— by Susan Eirich, PhD — The other day it was lying chickens. Now it is jealous humans -  jealous of the bears.  Kindly visitors had asked what they could bring for the animals. Among other things*, we said meaty bones for the foxes, coyotes, wolves and cats, and cherry pies for the bears. Visitors and bears enjoyed the pies enormously – the visitors watching, and the bears eating. The pies were consumed in various styles:  two gulps for one, setting down for a long pie session for another,  delicately licking the cherries and juice out of the crust for a third. I came back to the office and mentioned how much the bears had enjoyed their pies. I got a chorus of...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — It snowed the other day, a heavy early snow. Too soon! That was the consensus of man and mouse; woman and chicken. I was looking out at the gloomy day when Jean came to me to and accused, “You didn’t feed the chickens!” “But I did!” I protested. “Well, they say you didn’t.” “But I DID!” He looked at me doubtfully. “That’s not what they said” (actual conversation). I don’t know which is worse, lying chickens or a partner who chooses their word over mine. I ask you, with all due respect for chickens and their trustworthiness, (or not) – who had the most to gain by lying? What they had done, I assumed, is play extra pathetic...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — We all have our ways of looking at life, being attracted to what is important to us (hopefully that is defined by ourselves rather than others). Yesterday I was driving in Jackson, Wyoming when I saw a tall naked tree trunk standing on a street corner, all its branches severed, a tall scarred column. A strange sight. It was a pine tree, boughs scattered on the ground.  A tree service truck was parked nearby. I screeched to a halt, backed up and got out. Fresh pine boughs! Porcupine delight!  A young man in a hard hat was gathering the boughs to be put into a chipper. When I told him it was for a porcupine and that I ran an animal sanctuary he was delighted...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — Although double in size and way old enough, our newest addition to Earthfire refuses to give up her bottle and move on to the squirrel version of peas and carrot. She will only accept almonds. Or maybe hazelnuts. How do you discipline a baby squirrel to eat her veggies? 2 October 2017 Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings....

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — We had a high wind the other day - so high that a 65’ cottonwood cracked and then crashed directly in front of the bear enclosures. The bears dashed for their dens and were not to be seen. There was the dead silence of bear shock. After a while Teton Totem crept forward to investigate this change in his environment, a dawning gleam in his eyes. It had been cold, damp, dismal the past few days and here right in front of him was a gold mine - leaves! Masses of leaves! Bedding! He reached out and gathered them to him, bunch after bunch, gathered  them into his den and packed himself an early bed. He wasn’t really ready to hibernate for another month or two,...

Earthfire Journal
14 September 2017

Ragged Geese

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — When you look up into the sky and see ragged looking formations of geese (very ragged), you know it is late summer. The young ones are practicing for their long migration. In late summer, their haunting cries fill the air as they begin their sessions- a few geese here, a few there. I wonder how they find each other in the end, choosing companions for the long and dangerous flight. By now they have become more coordinated, individually and as a flock, and the flocks are larger, one goose after another taking turns at the helm. It is not an easy thing, making a perfect aerodynamic V formation. It takes work and leadership as well as instinct. I feel...