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greenandgrowing.org

How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter Organically

If you’re like most gardeners, the approaching cold weather is bittersweet. The cooler weather is a relief from the heat, but it also means you have to put your garden to bed. But instead of lamenting the fact that there are no more tomatoes to can or peas to shell, why not concentrate on learning to prepare your garden for winter?

And if you’re into organic gardening, you’ll also find some tips that will help ensure that you nourish your garden even more for the spring planting.

Why Should You Prepare Your Garden for Winter?

Summer gardening is a beast, isn’t it? Making sure your plants get enough water to produce those delicious fruits and vegetables is almost a full-time job in some climates. And the pests and diseases that thrive in the hot summer months are no laughing matter.

That’s why some people close up their garden after the summer harvest and don’t think about it again until spring.

But that’s a mistake.

When you don’t properly prepare your garden for winter, you will have a few unwanted surprises in the spring. For instance, leaving withered and dead plants in your garden over the winter can spread disease because the cold doesn’t kill all fungus. Also, unless you take some precautions, you will have to fight even more weeds come spring. Finally, pests can hide underneath the garden debris and will surprise attack you in the spring. But by removing all the debris, you won’t give them a place to hide.

How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter

By now, you understand the importance of learning how to prepare your garden for winter, especially when organic gardening. After all, the last thing you want to do is fight diseases, pests, and weeds!

If you’re ready to put your garden to bed until spring, here are the 10 things you should do right now.

1. Take the last harvest

Your first step is to harvest anything left in your garden. Many people leave tomato plants until the last minute to give tomatoes time to ripen on the vine. They will also ripen on your countertop!

If you live in the South, your eggplants will also probably continue to produce until fall, so you can wait to pull those out until you are ready to prepare your garden for winter.

2. Clean things up

After you’ve gathered all of the vegetables left on the plants, it’s time to pull the plants out of the ground. Most of the plants will be withered and dying because cool weather is setting in. Don’t be tempted to leave plants in your garden because if a late blight sets in, it can carry over until spring.

An exception to that rule is plants with deep roots that are difficult to pull like cabbage or broccoli. Some gardeners prefer to leave the roots in the ground until spring because they are typically easier to pull then.

3. Take a trip to the compost pile

Once you’ve gathered the garden debris and pulled up the old plants, it’s time to put them in the compost pile. Your compost will cook over the winter and provide you with a nutrient-rich soil for your spring garden.

If the old plants have a disease or look sickly, throw them in the trash instead of the compost pile so you don’t risk adding fungus or other diseases to your spring garden. Some diseases can overwinter. And you should never put old tomato plants in the compost pile — it’s too risky!

4. Leave them behind

Some plants love the cold weather and you can leave them in the ground to continue to produce. For instance, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, spinach, and broccoli may survive the winter months provided that you top-dress them with mulch. And garlic is meant to grow through the cold winter months and you will harvest it in the summer.

5. See where you’re at

The soil is the lifeblood of your garden, and if it doesn’t contain the right mixture of nutrients, your plants aren’t likely to thrive. When you prepare your garden for winter, it’s the ideal time to test your soil to determine what you should add to it.

Start by digging down about 6 inches in your garden soil in 5 to 6 different areas. Mix the soil and eliminate all the rocks and other debris from it.

Next, you can either have your soil tested by your local cooperative extension service or test it yourself. If you want to send it off, use this list to find the office for your state. If you want to test the soil yourself, you can use products like the Rapidtest electronic soil tester.

6. Make things right

Once you’ve tested your soil, it’s time to amend it to ensure your spring garden will be a success. Depending on what your test results show you, you will add amendments to your soil to bring it into balance.

For instance, if your soil is low in nitrogen, you can add fish emulsion or blood meal. There are many methods you can use to amend your soil to prepare it for the spring.

7. Cover things up

Now that you’ve amended your soil, it’s time to add a layer of compost to your garden bed. To do so, make sure you’ve pulled all the weeds and then push aside the mulch that covers the soil. Then, add a 1 to 2-inch layer of compost over the entire bed.

