Bartering as a Way of Life

September 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm (Uncategorized)

As Published in the October Issue of The Horsefly:


Andrea, Lucky, & the Guy the locals call “The Woodcutter” picking apples at Miss Sarsaparilla’s of the NeverCanEvers in Twickenham

On a recent late summer day, I patiently awaited the arrival of a man who would be meeting me at my little remote ranch house, bringing along only his chainsaw, ax & pick-up truck. It’s almost the good start of a horror movie, but thankfully I no longer watch horror movies, and I really didn’t feel it was going to go that direction. But one might always suspect that it could have?!?

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case it was my mother who came up with a great idea to help me deal with the looming necessity of filling my porch with firewood for this coming winter. I do my best to work all that I can, sometimes that is even 6 days a week, I stick to a very strict budget, but in the end, at the end of each month, I go a little bit farther into the hole, rather than climb out as I truly desire. With a possible $600 firewood bill on the horizon, my mom suggested I put up a “barter” advertisment on a popular website “”. Craigslist is a global message board, with each page broken down into cities and regions around the world. On Craigslist you can find a job, sell a truck, find a roommate, advertise a garage sale, or find a vacation rental. It’s basically just a big online classified ad market place, fueled by folks in every community.

Under the For Sale/Barter Section of Craigslist, I posted a little ad that went something like this “Outdoor fishing getaway in exchange for a couple cords of firewood. Wood can easily be cut from down logs already on the property. Room & Board provided in Rustic Ranch House. I can also create a website for your business in exchange for firewood”  This little ad actually drew some interest. It was the first guy who replied that I chose to have come out. Mind you, we only spoke a little through email, and a tad bit more on the phone. Nothing creeped me out, so I invited him out that week.

He had just returned from helping take care of a family member in Alaska, and with the landscaping/construction industry slowing down all over Central Oregon, I seemed to have nabbed him at just the right time. That evening I made sure to have Painted Hills Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes & all the fixin’s, and homemade Brownies ready for him when he got there. I dream of opening a Ranch House B&B someday, so this whole barter thing was right up my alley. Each morning I awoke with the sunrise to be sure he’d have his omlette, potatoes, bacon and/or muffins ready when he came out of the downstairs guestroom.

He chopped wood, went swimming, did some fishing, and best of all, when I escaped for a Girl’s Weekend to the Pendleton Round-up with my best friend, well, he took care of all the cats & dogs for me. It worked out great for the both of us, he got to “get a way from it all”, and I got to try my hand at hostessing & my whole porch is so darn full of wood, we ran out of places to stack it!


I just have to add that I love how much bartering happens out here. It’s more fun to share an orchard full of fruit, so earlier this summer I gave away pounds of plums & peaches, and ended up with endless apples, garden veggies & fruits in return. I also bake pies on occasion to help a local animal rescue and in exchange they have offered to board my Lucky dog for no charge. I also recently traded some garden supplies for locally raised meats. It’s the simplicity in sharing and all the great neighbors out here that truly makes my life so special.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I took a most favorite pumpkin roll recipe from Miss Sarsaparilla and adapted it to muffins, and they went over well with the “woodcutter”.

Muffin Base:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup flour (optional use: brown rice flour or other gluten free blend)
1/2 tsp baking power, 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinamon, 1/2 tsp clove, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, dash salt
Cream Cheese Topping:
1/2 package cream cheese (4oz)
1/2 cup powered sugar (or agave, maple syrup, garnulated sugar will work)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375*. Beat eggs & sugar together. Add flour, baking powder/soda & spices. Poor into muffin cups. Whip together cream cheese topping/frosting. Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese topping on muffin batter. Bake 13 to 15 minutes.



1 Comment

  1. I ♥ Autumn « Galwith750acres’s Weblog said,

    […] Tonight I steamed chunks of pumpkin, cut the skins off, and made pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes, recipe is a few blog posts back, and I originally used the word “muffins”, but these are truly cupcakes. […]

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