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The No. 1 Designated Pig Feeder

My grandfather performed a lot of chores on the farm as a child.  He was the “water boy” and had to run through the woods to the stream to fetch water whenever it was needed.  With his younger sister Virginia, he would also watch cows when they were transferred from one field to another for grazing.  And he was usually responsible for feeding the chickens, hogs, and other animals.

To house the pigs, my grandfather’s father had built a large, fenced-in lot in the woods, where oak trees shed acorns, which the pigs loved to eat.  The acorns were not sufficient food, though, so they also had to be fed corn that had been grown on the farm.

The pig lot was about a mile from the house.  My grandfather had to carry a bushel of corn in a sack from the barn to the pigs.  Normally, this was not a problem, but as winter progressed and the snow got really deep, he began to realize that this was becoming a really arduous chore.  As he was dragging that bag in snow up to 2 and 3 feet deep, he decided on an alternative plan.

Instead of trekking to the hog lot, he began throwing the corn around the barnyard and watching it disappear into the snow.

After some weeks discarding the corn this way, winter began to turn into spring.  As the snow melted, one of his parents spotted the tracks of corn all around the barnyard fence.

“Needless to say,” my grandfather recalls, “I got my backside burned by my mother.”

Here’s my grandfather describing the incident:

Although he was “on a guilt complex” for a long time over not feeding the pigs, he doesn’t remember any of the them being really harmed.  They likely fed on the acorns, and he suspects that at butcher time they were just a little leaner and meaner.

He now looks back and wonders at a young boy given this big chore, but the experience instilled in him a sense of responsibility toward those who are dependent on him that he appreciates some 90 years later.

Photo: My grandfather and three of his sisters (from


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