Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Bartering System

One of the things that we have had the benefit of since we moved to the country is the bartering system. This harkens back to the day when folks knew they could depend on friends and neighbors to help them on their farms,and they could return the favor. No money was expected.

We have had great luck with our neighbors. When we had problems initially with our dug well,our neighbor  Kelly had access to the equipment to dig down to the pipes (which,we discovered,was "fixed"with duct tape). He spent several hours at our house,helping us replace this pipe. Imagine what that would've cost us to hire someone! He had also dug out massive rocks from our backyard...all he required was coffee. The boys helped by watching his then bait store ,and by working on various small engine jobs that he took in.

Another neighbor had a few trees taken down,so there was nice pile of mulch an dirt in his yard.He let us take it,and we used it around our garden,in our walkway,and to expand our driveway. Our neighbor Kelly came by with equipment to compact it.Then,our neighbor down the road,Bob (who has since passed on) came driving down the road with his big front end loader,and helped move the piles and push them down,so it took less time. We offered him some money for gas,since this was not a small piece of equipment.He refused.

Kelly also wanted a pig,and wanted to know if we wanted one,too. He would keep it up at his house. In exchange for letting us use his property,we shared the restaurant scraps that Brother Dale would bring up from his job. The pork was delicious,by the way.

Last Thanksgiving,we donated a couple of turkeys and food baskets to some families in town. We wanted it to be a secret,but the person (not a family member) who delivered the turkeys and food baskets let it slip.One of the families was another neighbor,who was having a rough time. This morning,as Brother B was taking a walk,he walked past this neighbors house,and they started to chat. He told Brother B that he wanted to thank us for the food last Thanksgiving.He had a pig this year,and might we trade one of our delicious turkeys for some fresh pork? The meat would not be ready until Dec. No problem! So now we have some fresh pork coming our way.

There are other ways neighbors can help,more simple ways. Out of butter,or sugar, or coffee? No problem. If there wasn't something we needed,we knew the neighbors would give it back when they could.

Growing up in Somersworth,we never bartered with our neighbors. In fact, we rarely ever spoke with them,and our houses were closer to each other than the area where I live now. There was no dislike. Everybody just led their own lives.

I am very grateful for my neighbors. They have saved us thousands of dollars,and I know that they are grateful for what we could provide for them.It  has also created a great sense of community. I wish everyone could have that experience.


  1. I love the idea behind bartering!

  2. Lovely post...I do as much as I can within the family and lots of "pay it forward" with internet's a bit harder in town where most ppl don't grow vegies or meat..we can't even have chickens.
    Lovely blog