Herbal Medicine as an Ecological & Economic Choice

By Nathaniel Whitmore
Dandelion is used for liver, blood sugar and vision conditions, and to clean the blood.

Dandelion is used for liver, blood sugar and vision conditions,
and to clean the blood.

As a gardener, I have always wondered at the practice of pulling “weeds” to make room for vegetable seeds or seedlings. Many of the common garden weeds are choice edible vegetables: chickweed, purslane, burdock, dandelion, lambsquarters, galinsoga, amaranth… the list goes on and on. I can understand pulling these abundant plants to make room for cabbage, carrots, and other delicious vegetables, but why not take your harvest basket along so that the “weeds” can become dinner long before your vegetable plantings produce anything?

Common burdock seed is used to clean the blood of toxins, fats, and inflammation, and to reduce fevers.

Common burdock seed is used to clean the blood of toxins, fats, and inflammation, and to reduce fevers.

Many of these edible weeds are also medicinal, and many weeds that are not edible are medicinal too. In fact, it can be argued that any plant is medicinal. Native Americans used practically every plant in their given area for one thing or another. Chickweed and purslane are used for eliminating inflammation from the body and supporting healthy body fluids. Burdock, dandelion, yellow dock, and many others are used to clean the blood of toxins, fats, and inflammation. Common mallow is used like its more famous relative, marshmallow. Celandine is used for liver ailments. Mints are used for fevers and digestive problems. Mustards are used to rid the lungs of mucus.

In order to support a more sustainable existence and a local economy, along with health and happiness, it is vital for individuals to make choices toward responsible use of local natural resources and a way of life that is close to the natural world. Consider a pharmaceutical medication. You likely do not know what a given medication is made of or where it comes from. What are the raw materials? How far did they travel? How far was the pill shipped after manufacture? How much human effort went into such a medication? Compare this with a medicinal plant that grows in your yard or in the forest nearby. It grows by the grace of the natural order, requiring neither money nor  human effort. You can walk out your door and pick it. Many would argue that herbs are not strong enough and that they are not regulated by the FDA. I will let you think about the FDA point yourself, but I do want to mention that herbs have been used by human beings since before recorded history.

In comparison, chemical medicine has an extremely short history that could still be considered experimental. It’s inaccurate to say that herbs are not as strong or as effective as pharmaceuticals. Granted, it is generally the case that pharmaceuticals are more concentrated, but this has just as many drawbacks as it does benefits.

The problem concerning the successful use of herbs as medicine is not the effectiveness of the plants themselves, but our understanding of how to use them. Many people, even so-called herbalists, are overwhelmed by the selection of herbs and the detailed knowledge required to employ them properly—yet another symptom of a way of life that is based more on a global economy than on an intimacy with the natural world.

The beginning of herbalism is the beginning of medicine—the use of a plant to remedy or correct some imbalance. Since the early times, local herbs have been the foundation of medicine. Even in modern times there are many places in the world where people depend on medicine that comes from the earth. Even in places with the most “advanced” medicine available, people—seeing the problems associated with pharmaceutical and surgical medicine—are beginning to turn to the plants grown nearby to heal their ills.

 Eat the “weeds.” Use herbal medicines.

 Nathaniel Whitmore, Master Herbalist, began his study of wild herbs with a Native American medicine man, then trained in shiatsu, martial arts, and Chinese herbal medicine. Founder and president of the Delaware Highlands Mushroom Society, he regularly offers walks and classes about medicinal herbs, plant and mushroom identification, foraging, and preparation of medicinal herbs. He also offers herbal consultations and shiatsu (acupressure) treatments.

Visit www.nathanielwhitmore.com or contact him at wathakes@gmail.com.

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Rachel’s Challenge Lives On

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Contributed photo.
Children’s librarian Betty Lawson with
the paper chain of “acts of kindness” created by children and their families.

