— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I learned something: Wolves are not convenient. Dogs are. So I finally decided to be practical, at least in this one instance. After having wolves, wolf-hybrids, and a malamute (nearest dog to wolf hybrids, who also didn’t listen and ran away every chance she got), I broke down and got a dog-dog, a German Shepherd. People had been telling me for years to get one, but I loved my wild ones. Then, partly for Jean, who was in need of an excellent canine assistant trainer, and partly because I wanted something that might listen and not run away at the first opportunity into a blizzard in the middle of the night and risk being shot (wolf hybrid). Or run away...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — The Tale of Two Stuck Ducks I was walking by the enclosure where Meenie and her duck family live, when an unusual movement caught my eye. There was something stuck in the fence. That was odd. There shouldn’t be anything there. I walked closer. There were two somethings, actually. Two plump little duck bottoms stuck in the fence, wiggling furiously as they tried to get through an opening much too small for them, back into safety and Momma. They must have squeezed their way through the opening between the fence posts and couldn’t find their way back in. I took one soft brown bottom in each hand and pulled, to the accompaniment of extensive quacking by...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — The Experimental Duckling Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be too exploratory (too soon). I will explain……. We had a first here – after years of laying eggs and sitting on them, this July we had an Event. Our lovely brown female duck, Meenie, was finally rewarded for her patience. This was the second sitting of the year. The first one ended in the eggs disappearing one by one until she was sitting on one - and then none. It was hard to watch. Her patient hope and work ended in nothing, the shells of stolen eggs the only testament to what had happened or to the fact that hope had ever existed. If you ever watched the laying of eggs, that alone is...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — They are so utterly charming, those delicate killdeer who arrive as harbingers of spring and race along the ground so fast and smoothly they look like they are moving on a conveyor belt. Except for those little legs, which go a mile a minute. Each year they return, their plaintive cries filling the air. They lay their eggs on the ground, always a risk, but they have two survival tricks. One is when you approach a nest, they run away, trying to lure you with cries and the appearance of being injured. The other is their camouflage. They lay their eggs on rocky ground and darned if you will ever see them. The other day, Jean called me over to the buffalo...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Adrianna the goat wasn’t feeling well in the evening. She refused to get up. She had diarrhea. Worried, we called the vet. "Was she wormed? Was she vaccinated? Take her temperature and call us in the morning.” Easier said than done. Taking the temperature of a feisty goat regardless of her not feeling well was not a simple process. She didn’t agree to it. It took two of us, and she refused to be distracted. The first time she resisted and complained about the indignity so vehemently that Jean took the thermometer out too soon and we had to do it again. Would she ever speak to us again? We had never had to manhandle her before. After all that fuss,...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Brunnhilde the Hen: We have on the property some very strong-minded, independent and exploratory chickens. There is little that escapes their notice or their investigative interest as they wander the property seeking treats. We are not safe when we leave the office door open on lovely days...She doesn’t respect boundaries. (If only she could type…) Cherry blossoms enliven a local parking lot | Photo by Earthfire Glorious Blossoms: Every spring as I drive through the supermarket parking lot to get my mail, I pass these magnificent blooming cherry trees. There they grow, planted to beautify the lot, surrounded by asphalt, cars, exhaust, grocery...

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