How Knowing Your Plants Can Save You Money

For way too many years, I took for granted the “weeds” that were growing in my yard. I thought they were good for nothing but making my yard look bad. Then after learning a common weed in my garden was actually edible (and not half bad) I wondered else I didn’t know about the weeds in my yard and garden. Turns out, it’s a lot.

It is important to note that you should NEVER consume plants/weeds that have been treated with weed killers or certain lawn products. If you’re not sure, it’s best not to consume it.

Just another weed in my yard?

A landscaping company posted a picture of a weed I commonly see in yard.

Crushed or chewed then placed over a bug bite, mosquito bite, bee sting, rash, or acne as a poultice and bandaged these plant is said to be able to help draw out toxins. Do a quick search and you’ll find several recipes for salves and balms using the broadleaf plantain. It’s said to be a digestive aid as well. B&D Landscaping’s facebook post has a wealth of information about this plant and uses.

Broadleaf plantain is also edible in salads or added to recipes.

That Sticky Plant

On another occasion, while harvesting raspberries from the wild raspberry bushes we have growing in our yard, I came across this invasive weed. It was so long and sticky. It was starting to wrap around the raspberries. I wondered what it was since it was touching some of the raspberries we were going to consume. Turns out this weed has many names: Clevers, sticky willy, coachweed, goosegrass, and a few other names.

Probably my favorite thing to learn about these was that you can make “coffee” with them. Cleaver is actually part of the coffee family. Yes, those little sticky, fuzzy berry looking things. You can pick them off, dry out, then roast them in the oven, then grind them up and make coffee. Be warned the process is time consuming. Picking all those stickly little berries off takes a while and you need a lot to brew a pot of coffee. I tried it though. It wasn’t half bad. The leaves and stems are edible as well and can be added to stir fries, salads, and soups.

Cleaver is said to have diuretic properties and has been used for kidney and urinary tract ailments.

People actually plant this one on purpose!

Purslane. This is the one I often saw growing in my gardens. Almost looks like a succulent to me. I found out that not only is Purslane edible but quite nutrient dense for a little plant containing antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Potassium, and Manganese. Phew! Now that’s a hard working plant.

You can eat it raw by itself, mix it into your salad, or add it to your dish. You can easily find Purslane seeds and plants online. In fact, Purslane is commonly grown, on purpose, in many other countries.

The multitasker of the weed world

Dandelions, we all know them. Dandelion greens can be eaten. The petals can be turned into teas, wine, jams, or jellies. You can use the root for dandelion root coffee.

Dandelions are also said to have medicinal properties. A quick search will have you finding tinctures, tonics, and many other medicine cabinet ideas for dandelions.

The more I learn the more I realize the culinary adventures and medicine cabinet stocking I can do. And that saves me money! I’m also interested in learning more.

I love seeing companies like T1 payments that care. Donating to the South Florida Fairchild Botanic Gardens. I truly believe that there are so much more we need to learn about plants. There could be one out there that could be the cure for an illness, or an affordable option to help stop hunger.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links.


JPMorgan Chase Making Changes In Arctic Oil, Gas, and Coal

Earth Day will be Wednesday April 22, 2020. A day for discussion about out climate, planet health, and ways we can help. There are so many things that need to change from ocean pollution, to greenhouse gases, to littering, and more.

The coal and oil industries have been a target for climate activists. With bad press in the news over the years of oil spills and the air pollution coal produces. With so many other renewable and earth friendlier options out there, there is starting to be a shift in fuel and energy.

JPMorgan Chase has long been the largest funder for fossil fuels even with climate protests. On February 25, 2020 however, JPMorgan Chase announced a number of policies to increase restrictions on global coal funding and to end direct project funding of Arctic oil and gas projects.

A number of climate groups such as Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Group, and World Research Institute have published reports show how JPMorgan Chase has contributed to climate change.

Investor concern for JPMorgan’s inaction on climate has also been increasing. This year, JPMorgan is facing climate-related shareholder proposals, including a resolution from As You Sow requesting that the company measure and reduce its carbon-intensive lending in line with the Paris 1.5 degree goal, as well as a campaign to remove a climate-skeptic from the company’s board. 

