Bluebell, a Displeased Bison, and Other Earthfire Stories

Profile of a bison's head

Foffy the Mustang, Garrett the Farrier, and Bluebell the Displeased Bison

Bluebell was not pleased. It is not good when Bluebell is not pleased. She is a massive, powerful, assertive matriarch with very large horns and a bit of an attitude. The horse-shoer pulled his truck up to the paddock where Foffy, our gorgeous blonde mustang girl, was held in preparation for trimming her hooves. But the horse-shoer and his truck were interlopers–especially when the truck made noises as he prepared his tools. We led Foffy out and tied her to the fence as Bluebell came galloping over and put on a full displeased-bison display, grunting, tossing her massive head, pawing the ground, and hopping up and down.

Bison laying in a dust wallow, sticking her tongue out
Bluebell the Not-So-Sweet • Photo by Earthfire Institute

We decided to move the truck, the horse-shoer, and poor Foffy, who by now was quite distressed at being tied in the vicinity of this expression of pure rage. Retreat was the better part of valor. It’s interesting – when we have retreats, for some reason, Bluebell is the sweetest, gentlest creature (except for driving all the other animals away so she gets all the attention). She comes over to visit and demand healing energy from the adoring visitors. Not a sign of aggression, for people she has also never met before. What is the difference? Maybe they bring a different energy? Bluebell is extremely sensitive to energies.

Light palomino horse against a snowy backdrop
Foffy the Mustang • Photo by Earthfire Institute

In October, during our last retreat of the year, one of the participants received an interesting message from Foffy. She felt discarded, worthless. Here she was, gorgeous in her own right, and all the visitors wanted to do was fawn over Bluebell and Nima, our white bison. She was a mere horse, an unimportant being. We will not allow people to make that mistake again!

Hay Delivery

We brought in the year’s supply of hay the other day. It’s always quite an event, massive bales of sweet, fresh, green hay piled in by tractor. Foffy, Sarah, Frazzle, Bluebell and Nima watched the whole process with intense interest. All that food! So fresh! We decide we’d better feed them right away before they got too worked up. The burros were braying in fake starvation mode and the bison were walking the fence, restless.

Five sparrows sitting on a branch
Sparrows • Photo by Bachkova Natalia (

When we finished, a flock of sparrows arrived from nowhere and attached themselves to the sides of the bales. I’m not sure what they wanted with the bits they pulled out, but it was An Event to join. A hay party? Maybe it was just that this damp and cloudy early November has left everything gray and brown, and the hay was a lovely green.

Susan Eirich cuddling with a malamute dog
Susan and Woodle • Photo by Earthfire Institute

Woodle's Air Conditioner

We removed Woodle’s air conditioner from the window today. She doesn’t need it any longer, lying safe in our cemetery, with us, yet not. I bought it for her two summers ago as the weather heated, she got older, and her breathing difficulties progressed. It helped her to stay cool and breathe easier. A tiny price to pay, an air conditioner. It gave me comfort to see her lying beneath it, comfortable with the cool air blowing over her. I loved her so.

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