Blossom doesn’t like being weaned. Not one bit. When I go in her pen to check her calf starter, hay, and water, she pesters me to no end, nose bumping me for milk and sucking on anything she can get ahold of—like clothing, fingers, or elbows. (She thinks I’m her mother.) That nose bumping hurts, especially when she comes up from behind and nails me in the rear!
Curt confronts Blossom with his ringless finger. She neither confirms nor denies any knowledge of its whereabouts, as she she tries to get another taste. To pacify her, so that I can get to her feed and water, I had taken to letting her suck my fingers while I tend to her food. This was awkward at best—her sucking on one hand, leaving my other hand free to feed and water, but it got the job done and kept her from ramming me. I hate it when I’m carrying a bucket of water or feed and she slams into me, knocking everything two-ways-to-thunder. She’s a big calf at seven weeks, maybe 200 pounds. So, I had become adept at letting Blossom suck the fingers on my left hand, leaving my right hand free to work on the feed and water.
It was after morning chores, while I was eating breakfast, that I noticed my wedding ring was gone. I checked the sink where I wash my hands. Not there. I checked everywhere. Nothing. Then it hit me—Blossom! Uh, oh. It was the fingers on my left hand that I let her suck. I’ve been losing weight and my wedding ring was loose. It had to be her! Maybe she had sucked the ring off and spit it out.
I scurried out to her pen and scoured the ground. Nothing. I called a retired veterinarian friend and explained the “unusual” situation. He chuckled and patiently explained that bovine have four stomachs, and in a seven-week old calf, the stomachs are hardly developed. If the ring was in her, it would more-than-likely stay. I needed to have her x-rayed. If the ring did pass through, it would probably take 48 hours, give or take.
I went to our friendly rental store and rented a metal detector and scanned the ground in Blossom’s pen. Nothing. Now, twice a day, I take a trowel and begrudgingly poke through the fresh cow-pies in hopes of finding the ring. I refuse to have Blossom x-rayed. If the ring is in her it would require surgery. Let’s see, a $2,000 dollar surgery versus a $500 wedding band. But there’s sentimental value in the ring. Hmm. Naw. Ginnie just shakes her head in wonder at life on the Empty Nest Farm.
Meanwhile, Blossom chews her cud and curiously watches me from the corner of her pen while I pick through her cow-pies. There’s a little gleam in her eye, like, “That’ll teach’m to wean me.”
It was after this morning chore that, when I went to feed and water the chickens, I found three dead hens. The mink was back. Aaarrgh! The age-old battle between man and nature! But I knew what to do. I got the live animal trap, baited it with one of the dead hens, and set it where I thought it might be effective. I then proceeded to mow.
Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I caught a glimpse of a little furry animal under the hen house. I told myself that it must be a baby rabbit.
After mowing, I checked the live animal trap to see if it was still set. I’ll be darned, the trap was tripped and in it was a not-too-happy mink. I couldn’t believe it. The mink had returned in broad daylight while I was mowing, penetrated the electric mesh fence, and got caught in the trap. Will wonders never cease?!
Mr. or Ms. Mink got a long, long ride.
Now, if I could just find that wedding band.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.