike up to Devil’s Thumb this weekend found hillsides still full of colorful wildflowers, clinging to their blooms above timberline in spite of the calendar.
Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.
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