Successful Swaps, Trading Services and Bartering for Goods

Stories from MOTHER readers on their successful no cost swaps, trading services and bartering for goods with other like-minded homesteaders

| November/December 1982

MOTHER's readers share their stories about successful swaps, trading services and bartering for goods without cash exchanging hands. 

In MOTHER EARTH NEWS issue NO. 37, Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of humankind's better ideas—barter—and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "Maybe MOTHER could even swap subscriptions for contributions to the department. " "You're on!" we replied . . . and announced our still-standing offer: Anyone who sends us a short account of an actual barter that gets printed in this column (write THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS® Hendersonville, North Carolina) will receive a 12-month subscription (new or extended) to MOTHER.  

Two years ago my wife and I decided to act on our long-cherished plan to move to the country. So—to the dismay of some of out less adventuresome friends and relatives—we packed up all our belongings, piled our three young city-bred children into the car, and headed off to our new home.

And having lived for several years in the somewhat "boxed" environment of an urban area, we were immediately struck by the spaciousness—and beauty—of our rural surroundings. The rolling fields of hay and corn rippled gracefully in the wind as if to greet us, making us feel that this area truly was "God's country"!

Our first winter on the "farm" was spent studying books and magazines (including MOM, of course) on the how-to's of wholistic gardening, animal husbandry, and numerous other aspects of self-reliant living. So by the time the first crocuses peeked through the snow, we were ready (we thought) to put some of those ideas into practice. We began by buying two goats and a batch of baby chicks . . . and later acquired two feeder pigs and a pair of domestic rabbits. As we'd expected, purchasing our menagerie of critters put a crimp in our pocketbook, but it wasn't until after several trips to the feed store that we began to realize just how expensive caring for livestock can be.

We considered trying to put a stop to our diminishing returns by growing our own animal fodder. However, we didn't have access to a tractor or other tilling equipment, so even though we could afford the seed and fertilizer, we had no means of preparing the soil (hand-tilling four acres wasn't exactly an undertaking we wanted to experience).

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