Rather than wait for a new invention, like carbon vacuums to suck the carbon out of the air, let’s simply plant more trees.
At the Buy Nothing Project, we’ve come up with a way to make this easy. Come and plant a tree in the world’s newest forest, the Buy Nothing Forest. A Buy Nothing tree makes an excellent gift for friends and family, and you can create an entire grove in the forest.
This is our year-end campaign, and we’ve partnered with the cool Italian company, Treedom, to give back to the planet through the gift of trees, to offset the carbon we’ve all produced. You can pick your tree, (or many trees!) and then give that tree to anyone on your holiday list.
Use code GIVE20 to get 20% off your Buy Nothing Forest seedling contribution to Treedom – This code will work once on the entire contents of your forest planting cart.
• We can offset our collective carbon footprint
• Support local farmers and communities in 17 countries where Treedom will be planting the forest
• Provide clean air for us all.
• A small part of the proceeds will also help the Buy Nothing Project to keep operating.
This is the perfect gift that will keep on giving over time, supporting the earth, rural communities, providing food and nutrients, with no waste, and connecting people together for a common cause — all part of the Buy Nothing ethic. Please join us!
Happy BuyNothing Day! Liesl and Rebecca here. We’re celebrating our 1-year anniversary of the launch of the BuyNothing app, and we’re so grateful for the 620,000 of you who have joined our local gifting network, keeping us in the top 200 social media apps worldwide since our launch!
And now we want to give back.
In celebration of BuyNothing Day, and if you make a contribution today to help us keep our gifting platform alive (please visit https://buynothingproject.org/contribute to support us), we’re offering our time and presence for a Zoom call to be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.
We could join you in one of the following:
-A guest appearance at your virtual book group, to discuss our book (please find it at your local library
-If you have a Buy Nothing community, we’d love to virtually connect with you and your neighbors to talk all things gift economy
-If you’re starting a new BN community, we’d be happy to chat with you about how to grow your own local gifting community.
With your contribution, we’d love to connect with you and your community, to share our BN stories, and hear yours. Your contributions go 100% toward our website and platform hosting fees. Please Support us today!
No one in their right mind would work mostly full time, for 9 years, for no pay.
I work with a core team of women who have volunteered our labor, many full time, with no compensation to cover even a portion of the costs of living for our families. We pay out of pocket to keep our passion project, the Buy Nothing Project, going. While perhaps virtuous, co-volunteering to run a millions-of-members-strong project on a free platform (Facebook) that sells our data to 3rd parties for profit, and rewards our efforts with paid advertising into our social feeds, has taken a core team of talented and diverse women to a place that feels dehumanizing and unsustainable.
Enter our new BuyNothing platform that we’re building into the equation, still as volunteers, so that more people can have equitable access to local giving, asking, lending, borrowing and gratitude. And while more hours disappear from our days, the work is exhilarating, knowing the impact is real and community-members benefit beyond measure from their local gift economies. Working full time in the gift economy model is not the world we intended to build, nor one we want our daughters to labor under: underpaid, undervalued, under pressure.
We’ve transitioned our social movement to a startup, and we believe we can disrupt expectations on what that looks like, just as we have done with our mindfully-crafted local gift economy model. Just like any other platform, we’re raising funds to realize our vision so we can protect users’ private data, and we are working on developing virtuous revenue streams for the startup that are mission-aligned, could bring wealth to each BuyNothing community, and will continue to provide solutions for worldwide problems like poverty, disconnected communities, waste-to-landfills, waste in the environment, supply chain disruptions, loneliness from the pandemic, inflation, unrest in our communities, destitution of refugees fleeing wars and natural disasters, work insecurity, over-consumption, extraction of precious raw materials from the Earth, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change, to name a few.
So there: I’ve said it. We’re building a company that will pay its future owner-employees for their labor because the world wants BuyNothing to thrive. We’re scaling rapidly and want to preserve the permanent mission of the Buy Nothing Project: Hyper local gift economies that build resilient, equitable, environmentally-friendly communities. But we need funding, whether from an Angel Investor, a VC Fund, from friends and family, or from you, the users of our worldwide Buy Nothing Project platform.
We plan to continue building in public. And if you’d like to follow along on our journey, consider following me on Twitter as I’ll be posting in the #BuildInPublic community there, sharing our trials and tribulations, so there’s transparency in the lessons we’re learning. I’ll also blog here and on our website, along with my co-founders, Rebecca, Tunji, and Lucas. And, if you’d like to join our team, we’re always looking for talented co-pioneers.
If you give to our platform, if you value the work we’ve done for the past 9 years, we’d love to recognize your gift, in the BuyNothing app – with an orange heart – so your neighbors can know you’re supporting them, too.
