Friday, May 17, 2019

Good-bye, Emu

On Saturday morning we met the emu's owner who brought the trailer that would (we hoped) return our emu to its friends.

So how would this emu be caught? Well, not easily, that's for sure. It was lured with food, but it did take a few go-arounds and some corralling. And struggling. And coordination. And strength. And patience.


Predictably, the emu was not thrilled to be in the trailer. It tried to poke its head out the back to escape. It failed. My littlest one told me later that the emu was "saying goodbye with him head."

Then, ever-so-quickly, it was all over, and the emu farmer was saying goodbye with his hand.

And that brings us to the end of our little emu drama. There are no more installments. This story will not be continued.

Unless. . . 
 (I did tell you there were more emu sightings the next valley over, right?)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Emu- Up Closer and More Personal

My five-year-old woke me up on Friday morning with, "Mommy, the emu is still here!"

At a decent hour, I called the farmer and let him know the emu was back. I left a message, but he was in business meetings all day and couldn't get back to us until the afternoon. He was going to pick up a  friend's trailer to retrieve the emu, but he wouldn't be able to get to our house until Saturday morning.

Most of Friday the emu amused us with his antics. Once again, he disappeared in the later afternoon and came back in the evening. Once again, he was there in the morning. On Saturday morning early, Mr. Emu decided to hang out even closer to the house and even on our front walkway. He even strayed down near the cemetery again.

One thing we learned about emus when all was said and done was that emu feathers have one central quill (?) that has two floppy feathers attached. 

Tune in tomorrow for the final installment of our riveting emu drama!

To Be Continued. . .

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Angles of Emu

The farmer came on Thursday afternoon, but by then the emu was gone. He left some food for it. Later in the evening, the emu was in our backyard again, but that was not where the food was. In an effort to keep that bird around until its owner could come get it, we gave it food (scratch grains, corn, oats) and water. It seemed to like it.

Emu--from the side

Emu- from the side and closer

Emu- from the back- because everybody wants their rear end plastered online!

Emu- from the other side

Man, that bird was hungry! I wish I had snapped a good picture of it drinking the water; that was a hoot to watch as it scooped up water and then stretched its long neck up. Sadly, most of our pictures were blurry through the windows and in the darkening evening.

But that's not all!

To Be Continued. . .

Saturday, May 11, 2019

What Happens When. . . Emu Vs. Guinea?

Next the emu began walking around our house in a counterclockwise direction. However, one of our three remaining guinea fowl began walking around the house in a clockwise direction. What happens when they meet?

Emu decides to investigate guinea.

Guinea decided it doesn't want to be investigated by a much larger bird.

Guinea makes haste to deliver himself.

In the end, the emu wasn't interested enough in the guinea to chase it too far, and the guinea wasn't scared enough of the emu to run too far. While we had fun when the "chase" got a little fast-paced, the entire episode was rather short-lived.

But this emu episode is not over!

To Be Continued. . .

P. S. While learning about the emu online, we learned that this week is considered National Emu Week. What a coincidence!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Emu-- Up Close and Personal

If you thought the first emu post was something else, read on, my friend, read on. 

You see, the emu wasn't content just hanging out in the cemetery. It decided it needed to pay us a visit.

Certainly you have figured out that by this time, excitement levels in our house were quite high. The phrase "bouncing off the walls" comes to mind.

At this time, while children were bubbling over with crazy,* I was making phone calls to the town office (although we live 5 miles from town), animal control, and an emu farm. For future reference, if an emu happens to wander into your yard, I found the emu farm to be most helpful. 

I learned that our emu friend was likely from the farm I called which is about 21 miles away; they had several escape last summer. Recently, between here and there, emu sightings have multiplied. However, we heard from another source that another emu farmer in another directions (but also many miles away) had some escapees, too.

Anyway, the emu farmer I talked to hit the road to come check things out at our house.

To be continued. . . 

*FULL DISCLOSURE-- I may also have been on the high energy spectrum, but cut me some slack: who has an emu just show up at their house?!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Really Big Distraction

So, do you remember my last post about distractions from our books and teachable moments and wonder and learning and all that?


I'm struggling with words for this post because. . . well. . .

Why don't you see for yourself?

Why, yes, that is an emu down in the church's cemetery!  Oh, did you think the emu was native to Australia? And don't we live in Maryland in the USA? 

If you were asking yourself those questions, don't think you're crazy. It is all true. Yet an emu was wandering about all the same!

To be continued. . . 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


I don't know any homeschooling mom who doesn't groan daily (at least inwardly) because of the distractions that keep the curriculum from being accomplished. This year potty-training kept pulling me away from the books. Meal prepping and making, because eating is one of those necessary things in life, constantly drag me away from math lessons.

Sometimes, however, I'm able to step back and recognize some distractions as a different and better kind of learning.

While this chemical reaction experiment was part of the younger kids' science curriculum, the whole family took part when it was time to light up the smoke bomb. This was definitely a fun distraction from the daily grind. It was over all too quickly.

Our home-made smoke bomb

I'm not always good about being patient with little kids who wander off from where they are supposed to be. A few weeks ago I was trying to corral kids to the table for lunch when my preschool son was missing. "Where is he?" I asked. The children told me he was with his ants. 

"His what?!"

And there I found him on our front walkway, lying down and observing his ants. He was even kind enough to feed them at the Ritz for lunch-- or at least to feed them from the Ritz cracker he'd wanted for a snack.

Peter's ants

While he's not yet tied to the books for formal schooling, this sort of learning is priceless. He observed for hours over the next few days and told me there were two groups of ants fighting.

The longer I teach my children, the more I realize that these "distractions" are the best learning. Many people call these times "teachable" moments, but I am starting to realize that sometimes I need to stop trying to teach and put on my child-like wonder and learn next to my students.