Hippie Cows and Biting LadyBugs

by kfrego

Camping and working in the Couer D’Lene National Forest was a wonderful experience for our young family. The security of our camper bus gave Linda  considerable peace of mind while spending days alone with the kids. We camped in an area of huge cedar trees with many of the trees four feet in diameter at the stump. The cedars provided a lot of shade and the ground beneath them was relatively clear of brush and undergrowth. It was a perfect playground for our two and four year old children.The cedar trees were protected by the Forest Service. If one of them fell over from a natural condition the Forest Service would give permits for making shingles out of the downed trees. The crews would cut the tree in large round blocks, lay them flat on the ground, and hand split the cedar shakes. It was quite an operation to watch as they accurately split the shakes and bundled them for shipment.

There was always something interesting around camp. The kids favorite animals were the Highlander Cattle which grazed the forest lands. The Highlanders are a cows version of the shaggy dog. They are covered with long shaggy hair. They aren’t very big, but the long hair gives them a very distinct look. Often in the evenings or if coming into camp after dark, the cows would be bedded down in the middle of the narrow dirt logging roads. They weren’t overly fond of abandoning their nice warm beds. The horn or headlights didn’t faze them at all. The only thing that would get them moving was a little pressure from a cold chrome bumper. The kids loved moving them out of our way.

One afternoon after work Linda and I sat outside while the kids played. I felt a bite on my arm. To my surprise it was a lady bug. I commented about getting bit just as Linda received a lady bug bite too. They were everywhere and not acting like the lady bugs we were used to. Come to find out we were very close to a large nest of hatching lady bugs. Guess they were just hungry. They were around a couple days. After that the remaining lady bugs never bothered us at all.

Linda had a favorite yearling black bear who often visited her. The young bear would stand behind a small cedar tree across the road, peek around the side, and watch or listen. The bear was intensely curious with music coming from the radio in the bus. It would look, cock it’s head to listen, and try to comprehend what the noise was. If no music was playing the bear stayed mostly hidden. When the music started it would come out again. Linda took lots of pictures of the bear.

My mother spent a couple weeks in camp with us. She had a near miss when a hornet stung her on the neck. She went into partial respiratory distress from the sting. She gradually resumed adequate respiration. We were forty five minutes from any medical facility. Mom, Linda, and the kids were in camp while Denny and I mined underground.

The biting lady bugs and hornets were mean…………that’s why the highlander cattle and young bear were the neighborhood favorites.