By Sherri Coner
To stretch the family budget, Center Grove mom, Amber Cote, has rediscovered bartering.
Instead of trading animal pelts for seeds or maybe pigeons for wheat like prehistoric people did, Amber trades dog training skills, vegetables from her garden, homemade salsa and zucchini bread or fresh farm eggs from her 20 spoiled chickens.
“I actually traded dog training for painting once,” she said proudly. “We matched the even amount.”
Now Amber is on the hunt for boys’ clothing sizes 12 to 14 and 14 to 16.
Her oldest son, 12, loves T-shirts with video or sports graphics on the front and sweatpants.
But the 9-year-old “is into farm stuff and country life,” Amber said with a laugh. “If his brother has outgrown a T-shirt with pictures of video games on the front, my younger son will say, ‘I would never wear that.’”
Obviously, the older brother’s hand-me-downs are out of the question.
“I’m really big about letting my sons express themselves,” she said.
Her chicken population can only be blamed on “chicken math,” Amber said with a giggle. “We wanted six chickens but then two of them died. So we got more.”
Somewhere in the mix, Amber then rescued six more chickens.
After that, she discovered that different types of chickens lay different colors of eggs.
Of course, she had to add those chickens to her growing gathering of feathered ladies.
When the chickens leave the coop to cluck freely in the yard, it’s not unusual for at least a few of them to commit breaking and entering through the dog door, “and run through the house until I catch them,” Amber said.
One chicken in particular is constantly in need of one-on-one attention from her human.
“I can’t even bend over or Addie is on my shoulder,” Amber said.
No matter the weather, once she gathers the eggs and feeds them, Amber spends time every day with “her girls.”
Along with hoping to find someone to barter with for boys’ summer clothing, she is looking for someone interested in trading her dog training skills for house cleaning.
“It would be awesome if we traded whatever we have for things we need, “ Amber said.
To reach Amber: firstname.lastname@example.org