Last summer my husband was in the hospital for three weeks. The grass quickly went from kempt to shaggy to knee-high. Not inclined to mow it myself, I explained my plight to our neighbor, Mike, who mows the lawn next door to ours with his Toro rider. I said I would pay him whatever he thought was fair. He offered to do it for free but I insisted he should be compensated. He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “Hmmm, those chocolate chip cookies you bake are the best I’ve ever had” and a deal was born. He mows the lawn and I deliver a batch of cookies to his house, always chocolate chip. Our deal worked out so well, my hubby’s never had to mow the lawn again. Mike’s three kids now refer to me as The Cookie Lady. People tell me I should “monetize” my baking talents. Lord, I hate that word. As if hobbies that don’t make money (poetry, for instance) aren’t worth doing. Moreover, who wants to fool with W-2s or 1099s and cut the IRS in on their profits?

The poem below, a CASCADE, is part of Muri’s Poetry Month Challenge.


Mike mows my lawn
for chocolate chip cookies
A perfect arrangement

Every Saturday afternoon
from April to October
Mike mows my lawn

His kids know the drill
He finishes and they clamor
for chocolate chip cookies

He does his thing; I do mine
We both get what we want
A perfect arrangement


  1. Tippy Gnu April 18, 2022 / 3:40 am

    Ah, but bartering cookies for lawn mowing is considered barter income by the IRS. It’s taxable and must be reported to Uncle Sam, utilizing Form 1099-B. That’s the arrangement.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan April 18, 2022 / 6:38 am

      What they don’t know won’t hurt them. And I make too little to owe taxes, even if I included the cookie baking.
      For simplicity’s sake, let’s say Mike mows my lawn for free out of the goodness of his heart, and I bake him cookies for free out of the goodness of mine. It is mere coincidence that we happen to do this on the same day each week during the summer.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tippy Gnu April 18, 2022 / 8:39 am

        I see. The coincidence loophole. I think that might work in tax court.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Just Joan April 18, 2022 / 8:45 am

        If we wanted to push it, we could each claim a charitable deduction. He gives to Two Disabled Vets. I give to Broke Guy With Three Kids.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Tippy Gnu April 18, 2022 / 9:44 am

        Well, you better figure this out quick, because today’s Tax Day.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. churchmousie April 18, 2022 / 10:10 am

    I dearly appreciate relationships like yours and broke guy. I’m thankful your husband has been able to allow someone else to hold the reins on the yardwork, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 18, 2022 / 11:41 am

      It works, and that’s all that matters. Hubby is on meds that make him tired and heat-intolerant, which makes it hard for him to do outdoor chores. Mike helping us out has been a real blessing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. judyrutrider April 18, 2022 / 1:08 pm

    Good neighbors are priceless, half-way decent neighbors are a blessing, and in my neighborhood, those who don’t cook meth are considered good enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 18, 2022 / 2:01 pm

      Yours must be a fancy neighborhood, JRR. I thought you lived in Cali, not Kentucky. Cookies are a good way to win friends and influence people. The staff at the local grocery and call me when they get shipments of pastries from my favorite bakery and remind me to redeem my frequent shopper points. The mechanic gets me right in. Etc.


  4. murisopsis April 18, 2022 / 3:44 pm

    Joan, this cascade is delicious! (at least as yummy as your cookies must surely be!) I’m glad you have such a good neighbor and that your husband is a good sport to allow another to mow!! They say getting older isn’t for sissies and I believe it! Sounds like you have a good life in small town USA!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 18, 2022 / 4:18 pm

      Thanks, Muri. This one was simple to write and work into the cascade form. The secret to good cookies is use real ingredients… high quality chocolate chips (Ghirardelli), real butter and sugar (no margarine or fake sugars like Splenda or stevia). Hubby isn’t possessive about mowing, actually he’s quite happy to be free of it. He does cookie deliveries, which makes him popular with the kids.


  5. joyroses13 April 20, 2022 / 12:10 am

    Sounds like a perfect arrangment to me! I love having good neighbors! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. saintvi April 20, 2022 / 1:50 pm

    I love this! ❤️ I’ve made many similar deals. Some men value homemade cookies far more than money. Maybe I should try it out on the tree trimmers!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.