the amazing emu

The other day we went to visit Christiana, a friend of ours who has a bunch Toggenburg goats. She also has chickens, geese, a turkey, some pigs, horses, and—surprise!—emus. What the heck is an emu?


Christiana makes the most wonderful goat’s milk soap. Although I have dabbled in making goat cheese and goat milk yogurt, I have no interest in trying to make goat milk soap because hers is so creamy and soft and delightful, it gives me a distinct case of the why-bothers. I’d rather just use hers. And, in fact, we’ve been using her soap for years.

There was one visit, when Luc a newborn, when Christiana’s turkey chased Sophie and scared the crap out of her. She still remembers it! Whenever she sees that turkey now, she yells, “Shoo Turkey!” and runs away. Smart girl! That turkey is terrifying with this long drippy nose-skin-wattle thing and a shrieking gobbly-gobbly and an aggressive stalking walk… Okay, Sophie wasn’t the only one scared of the turkey. I have found, however, that in other contexts, saying, “Shoo Turkey!” makes both Sophie and I giggle hysterically. Clearly a case of post traumatic stress disorder from a Mad Turkey Attack.

But we were talking about emus.

The coolest thing about emus is not their weirdly alien faces:


Or their strangely dinosaur like feet:


The coolest thing about emus is the sound they make. I kid you not, an emu sounds just exactly like giving a tabla drum a plunk. That’s right, thumping a drum. I have no idea how they do it–it seems to come from some place in their chest. I looked for a sound file to link to here, but couldn’t find one. However, I did learn, in my brief googling, that the sound can be heard, should the emu wish it, for MILES. And that it is called ’emu drumming.’ I’m telling you, it is so bizarre and compelling, this tribal and mysterious thump, thumbthump. THUMP.

The second coolest thing about emus is the color of their eggs. They come out this shockingly deep teal. Here is a picture of Sophie with the emu egg (hollow) that Christiana gave us on this visit:


And here is a close-up of the egg color, which hopefully will come through on the monitor:


Amazing. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this egg is the size of both my fists put together. My aunt Carroll once made an entire quiche with just ONE of these eggs. A BIG quiche. She said it tastes like chicken.

3 thoughts on “the amazing emu

  1. Esther Griffin

    Not only the Emu, but the humble turkey make that drumming sound, only fainter on the turkey. Was wondering if there is some sort of scientific name for it! I guess your “emu drumming” may be all it is called, or maybe “turkey drumming” for those guys.

  2. Sarah Kaufman

    I just want you to know, I am loving your blog. I am a new mom (married a man with a seven year old boy, and just had a baby girl – she is 8 months now). I found it this morning, as I was looking for what to do about seed ticks (omg!!!!!) I also love the epic story game – can’t wait to print out and try with my family!! thank you so much for your writing, it has made my day (but full disclosure, it is only 7:45 and I have already been dealing with a crying baby, a leaky diaper, trying the launder the seed ticks out of clothing, and killing a centipede). thanks 🙂

    1. maya Post author

      Hello Sarah, LOL I hope your day improves! Glad to help with that in this small way. Sorry you ran into some seedticks, they are evil little bastards. Good luck and it’s a pleasure to meet you!


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