Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Good and Bad

      First, the good referred to in the title.
      One of the very endearing features of this area is the practice of the honesty box at the end of a farmer's driveway. Miriam has lived here all her life (except for a few years) and says that the practice has been operative for all of that time, and I am sure it goes back much further than that.
     Here is what happens. The farmer sets out the produce he wishes to sell in a display at the end of the driveway. The items are priced, and there is a box to drop the money into for the goods you purchase. Hence, the designation "honesty box."

     As you can see in the picture above, the box in this instance is an old coffee can with a slot in the top to insert the money. Here it is a little closer.

     Who can resist buying something?

     The heartwarming aspect of this ancient mercantile system, is that honesty is the operative component. Without that condition of basic human decency it cannot work; and it does work. Obviously sufficiently few people cheat the farmer, and the boxes are not stolen or broken into with any regularity.
     In a world of corrupt politicians, and opportunistic capitalism in its most ugly manifestations, I never fail to find this old tradition uplifting and reaffirming.
     On the day that we took these pictures Miriam and I bought a huge watermelon for $3.00 and had it for dessert for days on end. It was wonderfully tasty and juicy, and grown just a few kilometres from our front door. The local farmer made a little money for his hard work and we enjoyed the results. What could be better than that?
     And now for the bad. 
     Barbed wire is still used extensively on farms for the purpose of enclosing livestock, but it would seem to me that by 2019 we should have devised better ways to accomplish the same goal.
     I am quite certain that the impact on wildlife is not a consideration for the average farmer or rancher, and here is the unfortunate consequence.

     An Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) has become impaled on the wire, has been unable to extricate itself and no doubt endured a slow and painful death.
I have seen pictures of Pronghorn Antelopes (Antilocapra americana) trapped in barbed wire which they have been unable to vault over, and it seems reasonable to believe that other creatures are similarly affected by barbed wire fences.
     It strikes me as somehow disconcerting that a cherished system of honest dealing, and wildlife carnage caused by barbed wire, often exist side-by-side on the same farm. 
     The good and the bad I suppose.


  1. what a goodidea wlittle marked on the driveway!I love such things and think we should have more of it..Like all the good stuff they sell

    The bad part is that bird caught and died on that wire..So sad and what a long time death..I wish they could stop such things..Dont they have electrical wires?It is very rare to see such things here in Norwya..But on the other hand with the new windmills all over our mountains and nature ..birds get caught on them.It is such a sad sight to see big bald eagles hanging there ..Ok thanx for nice post.I admire you blog,It is so entertaining, learning and beautiful-Greetings Anita

  2. That is life when good and honest are present and ugly and barbaric are also present. The last picture is horrible, it shows how cruel and not caring we can be. That is so sad that a wildlife is not a consideration for the average farmer or rancher. We have to preserve wild life at any cost.

  3. It is most unfortunate that a Bluebird should end its short life in such a way. I must say that in my experience birds have adapted well to barbed wire with the thickness of the metal quite suited to small passerines especially.

    As for the honesty tray. It's a fabulous array of goodies but I'm bound to say that a few honesty points in our locality have had to be abandoned because of dishonesty.

  4. Hari OM
    That honesty box system exists here and in OZ too. In small places. Cities, I don't think it would survive! The history of barbed wire is an interesting one; the Native Americans called it 'Devil's Rope' as it prevented them from crossing traditional lands. As harsh as the picture you present us. YAM xx

  5. It's nice to see that's still people you can trust. I have seen things sold at a similar way here.
    So sad to see the bird at the barbed wire, David.

  6. We have a lot of places selling, fruit, veggies and other produce this way, and I'm happy to say it works well. Barbed wire is a danger for birds and animals and should be replaced by something less harmfull. Valerie

  7. Not so many honesty boxes here these days, but there is a huge increase in the number of farm shops that sell a lot of local produce and I suspect that many small growers sell to them. I've only ever found one bird (a pheasant) hanging dead from a wire fence. I also once freed a sheep from a hanging length of barbed wire which I suspect had been cut by someone other than the farmer. I see an awful lot of roadkill though.

  8. Hola David, me encanta ese sistema de compra, sin duda demuestra que la inmensa mayoría de las personas es honesta y eso me gusta. En cuanto a las alambradas de pinchos no me gustan, pero aquí les ayudan a ponerlas para que los Lobos no se coman las reses, así que creo que tendremos alambradas para rato, espero no encontrarme imágenes tan horribles como la que tu compartes. Un fuerte abrazo para ti y también para Miriam.

  9. The farmer's idea is very good, but it is necessary for those who buy to be honest.
    I'm sorry about the bird.

  10. It's nice to see that the honesty box system is still alive and well, I've seen a few here. So sad the bird got caught in the barbed wire and died. Barbed wire should be fazed out and other methods should be available to replace it.

  11. David - yes, barbed wire can be vicious. Unfortunately, in Montana, you will often see coils of it on the ground, presumably left from a fencing project. Woe to the animal that gets caught in it. Love that you have a ready source of local produce and other items!

