Thursday, January 18, 2018

October 2012 Message from the Guildmaster

October 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Message from the Guildmaster

Greetings once again:

In Virginia, October is in the air. The leaves are starting to turn golden browns, and bright reds, while beginning to cover the yard and driveway. Acorns rain down like a bad hail storm. If the old stories about the amount of acorns relating to a severe winter are true, we are in for a doozy.

The chestnut crop has almost ended for the year. We are blessed (or cursed, depending our your perspective) with three large trees that produce an inordinate amount of wonderfully flavored nuts. Jan roasts then almost daily and barters (or gives) them to our friends in exchange for other wonderful treats that they produced in their gardens and yards.

This year we purchased tomato plants from a Mennonite nursery in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia. Once does not usually expect all of the plants to survive, but they did, and we were overwhelmed with large quantities of beautiful produce all summer long. Once again, friends traded various peppers, vegetables, and other goods for our bountiful supply of tomatoes. Many of their plants did not mature, and they needed fresh tomatoes for the table. No money was ever exchanged, and none was expected from either party.

All of this has been great fun. Our friends got what they needed, and so did we. One has only to think of  several hundred years ago when this was an everyday occurrence. One person might have a surplus of tobacco, while the local blacksmith was able to make something needed for the farm. A barter was struck, and everyone was happy.  I believe this system is as old as mankind, and it has survived for many centuries, largely unchanged.

With our love of traditions and history, this system fits into our everyday lives very well. I wonder if many of you practice this too? The impact on our world lessens as folks work together to share and help each other. Our reliance on the capitalistic system  we have created lessens, and our need for the almighty dollar decreases as well.  In addition, we consume (buy) less hard goods that end up littering our world when they are discarded. Regardless of the litany of economic opinions and forecasts that preach we must “spend” more to benefit the economy, I think we would all be better off reducing our consumption, rather than increasing it.

Our ancestors may have not enjoyed the luxuries that we take for granted these days, but I think many of them lived fulfilling lives. They worked hard, they valued their friends and families, and they worked to treat their peers fairly. I have no doubt that many lasting friendships were struck from a barter or a service that was traded well. It is something to think about in our modern times as we rush through our lives driving from one big box store to the next.

As usual, comments, criticisms, suggestions, or other observations are always welcome. I hope you have a glorious fall season.

All the best,

Jeff Bibb

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