By Tom Kane

Rachel Scott lives on in Wayne County. Despite the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays and the sub-zero temperatures of early January, the message of the 17-year-old
senior assassinated in the Columbine High School massacre is still very much alive here. The challenge to spread “random acts of kindness”—presented in Wayne County schools in September—is still snapping in the cold air of our community. Many signs and posters around Honesdale remind us of “Rachel’s Challenge:” to keep acts of kindness spreading through the town in accord with Rachel’s wishes, expressed in her remarkable journal that’s been compared to the diary of Anne Frank. But there is evidence of the effects of Rachel’s message besides these external signs.

Take what is happening through the efforts of Wayne Memorial Hospital. The hospital has played a major role in spearheading Rachel’s Challenge in both the schools and the community. Donna Decker, Community Health Manager at Wayne Memorial, is continuing to coordinate efforts among community individuals and organizations to promote the positive messages brought by Rachel’s Challenge.

And look at what is happening at the Wayne County Public Library. Betty Lawson, children’s librarian, regularly holds story times at the library and at three other sites in Wayne County where she encourages children to discuss acts of kindness at the dinner table with their families. She asks them to write these “acts” on paper links that are then brought to the library and joined to other children’s links to be made into a “chain of kindness.” The chain is spread out on the walls of the children’s room, running out into the corridor. “Through the children, we encourage parents to perform deliberate acts of kindness like allowing a car to merge in traffic ahead of you, or putting a note on the windshield saying ‘Have a nice day.’

Another suggestion that came out of the dinner table discussion is for us not walk with our heads down but to look up and smile at people—and say hello.” Lawson says she notices that people in Honesdale are acting with more kindness. “I can see a difference,” she said. “If we can get these young children to be kind now, when they grow up, they’ll be kind naturally.”

Father Edward Erb of Grace Episcopal Church in Honesdale said his church will continue to work on the challenge. “We put the chain links over our steeple in October, but we’re not stopping there. Our youth group and our parishioners will continue to work on the challenge in the months ahead,” he said. Paul Meagher, owner of RE/MAX Wayne in Honesdale, told me that local businessman Joe Bunnell is donating space for a month on a large billboard on Route 6 for a “Rachel’s Challenge” promotion. The billboard, designed by Donna Decker and Lisa Champeau of Wayne Memorial Hospital, is now prominently displayed on the hill near Cordaro’s Restaurant. “I have suggested the names of several other community-conscious business people who should be willing to serve on a steering committee to involve more businesses,” added Meagher.

So the next time you are walking around town, keep your eyes up and be ready to greet people with a warm “Hello!” Being kind is easy to do, so why not do it?

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Transition Honesdale Winter Film Series

Our winter film series last year caught the interest of quite a few of you, so we’re offering one again. This year’s theme will be food, focusing on how to make a diet of local foods, how to raise a lot of food in a small space, and how to address the staggering issue of hunger in our own country.

url-1Our February film offering will be “Eating Alabama,” a 2013 documentary film. Advertised as a story about “why food matters,” young filmmaker Andrew Beck Grace describes it this way: “In search of a simpler life, a young couple returns home to Alabama, where they set out to eat the way their grandparents did—locally and seasonally. But as they navigate the agro-industrial gastronomical complex, they soon realize that nearly everything about the food system has changed.” A thoughtful and often funny essay on community, the South and sustainability, “Eating Alabama” is a story about why food matters.

 

homegrown-revolution-poster-lrgOur second screenings, in March, will focus on how to grow food in our own backyards and community gardens. We’ll begin with a short film called “Planning for a Sustainable Local Food System,” which focuses on how to produce more food locally to keep money in the region, support local business, and have delicious fresh produce for our tables. The other film, “Homegrown Revolution,” focuses on the Dervaes family of Pasadena, California, who have transformed their home into an urban homestead. They harvest over 6,000 pounds of organic food from their 1/10 acre garden, incorporating many back-to-basics practices, as well as solar energy and biodiesel. An inspiration, indeed!

