Randomness from Mr. Observation

15 Jan

Maggie and I went out to the farm the other day, which is not news since we do that every single day to feed the chickens and collect eggs.

Just before we reached the main gate I looked off to my left and saw the coyote which has been killing our chickens of late.  He was standing in a hollow about one-hundred yards from us.  Maggie did not see him.  So I parked the truck on the farm, now maybe two-hundred yards from where the coyote had been seen, and Maggie and I got out of the truck.  Maggie sniffed the air once and took off running in the direction of the coyote.  Mind you, we could not see the coyote from where I parked the truck, but Maggie was aware enough of the scent, carried on a gentle breeze, and she was off and running.

It was an amazing moment, really.  Of course I am aware that animals have keen senses, but to actually see just how keen, firsthand, took my breath away.

Things like that happen all the time on the farm.

Did you know that chickens have independent eyes? One eye is constantly looking at the ground in search of food; the other eye is always looking for predators.  It’s pretty cool to watch if you find yourself on a farm someday.

There’s a llama out at the farm, and the two sheep that are at the farm instinctively stay close to the llama for protection. Two difference species which somehow understand their roles in a partnership.

Walk up to that llama and the first thing she will do is put her face directly in front of your face, and I’m talking two or three inches.  She is smelling you, determining whether you can be trusted, and one thing you can do, to build that trust, is to gently blow air in the llamas face.  I swear I’m not making this up. I’ve done it, and that llama will come to the fence line to greet me whenever I’m at the farm . . . because she trusts me, and I passed the greeting ritual with flying colors.

It’s all just fascinating to me!

There are also guinea hens on the farm, and peacocks, and when they sense a predator is nearby (usually the same coyote) they will join in on a chorus of high-pitched screeching to warn all, and as soon as that screeching commences Cleo, the farm dog who lives there, will come racing out of the home to chase off the coyote. Who needs ADT Security when you have guinea hens and peacocks?

Anyway, the point is this: there is a big old world out there which is fascinating if we allow ourselves to observe, and observation is a valuable tool for a writer.  Go take a nature walk and really observe what’s happening around you. Go walk downtown and really observe the people you see.  It’s all there for you, for free, and it is all fuel for the next short story or novel.

Next week I think we’ll talk about ground fog if you have no objections.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

30 Responses to “Randomness from Mr. Observation”

  1. Mike January 15, 2019 at 6:02 pm #

    Hi Bill – You certainly are living the good life. I think you would enjoy reading, “A Sand County Almanac”

    • Billybuc January 15, 2019 at 6:05 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation, Mike! I just might check it out in the near future.

  2. Emese-Réka January 15, 2019 at 6:08 pm #

    The world around is is truly fascinating, you are right abotu that, Bill. I love farm animals, and I felt like I was right beside you and Maggie; thanks for taking me along for the ride.

    • Billybuc January 15, 2019 at 6:09 pm #

      My pleasure, Emese. It was nice having you join us on the walk. Thank you!

  3. Shannon Henry January 15, 2019 at 6:20 pm #

    Very interesting. I had no idea chickens had independent eyes. I am, however, also fascinated by the senses of animals. Our dog can hear people coming to the door to knock before we can. She recognizes people she doesn’t know in the parking lot before we know someone is even there, and if it’s someone she doesn’t know she’ll growl. If she knows the person she just goes to the door and wags her tail. I’ve also had cats that knew a thunderstorm was coming before we were ever alerted. We could tell by their behavior.Nature is amazing!

    By the way, did she run the coyote off?

    • Billybuc January 15, 2019 at 6:22 pm #

      That’s cool about the cats, Shannon. I had no idea they could do that…and yes, Cleo ran the coyote off, and yesterday Maggie chased it off again.

  4. Janine Huldie January 15, 2019 at 7:14 pm #

    Very fascinating indeed and sorry I am late to the party, but was finishing a sponsored draft for a client and was editing photos today. So, busy, busy, busy. But just did have to check in and now want to wish you a wonderful Tuesday ahead with many more musings I hope in store for you 🙂

    • Billybuc January 16, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

      You are never late to the party, Janine! You are always an honored guest and friend here.

  5. Shauna L Bowling January 15, 2019 at 8:24 pm #

    Very cool, Bill. I didn’t know dogs could chase away coyotes. I thought it was the other way around. You certainly have lots of inspiration out there, my friend.

    The other day I was standing out in the parking lot at work, which overlooks a retention pond off Little Wekiva River. I go out there during my lunch break to smoke and check out what nature’s up to. (We have a couple of gators, turtles, and all kinds of wading birds). Anyway, I was standing out there one day last week when suddenly a hawk came swooping overhead from behind me, dove into the pond and came up with a fish in his talons. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen! Then later that day, he did it again but came up empty handed. What are the odds of seeing something like that twice in one day! I could have kicked myself for not having my camera with me – or at least my phone.

