Sally the chicken

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Sally the chicken came marching towards me with something clearly on her mind. She had a request. Would I kindly see to it that she could get back into the coop---she needed to lay an egg. Unlike her sister, she does not do anything with timidity. She had a demand and expected it to be responded to. In fairness to her, imagine if you were chicken-sized and had an egg as large in proportion to your body as an egg is to a chicken. You might have a sense of urgency as well. I’m not sure how I knew that was her request, but somehow, I did. She doesn’t have her usual access through the dip under the fence, since the snow is melting and the dip is...

Teton Totem the Grizzly Bear

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It is late February. It is cold and blizzarding. Will someone please explain to me why Teton Totem decided to rouse himself now, of all times? I rush to the store to get dark lettuce for him. That is close to what they will eat in the wild to ease their stomach into the world of food again. He is interested. It is a bit of a break not to have to care for five bears for several months. But we do miss them. And on the very, very plus side... he survived the winter! It is a worry for me each year. I just can’t believe they can disappear like that (he went to bed in early November), not eat, not drink, and come out alive. It isn’t possible. But it...

Sparrow in hand

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It’s been snowing and snowing here---a welcome event as that is a normal winter for us. It is what life is adapted to here. Snow insulates the ground and the roots of the trees from the cold. The voles burrow along under the snow in long tunnels, feeding the magnificent great gray owls that come every winter. It gives us our water in the spring as it seeps into the aquifer below, nurturing plant life along the way. Sparrows in the trees | Earthfire However, for one unfortunate sparrow, plump and lazy from the easy pickings of stealing the chicken’s food, the snow was not a blessing. As the snow accumulates on the red metal roof above the horse,...

A Wolf-Dog and two German Shepherds

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I guess all of us change over the years. Hopefully we grow. Hope the wolf dog did. We rescued Hope a few years ago. He was a feral wolf dog, haunting a subdivision and looking for canine company. No one knew where he came from. Members of the subdivision were afraid of him and worried he would eat their dogs. They asked the sheriff to remove him. After attempts to trap him were unsuccessful, the decision was made to shoot him. But one subdivision family understood that his “lurking presence” was from loneliness rather than intent to do harm. They called us and asked if we could help. We were able to trap him and bring him home. (Read the story of how he...

Bramble the Bear splashing in the water

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Bramble the grizzly bear could be a bit of a brat---except in this incident, it was also so cute. We hold many types of retreats here, from conservation to artistic to spiritual, in keeping with the belief that Life is not simple and we need all perspectives to help us make sense of it. Thus we were holding a four-day shamanic retreat, and it was the end of the last day. The leader, Rose De Dan, wanted to take the participants on a shamanic journey in the company of the animals, so we all went into the main compound and lay down on the grass. Rose began the journey, leading us along with words and using her rattle to pulse out a rhythmic beat to help us...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — We have a tiny cactus here in the office that I have had for years. It was being originally sold as a souvenir from Arizona. It was potted in a blue pot glued to a magnet and destined to become a refrigerator decoration. I couldn’t stand life being treated that way, so I rescued it. Over the years, it has had quite an adventurous life. When it first came, a round little ball the size of a quarter, it covered itself with dozens of tiny blooms year after year. How did it produce such amazing beauty and profusion from a bit of dry soil? Then one summer, when I put it out to enjoy the Idaho sun, apparently some mice came and threw it on the ground. They...

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