 

0513338WRP_r4.inddThe April film offering will be “A Place at the Table,” which addresses the issue of hunger right here in the United States. Using interviews and actual footage of families living with food insecurity every day, we get to know some parents and children “personally” who are struggling with hunger—and its devastating consequences—in their daily lives. We’ll view excerpts from this powerful film to allow time to explore solutions.

There will be a discussion following each film to allow you to express your thoughts and emotions that these films have evoked, and to exchange views with others.
The film showings are co-sponsored by the Caretakers of God’s Creation, Friday Friends United Methodist Women, and First Place for Health of the Beach Lake United Methodist Church.

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Skill Share Workshops to Brighten Your Winter Season

by Barbara Lewis

December and January have already brought their share of snow, ice, wind, and brutal cold to Wayne County, and as the holiday season fades into the past, we all search for creative ways to entertain and educate ourselves during the balance of the winter season.

Some days we like to get out our skis or snowshoes, and enjoy the outdoors when snow conditions permit.  Other days we like to curl up with a book, put a pot of soup on the stove to simmer, or write long reflective passages in our journals.

Let Transition Honesdale offer you some other options. We can help you get out of the house to socialize with your neighbors while learning some new skills.

SKILL SHARE: BEAUTY FROM THE PANTRY

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Herbal skin-care products can be made simply and
affordably in your own kitchen. Credit: Contributed photo.

Gudrun Feigl, a native of Germany who moved to the area eleven years ago, started her own business, Mount Pleasant Herbary, to grow and prepare the great variety of herbal blends she missed from her native country. She is now a well-respected vendor at several farmers markets and local crafts events. Her attractively packaged herbal tea blends, soaps, healing balms, buckwheat pillows, and sachets have grown in popularity, and her products can be purchased online from her website www.mountpleasantherbary.com. She grows all of the herbs for her products on her own farm.

mount pleasant herbary

Gudrun Feigl at her Mount Pleasant Herbary booth at Waystock Festival in July, 2013. Credit: Photo by Kelly Waters, The Wayne Independent

MountPleasantRGBrFeigl will offer a workshop on Saturday, February 15th, from 2 – 4 p.m. at  The Cooperage at 1030 Main Street in Honesdale. She’ll share her extensive knowledge by teaching the skill of making body-care products at home.  She will teach the basics and inspire you to create your own custom blends, using natural oils, grains, essential oils, clays and locally grown herbs. No experience is necessary, and participants will take home their handmade products and inspiring recipes.  Pre-register by February 8th at 570-448-3094 or info@mountpleasantherbary.com.  Limited to 12 people. $10 materials fee.

SKILL SHARE: CREATIVE COOKING WITH WINTER VEGGIES

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Winter root vegetables grown by the Anthill Farm include, daikon radish, watermelon radish, celeriac, green meat radish, purple-top turnip, kohlrabi, and winter radish.
Credit: Contributed photo.

Another popular figure in the natural products scene is James Stunkard, owner of Nature’s Grace health food store on Main Street in Honesdale. For many years, “Jamie,” as he is known to all his customers, has offered cooking classes and nutritional consultations to hundreds of area residents.

I’d been noticing the dwindling variety of vegetables at the famers market during the winter, but the abundance of root crops, radishes, turnips, and less common veggies like celeriac and kohlrabi.  When I asked Jamie if he would give a class on how to cook creatively with these exotic and often unfamiliar vegetables, he cheerfully consented. You are invited to join Jamie on Tuesday, March 4th at 6 p.m. at Nature’s Grace, 947 Main Street in Honesdale for this fun workshop on how to spice up your winter menu.  Pre-register at 570-253-3469 by Feb. 26th. Limited to 15 people. Suggested donation: $5.00. Snow date: March 11th.

   Two skill share events are sponsored by

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Know Where Your Food Comes From

By Marcia Nehemiah

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” —Mahatma Gandhi

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Free-range, organically fed chickens enjoy
a natural quality of life in open space.

