Bears Bees Honks and Hoots
By Harv Sterriker
Copyright 2011 Harv Sterriker
Readers may copy this book for their own personal use and enjoyment. Educational groups, libraries, schools, home schools, religious groups, and students may copy these materials including the study/discussion guides for each story which are found at the end of my book. Bears Bees Honks and Hoots may not be copied and resold for profit.
Table of Contents
Hungry Willie -
A Dog in a Race –
The Swan and I -
Nature’s Scents -
Big Jack -
Willie was a big black bear who raced out of the woods one day to chase a goose. He was so hungry he could have eaten a full grown moose. He only found some blueberries and ate several pounds. The berries all were very good so he picked another patch out in the woods. He picked in raspberry patches too and then moved on to some places that were new. He visited a campsite garbage bin. It smelled so fresh he jumped right in. He finally tipped the bin over to look inside. It had held old samples of cherry pie. The honkers soon found it too. They especially loved left over oyster stew.
Willie knew where there was a honey tree. He was afraid of nasty bees – but this year he was so hungry that one day he climbed up into the big bee apple honey tree. When the bees realized Willie had come – things really began to buzz and hum in the late setting summer sun. The geese from a distance watched hungry Willie run.
A Dog in a Race
Our dog Carlo was sprawled out and panting at the front yard gate. You’d have thought that by his appearance he had done some hard work - but not the case. He just wanted to lie stretched out and snooze. He seldom yipped or growled. The sun hadn’t even set but the day’s chores were done. Our pony Little Red had been watered and fed. The horses, Maud and Fred were frolicking and rolling near the storage shed. Dad said, “Let’s all go for an evening ride. It’s not late. We’ll stop and visit relatives a few miles away. It’s not that far - come on get in the car.”
Carlo was the first to excitedly leap through the back seat door. The folks and boys all piled in behind. There was a va – room – va – room -va-room. The old thirty-eight Chevy was tuned and roared. Then the gutsy cruiser sped away up old highway twenty-nine. Everyone was chattering at the same time. Tim said, “I fed my pet goose Lucy some corn and then we played.” Dad said, “I put up sixty-nine bales of hay.” Mother said, “I mended four pairs of pants without pay.” The cruiser just raced up state highway twenty-nine. No rain - no fog - no train - to detain us as we sailed along. The lights were on - just cruising with our dog, Carlo in back. Suddenly - faster than you could jerk your head a huge mountain of eared corn loomed ahead in the center of the road - too late -.
This was a fateful date. The old thirty-eight hit the pile and climbed to the highest point then stopped. - stuck on a mountain top of corn on state highway twenty-nine. Dad revved the engine again and again. It roared. It seemed like we were on top of Pike’s Peak looking down. We could even see the lights of a neighboring town. The old thirty-eight had tried to go. It wasn’t like driving through winter sleet and snow. It stalled again. Carlo was staring out the open window. He was appalled and he knew that the old thirty-eight had failed. He didn’t like where thirty-eight had parked. He barked and barked and barked. Everyone got out surveying the scene. Then all scooped and scooped corn from beneath the thirty-eight. No easy task - but Carlo helped digging corn from behind and in front of each wheel.
Everyone got back into the car. Dad tried again. He gunned the engine until it whined. Shelled corn flew all over highway twenty-nine. The tires spun so fast that they chewed down the corn pile and spit corn out like confetti hail - like a summer blizzard - corn flying through the air everywhere. Finally the old Chevy thirty-eight hit the tarred road and we headed up - just cruising and racing up state highway twenty-nine. Carlo barked the rest of the way knowing he had helped dig the family out of a corn pile on the way.
The Swan and I
The swan slides to a water landing and calls out yea -! I don’t have to pay to stay parked in the sun light on this cool waterway. Why do I have to pay to park my cool car when I - slide or play?
The swan lightly bobs without a worry. No need to squawk push or hurry. Why when I - slightly overstay my bobbing time do I - have to pay more than just a dime?
The swan gracefully glides through the fresh open air without a flight plan or a care but when I - ride through the air - no fresh air – no extra room in my seat to spare.
The swan eats free food. What swans love the most is swany toast and fries. Oh why do I - when flying to the store need to buy plastic and hard to open packages of fruity flavored gum - crispy toast - and pecan pie?
The swan has a flashy coat and dress with preened feathers to impress but when I - wanting fancy clothes and dress have to spend my last greenback to impress.
The swan has a large sunny water home and a brook in which to swim and roam I - have a little home near a brook. Why do they tax me for my small home and my little fishing hook?
Summer was the perfect time to inhale the earthy smells of alfalfa and sweet clover blooms - the garden aromas of fruits and vegetables were also there. The boy remembered the smell of strawberries – raspberries – blueberries and other fantastic fruits. The earth abounded with these - nature’s gifts. Lying out under open skies the boy was thinking too of Great Grandma’s pies. All these thoughts enhanced these special scents. The hay had been hauled and stored in the barn for winter use. The boy smelled all this good stuff. Nature’s spell surrounded him in a thousand ways.
Suddenly faster than a horse can flick its tail the air grew bad and his breath almost failed. Happiness turned into despair. The boy was really turning pale. All his senses were impaired. Disgust flashed into his mind. His joy ruined by a fighting coon and skunk that couldn’t settle their differences in a civil way. Perhaps the big coon had strayed into the realms of the skunk. Stinky had told coon to go away. He couldn’t stay in his domain. Coon said,” Yes I can.” and that’s when the real big fight began. Coon got sprayed. Thanks for ruining a perfect day.