After adding the compost, you need to cover the soil for the winter. The goal is to cover your soil so enough that you can’t see it. If you can see it, you’re not protecting it. You can cover your soil in two ways.

Mulch it

Your first option is to put a layer of mulch on the top of your soil. You can use old hay, grass clippings, or store-bought mulch. If you’re organic gardening, make sure the much you use is free of pesticides.

Don’t forget that the cold winter months kill off a lot of pests and diseases. That’s why you shouldn’t mulch the garden bed too deeply. If you do, it could prevent the soil from freezing and killing off anything you want to survive.

Grow it

Your other option is to plant a cover crop in your garden. This option is ideal for a variety of reasons. First, planting a cover crop will protect your soil the same way mulch does. But by planting a cover crop, you can also add important nutrients to your garden to ensure it’s in top form for the spring.

For instance, if you plant legumes, the crop will add nitrogen to your garden soil. On the other hand, if you have too much nitrogen in your soil, plant a nutrient scavenging plant such as wheat, rye, barley, and triticale to help lessen it.

Make sure that the cover crop you use is cold-hardy and will grow throughout the winter. Here’s a great guide to cover crops. If you want to continue to grow something in your garden in addition to learning how to prepare your garden for winter, here’s a list of the best plants that grow during the winter.

8. Prepare your tools

No gardener is worth their salt without the proper tools. Instead of buying new garden tools every year, it makes much more sense to take care of the ones you already have. When you have time to prepare your garden for winter, it’s a great time to get your garden tools for the next season.

Start by wiping away any dirt and debris from your tools. If any of your tools have rust on them, use some sandpaper to clean it off. Then, musing a mill file, sharpen your tools so they will be ready to work for you once you begin planting the spring garden.

You can also lightly coat your garden tools with machine oil to help preserve them for another season. This will seal the metal, not allowing oxygen in, which keeps them working longer. Finally, replace any garden tools that are worn out or broken.

9. Think about next year

Now that you have taken the steps to prepare your garden for winter, it’s time to sit back and think about the last growing season. What did you do right, and what can you improve on? For instance, if you didn’t practice crop rotation, especially when organic gardening, you might put it into practice some spring.

Here are some other things you can think about to help your spring garden grow even better than your summer or fall garden.

Did they grow?

Hopefully, you kept a journal of all the varieties you planted and how they did. It’s important to know which plants thrive in your environment and which ones don’t. Go through your plant journal now and make a note of every species that did not do well. You probably shouldn’t plant that variety again next year.

On the other hand, be sure to make a note of the plants that did thrive so you can plant them again next year. You can also plant different types of these plants to extend your growing season. For instance, if a cherry tomato plant gave you a great harvest, think about planting cherry tomatoes with an earlier and later harvest date next year so you enjoy ripe tomatoes for a longer period.

Did they go?

Make careful notes of your organic gardening pest control methods as well. You may think you will remember them next year, but what if you don’t? Did your mixture of soap and water get rid of the aphid infestation, or did you have to purchase an insecticidal soap? Or maybe you released a jar of ladybugs to rid your plants of the pests.

Write down all of the methods that worked in your garden so you will have a go-to-guide next year.

Get Ready to Prepare Your Garden for Winter with Video

Even though you’ve read this article, sometimes watching a video on the topic can give you additional insight. Watch this quick video that shows you step-by-step how to prepare your garden for winter when using the no-till gardening method.

Are You Ready to Prepare Your Garden for Winter?

Closing down a garden for the season can be sad, but think of it this way: spring — and all those spring vegetables — is just around the corner. When you prepare your garden for winter the right way, your spring garden will be healthier and able to produce even more produce for you and your family.

Do you have a special way to prepare your garden for winter that we haven’t mentioned? If so, please tell us about it in the comment below. Doing so may help other readers have a better spring garden!

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momwithaprep.com

Easy Canning Recipes for Noobs Who Want to Save Their Food

Have you ever wanted to preserve food with some easy canning recipes? Perhaps you are a keen gardener, and you would like to save some of that fabulous produce you have worked so hard to grow. Maybe baking is your thing, and you would like to make your own jams and preserves to use with your cakes.