What I eat has become an increasing source of concern for me, not because I need to lose weight, nor because I have health problems. My desire to eat healthful, clean food has become more and more difficult because it is in direct opposition to agribusiness’ desire to maximize profit and minimize cost. Food—once a source of nourishment and pleasure—has become, in my estimation, one of the most crucial environmental, social and moral issues of our time.

The Green Revolution of the mid-twentieth century introduced the widespread use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides, among other practices. While purporting to reduce starvation worldwide (a claim often refuted), these practices have led to the decimation of small-scale family farms; an increase in cancer, greenhouse gas emissions, and antibiotic resistance; global land degradation; and decreased biodiversity, among other impacts.

Tightly packed in order to maximize output and profit, chickens raised on factory farms contract disease and act aggressively

Tightly packed in order to maximize output
and profit, chickens raised on factory farms
contract disease and act aggressively.

The essential problem is illustrated by this oxymoron: factory farm. A factory is a mechanized, human-made environment where inanimate objects are made into other inanimate objects. A farm was once a relatively small tract of open, cultivated land where humans tended to a variety of plants and domesticated animals in an effort to feed themselves and/or others.

This kind of farm, despite the pictures you see on corporate packaging, is a thing of the past, wiped out by large-scale operations where living creatures are referred to as “animal units.”

I addressed one part of my food dilemma by adopting an almost vegan diet, after learning about concentrated animal feed operations, or CAFOs. I learned that animals raised for meat produce 61 million tons of waste each year. The resulting manure runoff has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states, contaminated groundwater in 17 states and caused staggering fish kills. Ammonia and other gases from manure irritate animals’ lungs. Eighty percent of U.S. pigs suffer from pneumonia before they are slaughtered.

I learned that each chicken in a factory farm “lives” in a cage as small as six-tenths of a square foot. So closely confined, animals resort to cannibalism and aggression, so the birds are debeaked with the electrically heated blades of a trimming machine.

Animals are not the only creatures who suffer. I learned that workers in slaughterhouses are poorly paid, have almost double the injury and illness rate of workers in other industries, and suffer psychological damage.

I learned that 50 million pounds of antibiotics are produced in the U.S. each year, but a staggering amount of it isn’t used to cure illness. Twenty million pounds, or 80 percent, is used in the factory farm system, 16 million pounds to increase livestock growth, and the remainder to prevent (not cure) such diseases as anemia, influenza, intestinal diseases, mastitis, and pneumonia that abound in CAFOs. The use of antibiotics in farm animals is one cause for the rise of antibiotic-resistant diseases in the human population.

We don’t have to take what they’re dishing out! There are many ways to effectively withdraw support from this dysfunctional, destructive system and to make more sustainable choices regarding food. Here in Northeast PA numerous farm markets and organic farmers sell clean food. If you shop at a supermarket, ask the manager to stock specific organic products. Plant a garden, organic if possible. Preserve and can what you grow. If vegetarianism is not your thing, boycott factory-farmed meat and support local farmers who raise meat ethically. Hunt, or find a way to access meat that has been killed in the wild.

Finally, you can make a difference by sharing your food and your food knowledge with others.

Poet and writer Marcia Nehemiah wrote a monthly column on sustainable living for a local award-winning regional newspaper from 2007 to 2013.  Her most recent book, Crone Age, explores the promises and riches of aging by profiling eight women octogenarians from the Upper Delaware region.  She also enjoys bird watching, hiking, snowshoeing and rafting the Delaware. Visit www.marcianehemiah.com.

 

 

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Winter Visitors: Eagle Habitat is Our Habitat

Reprinted with permission from the October 2013 Highlands Journal newsletter of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy.

Eagle 1- by Stephen Davis

Photos© by Stephen Davis.
Bald Eagles can best be viewed in the Upper Delaware in January and February.

