I start here...

C Berg

C Berg
Iowa, United States
January 01
Wondering who I am, in a world that no longer knows what it is, in a country that is not what it should be, belonging to a race that is for the rats.


OCTOBER 20, 2009 1:32PM

Chicken Kisses

Rate: 14 Flag
Some days are just too wonderful for words.  
Chicken Scritchies
Chicken Kisses
 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? 

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chickens, farm, pets, family

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Oh Carol, this is so moving and hopeful. We are all in need, and sometimes we manage to fill the need so perfectly. Thanks for this all the best for continued success in this venture.
Takes awhile to find one's niche. I'm glad Natalie found hers.
Nice work, Mom. Like every growing thing, Natalie will do it at her pace. She is perfect in her way.
What's funny is that those two chickens are the very sort my wife would jump at the chance to care for.

Lea....it was time for hopeful. And counting blessings...Thanks!
John...I hoping she is finding hers.
Walk Away, Love is forgotten way too often. Thanks for noticing.
Bruce, Thanks for supporting Patience. I'm trying. Good to hear from you!
Torman, Your wife sounds just lovely! We need more people who love special needs chickens.
"People who are depressed just can't be expected to do anything"?

Was she serious? Depression is there to make doing things about five thousand times harder, not as an excuse to not do anything ever.

That social worker doesn't sound very smart, but nice post, anyway.
please come back here often to not worry about her. a wonderful return to posting.
Sounds like she may just be OK. Sorry she's your child you will always worry about her, maybe just maybe, not as much now. Great story, I have never heard of culled chickens. Culled fruit or veges but not chickens. I learned something today. Thank you!
oh god, this is so wonderful and true, Carol!!! this just warmed my heart like crazy. wow. there is a purpose for people and animals who don't fit in, who appear useless. you just have to be patient and let it happen. god, i LOVE that natalie found her THANG. it's so crucial. and of course, as you know, i know all about mental illness and getting stuff done anyway. i have to share something: there is a new show on the NatGeo tv channel on Fridays called Rescue Ink Unleashed. it's about former tough bad guys who are redeeming themselves by rescuing animals. in one segment they were sent to round up 5 chickens that were running wild in Queens! i kid you not. on the post i did about these fabulous guys, there is one of Joe Panz craddling a chicken/rooster/not sure in his arms. it's so freaking lovely and moving.

i LOVE everything that you are doing with the Farm. you are walking your talk, girl, and that is so excellent and far too rare. lvoe lvoe lvoe and major gratitude!
This hit me right in the heart - the way you describe the bond between your daughter and the two special needs chickens is beautiful. It makes a strong case for animals in treatment and rehabilitation -even for those of us who live fairly normal lives, animals are a gift. And so are you. Natalie is lucky to have a mother who won't let her go through life sitting down. Your farm project sounds really amazing. I hope you'll write more about it.
Caring for other living creatures (esp. non-human!) is good therapy for depression. During a bad year, I ended up going over to a friend's house to help give her old cat subcutaneous fluids. It got me out of the house on a regular basis.

Running out of cat foodfo rmy own cats is Totally Unacceptable, and it'll get me to the grocery store faster than running out of one of my staples will.

Chickens don't purr... but then again, they don't cough up hairballs.
Coming from a family who, like yours, carries depression and bipolar genes, I'm very impressed with all you accomplish, both in your ambitious farm project and in your loving support of your daughter and her chickens. But not worry about one's child? That may be a tad too much to ask ...
In one environment or another, we would all be culls. Your daughter is precious, eh...? Some things are beyond words. Love is one of those for which words only whisper.
I am only writing to let you know that your bio describes my life.Ah,I live in Greece and my country belongs to its history..
Best wishes