Thursday, August 15, 2013
Over the years, we've benefitted greatly from trading goods and services with our neighbors (and also with the random people who read the barter section of Craigslist). The trade network has had its up times and down times, but in general, I feel confident in asserting that trade is a big boon to us. Probably as much food has come our way via the trade network as we actually produce ourselves here on the farm.
For the most part, I trade my animal products (cheese, eggs, meat) for other people's vegetable products, since I am a pretty poor gardener. I also offer up my husband's services as a mechanic (sometimes without his prior knowledge; I gotta quit doing that) in exchange for other professional services. That's how we got our roof fixed last year. I've been lucky enough to find and maintain a few long term trading partners - Veggie/Oil man and the Kale Fairy come to mind - but I lost those contacts over the year we were in Mexico.
Luckily, the trade network shows signs of revival. We're off to a good start I think. Talking to a friend at church, I mentioned that I needed to find some chickens, as I had given all mine away when we left last year. This led to a conversation and ultimately to a trade with her son-in-law. He got a bunch of old beekeeping equipment that we were certainly not going to use again, and we got nine healthy laying hens.
Some neighbors of ours wanted a goat for butchering. We have two young, plump goats that are just about ready to eat, and I offered to sell them one for $75 and let them do the work here at our place, since they don't have a suitable space for butchering. They countered with an offer of four turkeys for one goat. I've never raised turkeys before, but that seemed like a heck of a deal, so now we have turkeys. And nasty, obnoxious creatures they are, too. They look like dinosaurs, and charge at me whenever I go out to feed them. It's a bit frightening, having a twelve pound bird hurtle toward you at the speed of a velociraptor. Thanksgiving will be at our house this year.
Just today I set up a new trade, albeit a short-term one. I was buying pickling cucumbers at a vegetable stand downtown. I bought a lot of them because I'm selling them at $5 a quart and there seem to be a fair number of people who want to buy them. The proprietor and I got to talking, and he said if I brought down a few jars of pickles, he'd trade me fresh produce for them. I see tomatoes in my future.
Do you trade ? What do you like to trade? Does trade have a significant impact on your household budget? Below, find several links to stories about some of the more interesting trades I've made over the past few years.
Trade Network 2012 (Craigslist Chronicles)
On Trading and Canning
Mushroom Mistake (Win Some, Lose Some)
State of the Trade Network 2010 (What's Your Perspective?)