Canning represents the age-old art of preserving ingredients for future use and dates back to the Napoleonic wars of 1809. However, don’t feel intimidated because anyone may learn some simple canning techniques, and you may feel surprised by the variety of ingredients you can use.

Plus, once you master some easy canning recipes, you may find yourself trying out more advanced projects.

Easy Canning Recipes

You don’t need to be an expert to try out some easy canning recipes, and you may soon find your confidence growing once you attempt some easy recipes.

Start with some simple ingredients and techniques to discover a world of delicious canned foods that make fantastic gifts to give to friends and family. There is nothing more personal than giving the gift of a handmade product made with love and shared with joy.

Easy canning recipes include baked beans, strawberry jam, and simple garden vegetable recipes. Why not try canning tomatoes as the mainstay of your ingredient cupboard? Or you may soon find yourself canning jalapenos and making your own spaghetti sauce like a pro.

What Is Canning?

Canning is the time-honored tradition of preserving food from spoilage by storing it in hermetically sealed containers. The technique requires heat to sterilize the contents adequately.

The canning technique came about from the need to send food to the front lines in the Napoleonic wars. Napoleon offered a reward for anyone who could come up with a method of providing food for his army that would not spoil or rot.

Consequently, a talented chef named Nicolas Appert developed the canning technique in 1809, and this method of preserving food remains with us to this day.

Continued popularity

Canning is something done at home by using water baths and glass jars with tight-fitting lids. In fact, if you have ever made jam or pickles, then you have experienced the art of canning.

While many of us find ourselves at home for extended periods, canning has never proved so popular during these strange circumstances. Additionally, many suppliers claim that canning supplies have dwindled dramatically because of the demand.

If you want to have a go at preserving, then we have some fantastic easy canning recipes for you to follow. However, before you start, you will need some equipment to prepare.

Essential Canning Equipment

Once you have the basics of starting your canning adventure, you may find yourself addicted to the technique. The prospect of opening a jar of homemade jam feels too tempting to resist. However, you will need some equipment to get started.

Mason jars

Mason jars form the essential requirement when you start canning. Wide mouth mason jars offer the most accessible vessel in which to store your produce, particularly for larger food items. However, if you intend to make some delicious sauces to preserve, regular mouth mason jars may be a perfect choice.

The jars should have a two-part lid comprised of a flexible metal top and a tightly fitting screw cap that keeps the metal top in place.

A handy tip to remember

If you intend to freeze the fruits of your labor, then remember to leave a bit of headroom inside the jar. The contents will expand when frozen, and you don’t want to risk the jar breaking.

Water bath canner

A water bath canner is a large container designed explicitly for the canning process. The large pot comes with a canning rack, which stabilizes your cans during the cooking process.

Also, because the canning rack prevents the glass jars from sitting on the bottom of the water bath, it prevents them from cracking.

A bubble popper

You use a bubble popper before you seal the cans. To prevent bacterial infection within the jar, you must ensure the removal of any air bubbles that may lurk around the ingredients. You use the bubble popper to complete this process.

However, you may also use a cocktail stick or a wooden skewer to remove any trapped air.

The can lifter

The jars inside the water bath reach an extremely high temperature, and the last thing you want to do is touch them with your bare hands. Therefore, you will need a can lifter to remove the jars from the water bath.

The can lifter consists of rubber-coated tongs that allow you to gently remove the jars from the water bath in complete safety.

A wide-mouth funnel

When you experiment with easy canning recipes, you may find yourself dealing with hot sauces and syrups. A wide-mouth funnel allows for the safe and effortless transfer of hot liquids into the jars.

A stainless steel wide-mouth funnel will accommodate many sizes of ingredients and make life a lot easier when canning.

Use a large stockpot

Some recipes require the reduction of the water content within the ingredients. Easy canning recipes, such as strawberry jam, need cooking before you may can them. A large stockpot is invaluable for this process.

