Some days are just too wonderful for words.
Natalie, Butters and Gobbles last night. Giving a real face to loving and "special needs."
I have spent the last two months outdoors in the odd weather that is becoming common to Iowa. We had a cold August, warm, then cold, September. October seemed like it was going to host winter early, and now....sixty degrees. We needed an Indian Summer, a time of warm dry weather for the crops, and for Natalie and the chickens.
Natalie, one of my twenty-eight year old twins, is now living with me, in spite of the fact that she said she would NEVER NEVER live with me. I have spent the last several years of my life worrying about her, and thought that by this time maybe I could quit worrying about her. It's my choice, right?
Natalie is different. She never liked her hair combed or her nails clipped as a child. She would NEVER pick up her toys. She ran away when we were all doing a work project, or whenever I asked her to do anything. She still does. When I give her a work assignment, she disappears without doing anything. I have tried every method I can to support her getting work done.
She has gotten better since going to an adult day treatment program that works with people with mental issues. She said she didn't like it much, and called it the "crazies class." It did give her some perspective on her own life since many of the people in her class were totally impoverished, or stuck in abusive relationships. She is neither.
She's stuck with me. It could be worse.
After a few sleepless nights, and a conversation with her very young social worker, I have decided with quit fighting with her. The social worker informed me in a very kind voice that "people who are depressed just can't be expected to do anything."
I told her that I understand depression....I understand "not doing anything," BUT....if our family had quit doing anything because we were depressed or angst ridden or bipolar...we would have died out long ago. There is no person in my immediate family who is NOT depressed on some level. We have to learn to work with it and do what's necessary to make it. THAT is what I want to support in HER.
Natalie is happier. She is beginning to participate in "The Farm" community that I am creating here. She is wonderful with the little kids, and has had two babysitting jobs with them. They adore her.
We are beginning to collect farm animals for our organic permaculture cooperative. Chickens are our first real farm animals, besides the horses. We now have thirty-seven chickens...or maybe thirty-eight? Most of them are hens.
When we began buying them, we ended up accidently buying a few that were "special needs" chickens....or "culls," as they say. Natalie saw that they were starving, and couldn't stand it. She began carrying them around, and 'took them under her wing,' so to speak. She made an appointment at the only bird vet in town, and had their beaks filed to partially correct for their scissor-beak condition.
Forty dollars and three weeks later, we have two Aracana roosters who come running every time the door opens, wanting their special cooked oatmeal mixture of food which is about all they can eat and darting into the house to get warm. They still try to peck things even though their beaks don't meet. Their names are Butters and Gobbles, after the South Park characters.
Natalie cares for them, getting up early and letting them out of their pet carrier, and making their oatmeal. At night, putting them to bed so they won't be eaten by predators in their vulnerable night roosting. Her dad offered to kill them if we couldn't, since they were "useless."
You know...I think everything has a use, even the culls. If there is chicken love, this is it. Love should never be culled.
I'm glad we have Natalie, and that she has us, and the "special needs" chickens.
I'll just take some time off from worrying about her...okay?