  12. Its sad that some men insist on place to the barbed wire, it is horrid.

  13. The honesty boxes are a great idea. They are (or were) used here too.
    You are so right about devil wire. There has to be a better way. A bird blog I follow talked about rescuing an owl caught up in it. The bird survived, but was so damaged he now remains in a rehab facility as an education bird. A truly bitter sweet end.

  14. Hello, we have neighbors that do the same thing, sell veggies and eggs. One neighbor is taking orders for Thanksgiving Turkeys. I feel sorry for the bluebird, That looks like something a shrike would do, ugh. Wishing you a happy day!

  15. It was in Tasmania that we discovered this system. We thought: but in France, people steal everything! What a pity.
    David, maybe the farmer is not aware of these tragedies!
    Unfortunately, there are fences all over the world like these.
    Kisses and have a nice day.

  16. So sad to see any bird/animal that gets caught on barbed wire.

    You may see the very occasional honesty offerings here in the UK but I think mostly folks go to Farmers Shops/Markets, which are very popular.

    All the best Jan

  17. Farmers used barbed wire for livestock. Some started using fencing wire, some ran a line of electric wire.

    An honesty produce stand is wonderful and rewarding. Glad they still exist.

  18. The poor bluebird! We used to get caught regularly on the barbed wire as a child living in the country. Fortunately I was always with my sister or friend and we extracted each other, but our clothes didn’t always come out unscathed. How lovely to have local fruits and vegetables for your table so nearby. Honesty boxes still exist in rural Minnesota, too. It’s common to see a farm wagon loaded with pumpkins, squashes, and gourds at this time of year with a container with a slot of money. It’s nice at some level honesty still exists.

  19. So sad about the bluebird...:o(

    The loyalty system is a grand idea...In Big Bend National Park, the Mexican Artists cross the river and leave their creations, with a price on it and you leave your money in coffee tin or some other container. I wish the whole world could be like this.

  20. Muchas veces amigo David la gente nos sorprende con su honestidad, aunque pienso que existen de todo tipo. Quizás, sea mayoritariamente los que suelen actuar con honradez, pero existen muchos desaprensivos que a buen seguro se llevarían la mercancía sin donar nada, y no solamente aquella que le hiciese falta, tal vez se llevarían de todo y en algunos casos todo.
    Indudablemente en una pequeña zona de escasos vecinos y donde se conocen todos la actuación sería de buena fe. Pero en una grande urbe creo, se llevarían todo hasta el poco dinero que pudiera recaudar.
    En cuanto al alambre de púas pienso que debería de estar totalmente prohibido, en estos tiempos que corren se puede colocar otro tipo de alambrada o cerca que no puedan causar esos estragos. Francamente, es una pena que sigan ocurriendo estas cosas.
    Un gran abrazo mi querido amigo y compadre David.

  21. O no ... so sad. Never seen here. But I love the "good".

    Sharing my new blog. It is in Dutch but in my blogpost there is a link to a good Dutch photographer (birds). Hope you like it.

  22. I see the honesty boxes every now and then here. Where I worked for 20 years, had a sales room that was never locked. (apple orchard) People would come and get aples and leave money stuck where it would be found. Also, the owner said she had ever only had one check bounce, and she would not contact the person that wrote it because it would have embarrassed that person to death.

  23. I fail to see any need for barbed wire.

  24. En mycket intressant företeelse i en värld som vi upplever som mer eller mindre korrumperad. Tillit tar fram det bästa hos människan, när någon litar på mig vill jag inte bete mig som en svikare om jag äger ett samvete vill säga.

    En så ledsam bild David, jag bläddrar snabbt förbi. Jag vet att sådant sker hela tiden men jag blir så illa berörd.

  25. The photos are beautiful.
    Really a pity for the bird hanging on the barbed wire.
    Greetings Irma

  26. Hi David.

    It is wonderful that the farmer can still buy and sell in the old-fashioned way.

    The barbed wire is bad for the birds.
    Hopefully something else will be found.

    Greeting from Patricia.

  27. I come across those honesty boxes from time to time, and always smile. My last purchase from such a table was mayhaw jelly, in east Texas.

    As for barbed wire: it has its uses, but like everything in the world it has downsides. Having lived in rural Texas, and having had business and personal relationships with ranchers, I can wish there were problem-free fencing, but I recognize the value of barbed wire, even though I've impaled myself a few times, and lost more than a few pieces of clothing to the stuff.

  28. I like the idea of the market, this all kinds of pumpkins look so lovely.

    But I am so sad seeing the wire and dead bird- my heart is broken

  29. Honesty boxes still survive in this part of the world, David, but are usually only seen in rural areas and off the beaten track, and usually when there's not much on offer - maybe eggs or a few plants, for example.