We burn wood for heat in our house, mostly wood that we collect from our property. High winds bring down a lot of limbs from the trees so we cut them up and use them for heat, as well as bring down any “standing dead” trees in the forest. A weekly by-product of our wood heat is wood ash and when we don’t place it around the base of our fir trees for soil amendment, we occasionally place some in our hen yard for the girls to use for dust baths. In the winter and spring months, here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s mud season, so chickens are in need of some dry dirt for dust bathing, as a pest repellant to rid of mites and bothersome bugs that harbor in their feathers and on their skin, which must be itchy as heck. It also gives them a little added magnesium and calcium.
Our hens love their wood ash baths. They fight over them, in fact!
Here’s how we help our hens use wood ash to rid of their unwanted pests: We find a small “hen bowl” that they’ve dug in the yard, for bathing, and pour in the wood ash. Within minutes, they’ll scratch it around, mixing in the surrounding dirt, and then lay down in it to dust themselves up! A pop-up hen spa!
Apparently dried lavender and dried lemon balm are also great pest deterrents so sprinkling some into your wood ash bath could be an excellent potpourri addition for your chooks. We do love pampering our girls! After Valentines Day, our leftover dried roses were turned into rose petal chicken bedding for their coop, along with some blue paper hamster bedding a neighbor give us from our Buy Nothing group to line the chicken coop floor. Pretty!!
Rose petal and blue paper hamster bedding make for a fun late-winter coop bedding.
It was a dark and stormy winter….and my hens were bored. Here in the Pacific Northwest, our hen yards can get pretty mucky and the chickens tend to turn to deviant eating behaviors, like, well, eating their own eggs. There, I said it. Gross! That’s like….oh, never mind. We can’t allow this to happen, because the purpose of backyard chickens is their yummy eggs, a critical part of our family’s mostly vegetarian diet. (Our hens do produce other products for us, like amazing compost.) But no, we won’t be allowin’ them hens to eat their eggers.
I found a great solution to deter an egg-eater, right in my compost bucket: An avocado pit!
For years, I’ve used dummy wooden eggs, plastic easter eggs, egg-shaped stones, golf balls and pingpong balls as dummy eggs, to deter the little peckers (egg-eaters) from pecking apart their eggs. Dummy eggs are just that, fake eggs that chickens think are real (think, bird brain.) They peck ’em and realize they can’t break ’em and therefore we stop the deviant eating disorder in its tracks. Problem solved.
So, don’t go and buy fake eggs. Please. Just use an avocado pit in your nest box. Deploy 5 of them if you’d like, and your egg-eater will get frustrated when the avocado pits won’t crack and produce an egg-licious mess in your laying box.
Arugula likes me. For some reason — likely the soil on our property and the not-full-sun exposure — arugula, that spicy green also known as rocket, grows profusely in our garden. We never have to plant it because it just keeps sprouting year after year in our vegetable beds. I weed out the bed interiors and let the arugula grow along the edges, creating a green perimeter where kale, peas, and Egyptian walking onions happily grow in the middle.
But this spicy goodness only lasts for the summer months and we dearly miss arugula the rest of the year. I make as much arugula pesto as I can and freeze it in small jars for pizza and pasta topping for later. Yet, since I have so much of it, and have been giving as much as I can away, I’ve been searching for a way to preserve arugula, so we can enjoy our it in the cold months of the year.
Frozen arugula doesn’t taste like arugula and doesn’t work well in smoothies, either. Blanching it takes the verve out of it, too. But, preserving arugula in olive oil, and freezing it, helps seal in the flavor!
Here’s how: I use a pie tin and chop as much arugula as I can to fit just below the rim of the pie tin.
I then pour in extra virgin olive oil until it’s about an inch deep and put the tin in the freezer. When it’s totally frozen, pop your tin out of the freezer and break your frozen oil/arugula into chunks that you can then store in the freezer in freezer bags or a large glass jar. I never buy freezer bags, but just reuse ones that I acquire through other frozen items we get at the store, or I double bag some Ziploc bags. Please don’t buy plastic bags, as there are so many in our landfills, we can simply make do with what we have, or ask for them on our local Buy Nothing groups.
So, what do we do with our frozen olive oil/arugula chunks? In the winter, I use one at a time, in salad dressings, on top of pizzas, in pastas, salads, and stir fries. The arugula still has its punch and my crop is extended into the heart of the cold months, reminding me of the dog days of summer.
Purple deadnettle is my new favorite weed. At the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, they have a great description for this lovely purple fuzzy flower to pop up in early spring: “This common weedy plant is a member of the mint family and forms early groundcover mats, with fuzzy, spade-shaped leaves and delicate purple-pink flowers, a lovely addition to a spring weed bouquet.”
For years, I’ve pulled it out of my vegetable garden, and have given it to my happy hens who devour it immediately. But this year, I’m eating as many weeds as I can, that are within just feet of my front door. For this, purple deadnettle is your friend. It’s a superfood, with known anti-inflammatory properties! I always let it flower because I know it’s one of the first spring flowers the honey bees use for nectar and pollen. Purple deadnettle looks a little like henbit, which is also edible, so there’s little chance of you getting a stomach ache from this beauty.
