THE EARTHFIRE BLOG

Fish swimming in water above rocks

A Great Fish, A Native Fish

Some 20 years ago, I wrote this article while trying to save part of a wildlife corridor in danger of being lost to development. I didn’t succeed, but hope springs...

Red-Tailed Hawk sitting in a tree

As I drive to town to pick up my daily mail, she sits there, high up on the right---an elegant hawk on top of a telephone pole. She has a grand view of her hunting grounds across the farm and sagebrush fields, though I wish there were a tree she could sit on. Every day I wish for her to have a good meal, thinking of her own hunger and possible babies. And then I think of the adorable, family-oriented little ground squirrels, who would be the most likely meal, and I cringe to think of the loss in their close-knit families.  The other day, as I drove around the curve in my driveway, I encountered another hawk, who had just caught a ground squirrel and was taking off with it in his talons....

Wolf dog sniffs a man's hand

Hope is an extravagantly handsome dog who has wolf ancestry, although we aren’t sure what percentage of wolf. He lives with us at Earthfire---which is a good thing, because otherwise, he would have been euthanized by a bullet. Several years ago, Jean and Susan got a call from a woman in a subdivision with a story. What appeared to be a wolf was hanging around her subdivision and had made friends with her two dogs. She liked him. She saw that he was lonely. But other residents were naturally alarmed to see this large creature trotting through yards and calling out to their dogs. The sheriff tried to trap him several times, but was unsuccessful . The next solution was to shoot...

Orphaned baby squirrel eating from an eye dropper

Mid March The towels in the shoe box gave a suspicious lurch. There is Life in there! Every day, they change. Ears a little perkier. Tails up across their backs. Three blind heads poking out from the edge of the box. I reach in to take one out for feeding and she gives a sudden, electric jerk as she feels my touch. Just one—but it’s the sign of a rapidly maturing nervous system, a harbinger of things to come. Before this, they had been helpless and passive. In a few weeks, their reflexes will be so quick it will be impossible to catch them or even track them with our eyes. End March Oh dear! Their eyes are opening and the box is moving a lot—sudden jerky little movements. I know...

Seeds in various stages of germination

The news that is foremost in nearly everyone's mind right now is coronavirus. But these stories show that some good has come of this pandemic: A positive perspective on coronavirus: what if the virus is the medicine? The toilet paper shortage has a lot of people buying bidets, and that's a good thing for the environment. Vietnam is following China's lead in banning the trade and consumption of wildlife. Of all the shortages brought on by coronavirus, this is one we can get behind: New York City animal shelters have been emptied of pets looking for foster homes or adoption. And in other inspiring news: Keas, a species of parrot native to New Zealand, have a knack...

Three orphaned squirrel babies snuggle in a towel

Dear Squirrel Momma, We have your three babies and they are doing well. You took such good care of them---all three were sleek and well fed. Together, they must weigh more than you! How did you keep them all fed and cleaned so well? You had to feed yourself and make enough milk for them---and during the winter. What an amazing feat. The first couple of days were a difficult adjustment for all of us, as they didn’t like the rubber nipple and we couldn’t get them to defecate after the change in diet, but it looks like that challenge is over. The milk formula we give them is no substitute for yours, made by your very body and taken into theirs in an exquisite continuity of Squirrelness...

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