Keep in mind that the initial cooking process of particularly wet recipes profoundly affects the canned product’s shelf life.

Invest in a kitchen timer

A kitchen timer may be one of the most useful gadgets to use when canning. You don’t want to set everything to cook and then forget about it! So, use a kitchen timer because the alarm will alert you to the readiness of your canning.

Also, when preparing easy canning recipes such as jam and spaghetti sauce, the kitchen timer is invaluable.

Get yourself a magnetic lid lifter

The canning process involves the handling of hot objects. Therefore, safety should remain a key factor when you start. A magnetic lid lifter may allow you to place lids onto your hot jars safely.

And because you need to keep the process as sterile as possible, the lid lifter may make your job a lot easier. Cross-contamination and bacterial infection may result from your handling of the lids. So, a magnetic lid lifter is worth its weight in gold.

The Method Behind Our Madness

To present you with as many easy canning recipes as possible, we provide videos to give you visual inspiration.

If we listed all the ingredients and methods, then the list may only comprise one or two recipes. By presenting our recipes in video format, we can show you much more.

Also, videos form an especially useful learning tool, and you may find them more accessible to follow than an endless list of written instructions.

It really is easy

Don’t feel intimidated or nervous about having a go. Follow the easy instructions within each video to perfect your technique. With some handy hints and tips at your disposal, you may find yourself exploring some advanced recipes as you progress.

Let’s Explore Some Easy Canning Recipes for Beginners

Now that we have our equipment ready, it’s time to explore some easy canning recipes. We have deliberately chosen easy to follow, simple recipes for newbies to give you confidence and inspiration.

Easy recipe for canning jalapenos

Who doesn’t love that glorious fruity hit of a peppery jalapeno? Fantastic to use on homemade pizzas or in delicious chili beef, jalapenos form a mainstay of our store cupboards. By canning jalapenos, you may ensure a constant supply of these versatile and scrummy ingredients.

Canning tomatoes is a must

For everyone trying this method for the first time, canning tomatoes remains a priority. Many recipes rely on canned tomatoes, and making your own provides a great deal of satisfaction.

The classic canned baked beans

We all love baked beans. Why not have a go at making this family favorite yourself? Canning recipes for beginners may not feel complete without a baked bean recipe. Try experimenting with a few spices to give your baked beans a kick.

Strawberry jam classic

The thought of homemade strawberry jam sitting inside a homemade cake feels too delicious to resist. If you find yourself lucky enough to have a bunch of strawberries from your garden, then this recipe is perfect for you.

Easy and apple jelly

Apple in jelly is a match made in heaven. Use this easy canning recipe to make a fabulous accompaniment for roasted and cold meats. Just a touch of apple jelly served with a fresh caramelized onion tart may change your taste buds forever!

Canning dill pickles

Like canning jalapenos, canned dill pickles remain an essential canning recipe for beginners. Not only does the result taste fabulous, but canned dill pickles also form a versatile ingredient for so many dishes and salads.

Preserving garden vegetables

The recipe for canned garden vegetables may appeal to all those gardeners out there. What better way to extend your harvest than canning them for future use?

There is something deeply satisfying about growing your own vegetables and then canning them. You have had a hand in growing the produce and taken the trouble to preserve them. And your home-grown vegetables may taste all the better for it.

Canned spaghetti sauce

Homemade spaghetti sauce is a thing of pure joy. It forms the basics for many family favorites because it remains such a versatile ingredient. When you explore easy canning recipes for beginners, please give this a go because you will not regret it.

Try canned corn

Corn remains an essential element to our diets, and it’s delicious. Perhaps you grow corn on your homestead, and you find yourself with an abundance of this delightful ingredient. Canning corn proves an excellent and easy way to preserve your harvest for future use.

Sweet canned pickles

The delicious crunch of a sweet pickle offers a tasty treat that we may enjoy at any time of the year. With a few simple ingredients and an easy recipe, you may experience the joy of making your own sweet pickles.

