"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spring Swaps

Spring is a good season for trading. I have eggs, milk, and cheese, and am on the prowl for anything to make gardening easier, as I get stiffer and lazier every year. Here are a few recent trades that made me happy:

- A pound and a half of assorted cheese for a dozen big, vigorous raspberry canes. I am slowly turning my garden patch into a raspberry patch. 

- A couple pounds of assorted cheese for credit towards future pruning for my fruit trees. The orchard is growing - that part of it not mutilated by tent caterpillars, anyway - and will need to be pruned this coming fall/winter. This fellow is happy rot accept cheese all season long and keep track of what he owes. It's a bit of a gamble, since I haven't ever traded with him before and don't know for certain he won't just stop returning my calls as soon as I run out of cheese. However, I have so much cheese I can't possibly eat it all and so what am I really losing, here? I know I'm making somebody really happy, so that's a gamble I'm willing to take. 

- Disbudding baby goats for various sundries. Since I acquired my own iron and started disbudding my own baby goats, other nearby goat-folks have been asking me to help them. I can't charge for the service - that would be "impersonating a veterinarian" - but I am not averse to accepting a small gift in exchange for my time. First, of course, I give a long spiel about how I am NOT a vet; that disbudding is an inherently dangerous job; that there is always some risk, of infection or brain damage; and by the way, did I say I am NOT a vet?

After I am convinced that the owner is aware of and willing to assume the risks, I am happy to help. It only takes a minute and so far, I haven't injured or killed any goats. And as far as I know, none of them have grown scurs, either; I tell everybody that if they do, I will repeat the procedure, but nobody has complained yet of an incomplete disbudding. 

One lady traded me a few cuts of grass fed beef and two jars of home-canned venison for the job. Another, my friend M., traded me several pounds of shelled, organic pecans from her uncle's farm in Texas. I made curry with the venison and pecan pie with some of the pecans.

I have a long list of people waiting for cheese. I have suggested, in trade, such things as canning jars, vegetable starts, jams and jellies, or meat. People have offered me other things - some interesting, some not so much. I have no use, for example, for evergreen tree starts. But sewing lessons? Yes, I think I might just enjoy that. 

I love trading with my neighbors.