D-I-V-O-R-C-E Emu-Style

Tales From Tanglewood Farm

A while back I promised updates from Tanglewood Farm when warranted. I suppose the continuing domestic strife between Satchemu and his mate, Dolly, justifies that promise.

In case you’re new to Tales from Tanglewood, I have a farm which is the animal equivalent of the Isle of Misfit Toys. The place is filled with horses, goats, pigs, alpacas, peacocks and, of course, two emus, all of whom, for one reason or another, wore out their welcome at other places.

Most arrive with words of warning from former owners: the sweet horse Dixie Belle goes from affable to bucking bronco the minute a saddle goes on her back; Iggy Piggy and her two piggy girls had to leave a petting zoo when they made it clear they preferred not to be petted; and Satchemu and Dolly, the “married” couple in question, had never produced an egg despite adhering religiously to mating season rituals every December (otherwise known as summer in their native Australia).

What their former keeper didn’t tell me was that the two gigantic birds were having commitment issues.

Dolly, for her part, seems to like Satchemu well enough. But Satch, well, he seems to have steadily grown less fond of his lady friend with each passing year.

I told you how late last summer Satchemu indicated how serious the rupture was when he jumped over a five-foot fence and attempted to hitchhike to Point Abbaye. Fortunately , passersby alerted me to his plan. The lady and her husband helped me round him up, then helped me push-pull-lead him back to the farm. The next morning I was surprised to find Dolly at the farm gate because she too jumped the fence overnight, trying to find her Satchemu. He obviously hadn’t bothered to let her know he’d returned.

Well, fall turned into mating season and the two managed to get through another winter together. But the marital discord appeared to heighten with spring. Since the snow melted, Satchemu has made it clear he flat out will not stay on the same side of the fence as Dolly. Given that there isn’t a fence on the property that can stop the six-foot bird if he is so inclined to leave, I guess it’s fortunate that he still wants to stay here. He just can’t abide being around his mate.

Recently, Satchemu came up with a new way to avoid her. He discovered the bottom section of a three-board fence separating the animal area from my backyard was missing. Since then I’ve seen Satch drop onto his stomach, lean forward on his knobby knees and crawl beneath the boards, all to get away from Dolly. Who has yet to figure out this new escape hatch of his. While Satchemu now routinely crawls through this opening, switching sides depending on whichever side he finds Dolly, she seems bewildered by his sudden appearance and disappearances. Whenever he pops up and finds her, he draws himself up to his full six-feet and hisses at her, then pounds off full bore in the opposite direction. Startled, Dolly similarly stretches to her full height, whips her long neck around menacingly and runs after him as if yelling, “Oh, no you don’t!”

I’m seriously beginning to think this marriage can’t be saved. Anybody know a good emu counseler?