Friday, December 2, 2022

Clayton and Krystal: Seeking wise-counsel

Clayton was impressed by how the pad had turned out.

Betty had rolled up one of the rugs to free up the floor-space. It was almost as if she had planned it.

He had taken particular care since this was his first “inside job”.

He had done work for little-old-ladies who were all smiles while he was working and had slaughtered him in the reviews. He didn’t want that happening.

He had marked out on the pad where he wanted the stove. He laid scrap pieces of one-by on the pad and scooted it along the boards until the lip of the stack lined up with the plumb-bob he had hanging from the elbow.

Then he laid in the stove-pipe to connect the stove to the rest of the stove-pipe.

The last thing he did was that he brought in a half-face cord of split ash-wood that he had loaded at the farm. The wood had been Aunt Alice’s idea. “She might want to run a fire in it just to see how it works.”

He trimmed away the poly-film that he had spread under the project. Then he swept and vacuumed. And then swept and vacuumed again.

Putting on his “humble” face, he approached Betty and said “I know money is tight for a lot of folks. I know it is for me and Krystal.”

Betty watched him with her undivided attention as he spoke.

“And I was wondering if you could cover the cost of materials?” Clayton asked. “I put them on my credit card. My time don’t cost me any money but the money to pay for the stuff from the store has to come from somewhere.”

“That sounds fair to me” Betty said, agreeably. “What do I owe you?”

Clayton had been running a tally on the bigger parts in his head and was able to tabulate them on his fingers: “I bought 7 bags of concrete, one of mortar, dimension lumber….”

Betty went to her desk and pulled out a checkbook and started filling it out. “I am giving you an extra thirty dollars because you had to drive to Ionia and that is a bit of a haul.”

Tearing the check out of the book, she handed it to him.

“I also want to give you a couple of hogs for your time” Betty said.

That was the LAST thing Clayton expected. “Ummm. Are you OK if I call Ed and ask him if that is OK?”

“Sure. No problem” Betty said.

Clayton stepped out of the room but Betty could still hear his side of the conversation.

Ed did not pick up his phone. Probably because he was in the cab of the skid-steer.

Then Clayton called Alice. She did pick up.

“Hey Aunt Alice, Clayton here” Clayton said.

“Miss Betty wants to give me a couple of pigs and I thought I better check with you first.”

A pause…

“Because I didn’t see any place to raise them and it is your place. I am not going to be bringing in any pets without your permission” Clayton said.

In the other room Betty’s face broke into a smile. Swine aren’t pets.

Alice then asked “Did she offer you a ‘pig’ or a ‘hog’?”

“Same thing” Clayton said. He wasn’t born yesterday.

“Not quite” Alice said. “A pig weighs less than 180 pounds. Most of them are sold when they are thirty or forty pounds and take about 600 pounds of feed to get to slaughter weight.”

“On the other hand, a hog is over 180 pounds and most of them are sold at 240-to-260 pounds and a good butcher can turn at least half of that into meat.”

“You might want to check and see if she said ‘hogs’ or ‘pigs’. She won’t mind you asking” Alice said.

Clayton shuffled back, embarrassed. “Aunt Alice suggested I ask if you were offering me ‘pigs’ or ‘hogs’. We don’t have a place to put pigs.”

Betty smiled. She was expecting the question. “I was offering you a couple of hogs.”

Clayton’s relief was palpable. “In that case, Aunt Alice asked if we could pick them up at the end of the week when the weather is expected to be cooler.”

“No problem” Betty said. 


Clayton got home a little bit early and heard the skid-steer back in the swamp. He decided to check out how the operation was going.

He saw Ed and Bernie but no third guy. He assumed Carl was a wash-out.

Ed shut-down the skid-steer as soon as he saw Clayton coming up the two-track.

Bernie put down the cable and walked up to the two-track.

Ed looked embarrassed. “Me an Bernie had a little talk this morning” he said.

Bernie nodded as if to encourage Ed.

“Bernie suggested that the only way to make this operation sustainable was to divvy up the profits on shares” Ed said.

“Whaddya think of the land-owner getting half the logs, and all of the helpers getting a share of whatever is left with the skid-steer counting as two helpers?” Ed ventured.

Clayton worked the math in his head. “So I would be getting a quarter of the logs you guys pulled out today because I let you use the skid-steer?”

“Yep. An’ I get 62% 'cause I own the land and am workin' and Bernie gets what’s left” Ed said.

“Who pays for fuel and maintenance?” Clayton asked.

“We talked about that” Ed said. “We figured the land owner should pay for the fuel because they get the biggest share and that you would want to handle the maintenance because you might be fussy about the kind of motor oil and filters and such.”

“An’ if it is damaged because of carelessness...well, then we talk about it” Ed said.

Clayton rolled the idea around in his head. He didn’t see much of a downside.

“What about the slings and snatch-blocks? They won’t last forever” Clayton asked.

“I am not sure that will be much of a problem. The barns around here are full of them, if you know who to ask. Whaddya say I start askin’ and picking them up while they are cheap” Ed said.

Clayton stuck out his hand. “Deal!”

He also shook Bernie’s hand.

Next Installment


  1. Agorism: heat for hogs!

    1. Problem-solvers will find ways to get things done even if the cash economy crashes and burns.

  2. True enough Joe IF they have Likeminded neighbors.

    Socialist-Communist Gov love to reward Quislings (Karens, Tattletales) to betray their neighbors badthink, ducking the "System".

    1. True, but the League of Ladies takes care of their own. Snitches get stitches.

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  4. Good presentation of an effectively non-cash economy (I would not have known the difference either).

  5. A month ago I was trying to sell our two pigs (hogs actually - each over 200 lbs) to avoid the cost of winter feed. Then I found that the Kune Kune gilt is pregnant with her first litter, and that a local IPP breeder will have a registered gilt and a couple of feeders ready at year-end. So now we're going from a plan of zero pigs until spring to a herd of two adults and three piglets. It's a lot of expense, but it does accelerate our plan to begin IPP breeding next year. They're easy on feed, but it's amazing how much hay they will eat in a day.

  6. "pig" vs. "hog". Agorism (I knew "agora"). IPP. I have much to learn...


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