Every year as a practicing Catholic I feel compelled to “give up something” for lent. However, as a person that needs improvement as a wife, mother and human in general, I find it is better to rather try something new or improve myself rather than focus on a negative.

My decision has been to improve myself through positive character building. Compassioon for others. Less for myself and more for them, whom ever they may be.

This year with Tractor Man learning all that he can with home school I decided that we would add a simple task for him, daily prayer for someone else. Sounds easy right, but he is only four so learning to pray for others beyond the basics is a bit of a challenge for him.

This morning however it was an easier task. Sir Swine called me to tell me that I will be helping him make an emergency run to the University of Minnesota with some deceased piglet specimens. He thinks we may have PRRS.

To those of you unfamiliar with this it is a terrible swine illness that sweeps through your herd causing bred pigs to abort, little pigs to die of dehydration (even while nursing) and months of damage to the breeding and production of pigs. It has caused the collapse of many farms from Texas all the way up to Minnesota. It is also the reason that the price of your pork has gone up so much in the last few years. Decreased herd numbers means higher priced meat.

We have been fortunate to have been one of only three farms in our area that did NOT get it two years ago or since that time. Now it looks as though it may be at our door. Only the testing will tell.

After telling Tractor Man that our pigs are in trouble and that it might be a good idea for us to pray, he readily got down on his knees and asked God to keep our piggies safe. He almost started crying telling God he didn’t want all our baby pigs to die or their mamas (PRRS does not often kill the mamas).

My boys really are pig kids. It is in their blood. Both have helped a sow farrow before they were two. Once they could walk they have been helping with the chores, walking show pigs, and just simply checking on them a million times a day (even when they don’t need it).

The thought of a life without pigs is shocking to all of us. It is what we do. It is who we are. I can no more see our lives without pigs than I can see me without my garden every year.

We must stay positive and hope that all will work out with the pigs.  Test results will be in tomorrow so we will know soon enough.

Though it is a scary thought to have the possibility of losing our herd, it is a wonder to hear Tractor Man so readily offer up a prayer for others.  He is only four but I know that he means every word.  It gives me some much needed hope to know that I am doing something right with him.