Arriving in Fayette
Nestled in the middle of Fayette, Maine was a quaint farm. However, this wasn’t just any farm, it was home to two new exotic friends: Clark and Darla, a dynamic emu duo. We’d arrived pretty late at night, walking through the gated fence through the yard and up toward the glowing light of the cabin. Our host greeted us excitedly and showed us where we’d be spending the night. Climbing up the wooden ladder, our cozy oasis awaited us.
A candle flickered against the oak walls, lighting up the ceiling with dancing lights. I made myself a steaming hot chocolate and snuggled into the couch. It wasn’t long before one of her two dogs climbed upstairs—yes, he literally climbed the ladder–to join me on the couch. I couldn’t quite tell you how the movie ended, but I can recommend a fantastic name for white noise while falling asleep.
Waking Up With The Animals
The morning came quicker than the end of the movie, and I traded my hot chocolate for a coffee. Walking downstairs to the shower, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was an incubator. Growing up in Wisconsin, though I wasn’t raised on a farm, I was introduced quite heavily to them through show-and-tells and field trips.
I tiptoed closer to the machine, noticing three eggs sitting peacefully inside. As I got closer, I realized one of the eggs wasn’t so peaceful, in fact it was cracked open and emptied. Near the back, a small, yellow chick stood up, wobbling toward me with a small peep.
“Do you want to hold him?”
I jumped up, startled. I hadn’t realized that my host was awake as well, and snuck up behind me during my amazement.
“Yes, of course! Can I?”
She opened up the top and grabbed the small bird, placing it in my open hands. He wiggled for a bit and then plopped down on my palm, content with the warmth.
“Yeahhh, he just hatched yesterday. You can see he still has little egg shells on him. Not quite ready to come out into the real world yet, but he’s close!” She said, proudly, putting the baby back inside with the other growing eggs.
I wonder how confused the chick must’ve been when he tore his way out of that shell. He must’ve felt like he was the last one left on Earth. Or maybe he feels like he’s still a caterpillar waiting to turn into a butterfly, as his only motherly figure was currently a human. I would pay to see his expression when his brother jumps out of the other egg, like a surprise inside of a birthday cake.
A Farm-Fresh Breakfast
“Would you like some breakfast? The neighbor brought over some fresh cream cheese and jams yesterday, if you’d like.”
I’m not sure anyone in their right mind who would turn down an offer like that. Before I knew it, I was enjoying a farm fresh breakfast in the cozy cabin with their neighbor. We sat in living room, talking about where we’ve lived, where we’ve traveled and where we’d like to go. Funny enough, a lot of our answers were the same in this respect. We could’ve kept on into the afternoon chatting, but our host broke the conversation in the best way possible.
“Would you like to go and see the farm animals before you head out?”
A Muddy Sty
Of course we wanted to see the animals. In fact, this was the main point in staying where we had for the night. She brought us over to the pig pen first. Four burly dudes kicked open the barn door as if it was their day job and shuffled through the muddy sludge toward us.
“They’re like dogs, really. I would show you how they jump up for hugs and roll on their bellies for a scratch, but it just rained last night so it’s a bit muddy for that today,” she said, turning toward the barn and continuing.
“So, these are the goats. There are actually two twins right now, you can see them laying down there. And this. Is their mother. She knows how to jump over anything and get out of everything, which is honestly so annoying, but that’s why she’s the only one not in the pen.”
I looked down at the two twins just as she picked up the little girl and handed her to me. I melted as the baby goat looked up at me, sniffing and then licking my chin as if to accept my cuddles. It was so precious. The boy twin was born a day earlier than her, but already looked significantly bigger, which our host explained is the big difference between the male and female goats.
The mom jumped up on me, as if she was checking on her baby and the host then set down the boy. The baby goat went straight under his mother and started feeding. No wonder he was growing so fast. I could tell he was his mother’s son because after he finished, he put up quite the skillset to avoid going back inside the gated area.
Clark and Darla
“All right, and now the moment you’ve been waiting for,” our host said in a game show voice, opening up the emus’ pen. With a dash of feathers, the two sprinted past me, out of the barn and out of sight. Following them, another cluster of feathers passed by, as they started doing their laps around the house, or the zoomies as the host called it.
“The younger one is Darla, and as you can see, she’s a lot more hyper, and does a bit more running than Clark, but Clark likes to chase her around, too. Sometimes they both chase the chickens or the ducks,” she explained, just as Darla took a clumsy stride and toppled over, rolling into the fence and then back onto her feet.
Clark waddled up to me with big strides, tilting his head inquisitively. Jolting foreward, he made a try for my red nails. Our host explained that Clark was a very curious bird. He was constantly bounding around, peeking through windows, checking out tattoos and watching her boyfriend cut wood. Yes, Clark would literally walk up to him, plop down on the ground with a swirl of feathers and just stare at him working for hours. Unfortunately, not all of Clark’s habits were this innocent.
Clark Gone Global
In fact, one of his favorite pastimes was escaping. It wasn’t that he didn’t love being on the farm with everyone, he just wanted to go and see what else he could find. Whenever he did this, of course, passerby’s would stop their car and marvel at the wild emu in Maine—once even making the news.
“He’s so embarrassing,” she laughed, telling us the story, “I was just like, oh man, not again. Then I’d put on my boots, walk down to all of the people recording with their phones, put my arm around him, and we’d walk back home together.”
I was, of course, loving this conversation and wanted to keep up with the interesting adventures of Clark on the daily.
“So, I don’t have social media for him yet, but I follow this one lady with an emu named Karen on TikTok and Karen is honestly worse than Clark. Like, she’s really mean sometimes. But, I saw this one video with Karen eating Goldfish Crackers and I tried it with Clark and he’s obsessed.”
An Emu’s Favorite Snack
She ran back into the house, grabbing Clark’s favorite snack and brought out a handful, instantly making him go wild. He was throwing crackers around like a baby in a booster, but, unlike them [thankfully, I suppose], he ate every last crumb that flew onto the ground. Apparently, until they built the deck, Clark had his own takeout window and would come up to the drive-thru and peck on the window whenever he wanted a treat. Oh what I would do to be a Maine emu with unlimited snacks.
One Last Emu Surprise
It was getting late and we had to get on the road soon, but our host had one last surprise for us: Darla’s egg. She had glued the shattered masterpiece back together like a puzzle, to the point that I couldn’t even guess where the cracked lines were. They hatched Darla themselves on the farm and, as you may have gathered, it is a very tedious job being an emu’s mother.
She explained that they needed to rotate the egg four to five times each day for over a month. Once their newborn, Darla, emerged from the egg, she was like a miniature dinosaur. Darla ran clumsily all over the house, pecking the dogs heads and doing summersaults on the carpet. I could only imagine how small she must’ve been. Although the egg was the size of both of my hands combined, Darla was now taller than me. It was quite the concept to imagine her ever being able to fit inside of that thing.
The More You Know…
Even more surprising than the egg, was our host. She had moved from bustling New York City from a corporate job out into The Middle of Nowhere, Maine to start a farm. And no, she had never grown up on a farm. In fact, she had no experience farming whatsoever. She did loads of research on the internet, learning as much as she could, creating a beautiful life for these animals and herself. It just goes to show how we, as humans, can truly do whatever we put our mind to—whatever we want, whenever we want.
A few weeks after leaving the farm, I received a message on Airbnb from our favorite farmer. Guess what? She created an Instagram account so you can all enjoy the farm life moments from home now. I suppose I may have influenced her as much as she influenced me during our twelve hours on the farm after all…
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