My girls have begun to lay again! We have begun eating our own eggs once more. The days are lengthening and at least two of my five hens are now laying. These eggs along with seed catalogs are giving me new hope. It had been feeling like the “2 o’clock in the morning” of the year with gray skies and single-digit and below temperatures (Fahrenheit).
I let my hens have a rest from laying for a couple months. I have an easier conscience about this because I value their manure for compost almost as much as I value their eggs for eating! Supermarket eggs are a real disappointment after eating homegrown eggs, but I wasn’t prepared to pay the price for true free-range or organic eggs (call me. . . frugal)!
I decided to barter the last of the parsley that bordered my front yard walk for cull eggs from an organic egg producer that I know. She was so busy with her egg business, home schooling, and work off the farm that she had no time to dry her own parsley. I had a bumper crop that I had been giving away to neighbors because I couldn’t stand to see it go to waste and already had a winter’s supply dried for my own household. Next year, I might offer to go out to her farm and pick her parsley and dry it in return for eggs while my girls rest!
Today, I bundled up and brought a half dozen eggs over to the 85-year-old neighbor who allows us to garden on her deep second and third lots in return for mowing her yard, help in her garden, and eggs. I also give her some of whatever I produce in my garden plots. These plots receive more sun than my backyard, so I can grow onions, okra, beans, peas, celery, egg plant, and other sun lovers. It is a good trade because she also shares extra plants and seeds from her flower garden and fruit from her vines and pear trees.
The harder times become, the more important barter will be for all of us. Have you done any bartering lately? Everyone has some skill, commodity, or knowledge that someone else lacks but needs. It may be as simple as parsley or as complex as computer teching. Best of all, barter helps us connect with each other in healthy ways and help each other through the hard places.
Stay warm and be thinking about what you need and what you have to offer! Begonia