Danielle Fugere, President of As You Sow, had this to say about the announcement:

“This announcement is a long awaited signal that JPMorgan Chase may be ending its outsized level of fossil fuel financing in the face of growing climate concern. This first step is significant. Funding of new coal, including coal-fired power plants, is incompatible with the goal of maintaining global temperature rises at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Yet, JPMorgan has not agreed to bring its full carbon footprint into alignment with the Paris goal. Until it agrees to do so, it’s fossil fuel funding remains a clear threat to the global goal of avoiding catastrophic warming. 

“We appreciate JPMorgan’s announcement of no new project financing in the Arctic. This recognizes the fragility of the Arctic ecosystem, and the importance — to the Gwich’in people, the region’s wildlife, and citizens across the globe — of this unique environment remaining free of oil and gas development.

“Overall, investors applaud JPMorgan’s announcements. As climate change increasingly impacts the economy, investors  are asking their companies to take greater responsibility for transitioning their businesses to thrive in a low-carbon economy. JPMorgan Chase is a lynchpin in that transition.

“Having taken this first important step, investors are looking to JPMorgan to rapidly transition the full range of its fossil fuel financing, including oil and gas, in line with Paris goals.”

Lila Holzman, Energy Program Manager of As You Sow, had this to say about the announcement:

“Given JPMorgan itself has warned of the unacceptable risks associated with a warming climate, we are pleased to see the company take this important step. Limiting coal and Arctic drilling are win-win commitments for the company, investors, and the planet.

“JPMorgan’s outsized impact on the climate crisis enables it to position itself as a leader in this space. As BlackRock and other financial institutions are beginning to step up to the climate challenge, we hope such signals will spur a fundamental transition to a Paris-aligned economy.”

Personally, I feel a sense of hope when I hear about a bank that has lent more money to fossil fuel companies than any other bank, has decided to finally take action. This isn’t about politics, money, or anything else. Climate change effects everyone and future generations.

For more information on As You Sow’s work on climate change, click here.


Sustainable Energy in Pennsylvania

Living in rural Pennsylvania, there are a few sources for sustainable and renewable energy. Some are more evident than others. Other sources haven’t quite caught on yet.

In Pa, the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard Act of 2004 requires 18% off energy sold to Pennsylvania to be come from renewable sources within 15 years. Personally I’d like to see that number increased but it’s a good start.

If you drive anywhere near Meyersdale, Pennsylvania it would be hard to miss the wind farms. The huge windmills spinning at any given time. You don’t even have to be in Meyersdale to see them as they can be seen from many miles away. Pennsylvania actually ranks 16th in the nation for wind energy generation! The entire state of Pennsylvania has a total of 24 wind farms so far.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is working with wind developers to help minimize the impact of energy sources on the natural wildlife.

In my opinion, there’s a few reasons why there’s not a bigger shift towards more sustainable energy catching on in Pennsylvania:

  • Pennsylvania, especially rural Pennsylvania, tends to grip onto coal since it a job source that pays well. Recent promises for political figures have only encouraged residents to tighten the grip more.
  • The start up cost of installing solar panels in PA can be tens of thousands of dollars on the average home. Something not within reach of many Pennsylvanians.
  • Geothermal is becoming more popular but again, the start up cost of installing geothermal energy in a home can be out of reach for some.

That being said, Douglas Healy explains how energy companies can weather the shift to sustainable energy. While sustainable energy is a better option for the environment, until it improves, it’s not always reliable.

Some states however, have found success in using sustainable energy sources. In states where solar power is popular and more residents have solar panels installed, it can eliminate the customers energy bill all together. In some cases, those customers actually get paid for the energy they produce. My husband’s aunt lives in Massachusetts. She had solar panels installed on her home. She said it cost about $70k to install but she no longer had an energy bill. Unless you’re paying several hundred a month of electric and plan on living in your house for many years, the pay off may not be evident to some home owners. However, it might be a big selling point should you need to sell your home.

