Taking advantage of my good nature…

Boy I think to myself every time I leave the grocery store when are the prices going to stop going up? Seems every week they are costing more and more. The sale prices this week are the same if not higher than the regular prices were the beginning of Dec. (my price book tells me this) For example in Dec. a loaf of wheat bread was $3.79 regular price, this week on sale that same loaf of bread was $3.69…

For our budget it’s getting harder and harder to keep within the budget even though I expected the increases and increased our budget by 10%.  It’s now up to $150. every two weeks. So far I have managed to stick to it but we have less extras lately.

 Our garden is going to be more important to us than ever this year. I figured our garden budget to come from the grogery budget to purchase the seeds, soil and what ever else we might need. This is going to be tough very soon.

When I figured for our garden I knew we are going to build raised beds and knew we had most of the lumber needed to do this project. Well low and behold I went out to the back side of the barn yesterday, just looking around and discovered our lumber pile has been picked over! Any board we had there that was longer than 2′ is gone! When I first discovered this I thought…no it must be under the snow…after digging around it’s not under the snow it’s gone.

After telling my husband about the discovery, he made a phone call to a friend of ours who he told could go back there and pick up the SHORT BOARDS for her wood stove. She didn’t really need them, just part of a barter, return for her feeding our horses one weekend while we were gone.

The call confirmed she had been back there and helped herself. She even commented on the nice job she did stacking the lumber back up for us. Yes indeed it is a nice pile with the piece of metal roofing back on the top to cover it.

Her reasoning was she too is building new garden beds this spring and since the boards were behind the barn, not in our main board pile, they all must be scrap and she helped herself to them, both the short ones and all the long ones.  She even commented that they will be just “right” for her garden….NO KIDDING?!….He just said “ya’ that’s why they were back there, Karyn stacked them there last fall so they would be close by the garden area in the spring”… He didn’t have the heart to our right ask for them back.

I told him he should, we were counting on them in the spring and now we were the ones who need to spend $ to replace them, (about $180. worth and not a fair trade for feeding 2 horses for 2 days). This particular woman has plenty of $ to buy her own. I don’t think it was a misunderstanding at all, but my husband does and is not going to tell her any different. Even though I reminded him that’s 2 weeks of our groceries. Because that’s where the garden money is coming from this year.

This is not the first time something like this has happened in dealing with her, but she is a friend and does help us out a lot when we need the help. Especially in watching the older gentleman who lives with us when we want to go some where. He can’t be left alone and she is always happy to take him. I don’t want to do or say something to create hard feelings.

Now I’m not looking to win or loose this dispute with her or my husband I simply am wondering how I am going to replace the boards for the garden & save my budget… Perhaps I could pile up rocks or use felled trees. Goodness knows we have plenty of rocks, I just had my heart set on the clean neat look of the board edging for the raised beds.

Any one have something to add or an idea?


Posted on February 14, 2009, in Gardening, House Budgets, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Sorry but I would ask her straight out for them back….

    no ifs, no buts…she took the wrong boards and has to give them back or replace them herself…

    Sorry…I guess that is not what you want to hear right now….


  2. Compostwoman,
    Oh yes this is what I think also, but I hate to tick her off and loose my sitter over some boards. She is one of the very few people who will watch him for me….On the other hand I hate the thought of replacing them…

    Thanks for the vote and support.


  3. I would see if I could find some lumber in freecycle. 5 gallon buckets are cheap from deli’s and you can grow a bunch of stuff in them with the right drainage.

    It is a tough situation. We had a similar situation come up with someone who watches our animals. In the spirit of Neighborliness we are trying to let it go. But we learned our lesson. Bartering is something I think we will have to use more but I would rather learn how to do ( and take any losses in the process) than to never barter again. I also learned who to barter with and who would be just a pleased with a small gesture if kindness that expresses my gratitude.

    As for helping with the garden. I might get in touch with the local cooperative extension. It would be a place that has the inside scoop on local seed and seedling swaps. So say you find a good deal on some seed buy a little extra and then save it for a swap so that you find something else that you need but might me a bit of your price range. Also, when you divide herbs and other perennial plants, in the spring, you can take them to the swap I also would try farmers markets or greenhouses about mid june. By then they are marking down seedlings that may not be pretty but would perk up when you put them in the ground.

    In the fall look for mark downs on end of season seeds. We are able to do this with fedco seed when we go to the common ground fair.

    ARe you growing Open pollinated seed? If you can save some seed from this year it will save you money next year.

  4. Hello Karin,
    Yes indeed it is a sticky mess. Now that I have had time to calm down, I will let it go but also remember to not let this woman wander around, I’ll go help her. She is a bit pushy for me…We have bartered for many many years and mostly have no troubles. I have already placed my seed order for this year with the intention of finishing up when the coop sends out their spring sale flyer. Theirs is mostly fruit trees, shrubs, and bulbs. We did get some awesome rhubarb from them last year!

    I ordered from Baker Vallley seed and Pine Tree Garden…I think they are all open pollinated and will save seeds this year. In past years I always saved seeds but the ones I have saved are from 2002 a bit old but I will try germinating some on paper towels and see how they will do and if ok use those as well.

    Freecycle is a great place to find all sorts of things, and we do have a “credit” with a friend who has a saw mill, so after thinking about it, it’s not so bad, it just ticked me off. I have a great source for 5 gal buckets, mountains of them, thats a great idea and think I will give them a try. The buckets are all free-just need to be washed out as they had motor oil in them. Thanks for the tip!!

  5. miss frugal in training

    you could try recycled lumber it’s cheaper than new ones

  6. Miss Frugal,
    That is a great idea. I’ll check around to see if anyone close by does such a thing. I know Vermont Salvage recycles parts to houses that have been taken down and is a great source to replace older fixtures and such.


  7. That’s rough! It’s so tough to find yourself in a situation where you feel manipulated (at least, I would if this happened to me). But, I wanted to let you know, the Amish in the area where I grew up (SW Pa) often had raised beds but didn’t use a retaining wall of any kind–they were more like long dirt mounds. It seemed to work for them. Also, what about cement blocks? To buy new they’d really add up, but people often have them lying around and might be willing to give them away or trade for them. You could even plant herbs in the open spaces. Good luck!

  8. Hi Lauralynne,
    Thats another great idea. I have seen the gardens this way. So much to think about between now and when the snow finally melts.

    Thanks for the idea!

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