My good news involves bartering.
The friend I had intended to use for cat duty during our recent three-day trip ended up needing to go out of town himself, leaving me to take said cat to the vet's for a few days. I hated to do it for her sake and ours (financially), but I hated even more the thought that someone else might not get her outside or back in. Since we know we have coyotes around, to the vet's we went, spending just under $70 for boarding, check-up/nail cutting, and distemper. Other than the cost, we all survived.
We'll be heading out of town for four days in a few weeks. Since it will be summer then, I had been mulling over the possibility that one of our regular cabin guests might be swayed to come and do cat duty for a gift of a partial cabin stay. 'Coincidentally,' LM emailed at the time I was going to email her and asked about a stay in October, adding that she was trying to figure out how to come during the summer.
DING! I wrote her right back, explaining our upcoming situation. I reminded her that we owed them for a night from an aborted stay last year due to their sick dog and would love to offer a full night and hefty discount on any additional nights they'd like to stay in exchange for making sure the cat didn't become a coyote snack. She wrote back that they'd love to, that they'd been trying to figure out how to celebrate their anniversary! Win-win for sure.
So now all we have to worry about is the cat's hopping on the roof and trying to claw her way into our bedroom window as usual.
Regarding bartering, we'd love to barter with others, especially with our neighbors who have fantastic gardens and hunt. If any of you barter goods and/or services, I'd love to hear ideas - what's worked and what hasn't.
Because Sarah and I might want to figure out how to barter with the bank....