Bye-bye Blossom

Photo courtesy of Curt Swarm

Blossom the escape artist.  With her long tongue, she could spring any latch or lock.
Photo courtesy of Curt Swarm Blossom the escape artist. With her long tongue, she could spring any latch or lock.

I’ve caught more flak about butchering Blossom than any other column I’ve written. Good grief. She had so many people rooting for her that I feel like a crazed carnivore. I must point out, however, that the original intent of getting a calf was to raise it for beef. And this is National Beef Month, too. (Boo, hiss, I know.) Genesis tells me to have dominion over the earth and cattle. It neglected to warn me about naming the animal.

I hired a farmer friend to haul Blossom to the locker plant, because I knew he would handle her with the care she deserved. I went along to say the final goodbyes. The young boy working at the locker plant gently guided her down the chute by twisting her tail. She seemed to understand and accept willingly.

Blossom stories abounded. We raised her on a nipple bucket. Her mother had a bad leg and had to be put down. It was Ginnie’s first experience with caring for animals on the farm and she adapted well.

Blossom sucked the wedding ring right off my finger. The next day I rented a metal detector to see if the ring had passed through. Nada. About a month later, Ginnie insisted that I rent the metal detector again and give it one more try. I found it! Unbelievable. I put the ring on immediately, not caring about the detritus. My marriage was saved.

Blossom was an escape artist. She had the longest tongue, and could work loose any latch, even unscrew a nut off a bolt. Her most famous escape took place when Ginnie and I were at a political rally in Iowa City. I think Blossom knew when we were gone — maybe because we drove by her pen to see how she was doing before we left. Anywho, we started getting these wild calls and texts from people driving by on the highway. “Hey, did you know your cow is out?” We panicked. What could we do 50 miles away?! Fortunately, a farm boy we knew drove by, saw her out, and was able to get her corralled. After that, I padlocked the gate, then watched her work and work, trying to get that lock loose with her tongue. If we’d kept her longer, I’m sure she would have succeeded.

The cruelest April Fools’ joke ever played on us came from my son. He was paying me back, I think, for all the April Fools’ jokes I’ve played on him. He deceptively waited until about 8:30 on the night of April Fools’, knowing full well that I would be half asleep. He texted me saying Blossom was out. Here I was in my PJs and slippers. Ginnie and I went tearing out only to find Blossom curled up in her little barn, calmly chewing her cud. Grrr. I hate paybacks.

If it’s any consolation, one-quarter of the beef is a donation to the Christian School in Mt. Pleasant in the form of hamburger. The Christian School holds a “Taco Tuesday” weekly for the public, and this will save them from having to buy hamburger. The other three-quarters are going, one each, to my two kids and their families, and one to us. There is nothing like home-raised beef.

This officially leaves the Empty Nest Farm without livestock, since the minks got our hens, and Blossom fulfilled her life’s mission. But we have Barney the Barn Cat (always complaining) and Buddy the buddy dog (always fawning). Life still is better on the farm, our happy place.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or visit his website at