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Column

Raising hogs establishes a link between the generations

4-H projects prompt musings about family

Nita Wyatt
Nita Wyatt

My dad has been gone for several years now, but recently he has been in my thoughts more than usual.

My dad was a farmer. When I was very young, he had milking cows and raised mostly corn and alfalfa for hay. Later on, as I grew up, he not only had cows, but he also started raising hogs.

My sister and I didn’t exactly help with the hogs, but if there were what my dad always called “runts,” smaller than normal piglets born, the two of us would raise the little ones and later we would sell them and get to keep the money. It was a good deal for us — my dad bought the feed and we got the money.

This deal was pretty good for my sister and I, my dad didn’t gain much in the arrangement, but we did provide care for the little pigs and he didn’t have to do it. Of course, the experience taught the two of us some responsibility lessons.

So, the reason my dad has been in my thoughts recently? Two of my grandsons have joined 4-H. Grandson No. 2, Brady, is learning about robots and other electronics. That is totally a perfect fit for Brady. I am sure he will enjoy and be successful with his projects.

Grandson No. 1, Jon, is why my dad is in my thoughts. Jon has decided to raise show pigs for his 4-H project. Jon has always liked everything to do with farming, and he is enjoying his pigs. His two babies, “Rooster” and “Colt,” named after characters in a Netflix original show, are growing rapidly.

Every time I think of Jon and his pigs, I think of my dad. My dad would be so happy that Jon was raising these pigs. Jon’s great-grandpa (my dad) would have been full of advice for Jon, he would have asked Jon questions about what he was doing and he would have encouraged Jon as much as he could.

Great-grandpa would have told Jon that you don’t name pigs that you are eventually going to sell — one of the lessons that my dad taught me. He thought it was easier to let them leave if you didn’t give them a name.

Great-grandpa would have laughed that these little pigs behave around Jon like little puppies. Jon spends time with these pigs, as is needed if you are going to show any animal, but these little pigs get very excited when Jon shows up, and if he is in their pen, they are trying to climb all over him — just like little puppies. My dad would have thought this was hilarious.

So, I have been thinking about my dad with a smile on my face, knowing that he would so enjoy Jon and his pigs.

Having been a longtime member of 4-H and a supporter of its many programs, I wish both of my grandsons much success. Brady’s robots will be amazing, and Jon and his pigs will be fun to watch.

If you have an opportunity, visit the 4-H Fair this summer — you’ll be glad you did.

Note to readers: Nita Wyatt of Wyanet can be reached at wyattnm1950@yahoo.com.

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