    So sad to see the bluebird like that. Barbed wire is still extensively used in UK, although electric fencing seems to have reduced its use somewhat. However, as far as I can recollect, I have only ever seen humans suffer from encounters with it. My own last incident was an extensively ripped pair of trousers! What exactly was the nature of the impalement? I would suspect that the biggest (although still slight) danger to a bird would be if it was banded and got one of the tines jammed under the band round its leg - it could then inflict serious damage to itself on an adjacent tine as it struggled. And no, I'm not condemning banding!

  30. Hi Dan - that's a good title ... the Good and the Bad ... love the honesty system ... we have it here in places. Beautiful fresh veggies too ... must be delicious. Barbed wire is awful ... poor creatures who get stuck on any wire fencing ... electric might be better ... but then I wonder about theft of the electric system ... we're having lots more farming theft now. Times are not easy ... take care - love the good - hate the bad ... cheers Hilary

    1. I just checked my driver's licence, passport and social insurance card, and yep, my name is David not Dan.

  31. Mooie serie, alleen het laatste plaatje is luguber.
    Groet Kees.

  32. I was reading your story of the honesty box and my heart soared and then you went and crashed me with the barbed wire! But it is true that good and bad exist side by side. We mustn't ignore the bad - indeed we must struggle against it - but it shouldn't blind us to the good.

  33. An incredible tradition these days, I don't know if there will be many places like this where you can buy the goods and leave the money without the seller present.
    As for the downside it is really sad to see this little bird death on the barbed wire. There are certainly other ways of fencing the land, but perhaps farmers don't even think about the consequences that barbed wire can have on animal life.
    All the best

  34. Soy de tu misma opinión, creo que habría que cambiar el sistema de cerramientos por algo más acorde con en el siglo XXI en el que estamos, alguno que no dañe a la fauna silvestre. Buen reportaje David, un fuerte abrazo desde España.

  35. Por España nunca vi ventas así, esta forma me parece genial. El pajarito me da mucha tristeza. Un abrazo David.

  36. The photo of the bird and barbed wire just breaks my heart. What a sad and painful death. I quite agree about barbed wire. As for the honesty market -- I bought all my pumpkins from one. Two big flatbeds loaded with orange and white pumpkins with a little yellow box for money. I loved it. A good feeling. (Your stand had more veggies -- I'd like that!)

  37. I love the honesty box that we can find here at some farm stands as well. I'm so thankful that this tradition still works, especially in this country where politicians and especially "our" president in his "great and unmatched wisdom" are cheating, lying, corrupt hypocrites who only serve their own interests.
    So sad about the bird - and yes, probably a lot of other creatures who get trapped by barbed wire. Barbed wire is still used a lot here, and while I like to photograph it I hate what it can accomplish.

  38. Honesty box can never be practiced here because there are too many who would love to take advantage and even cart away the box and goods. So sad for the bird and other unfortunate animals who got entangled by the barb wire.

  39. We have the same thing here with the honesty boxes too, i've used them a few times whilst we've been out and about. Awful to see the poor bird, it's a horrible thing to use :(

  40. Let's enjoy comfortable autumn days. Have a nice weekend.

  41. That farmer's marketing is wonderful! It makes me want to support his efforts. Produce grown with love and care always taste the best, doesn't it? Barbed wires are really barbaric. That poor bird.

  42. Hello, I love the home grown fresh veggies. I feel sorry for the poor bird. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, wishing you happy weekend. PS, thanks for leaving me a comment.

  43. Hi David,
    I have seen a lot of places with this Barbed wire, And a lot of birds on that wire together. Never have seen such an accident! Horrible!
    That was about the bad news.
    And the good news is that we have a lot of farmers with different products on a table . And also a can for the money ! I shop there twice a week!
    That's very common here! Green beans, zucchini, apples, grapes and so on. Healthy and cheap.
    Happy weekend
    Regards Maria

  44. Hi David,

    Very nice post with these two oppositions. It's surprising that almost everybody pays for what they take. In these days you would expect that the money-box would soon been stolen.
    Bad stuff that barbed wire. It should be banished.


  45. I love the honesty box system. I've also encountered it here in Australia while travelling in rural areas.
    Very sad for the unnecessary death of animals on barbed wire.

  46. Hello David!
    I admire your culture and trust.
    Great tradition !!!!!

    Vegetables and money left unprotected in my country?
    I don't want to write anymore. I know you understand me.
    Hugs and greetings.

  47. A contrast like life itself, the good of that box of honesty and the bad of the barbed wire, poor bird!
    Many kisses and hugs, friend David.

  48. Hello David, we have the same offering of house grown fruit and other goodies. And it is indeed hard to resist. I had a shock seeing the photo of the poor dead bird. Horror indeed.

  49. Hello David,
    Also in the Netherlands there are many farmers and market gardeners who put their products on the road in a stall with a cash box. Unfortunately, more and more people are taking the products without paying so that many farmers decide not to do this anymore. Too bad. Also very sad that these people are ruining it for others.
    Then your barbed wire. A phenomenon that is also often used here in the Netherlands, but also a lot of electric fencing.

    Kind regards and a big hug