In our region, the term “winter snowbirds” has a unique meaning to many: bald eagles! While numerous species head south for warmer climates this time of year—including humans—bald eagles head to the Upper Delaware. Why?

The same environment that attracts and sustains us—clean water, clean air, undisturbed and unfragmented forests—helps hundreds of bald eagles survive the cold winter months.

When lakes and rivers freeze as far north as Labrador, 900 miles away from the Delaware River, bald eagles head south—to our backyard—to open water where they can find fresh fish and large stands of trees where they can perch and rest. Protected lands in Sullivan County, New York and Pike and Wayne Counties in Pennsylvania provide a safe haven for these migratory birds.

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust, works in the Upper Delaware River region of PA and NY in partnership with landowners and communities to protect healthy lands and forests, clean waters, eagles and eagle habitat, locally sustainable economies, and quality of life.

Your support of the Conservancy works to ensure the Upper Delaware River region remains healthy for eagles and people.

Keep your eyes to the skies!

Eagle 2 by Stephen Davis

Photos© by Stephen Davis.
Bald Eagles can best be viewed in the Upper Delaware in January and February.

Opportunities for Eagle Watching

The Conservancy has a number of activities planned for the winter months to help celebrate the bald eagle. Join us for guided field trips or stop by the Winter Field Office on Scenic Drive in Lackawaxen, PA at the foot of the Roebling Bridge, with its new interpretative exhibits and short documentary. Then venture out on your own to talk with trained volunteers ready to assist at the viewing areas (Friday afternoons, Saturdays and Sundays 9-4, January and February).

 Your Calendar for Winter Fun

Join an expert guide on a heated bus and take a scenic drive throughout the Upper Delaware River region to look for and learn about eagles and the impacts of habitat loss. Be sure to dress warmly in layers and wear waterproof boots. Bring binoculars, camera, snacks, and a bagged lunch. Fee: $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Call the Conservancy at 570-226-3164 or 845-583-1010 or email info@delawarehighlands.org to register unless otherwise noted.

Space is very limited and reservations are required for all Eagle Watch trips.

Check the Delaware Highlands event page for the most up-to-date information and additional trips. Refunds are not given in the event of cancelled reservations

WINTER 2014 SCHEDULE:

Saturday, January 18th – Eagle Tour, Winter Field Office, Lackawaxen, PA, 9am-12pm.

Saturday, January 25th – Eagle Day!  PPL Environmental Learning Center, Hawley, PA, 1pm-4pm.

Join the Conservancy, PPL, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, and other local organizations for an educational, fun (and free!) Eagle Day for the whole family. Enjoy a presentation with live birds from Bill Streeter, help to build an eagle’s nest, and participate in other fun activities. Contact PPL at 570-253-7001 or pplpreserves@pplweb.com for details.

Saturday, February 1st – Eagle Tour with NEPA Audubon Society, Winter Field Office, Lackawaxen, PA, 9am-12pm.

The guide on this bus tour will focus on eagle biology, our unique habitat, and how the eagles recovered from the brink of extinction. Call Bob at 570-676-9969 or email jeanbob@ptd.net for reservations.

Saturday, February 8th – Eagle Tour, Winter Field Office, Lackawaxen, PA, 9am-12pm.

Saturday, February 15th –Marion “Becky” Finch Memorial Excursion; Winter Field Office, Lackawaxen, PA, 9am-12pm.

Join us to pay tribute to long-time supporter and volunteer in the most fitting way we know how: by sharing the awesome eagle-watching experience.

For more information on the Conservancy and how it connects people to the lands where they live, work, and play, or to learn more about protecting your land, visit www.DelawareHighlands.org, call 570-226-3164 or 845-583-1010, or email info@delawarehighlands.org.