There are also some tax incentives. According to the IRS website, there are even tax credits for making your home more energy efficient to include new window installation, renewable energy equipment, etc. If you are unsure if you improvements you’ve made would qualify, you could always as a tax professional. Often times, the company installing your improvements will have that information as that is a selling point for them.

I’m also hopeful in the development of biofuels for vehicles. I’ve recently read that there is a company trying to make fuel from algae. Then I’ve heard about a company trying to make tires from recycled materials. I’d also like to see better ways to recycle or repurpose junk cars.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links. Any opinions expressed are my own.


Up to 50% Off Chemical Free Cleaning at e-cloth #eclothpartner

I have several e-cloth cleaning products. They’re made well and they work. e-cloth is a much more affordable alternative to that other brand out there. e-cloth products lets you clean with just water. No chemicals, no special cleaner sprays, just water.

Right now you can get some e-cloth favorite products up to 50% off. Face cloth 10 pc it, home cleaning 3 pc kit, window cleaning 2 pack and more only $10! Shop the e-cloth $10 sale to grab these deals. Some items are already selling out!

I’ve done a few posts and reviews on e-cloth products if you’re not familiar with them. Check out my e-cloth review on the kitchen cleaning cloths and stainless steel cleaning cloths.

Also for the month of October, when you donate $4 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation you’ll get a 20% off discount code to e-cloth and a free mini water sprayer!

Get a great deal, reduce the amount of chemicals in your home, donate to a great cause, and get a free mini water sprayer. You could get a lot of helpful goodies this month without spending a lot of money. These are some of the best deals I’ve seen at e-cloth. I know I’ll be grabbing a few of these deals!

This post does contain affiliate links I will get a small commission from sales made through my links.


Eco-Friendly Back to School Supplies Guide

Good for you for being interested i learning how to do better for the earth while supplying your kids what they need for their education. We have lot of options now for reusable and/or sustainable school supplies than ever before.

Book Covers

We use stretchy cloth book covers. They have smaller and larger ones available. They stretch easily over my kids textbooks and don’t fall off. They’re washable, reusable, and come in lots of colors and designs. We have several book covers that have been around for several years. I think we’ve had one get a hole in it but they can be easily repurposed into hair ties, hacky-sacks, barbie doll clothes, or whatever you can think of. You can find them in-store at Walmart too really cheap.

Snacks

Our school allows our children to bring in snacks. We can send them in daily, weekly or for the entire month. Reusable snack bags are not only eco-friendly, but also saves money in the long run. I have 4 kids, I can go through a box of sandwich bags or freezer bags in a blink. Even buying the generic brand it adds up.

There are clear reusable snack bags that look more like the normal sandwich bags and freezer bags. Then there are cloth reusable food storage bags that come in fun designs.

Pencils

There are lots of options for more earth friendly pencils. There are plantable pencils, pencils made from recycled newspaper, and if you just have to have a mechanical pencils there are even mechanical pencils made from bamboo.

If you’re a pencil snob and just have to have the Ticonderoga brand #2 pencils well Ticonderoga envirostik is your answer. It’s a natural wood pencil from “responsibly managed” forests. And still the #2 designation.

Erasers

This one seems to be harder to find but not impossible. A company called Onyx and Green make erasers made from recycled rubber.

Glue

It seems Elmer’s used to make a natural glue but I can’t seem to find it available anywhere which makes me wonder if they stopped making it. But that doesn’t mean you have to. I found this great recipe for easy homemade glue. You can reuse an old glue bottle or use another similar reusable squeeze bottle. I’m even wondering if a clean, empty mustard bottle would work? What do you think?

Crayons and Colored Pencils

The elementary kids tend to use the crayons more while the teens seem to use the colored pencils more.

There are several choices for environmentally friendly crayons. There are crayons with reduced packaging as well as crayons made from beeswax.

You can even repurpose broken crayons you have by melting crayon stubs down and creating new chunky crayons. For mine I used a mini muffin tin for the shapes.

Onyx and Green comes through again with earth friendly colored pencils made from recycled newspaper.

Just FYI, for markers, Crayola has a program called Colorcycle for schools where schools can collect unusable markers and send them back to crayola for marker recycling.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links. Any opinions expressed are my own.