Saturday, December 20, 2014

Small Business Benefits: Why You Should Shop Local this Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is in full swing. By now you've heard about the value of shopping at neighborhood retailers during this holiday season. It's a good habit that can keep money in your community and reduces the environmental impact shopping can have.

Perhaps you've heard of Small Business Saturday, a celebration founded in 2010 by American Express that encourages consumers to shop locally.
Here are three things to know about the day, which took place the Saturday immediately following the mayhem of Black Friday.

1.    Local impact. According to American Express, 52% of what you spend by shopping locally stays in your community, which creates jobs and enlivens your local economy.
2.    Neighborhood character. People say they want to live in neighborhoods with character. By shopping at local businesses, you do your part to ensure that your retailers remain unique and that your streets aren’t overrun by national chains.
3.    Unique finds. Sure, it’s easy to go online and have the latest “it” gadget overnighted to you. But buying at local shops ups the chances that you’ll find something unique, personal, and memorable for gift recipients.
For a longer list of ten reasons to think local, take a look at this article from

Happy Shopping!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Liven Up Your Landscape With Fall Edible Plants

I welcome the change in seasons. Gardening is my hobby and very much a part of my lifestyle. As summer comes to an end, I start thinking of preparing for fall and winter.  I add color, variety, and possibly food for the table by incorporating edible plants into my landscape.  Anyone can do it.  It doesn't take a large parcel of land to grow beautiful plants throughout the colder months that can also be eaten.   Containers such as hanging baskets and flower pots, flower boxes or a small sunny spot in the yard are ideal.

Collards and Onions In A Stone Raised Bed
Here's my list of favorite fall vegetable plants.

Turnip Greens
Collard Greens
Green Onions

I love planting different varieties of lettuce.  Here are a couple of links to growing lettuce.

Plant Lettuce For A Fall Vegetable Garden
Growing Lettuce In Spring Or Fall

Below is a link to a planting guide for vegetable crops in Alabama.

Planting Guide For Home Gardening In Alabama

A quick search online will net many ideas for filling those bare containers and spots in the landscape with both color and food for the table.  Here are a couple below.

Container Gardening
Raised Bed Gardening

For a minimal cost to buy seeds and plants, you can be on your way to having beauty in the yard and food in the belly.

Happy Fall Planting!

Sherry Adcock

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Save on Cooling, Stay Cool

June 2014

Save on Cooling, Stay Cool

As the summer months roll on through, we are faced with the dilemma of createing the perfect indoor environment. In some regions the sun blazes hot, while other areas of the country enjoy more temperate summer days and nights. Whatever the case, our cooling habits always change this time of year, and it's important to consider the usage, impact and alternatives to summer cooling.
Did you know that according to EnergyStar, if just one in ten households used EnergyStar Certified cooling and heating equipment, we could prevent the equivalent of 1.1 million cars' emissions? That's a big difference. But if you're not ready or willing to replace your cooling system just yet, here are some other ways to lighten your impact during the summer heat.
1. Replace the air filter. Forced-air heating and cooling systems really require you to swap the air filter every 3 months. Remember, if you're working on a project at home, or doing some remodeling, it may need replacing more frequently until the dust settles. A dirty air filter can decrease the efficiency of your cooling system by two percent. That's energy use you're paying for without getting the benefit of the most efficient cooling to your home.
2. Install a programmable thermostat. This corner of the market is evolving very quickly. Keep an eye out for the system that's right for your household. If you're not one to take the time to set a program, consider a learning thermostat that uses smart technology to sense movement so the energy savings are abundant while you're out of the house or resting. Another tip - setting the thermostat between 4 and 7 degrees higher at night can save you about $180 annually.
3. "Summerize" your home. We frequently talk about winterizing our homes by sealing cracks and air leaks. We check insulation before the winter months to make sure we'll stay warm enough, but consider the opposite is also true. A tighter home not only keeps the cold winter air out, but also keeps the cool, conditioned air in! Grab a caulk gun and do a few simple tests to seal and sure up leaks around windows and door. According to the Energy Star site, sealing leaks in air ducts can improve your cooling system by 20 percent!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Inch Pebbles" and Facing Green Challenges

March 2014

With all the buzz around utility bills and energy efficiency, it can be easy to lose sight of all the benefits of a greener lifestyle. Maybe you're already living a bit greener? Don't make the latest FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) be linked to an overmelmed feeling about sustainability. Sure, there's a lot out there, but you can tackle challenges one at a time.
Spring is a great time to reassess the sustainable goals in your family. Maybe you're hoping to grow most of your own vegetables and herbs this year. Or perhaps your've opted to cut back on energy in the summer by hanging laundry on a clothes line. Even cleaning with more natural cleaners like lemon juice and vinegar is a good start. All of these are excellent, small steps to take. One sustainability expert named these little moves (such as choosing to stop buying bottled water) "inch pebbles." Basically, repositioning a larger goal into a series of small steps makes it much less daunting. It also makes it far easier - and more fun - for a family or neighborhood to become a part of the greater goal and accomplish it together.
Spring into summer is a great time of year to think about what you or your community is already doing in respect to greener choices. And if you think there's still work to be done, now's a great time to start planning it out. But what would you do if you face challenges or naysayers? To look at some common challenges and solutions for those living a greener lifestyle, click here.