    • Billybuc January 16, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

      Now that would be spectacular, Sha! I wish I had seen that…..nature is unbelievable, and it happens daily for our entertainment…and it’s free!!!

  6. Ruchira Khanna January 16, 2019 at 2:46 am #

    I absolutely loved to read about the different ways the animals perceive danger, and live their lives.
    You are surrounded with God’s bestest nature!
    Bill, you should probably write a children’s book/young adult on the various animals. It’s interesting to read it like this vs. in a text book via a school 😛

    I made my teen read the above, and he read it with great interest!

    • Billybuc January 16, 2019 at 2:45 pm #

      Thank you Ruchira! I passed the teen test? How cool is that?

  7. Shell Vera January 16, 2019 at 3:39 am #

    No objection about ground fog and we won’t talk about how I thought Maggie was your wife’s name and that you and she were the ones who went to the farm… imagine my giggle when I realized my goof in the second or third paragraph after cheering for her taking off after the coyote after smelling the air! Yes, I have that kind of nose so it seems so normal for a moment!! 😂😂 Oh my. I really should read earlier in the day!!

    I love to observe my world and take note! Thanks for sharing!

    • Billybuc January 16, 2019 at 2:45 pm #

      You had me howling, Shell, about Maggie. That is way too funny. I can just see Bev chasing after a coyote! LOL

      • Shell Vera January 16, 2019 at 8:20 pm #

        😂😂 Bev!!! I knew it was a name I held dear. Both Maggie and Bev are name I hold dear because of the friendships I had with women by those names. Too funny. I wonder sometimes why they let me out of the house or how I got through school… then I remember, most of the time I do okay – it’s those fun occasional though where my brain is replaced by jell-o that create some laughs!! 😂😂

      • Billybuc January 17, 2019 at 2:39 pm #

        Well, Shell, I happen to love jello, so there!

  8. suziehq January 16, 2019 at 9:19 am #

    Incredible what is around us when we take a minute to really look and listen. Animals have amazing instincts, Maggie must be fabulous to watch and all the residents at the farm doing their bit! Nature at its best! Continue to enjoy, embrace and soak up all that makes this a wonderful place to be part of Bill.

    • Billybuc January 16, 2019 at 2:46 pm #

      Thank you Irish! I love my time at the farm…such a fascinating place.

      My best to you and the Mickster!

  9. Greg Boudonck January 16, 2019 at 11:41 am #

    Observation is one of the keys to great writing. You do it quite well my friend.

    • Billybuc January 16, 2019 at 2:47 pm #

      Thank you Greg…as do you, I might add!

  10. Sageleaf January 16, 2019 at 12:47 pm #

    Hehe…that ADT security company, in my experience, is actually quite shady, lol. Second, I love what you say here on so many levels. The power of instinct and intuition. Indeed, animals can’t (and don’t need to) learn “tips for the next blog post” or engage in watching a screen, reading a book, using spoken language (and I mean “spoken” because they have languages unto themselves). They have an advantage in not being influenced by addiction or thirst for knowledge – they exist, go with their instincts, and they do just fine as a whole. They’ve persisted for millions of years. Humans have helped some of them along, but still…they are all creatures capable of teaching us more than we can know or understand at present (because humans seem to be at war with nature). Your posts, my friend, often catalyze a rolling jumble of thoughts in my head that result, probably, in some sort of word splatter in these comments. A sign of an incredible writer. 🙂

    • Billybuc January 16, 2019 at 2:49 pm #

      You are too kind, Lil Sis, but thank you very much. I just learned that chickens communicate, and how they do it. It is soooo cool! There’s this other world right in front of us, happening daily, and we are lucky enough to witness it.

      Hugs from chilly Olympia!

  11. Rodric Johnson January 16, 2019 at 6:48 pm #

    This was great Bill. I get caught up in writing and other things so much that I forget to pause and enjoy all that is around me. Nature is inspirational if we do not dismiss it the simplicity of nature and the fellow creatures with whom we share the planet.

    • Billybuc January 17, 2019 at 2:39 pm #

      Isn’t it amazing, Rodric, how we get so busy we ignore the beauty we are graced with?

  12. phoenix2327 January 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    Excellent, Bill. Ground fog is such a great jumping off point for stories of horror and the supernatural. Can’t wait.

    • Billybuc January 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

      Now I’ll have to follow through, Zulma! What was I thinking when I gave you that carrot? lol

      • phoenix2327 January 17, 2019 at 3:09 pm #

        Clearly, you weren’t. 😀 If you want to put me off, try a cucumber. I cannot abide those. lol

      • Billybuc January 17, 2019 at 3:46 pm #

        Just one more reason for me to like you, Zulma!

  13. Andrea Stephenson January 19, 2019 at 6:14 pm #

    These are fascinating observations Bill, as you know I love to walk in nature and observe what happens there!

    • Billybuc January 20, 2019 at 3:45 pm #

      You would be most welcomed on our walks,Andrea! Thank you!

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