How could our Washington County Kentucky picture get any better? Donna asked sort of offhandedly to our gathered County Extension Agent staff, “Does any farm around here have emus?”
“Doesn’t so & so have..” “..they don’t any more.” “I think Brenda still does. “Who?” “The woman up on the hill.” “Do you think she’d be open for a visit?” “I’ll call.” “What’s her last…oh, here she is.”
The younger of the Price is Right models calls her up, explains who she is and asks if she could send some people up to look at her emus. Her heads nods up and down, then she launches into a shortened version of my explanation of the Challenge. She hangs up and says Brenda would love for us to come over and visit her emus. They give me the address and I plug it into the GPS. We get brief directions to get us started and we are off.
The weather is still misty, so the top is still up and the wipers are on intermittent. We are slowly driving down the road looking at mailboxes for the address. We get where the numbers are way too big so I do a u-turn. We head back, now driving at 20 MPH. The GPS says you have arrived and I see the address number we are looking for. I pull in a very nice new concrete driveway, it even has 3′ high concrete walls over the culvert. Fifty yards later I stop in a big parking pad. Donna says, “I don’t think this is it.” “Me either,” I say, “But the address is right, the mailbox said 2350.” That’s when she says, “It was 2320.” Me, “Oops!” I turn around and drive back to the street.
This time we spot the mailbox that has 2320 on it and turn in. It looks to be a shared drive and we start up. Where the road splits we met up with a red pick up coming down the road. We roll down windows and he asks, “Are we the folks looking for emus?” I say we sure are, so he says he is going out to pick up some dinner, but his wife is waiting for us up at the house. Before he drives off, he asks if we want to take one or all of the emus with us when we go home.
After parking we are greeted by a quite friendly older lady. She and her retired Marine husband moved back to the area where she grew up and bought this bit of land, a hundred thousand dollar house with the million dollar view. I think she got it right, they do have a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. Brenda & hubby got into emus in their heyday so they could raise them for meat and the eggs. At one time they had almost 75 of the birds. But like everyone else, they soon found out that raising emus wasn’t going to turn into a goldmine.
They sold them all off except for the last 4, Romeo & Juliet and another pair, Bob & Edna1, named for her crazy aunt and uncle. She asks if we would like to feed them, I say “I’d love to.” Donna not so much. Brenda gets a couple genuine farm sized feed scoops filled with Purina Giant Chicken Chow, hands me one while she takes the other and we lean over the fence. In short order we are joined by 3 of the four emus and a couple of llamas. They really are big birds up close, but they aren’t aggressive unless you are a piece of grain or a pellet of grain by-products, then look out.
We swap stories until the scoops are empty, we thank her profusely for her hospitality and prepare to take our leave. On the way down the hill on their driveway, the husband is on his way back up with dinner, as we pass, we wave. I’m not sure, but I thought I saw a frown form as he realized we didn’t have any emus in the car with us.
The address and names, even the bird’s, have been changed to protect their anonymity.