So, in our bellies it goes, with morning or lunch smoothies, pestos, or atop our green salads. Here’s a quick recipe that’s our staple for most smoothies, and you can replace the fruit with any favorite fruit you have on hand or replace the purple deadnettle with kale if you no longer have any on hand:
Purple Deadnettle Purple Smoothie
1 small bunch purple deadnettles, flowers and stems included
1 Cup coconut milk
2 Cups mixed berries (we love blueberries, marionberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (I use Vital Proteins collagen)
That’s it! I throw a sprig of mint into our pretty glasses as garnish and the kids drink it down. When it ends up really thick, we use spoons and eat it like ice cream. Often, our bananas and berries are frozen, so this serves as a meal or an ice cream treat for the whole family.
You probably know this weed well, for its clingy tendencies. In the Northwest, we affectionately call it sticky weed. It comes in the door on our dog, our socks, and the backs of our sweaters. Also known as clivers, cleavers, goosegrass, catchweed bedstraw, or sticky willy, this little bugger with tiny hooked hairs that’ll stick to you better than velcro, now holds a special place in my kitchen culinary arts: I use it in a simple spring cleansing drink, thanks to the advice of a friend.
The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens has this to say about its uses:
Galium Aparine — “The whole plant is edible, though not particularly tasty, and in China, for example, it is eaten as a vegetable. Its seeds can be roasted to prepare a sort of coffee substitute. It is also reputed to have a number of medicinal properties, having been used in traditional medicine (usually as an infusion) to treat kidney problems, skin disorders and high blood pressure among other ailments. Archaeological evidence suggests that it may have been used in this way for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Cleavers is still used by medical herbalists today, although scientific evidence regarding its effectiveness is still lacking.”
I use it as a spring “cleanse” that might be good for my kidneys but just tastes wonderful, and excites my need to get the most out of the plants around me. As I weed it out of my garden, I set it aside to be washed and then stuffed into a jar filled with fresh water and throw it into the fridge.
Twenty-four hours later, we have a refreshing sticky weed infusion that tastes like spring green. It thickens the water a little, too, (or maybe I’m just imagining that) making it feel silky on its way down.
We have hard water in these parts, which means that whenever it sits around, like at the base of a water faucet, you get calcium/mineral buildup. Here’s what ours looked like a few hours ago. Ew!
Thanks to some homemade citrus vinegar that I made last month, I now have a power cleaner that’ll cut through the boilerplate mineral deposits found around our sinks, shower, and bathtub.
This mineral deposit is hard and sticks like glue.
First, to make the citrus cleaner, just throw your orange peels into a mason jar and pour in some distilled white vinegar to cover the orange rind. Keep adding orange peels until the jar is filled, adding vinegar to totally cover over the peels.
Screw a lid on the jar, and let it sit for a month with all of the peels totally submerged. Remove the orange peels and the remaining liquid is your all-purpose citrus cleaner that’ll work wonders in your home.
I dilute it with water 1:1 into a spray bottle and use it wherever I’m cleaning: countertops, windows, ovens and stoves, bathrooms. But the kitchen sink faucet was where I hit paydirt. This stuff cut through that mineral deposit and enabled me to get my faucet back to looking like new.
Just spray the 1:1 solution on your affected area and let it set for a few minutes and rub off.
I had to repeat this several times, but it eventually removed the white caked-on material.
So the next time you eat an orange, just save those peels, stuff them into a jar and cover with white vinegar, adding more peels and vinegar until the jar is full. After a month, you’ll have a citrus cleaner ready for your toughest jobs.
We salvage string. Don’t you? When I see rolls of string sold in the hardware store, I wonder who buys it? String is freely available if you just know where to look for it.
The feed we buy for our chickens comes in large paper feed bags laced up with string. When we pull the string to open the bags, it comes out freely and we have plenty to last us throughout the year. We roll it onto a small roll of paper and it goes into the string box.
I found an old wooden box that was covered with Christmas wrapping paper a few years ago. This box has been salvaged for the use of storing our saved string. So, shoelaces are salvaged and washed, bungee cord gets thrown in there, craft string, a few pieces of yarn, homemade “plarn,” cordage, twine, even pieces of candle wicking that hasn’t been put in wax go in there. Whenever something has reached the end of its life and we need to throw it away, any string on it gets salvaged and thrown into the string box.
String is a staple for my gardening, as I use it to create pea ladders between woven sticks for my growing pea shoots, or to hold the hellebore up when the heavy blossoms weigh down the large plants.
The whole family knows where to go when they need a piece of string or shoe lacing to make a repair and tie together a few things. When my son was 5, he connected his favorite truck to its trailer with string when the hitch broke.
String is the stuff of life, affording us everyday repairs to sew-up, tie together, wrap around, hold up, and weave anew.
Save your string, all forms of it. Don’t throw it away. And find a pretty container to hold it, for all to access for the projects that will come.