This morning, two men from a neighboring town delivered leaves to the farm. They brought four 10-ton truckloads of plastic bags, backed into an area I had marked, raised the bed of the truck and dumped them. They started early. I heard their truck just after 8:00 a.m.
"We were here so early, the pigs were still sleeping!" said Wally." He had never seen them sleeping, nestled together on the bare ground.
By their second load, I had already cut open some 100 bags. They took them back. I also gave them two bags of shredded paper--some of it of fine stationary with foil paper. I did not want the paper blowing across the farm.
"Common," said Wally. "Some people are so common."
Wally fell into the leaves after the truck dumped the third load.
" I wanted to get the pigs to smile," I think he said.
We laughed. I explained that I might not see them on their next load. I wanted to protect my back from too much work.
"We're no spring chickens," Wally said.
"No, we're fall hogs," I responded.
He laughed as he climbed back in the truck.
This is my third year getting leaves from two local towns. I had called the towns when a fellow farmer had sniffed at my compost piles.
"Is that all the compost you are making?" he asked.
I had seen another farmer run hogs in an area that he was turning into garden. The hogs rooted through the dirt, weeding and breaking up the ground.
Last year, I got about 2,000 bags of leaves, cut them open, fenced the area with a portable eletric fence and ran my hogs through them. The hogs love smells, dirt, sunshine and each other. Every day, they eat breakfast, nap and then root--delightfully, deliciously root.
The two feet layer of leaves that I spread on my garden last fall had disappeared into the earth this spring thanks to three hogs. I grew great sweet potataoes and melons in that area--and sold delicious free-range pork.
During the summer, these fellows repair roads, water mains and street lights. But for five weeks in the fall, they deliver leaves to the farm and enjoy the fall hogs.