The other night I took Tristan to his meeting for the blacksmithing association that he belongs to. I usually take this time to get some knitting done. In the process I also have learned a lot about blacksmithing. I am tempted to join and learn the skill myself. A woman; who is a member and a knitter, was telling me about the work she has done with her property. She has been building up a pasture area for her horse and harvesting trees from her woods. She has about 10 cord of trees that need to be cut. She said she was looking for someone to cut it for her in exchange for 3 cord. I volunteered Mark. Three cord of wood is equal to 600.00 or so, depending on the market. It would give us a good jump on firewood for next winter. Mark thinks he can get it cut up in a couple of days during Christmas Vacation.
These two separate occasions have resulted in a fair barter for us. It saves us some money. The hay will allow us to get a little hay ahead for the winter. Something we have not been able to do this fall. The firewood will provide some security in the future should we not have regular income next winter. But these barters do something more for us. They create connections for us.
After chasing Sploge around the farm the other day we were invited to join our farmers for a cuppa tea. We spent a good while around their kitchen table just talking about the state of affairs. It was a nice break from the hectic life we have been living lately. They have grown up in the area and shared with us stories and histories of the area. We asked questions about making a living as farmers.
It feels good to finally feel like we are making connections since moving out here. We have been so busy with jobs and kids that we have not had many opportunities to meet folks. But in our efforts to live a sustainable life; in our efforts to do what we should do Anyway, we need to be connected to our community. Human capitol is important in the informal economy. Not only for the benefits of barter but because when we are connected and building community, we can fill needs for others when we can and we can glean a sense of security by knowing that if we have a need, someone might be able to help us too.
And in the process we might have stories of randy rams to share:)