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Meeting Challenges in our Communities

By Barbara Lewis

100_8112Wayne County, Pennsylvania is an idyllic place to live, a place where we’re proud to have been born or overjoyed to have adopted as our country home.  It has rolling hills, beautiful countryside, plentiful streams and lakes for fishing, boating, and swimming.  Life is quiet here, yet there’s quite a variety of interesting activities to participate in, when the spirit moves us, and restaurants to dine in, when we feel a sociable impulse or a disinclination to cook at home.

So…challenges…they may not immediately meet the eye.  But yes, they’re here.  The increasing number of school kids getting free school lunches, families relying on the food pantries to put meals on their tables, and the rise in bullying and teen suicides in our school community are sobering reminders that things aren’t so easy for a lot of our neighbors and even our own families.  Challenges, indeed, are part of daily life for many people in Wayne County.

Dairy farms continue to close and families struggle to find decent-paying work within a reasonable distance of home; local jobs paying minimum wage do not provide a living wage to a family, unless one has two or three of them.  Students managing to get through college emerge with degrees but huge student loan debt, and can’t find jobs in their field or for wages that allow them to support themselves or a family.   Those of us who are retired find our “fixed incomes” increasingly inadequate to meet medical bills and living expenses.  Times are hard.

Yet life is also good in many ways.  There’s a growing sense of community here that’s tangible when you buy your produce from local farmers, grab a healthy, reasonable lunch at the health food store and eat it in the park, or walk to the Cooperage for an evening of entertainment or contra dancing.  The local libraries provide an amazing array of services to people at any income level, and a place to socialize, too!  The YMCA offers classes, a cardiac program, yoga and tai chi, as well as sports programs.  Shade trees, overflowing pots of multi-colored flowers, and small garden plots tended by caring citizens keep our town beautiful.

The huge audience of local people attending the recent presentation of the “Rachel’s Challenge” program at our local high school shows that many of us care about the quality of life of our children and want to make kindness part of our interactions with each other. The opening of The Stoneworks Learning Center in Honesdale gives us many new options for alternative and continuing education for children, teens, and adults.

So life in Wayne County goes on.  We come together with friends and neighbors…old and new…to do our best to create a good life for ourselves here.  Each of us can only do a small part to make life better for us all, but aggregately all those “little” individual acts of kindness, caring, and openness go a long way toward creating something better than any of us can do on our own.  We are about community.  Reaching out to our neighbors–whether they’re “like us” or not–taking the opportunity to say a kind word, open a door, check on someone elderly, share a bowl of soup or fresh-baked muffin with a neighbor. It all matters very much.  Life is challenging, but we’re here to help and support each other in meeting those challenges every day, and to create beautiful moments we can cherish with each other.

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A Year of Bountiful Harvests

By Barbara Lewis

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The 2013 summer and fall seasons have had an ample mix of rainfall, sunshine, both cool and warm weather, for crops to grow lush and numerous this year.

Transition Honesdale had a couple of unrented beds at their community garden at Ellen Memorial, and we offered to work collaboratively with volunteers from the Honesdale Emergency Food Pantry to grow fresh vegetables to donate to the pantry.  We shared the tasks of planting, watering, weeding and harvesting the tomatoes, cabbages, onions and green beans, and the pantry distributed them to families.

Another local institution, the Himalayan Institute, found their apple harvest so plentiful that they reached out to the Rotary Club and others in the community for help with picking apples in exchange for a share of their bountiful harvest.

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Energy Awareness Tips

By Jocelyn Cramer, SEEDS Executive Director

SeedsLogoThis is a wonderful time of the year for so many reasons…..  The kitchen often has the tantalizing aroma of vegetable soup or pumpkin pie. Nights are cool and it feels good to sleep under a heavy blanket again. Let’s face it, northeastern Pennsylvania in Autumn is one of the most beautiful spots on Earth!

But autumn is busy. Kids are back in school, folks are harvesting and gearing up for hunting season, and the house needs to be prepped for winter.  At least a half dozen times a day I walk by something in my home that I meant to fix, change, paint, move, or give away, but haven’t gotten around to yet.  Does this sound familiar?

