Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Learning New Skills and More On Bartering

I posted about bartering a while back.  Bartering is exchanging good or services without the use of money.  I love to barter and do it all the time using things that we produce/can provide here on our little homestead (eggs, jams, garden produce, handmade soap, homemade bread, childcare, etc).

Learning new skills and sharing resources with others is a little different than bartering but it's based on the same principle ~ swapping with someone else without the use of money.    As an example, last week, I picked free raspberries with my friend at her Uncle's place.  Because she currently has no freezer space, nor the need for raspberry jam (she still had some left from last year), she gave me all the berries that we picked together.

In exchange for that kindness and the investment of 2 hours of her time, I invited her to go "shopping" from my jam shelves.  She chose some flavours to add variety to her shelves (Peach, Apricot, Mango, Strawberry, Cherry/Blueberry) that currently only hold raspberry jam.  A pretty good trade for both of us!  She gave time and I gave jam (and we had a lot of fun visiting together while picking).

On Thursday, this same friend came over to my house to make soap.  She brought some olive oil and I shared all the other ingredients and my equipment.   She had never made it before, so I taught her using Rhonda's Soap recipe and we had a good laugh together while creating 4 successful batches to share - great fun!

We don't keep track of what we give each other ~ we give freely of our time and resources and it always seems to work out evenly in the end.  It's not "technically" bartering, because we aren't making specific arrangements to swap one thing for another in one clear transaction, but we both give and receive all the time (just not necessarily always at the same time!).

In September, I have a friend coming over to learn about making stock and soup from scratch.  She has never tried it and she wants to learn how to make it herself in time for the cold winter months.  This same friend loaned me some high quality educational resources during the school term last year which saved me from spending the money to buy them.  I'm finally giving back to her after nearly a year by teaching her how to make stock and soup!

In a few weeks time, another friend is coming over to make jam with me.  This friend has never made it before and wants to learn how.  I have learned a lot from her over the years as she is a Registered Nurse working in elder care.  She helps and guides me through the medical system regarding the care of my Grandmother (which is incredibly helpful).  Now, it's time for me to teach her something.

In the spring, we hope to raise our own pastured meat birds.  Because we haven't butchered chickens before, we want to be taught how to do it correctly.  Friends of ours have agreed to teach us the next time they butcher and we will most certainly offer something in exchange for them teaching us.

If you don't already, make the effort to teach what you know to someone else.  Also, think about about what you can learn from others.  Suggest getting together to swap these skills and revive the "old way" of doing things.  A generation or two ago, people didn't pay to take night classes to learn something new, they learned from others in the exact same way I am describing.  Sharing, teaching, befriending...

What have you bartered recently?  What have you learned from others?  What skills have you shared?


  1. You are doers! I don't live around anybody who makes anything hardly! I have a movie suggestion you and your family would love. the only bad thing, is that netflix here doesn't carry it...and amazon has it for made-to-order but it is a bit more expensive. It is a turner classic movie, "The mating game" with Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall. Tony R is an IRS agent sent to their farm (Debbie R's family) and they show him how they barter everything and have never spent a penny! (And on the side, they feel this young irs agent would be a good husband for their daughter!) From 1959...nice movie, comedy. love,andrea

  2. I just found your blog through Rhonda's Down To Earth blog when you left a comment. LOVE your blog. I am so looking forward to reading it all and learning from you. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  3. I have bartered with one of my neighbors who was doing my hair before. I graduated and I am now a licensed massage therapist. She colors & cuts my hair and I give her a massage. Sweet trade for me!! This saves me way over $75 dollars for both color & cut. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  4. Fantastic bartering, Bobbi-Jo and welcome to my blog! I look forward to hearing from you :) I'd LOVE to trade a massage for something that I can do, lol.

  5. This is a fantastic post Sherri, I love bartering, and people don't seem to share their skills much anymore...I personally would much rather swap learning a new skill for teaching an old one....so much more rewarding, knowing you have taught someone something you can do yourself...and in return being taught something new.....I knocked on a ladies door the other day; eyeing off her huge fruit tree, and I received a huge bag of mandarins...and in return I am going to make her some marmalade and a few cakes....I love bartering too.....
    great post, keep up the good work.

  6. I petitioned several friends about bartering, but none took. Perhaps I wasn't specific enough. I'm gonna try again.

    One of these days, I'm gonna make soap! You make it look so easy.

  7. Yes, TRY AGAIN :) Be specific for sure... as far as making soap - it actually IS easy using Rhonda's soap recipe from Down To Earth. You would need to have hubby home though to watch the baby because you really can't be distracted or trying to deal with babe at the same time. Too dangerous! I was so surprised at how simple it was and I wish that I made it sooner.