Humble Bumble the BearPhoto by: Earthfire

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

I offered Teton a slice of fresh pineapple. He looked at it with disdain. Didn’t bother to even sniff it, just walked away. Stately. He is a mango and pear sort of bear.

Humble Bumble, on the other hand, got that special look in his eye as he saw his favorite treat and gently laid his bulk down to thoroughly enjoy it. Juice dripped out of his jaws as he bit into the tender yellow flesh. Usually, everything he does is somewhat chaotic and messy.
Major Bear's Plate and Humble Bumble's Plate Humble Bumble's Pineapple

Humble Bumble’s destroyed pie plate (and Major Bear’s intact one) vs. Humble Bumble’s pineapple plate | Earthfire

But pineapple? Somehow he managed to control his ADHD tendencies and trim it right down to the tough skin – not easy when you have such big teeth. I guess all of us can focus temporarily when we have to. Or want to….

Bluebell the Buffalo

Bluebell the Buffalo | Tony Cross

Bluebell at it Again

I look out the window at the pasture, movement catching my eye. The pasture animals – Frazzle and Sarah the burros, Foffy the mustang, and Nima and Bluebell the bison – are all moving purposefully in one direction, led by Bluebell. This is suspicious.

Another movement attracts my eye – the water is gushing from the pump in the pasture! That shouldn’t be! Oh dear,not again!! Bluebell accidentally turned it on last year while scratching herself vigorously and nearly started water wars.

Curious now, we go to check the stock tanks where they usually get their water. They are bone dry. Our new help apparently forgot to fill them yesterday. Bluebell comes galloping over and butts the empty tanks contemptuously, making a great racket. But the big question: did she deliberately turn the pump on???? She would have remembered that there was water from her scratching incident last year. If she did, that would be really something. A matriarch intentionally providing water for her “herd.”

Salamander

The Salamander | Earthfire

The Mysterious Salamander

Walking along the packed dirt and gravel between the office and the chicken coop I saw an oddly shaped dark object. It was a salamander. Small, dark green, moist. How did it get there? We live in a high, dry desert. From where did it come? Where was it going? We picked it up lest it be stepped on–or eaten by the chickens–and carried it to a small man-made pond we have in the wildlife garden–the nearest water for miles. The next day it was back in the same place. Would it live? What was it eating? Very mysterious.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose | Jessica Friedman

A Magnificent, Dangerous Journey

The wild cries of migrating geese echo over the property often now, sometimes several times a day. Formation after formation, some of them changing leaders as I watched to conserve energy for the whole group. The sound never fails to thrill, resonating deep in my human psyche, along with sadness for the coming end of the year. I wish every one of them well as they pass directly over our land, hoping for them a safe passage on their magnificent, dangerous journey.

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.

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