Well – here’s a little help!  SEEDS and PPL  make it easy to spend less energy and time and even money preparing your home for winter.

If kids playing softball put a hole in your window, you’d fix it, right? Well, did you know that there are often small air breaches in many different places in our homes that, if combined, could easily be the size of a softball or bigger? This reality prompted SEEDS to plan a Home Energy Efficiency Forum with PPL at the Wallenpaupack Environmental  Learning Center on October 8th. The forum was called “Find-it Fix it! A Home Energy Efficiency Workshop .”   Like all SEEDS forums, this event was free and open to the general public. Folks who attended received a free compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb courtesy of PPL, and lots of helpful hints and instructions to start saving energy right away.  Here are a few highlights:

  1. Run your hand around windows and doors to feel where air is escaping.  Use caulk to seal these spots.
  2. Wrap your water pipes. This is very easy and inexpensive to do, especially with pre-made pipe wrap tubes. Wrapping hot water pipes will reduce the waiting time for hot water to reach your faucet. It will also cut down on condensation and protect pipes from freezing.
  3. Wrap your water heater in a water heater blanket. Newer models have insulation inside the shell, but additional wrapping makes it cheaper to heat, and can keep water hot longer in the event of a power outage.
  4. Use water aerators on your faucets and low-flow shower heads. If replacing a toilet, choose a low-flow one. For well owners, using less water means using less electricity to pump it. For metered water systems, using less water cuts down your bill.
  5. Prepare for next spring by getting a rain barrel.  I’ve seen many rain barrels turned into beautiful home features with flowers and honeysuckle wrapped around them, and you will never water your garden with a hose again.
  6. Use wool balls or tennis balls in your dryer to help significantly decrease dryer time. Don’t have tennis balls? There are great YouTube videos on how to make your own wool dryer balls. They also make terrific gifts.  Better yet: use drying racks instead of a dryer. They add humidity in a dry winter house.
  7. Use a smart strip to decrease phantom power.
  8. Change all incandescent bulbs to CFL’s. Or upgrade your CFL’s to LED’s.
  9. Keep your appliances cleaned and maintained properly.  Whether you have Energy Star appliances, or are saving up for them, appliances run more efficiently when well maintained.  One local contractor’s website we found particularly helpful: Gershey Appliances
  10. Use outlet gaskets in all your exterior wall outlets. They are cheap and easy to install.
  11. Check the caulking or putty around your utility wires where they enter the home, and re-caulk if needed. Remember that softball?
  12. Insulate the walls of your unfinished basement or crawl space. This can help keep your space warmer and cut down on the temperature difference between the living space and the basement. That, in turn, will cut down on condensation.
  13. Rethink energy usage – do you need a second refrigerator? Do you keep lights on when you aren’t in the room?

Many of these tips came from the findings of the TEAAM, The Energy Awareness Action Movement, a free home energy assessment program offered by SEEDS to residents of Wayne and Pike Counties each summer.  If you have other helpful tips on how you saved on your energy costs, track your usage and share your success stories with us. Or sign up for a free home energy assessment in the summer of 2014.

SEEDS – Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support –  is a nonprofit organization based in Honesdale that is working to reduce carbon emissions and promote a healthy environment. We do this by helping to develop a renewable energy infrastructure and by promoting sustainable living.  We host educational forums on a variety of energy saving, as well as alternative energy topics.  We also help area businesses conserve energy and operate more efficiently.   For the latest in renewable energy technologies, or to help your business focus on the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit — call 570-245-1256 or email jocelyn@seedsgroup.net. 

 

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Honesdale Beautiful – Part II

By Linda Scott

Sandie Grandinetti of Mary Beth Bridals enjoys tending flowers in downtown Honesdale.

