It is so bright out, this first day of fall. I just left the garden, where for the last hour I have been carting loads of hay to the three beds I tilled yesterday. I got too hot, and decided to come indoors for a while.
I put off planting the garlic until yesterday evening, and the mosquitoes and gnats harassed me incessantly. In desperation, I broke off several twigs of flowering basil, draped them over my ears, and lodged them under my shirt collar, in hopes the bugs would back off. It worked! Out in the garden last night until after sunset, this morning I did not get out there early enough. It just goes to show, I must learn to listen to that little voice I hear when something needs doing. I heard it at 7:00 a.m., “You need to go finish putting hay and manure on those beds you tilled yesterday evening!” A coffee and good breakfast, I finally got out there, three hours later. I do not have too much left to do, so I can finish this afternoon.
During those early hours this morning, as I listened to National Public Radio, there was a segment about people in Spain, where unemployment is at almost 30%. A group of people has started a time bank. Individuals put in time doing whatever it is they can do, something needed by another. In return, they may receive help from someone else who has some skill which they may need. Did I state that clearly? People are bartering with their time. It is working, apparently. They have accounts set up for everyone that participates, with a running account of each person’s time balance. All skills are on equal ground, time contributed and time received. One of the best things about it is that no money changes hands. Nobody pays any taxes.
I can relate to this idea. I wish we had a system set up like this here. I have so much time on my hands these days, I would not object at all to trading with others for some help around here. Most of the fellows in this area will work for at least $15 per hour. If someone like me does not have that kind of money to pay someone, what do we do? I need help with scary chores like going up on the roof and cleaning out the chimney before cold weather comes in, or standing up on a tall ladder and glazing the windowpanes in my recycled windows. It will be another freezing cold winter, with a lot of heat loss through these windows if I do not get it done. My question is…what do I have to offer another? The things I do take hours and hours to accomplish, such as canning salsa, making spaghetti sauce, or baking bread. I like to read and write. Perhaps I could tutor a student or two, in exchange for their dad’s help with my chimney. This is something I need to discuss with others. Maybe some folks in this area would like the idea. It is time to reach out and communicate with like-minded folks, if I can find them.
It is much later now, close to midnight. I finished the work in the garden, and then hurried to bathe, dress, and get out the door. A young friend was set to play his music at a local restaurant from 6-9:00 p.m. and as I have never heard him before, thought I ought to go support him. It took about 45 minutes of driving to get to this place, driving down from the mountain where I live into a valley, then back up another mountain, all the while watching for the stray elk or deer by the side of the road. I arrived at 8:00 p.m. and sat at a table with a couple of women I met for the first time. It turned out we have mutual friends, no surprise. I ordered the least expensive thing on the menu, and listened to my friend play his guitar and sing. It was a very relaxed scene, good food, and friendly service. I am glad I went.
Right next door to the restaurant is a church and a fellowship hall. When I pulled up to the restaurant, I saw so many cars parked along the road, I was amazed that this small café would seat so many. Once inside, I learned about the benefit and auction next door at the fellowship hall, to help a woman in the area with her medical expenses. By the time the café closed at 9:00, we heard that someone at the auction paid $200 for a pie and another paid $975 for a chocolate cake! The benefit was doubtless, a success. The Newton County Times will mention it in the weekly edition on Wednesday. This is something that always boggles my mind about this county. It is supposedly one of the poorest counties in Arkansas, but when someone needs assistance for medical bills, people dig deep and give support. It is so good to know that many of the residents here have big hearts and a willingness to share.
It has been a pleasant day today, and I have had an enjoyable evening away from home, out in public for the first time in months. My friend who played tonight said he would be by next week sometime to help me with my sooty chimney. I will think of some way to compensate him. He will probably leave my house with some of the salsa and spaghetti sauce I have canned recently. I may even be inspired to bake some loaves of bread and bake cookies. He will come through for me, and I hope whatever I do is enough!