Big Jack went out back of his house every day to practice with his new bow. He would string it and and listen to the pling-pling-pling of the string and other things like checking the sharpness of the arrow tips. - the straightness of his arrow shafts - the ridged feathers - and the nocks. He was a fanatic about this ritual which remained a habit of his for many years. This guy was so determined and serious that he would go out for days and sleep in his weather beaten hunting shack to scout and practice tracking animals in the snow. Sometimes he would track bear. - Sometimes he tracked moose - elk – and mountain lions. One day he even tracked some honking snow geese – He’d track whatever was there. It could be snowing but he didn’t care. Jack knew how to track anything –big – fast - or fierce in the woods. This was only practice - not the real shooting kind of hunt. He wore quiet hunting boots which he had bought in an outfitter’s store. They were expensive along with his – gloves – pants - orange blazer - rain hood and an extra bright orange cap. Jack knew how to read all the fine details of tracking through the trees. One day he even tracked some buzzing bees that were about to freeze. They were buzzing all around and had a nest in the ground. Jack didn’t stick around. He could read nature’s signs. Wearing his newly purchased hunting boots he looked like some dude that was dressed up to sing at a spring festival in early May. Dressed in his blazing cap and other wraps he would go tippy toeing through the woods - looking down for tracks and signs. He didn’t seem to care that the wind was blasting and throwing freezing rain and icy pellets down and pounding them mercilessly into his hair and all the ground around him. He could track an animal right up to their hidden lair. He wanted to be prepared when deer hunting season was declared open to all residents of the state. The date for opening of the hunting season had been set. Big Jack had assembled all his hunting gear at least a month in advance. He headed out the door to his part-time residence in the hunting shack. He’d be coming back with a huge trophy for sure.
He took his real hunting trip the very first weekend on the opening of hunting season. He was excited to find a big buck with an eight point rack which he had seen twice while he was scouting earlier from his shack. His greatest wish was to bring it back to have the head mounted on his wall as a trophy of the hunt. He had visions of being like the mighty hunter Hercules who captured the Acadian stag with its golden antlers which must have been of gigantic size with a rack so unique and prized. Hercules had to give it back to a king but perhaps he kept other trophies of his famous deeds on his tables or in decorated marbled halls.
Big Jack was stealthily creeping through the leaves. When he looked up he saw an animal about forty feet above him in an old pine tree. He had practiced and waited many months so he did what he did the best. He took aim with his mighty bow and with its straight arrow and shot the poor little helpless porcupine clinging helplessly to the old pine tree. A thousand sharp quills pierced my saddened heart.
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Please see the study/discussion questions attached below. The questions are in mostly sequenced order, but not always. You may wish to skip some questions or add some or your own. Happy reading and discussing my poetry. ~Harv Sterriker~
Study/discussion guide for “Little Willie”
* Who was Willie?
* Where did Willie look for food?
* What kinds of foods did Willie like?
* Who watched Willie when visiting the campsite?
* When did the goose and moose run?
* Where did the honkers find food?
* Was Willie afraid of anyone?
* How do you think Willie felt at the end of the story?
* What are some lessons we can learn from this story?
Study/discussion guide for advanced study for “Little Willie”
* How does Willie display his true animal
character in the story?
* What kinds of writing elements are in the story?
* Is there a plot in this story?
* What humorous events occurred in the story?
* Where is the irony in the story?
* Do both fiction and nonfiction elements appear in the story?
Study/discussion guide for “A Dog in a Race”
* What was Carlo doing at the beginning of the story?
* Where were the horses?
* Where did Dad want to go?
* Who was the first one in the car?
* Who was talking on the way?
* How high was the corn pile?
* What could they see from the top of the pile?
* How did Carlo help?
* What was the shelled corn compared with?
* How did Carlo feel about the situation?
* Was this really a race? Why or why not?
* Why was Carlo so excited?
Study/discussion questions for advanced study of
“A Dog in a Race”
* What made Carlo an important character in the story?
* Does Carlo show human traits? What are they?
* What writing elements has the author introduced into the story?
* What is the plot of the story?
* How is the climax of the story emphasized?
Study/discussion for “The Swan and I”
* Why was the swan so happy at the beginning of the story?
* Where is the swan?
* What is a, “bobbing time” in the story?
* How does the swan fly?
* What is the person watching referring to when he/she
complains about …no fresh air … no room to spare?
* Whose work is harder, the swans or the one complaining?
* Why is the person complaining about clothes?
* Who has a better place to live, the swan or the complainer?
* Does the complainer complain too much?
Study/discussion questions for advanced study for
“The Swan and I”
* What are some common complaints of people?
* How do animals complain?
* What are some other benefits in being a swan?
* Where would you find swan habitats?
Discussion/study guide for “Nature’s Scents”
* What were some of the smells talked about in the story?
* Who are the main characters?
* How did the boy feel at the beginning of the story?
* Who interrupted the boy’s beautiful scene?
* What did the boy think had happened?
* Who did the boy blame for the disagreement?
* Was the boy really thanking anyone?
Study/discussion guide for advanced students
of “Nature’s Scents”
* What is the opening mood of the selection?
* Could the animal relationships be comparable
with human relationships - if so - in what ways?
* Is there a good climax to the story?
* Study/discussion questions for “Big Jack”
* Who was Big Jack?
* What did he do each day?
* What kind of animals did he track?
* When Jack found the bees what did he do?
* How did Jack walk through the woods?
* Who was Jack’s hero of the past?
* Where was the animal which Jack saw?
Study/discussion questions for advanced
study of “Big Jack”
* What kind of character was Big Jack?
* Are there characters like him today?
* Are there minor characters in this story?
* How does the author emphasize the tragedy
of the story?