Our Hill Country Trade System

I live in an area where too many of the grasshopper’s natural predators have either been eaten, poisoned, or just moved away. What im trying to say is that there are biblical plague amounts of grasshoppers here that grow to the length of your finger and hop/fly 30 feet at a time. you cant have a garden here unless you have a grasshopper proof hog-tight greenhouse. And then, you will be doing pollination with a paint brush because bees cant get in if grasshoppers that range from the size of an ant to the size of your finger cant get in. While i lived in apartments i grew brussels sprouts, okra, broccoli, and cabbage. However, on the homestead in the past i have struggled to produce 3 squash, 3 cucumbers, a handful of tomatoes, and a few beans all year. I am battling deer, cotton tail rabbits, grasshoppers, caterpillars, June bug larvae, agricultural termites, pill-bugs, wild hogs, possums, armadillos, field mice, and raccoons. I just dont ever get to eat a nice surplus of home grown vegetables. What i do have is eggs. I am allergic to eggs. I raise chickens to give other people eggs so that they will in turn give me something that is not eggs. Thus is our trade system. Nobody spoke about it or planned it. You give from your heart without needing anything in return and the other people do the same. So, its not as if every carton of eggs requires an equal transaction. We just give what we can when we have it. There is one person that i supply with eggs and she has given me fabric scraps so that i can continue making the cloth dolls i started for my friend’s little girls in Washington. She has also given me spinach and a mint plant dug up from her garden. There is also an ongoing invitation to come over and take a shower during freezing weather in the winter because she is on city water and i have a well…a well that freezes when the ground does the same. One of my coworkers is a very skilled and researched gardener. She has traded me bean plants and lettuce and greens from her garden. I make use of whatever is provided and they make use of the eggs, which i give whenever they amount to 12. I have 4 people that i am supplying right now. The third person has given me cuttings of her grape vines and blackberry bushes, herbs, a radish, spinach and lettuce. The fourth person has given me rides when my car was out of commission, let me borrow her car to shop for a new one, invited me to every holiday with her family, fed me home cooked meals countless times, and offered her home as a haven for the dogs, the chickens, and myself in the winter when the power was out and it was snowing. So it is not quite barter, because the goods are not exchanged one for the other. I just give them what i have for them whenever i have it, and they do the same. It is a network of trading for future goods and services. :).

Fabric Scraps
Doll in Progress
Butter Lettuce
Green Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce
Beet Greens and Spinach
Rice, beans, and mushrooms framed by a mixture of beet greens and spinach
Aloe Vera
Beets and their Greens

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