By Laura Grimes
The first large jar of spicy dill pickles vintage 2010 has launched into the world. It was exchanged over morning coffee for kickass ginger molasses cookies. Just in the nick of time, too. A pack of Large Smelly Boys took over the house. (How rude of teachers to have an in-service day.)
The list of barter offers has grown slightly since the last update (see below).
Because we’re a 75 percent meat-free household, we’re working on a multiple trade for the elk meat. Not to worry, the vendor said: “A three-way always sounds fun.”
A neighbor called on her way to work recently and somewhat desperately asked if I would harvest her tomatoes — and do whatever I wanted to her plants. She didn’t have time and she didn’t want to know what I did with the produce. She had nearly two dozen gigantic vines.
I spent one day cutting down her plants and harvesting tub after tub of tomatoes, green and not-so-green. Then Mr. Scatter and I spent another exhausting day making three more giant batches of piccalilli (green tomato and cabbage relish) and dilled green cherry tomatoes (we tried out a new recipe — the tiny tomatoes look the perfect size to top off a not-so-dirty-little-secret martini).
We gave several jars to the Green Thumb Neighbor (who said she’ll plant whatever I want next year!) and another jar to The Garden Nozzle Lady, who loaned us a stock pot for the pickle marathon.
Since then, piccalilli has been traveling all over town. One jar went to an old school chum I hadn’t seen in years. Another went with the Spicy Dills Jar No. 1. Another was dropped off inside a honkin’ huge vase that needed to get back to its owner.
The vase comes with a little secret. After I carefully cleaned it, I stashed it next to the laundry hamper, where it would be out of the way but I wouldn’t forget about it. It was there for nearly three months. In that time, more than one dirty sock has … let’s just say missed the hamper. As Mr. Scatter said, “As long as they don’t drink beer out of it, we’re good.”
Where does the barter list stand now? What back alley exchanges are taking place?
- Sauerkraut. (Are you and your lovely wife up for cocktails sometime soon?)
- Pesto plus a 2009 WillaKenzie pinot gris. (A dinner invitation will be extended soon from our house. Are you reading this?)
- Elk meat. (We’re heading straight to the bar for this one.)
- Cream cheese braid. (Working on it!)
- $57.32. (This one is perhaps not so serious, but I know the intent is true, because we split one of these jars of pickles for lunch recently on a hot summer day when we had nothing else to eat and had to dig out slices with our fingers. All I got to say: Show me the money!)
- Designer labels for jars. (This is also perhaps not so serious, but a little arm-twisting might work. Feeling the pain yet? … But, wait. This has been replaced by …)
- Smoked salmon. (Oh, yeah, baby! Jackpot!)
- “Ring of Fire” peppers with an 80K hotness. (I have no idea what this is, but my guess is an extreme distance running race after eating the peppers, which sound painful. This is from someone I knew way back when. We’re working on a mail exchange.)
- Kickass ginger molasses cookies. (Also sound painful, but I can now attest that it’s in a good way. They are also all gone.)
- Apple pie I. (This has morphed into an offer of …)
- Artwork! (Yes, homemade. We’re meeting at a bookstore while one of the Large Smelly Boys goes bowling.)
- Apple pie II. (We are aiming for Halloween and a birthday dessert. Shhh! Don’t tell.)
- Henry James novel. (This is the beauty that started the whole shebang. We’re discussing dinner.)
- Homemade Halloween bookmarks or a cold. (Which would you choose?)
- Homemade soaps and candles. (These are real prizes by a professional!)
- Pie surprise. (This one requires further negotiations with someone who’s been in the wild for a few weeks, but I just know my cow eyes will win out!)
It’s never too late to offer something in trade! Remember: Practice safe snacking. Always use a condiment!