Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5 Ducks in a Pond and the Barter System

We trade for a lot of things on the farm, or barter. Often it's things that we need, sometimes its things we couldn't get otherwise, but aren't necessary for survival- but just make our world a little better.

We've traded tanned rabbit hides for bread, we pay for acupuncture in bacon, we've bartered to pay off straw bales in labor. We have a standing agreement with a tattoo artist to trade goods for new pieces. This week, we traded some young pullets for a crew of 5 call ducks. We've been thinking of adding duck to the list of livestock production for the next year- but this crew is just a test run of methods of care and isn't the breed we would use. They're beautiful and small though, and a real pleasure to have around. They are 'call ducks', so they have very prominent quacks and sounds and wonderful colors.

It's really freeing to find ways to interact with the world that aren't always centered on cash. We don't always have dollars in hand, but the freezer is usually stocked. It forces you think about the ways you interact with people, and pushes you to be a bit more resourceful. We can't always make a deal, but we can always try- and that keeps us moving forward even when the cash flow is low or needed for a bigger expenditure. The culture that we live in expects us to measure our success by the size of the bank account. But if you choose to measure your success by the relationships you form, and the needs you are able to meet- the definition changes. It's allowed me to have a bit more appreciation for accomplishing a goal, reaching an understanding... I think I'm kind of searching to describe what it feels like to know that you can use an alternative method to build a business exchange- and it works well for all parties. To the best of our knowledge, the barters we've arranged are mutually beneficial- the other end of the deal is happy to have what we are trading. It seems like commonsense, and though we know it's considered hokey or old fashioned, but it allows us to have more then would if we relied solely on cash- and gives other parties access to our goods when they wouldn't otherwise.

So here are the new ducks, settling in and swimming about and genuinely enjoying life. A little zen moment for a little bit of an overly zen post. Enjoy!

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