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Chipping In Day.

dragon-computerNo one understands There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch – or TANSTAAFL, as Larry Niven put it – better than Dragons and their people. Face it, Dragonkeeping is not for shallow pockets. And so we supplement and barter where we can and becoming truly integrated with our larger communities. This time of year there are harvests to be brought in, orchards to be kept warm, not to mention earth works to be wrapped before the heavy frost comes.

This is the time when Dragons make good impressions on their neighbors and rack of brownie points – and provisions – for the winter ahead. Of course, major labor is not required. Baby-sitting or helping with a stubborn writer’s block is just as valuable a way of contributing to the common weal.

Confabulation of Dragons - Scott Gustafson

Confabulation of Dragons – Scott Gustafson

A couple of things to remember:

1)   Always check with your village council or public-works board to find out where help is most needed. You don’t want to be laboring at cross-purposes. For example, for over a month, now, they’ve been ripping up the center of my village, putting in new storm sewers, sidewalks, and pavement. The true heavy lifting was completed last week, so,  much as the Dragons want to lend a hand, the best they can do today is warm the flag people and try not to get tail-prints in the freshly poured sidewalk. They will be far more helpful at the local apple orchards and giving kids rides through the corn maze.

2)   If working with an official government agency, be sure to have a proper contract guaranteeing proper compensation. TANSTAAFL applies to humans as well as Dragons, though humans – particularly the bureaucratic types – have a tendency to forget the fact.

3)  The more work is fun for Dragons, the more Dragons make work fun for us.

So, whether getting a lift up to clean the gutters or blowing leaves into piles with the whoosh of Dragon wings (no leaf burning! that has a tendency to tick off more people than it wins over; plus autumn winds make it a very risky prospect – we don’t need any more wildfires), have fun.

Get out with your Dragons and give back to your communities. And don’t forget to say “Thank you!”

15. Utagawa Kunisada_Tai Shin on the White dragon