The Miller Pavilion

Driving through Honesdale on a recent Sunday afternoon, I came across Sandie Grandinetti, owner of Mary Beth Bridals & Boutique, pruning plants in the vicinity of the Miller Pavilion on Main Street.  Sandie has been tending to this beautiful garden, as a volunteer on behalf of the Greater Honesdale Partnership, since July of this year.  Like many other business owners, in addition to long hours running their businesses, she takes time to volunteer to help make Honesdale look its best.  These pots were filled in the spring and installed courtesy of Ellen Memorial Health Care Facility. The Honesdale National Bank provides the water for the plants in the pavilion area.

Grandinetti also purchases lime and bone meal for the roses in Central Park and helps trim them when needed.  She feels that the roses suffered a bit this year from the dry spell we had this summer.  Because of this, she would like to see a couple of water spigots in the park.  And, oh yes, with locks on them!

WOMEN'S CLUB

Paula Roos and other Women’s Club members plant flowers in huge clay pots for distribution to many locations in town where they are watered by local merchants and enjoyed by everyone.

You can’t drive down Main Street, Honesdale, or across the bridges or even visit the Wayne County Court House without noticing all the huge beautiful clay pots filled with flowers.  This project is maintained by the Women’s Club of Honesdale.  If you visit their web site www.womensclubofhonesdale you will find the following statement: “The club is particularly proud of their ongoing plantings throughout Honesdale: 40 trees, flowers, bulbs, shrubs and each year planters are planted on Main Street”.  Recently I spoke with Paula Roos, a longtime member of the Women’s Club and enthusiast of the beautification projects, about the history of this particular endeavor.

Roos said that she was in Carbondale and noticed all the lovely flower pots in the town.  After asking around, she discovered that they were donated by Mr. Esbenshade, who subsequently donated 8 pots to Honesdale. Throughout the years, the Women’s Club has raised money through a bus trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show and their annual Antiques Show to purchase additional pots and the flowers that are planted annually. Currently, she estimates there are approximately 30-35 pots placed around the borough.

Roos also stated that in the spring Mickey Gulino organizes the plantings.  The pots are taken out of storage, flowers and water-retentive soil are purchased, and a work day is scheduled.  Businesses are contacted to make sure they are able to water and maintain the planters, most of which are placed on Main Street.  In the fall, usually sometime in October, another work day is scheduled and then the containers are stored by the borough for the winter.

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Planters donated by Robert Zabady.

Shout out to Robert Zabady

During discussions with the volunteers for these two articles one name kept coming up over and over again.  And that was Robert Zabady. Owner of the Ellen Memorial Health Care Center, Mr. Zabady is best known to readers of the Transition Honesdale newsletter for his generosity in providing space on the Ellen Memorial property for the community garden, also building a pavilion and a deer fence, and handicap accessibility to the garden.

Zabady generously provides the planters near the Fred Miller Pavilion on Main Street. This garden consists of numerous containers filled with a profusion of flowers, as well as grasses, bushes and some evergreen plants. In March he has Countryside Florist in Mt. Cobb begin growing the flowers, so that when they are delivered to the pavilion they are in full bloom. Every three to four weeks he has someone fertilize the flowers so they continue looking beautiful all summer.  The pots, which weigh a considerable amount, are moved both to and from the pavilion on trailers and stored at Ellen Memorial.

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Robert Zabady.

Zabady has also done much to enhance the beauty of Central Park in Honesdale, putting in rose beds and plantings of roses and other flowers around the monument. In 1993 his family donated a new copper fountain that fits within the existing stonework. (The original fountain was installed to commemorate our nation’s centennial.)  The new fountain actually comes apart, is cleaned, maintained and then stored for the next season. The motor was also recently replaced.

Robert Zabady has many more ideas for the beautification of Honesdale.  In his own words, he “would like to see all of Honesdale, not just the downtown, look as beautiful as possible.”  So, stay tuned.  I am going to keep my eyes open for one particular project he mentioned.

So many people—many more that we have featured in these articles–have contributed their time, money and energy to making and keeping Honesdale beautiful so that we may all enjoy it.  We are very grateful for their care and effort.

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