Tag Archives: stone soup

For Barter or Trade….

Won’t be too long now before we hit the streets looking for ways to make a dime or two to pay our mortgages and feed our families.

This whole racket with the ‘bailout’ of Wall Street (which incidentally is being manipulated by the very people who got us into this mess in the first place, and I don’t mean just Democrats or Republicans) is plucking my one last nerve.

As a Sole Proprietor and heavily taxed business owner I am appalled at the actions and activities of our Nations leaders and wannabe’s.

I swear if I hear the term “fundamental” used one more time I am going to scream.

Fundamentally, our only saving grace is that for the day, oil is still under 90$ a barrel and this may save us fossil fuel burners who heat our homes even partially with it. Unless of course you live in the great state of Maryland where it seems that the elected officials deemed it necessary not only to raise taxes but increase the cost of energy.

It is fundamentally NOT OK to strip the nation’s only steadfast resource, the taxpaying public, rendering the ability to save anything impossible with the ever increasing cost of living.

It is fundamentally NOT OK to openly deceive us with this load of crap about the 700 BILLION dollars as being necessary out of one side of their mouths, placing one of the biggest offenders to head it up and tell us we NEED THIS. IT WILL BE GOOD FOR US.

Everyone knows what it’s like going to the dentist as a kid to hear the guy say “Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit”. We all know what it’s like to be lied to. What are we going to do about it now?

Tell me, where was due process? Who discussed this and when? They can filibuster on the allocations for Viagra to prisoners in Federal Penitentiaries but go behind closed doors in the dead of night to figure out a way to foist this garbage onto us?

And then have the unmitigated GAUL to load the second attempt with enough ‘sweeteners’ for our ‘leaders’ to be inclined to vote for it. Even after it was criticized by the public (that would be you and me) as not acceptable.

It is fundamentally NOT OK to support a community of people who are within the borders of this country through MY TAX DOLLARS AND YOURS with health care and education incentives when they themselves are not contributing and are at the very least, here illegally to begin with.

It is fundamentally NOT OK to burden the honest, legal citizens of this nation with the cost of a welfare program that rewards drug addiction, poverty and criminal activities as opposed to incentives for obtaining or continuing education and rewarding good honest effort.

It is fundamentally NOT OK to allow the corporate heads of these failed financial institutions to reap the benefits of their failures by rewarding their poor judgment and questionable practices with enormous bonuses, when many in combination exceed several billion dollars.


I may be a lot of things, but stupid ain’t one of them.

What’s that about lipstick on a pig? Seems like the US Gubmint just got a whole load of porkers to dolly up for the Wall Street Ball.

What our politicians have handed us is not salvation, it’s another way to squeeze yet another drop from our wallets into their greedy little hands. This incestuous relationship with Wall Street and Washington dates back for more years than I have been alive and there is not one of them who has not benefited from the excesses from liberating the credit market to individuals and institutions that had no business borrowing in teh first place.

I take personal exception to that. I scrimped and struggled and saved my entire life for what I have and I am deeply resentful of the many who just hold out their hands and expect me and everyone like me to cover their insolvency.


I propose this to every taxpayer across the United States;

Barter or trade your services.

Don’t buy a new car, take what you have and spend it on a used car, spend the additional money to do what work is necessary to keep it road worthy and drive it until the wheels fall off. Force the automakers to make some hard and fast decisions about the products they will be offering in the years to come and the prices they will charge.

Co-op and build community gardens in the spring and raise your own food, or buy local produce from your local farm growers. If you live in urban areas, there are rooftops and window ledges,porches and alleyways that can support vegetable growing even if it’s herbs or one or two tomato plants. Disable the importation of tainted foodstuffs from countries that do not have adequate protocols in place for controlling potential contamination of our food supply.

Grow what your neighbor cannot or does not, and trade.

Purchase your meat in bulk from a local butcher, and co-op it’s purchase with your friends and relatives. If you like your neighbors, include them too. Support the growth of a healthy food supply by controlling what your livestock is fed and how it is cared for.

Pick up a rifle, shotgun or bow and learn how to hunt. Barter for venison from your hunter friends and learn how to cook game meat.

If you have some land or know of someone with some land, co-opt the raising of some livestock for meat and help to support some poultry for fresh eggs. Depending on the county that you live in determines what kind of livestock you can house and how many of each type. Not only are you supporting the growth of a healthier food supply, you get to oversee it’s care in person. No stomach for that? Barter a skill or product to help support it.

If you don’t have access to land but you have a skill; barter or trade the service you can provide for a reasonable percentage of the co-op that it will require to purchase, support and care for the livestock, garden, poultry or whatever.

If you are over 40 and your mother is still alive, pick her brains for recipes that are not only tasty but nutritious, talk to your friends and their families and see if it’s possible to make stone soup once or twice a week. Share.

Support your local businesses and boycott the large box stores or chains. Eat at a local diner instead of a chain restaurant. Take your car to the local garage that your neighbor runs, buy your dry goods at the local market. Recycle things. Instead of buying new furniture, have an upholsterer resurface it for you.

Better yet, if you know a guy who knows a guy who can do these things, ask and trade something of value with him. Or her.

Recycle construction waste from houses being torn down or rehabbed. Take what is usable and create interesting living spaces. Do more of your own work and barter or trade with others for theirs.

Support you local craftsmen or become one yourself. Have a hobby? Exploit your talents for the new free market and trade your goods.

Many years ago when my husband and I first moved to Pennsylvania, we were young and naive but what we lacked in real-world experience, we made up for with the ambition to succeed. For a period of time our lives were pretty rough. We struggled to make ends meet like many young families just starting out and since we had no real network of family or friends having just moved to the area, we struggled with a lot of things. Hell, we struggle now.

We had a nice little bit of ground and planted a garden just about every year. For a while it was just the two of us; I can remember getting creative with rice and beans and what little we kept back from the garden to eek out something over the winters. We never starved. Our big treat would be Ice Cream bars or some other novelty and if we were lucky we could afford to go to the local store and get some “real” food occasionally. We supported the local feed stores, local markets, bought fresh from our neighbor-growers and traded goods and services.

Both of us lost our jobs and things got pretty bad just before the first Gulf War and to make ends meet we sold virtually everything we owned to survive. I cooked Pan Bread and re-baked potatoes to keep us from starving. We ate Pasta Fazule‘ so much I was sweating beans. I learned to cook a feast from rice and sour cream.

And I bartered dog training to repair our furnace, fix our car and even once for a 25 ton load of gravel for the driveway. I bartered photography for vegetables and chickens, dog food and clothing. We shopped at Goodwill and garage sales for everything and in turn sold everything at yard sales and flea markets. The summer before the Gulf War, we sold enough stuff in one month to live for three.

But to do so we had to make the command decision to sacrifice many things.

We used to joke that in the lean times we worked better as a team. It was the times of plenty that got us into trouble.

Here we are having survived the oil embargoes of the 70’s, all of the minor little glitches to the dot com bust at the turn of the last decade and again a humdinger of a problem looms before us.

Again we are faced with the same decisions our parents had to make and their parents had to make during times of great sacrifice and need.

I call it the hierarchy of priority. I won’t be taking that trip to Texas this spring for our annual conference, nor will I be attending too many seminars as a result of the economy. Instead, I will be concentrating on creating some unique ways to conserve finances so I do not have to pass those costs on to my dog training students.

Christmas is before us and although fuel has come down to record low prices since I started this post, it is a hard time for many.

We will celebrate quietly at home, the three of us, feast on grown or captured foods and conserve our money for what may happen at the turn of the new year.

I am plotting my garden now.

Providing of course, we can afford the price of seeds.


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