As a boy I spent a summer on my grandfather’s farm in Mississippi. I learned a lot about farming. Grandpa taught me about hog rings, a piercing applied to a pig’s nose to prevent rooting (digging with its nose). Grandpa didn’t keep hogs, so I was able to skip that gruesome procedure.
Rather, Grandpa used hog rings as fasteners for wire fencing. As often happens, this alternative use has now overtaken the original swine application. Any respectable fencing department sells hog rings. They are also widely used in upholstery.
When Grandpa passed away, I inherited his hog ring pliers. The remainder of my grand inheritance consisted of everything needed to manufacture collars for a pack of hunting beagles. I keep these tools as a reminder of Grandpa. I use his claw hammer regularly, but the hog ring pliers… well, not so much.
Yesterday as part of a project to exclude squirrels from my garden, I finally had my chance to use hog rings again. The last time I squeezed those pliers, I was a young boy repairing a chicken coop in Mississippi.