Avoid Mistakes

Ensure you reach the correct temperature and meet the proper cooking times to avoid bacterial infections in your canned goods, like botulism. Hot water bath canning eliminates the spores when you hit the correct temperatures, so it remains essential to precisely follow the guidelines.

Do not use old lids for new batches of canned goods. While the rings remain useable after sterilizing, the old metal lids may have buckled and may not form a tight seal. So, experts recommend that you use new tops with every new batch of canned goods.

Exploring Easy Canning Recipes for Beginners

Canning is an age-old method for preserving food and remains as popular today as ever. With many of us dealing with tight budgets, home canning offers a technique to stretch the pennies while stocking up on some of your favorite ingredients.

Canning is easy when you follow some basic rules and simple recipes. Canning jalapenos will provide you with a bounty of useful ingredients for your cooking. Plus, by canning tomatoes, you may save money and bask in the satisfaction of making your own.

It is worth investing in some essential items of equipment to get yourself started. A good-quality water bath canner will see you through many recipes, and buying a good quantity of mason jars with the appropriate lids will spur you on to create no end of delicious goods.

Recipes such as canned spaghetti sauce and homemade baked beans may provide you with a great sense of achievement. And by exploring some easy canning recipes, you may find yourself inspired to explore more adventurous projects.

Do you have any canning recipes you would like to share? Why not comment in the space below and share your ideas with us?

Author bio

Sean Kerr lives in Cardiff, Wales, and is a published author with over 10 novels to his name so far and still counting. As well as writing his next bestseller, Sean also runs a successful jewelry making business and sells his creations online.

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huntspot.com

Bow Hunting 101: Discovering the Parts of an Arrow

When bow hunting season comes around, you want to make sure you have your gear ready. You test your bow for accuracy, and you have plenty of arrows in your quiver, but how accurate are they? Knowing the parts of an arrow will allow you to examine your arrows before you head out to hunt.

That way, you can identify any arrow problems and only take ones that will fly straight and far. Arrows might seem like simple shafts with feathers at one end and a point at the other, but each piece has a role in the arrow’s success or failure.

What Are the Parts of an Arrow?

Every arrow consists of four parts: the arrowhead, shaft, nock, and fletching. Shooting an arrow that isn’t in perfect order can not only throw off your aim, but it can be dangerous for the hunter.

So, let’s examine the parts of an arrow, starting with the part that will pierce your target: the arrowhead.

Arrowhead

The arrowhead is the part of the arrow that you point at your target. There are three main types and, depending on your intent, you should choose the appropriate head.

Look for any loose pieces or chips on your arrowhead, and be sure they are secure at the end of the shaft before you use them.

Broadheads

If you plan to hunt larger game, you want to use broadheads. They consist of three to four razor blades and provide enough strength to penetrate a large animal like a deer or caribou.

When choosing broadheads, look to see if the blades are fixed, removable, or expandable. Fixed will be one piece, removable allows you to replace dull arrowheads, and expandable have hidden blades.

Field points

You want field points on the end of your arrows when you practice. They’re not strong enough to use for hunting, so if you have these in your quiver, it’s best to leave them at home and not take them out in the field.

The ends look like a bullet or a cone and are usually screwed or glued on the shaft.

Blunt points

If you hunt small game like rabbits, you want a blunt point. Their shape looks like a field point, but the attachment is more secure, and they may be steel, hard plastic, or rubber.

Shaft

The parts of an arrow wouldn’t be possible without the shaft or bolt. After all, without the long shaft, there would be nothing for the arrowhead to hold onto.

It’s important when checking the shaft to look for any nicks or weaknesses. One flaw and the shaft could snap in two under the pressure of your draw, causing injury to yourself and the loss of your prey.

The shaft is either aluminum or carbon, which are lightweight and rarely splinter. When choosing an arrow, the shaft choice is essential because it needs to match your bow’s draw for maximum effectiveness.

You want to consider the weight, thickness, spine, and diameter.

What is the draw weight of your bow? Choose an arrow with a shaft grain of five or six for each pound of draw.

You can rely on manufacturers to produce the correct stiffness for hunting, as well as the diameter, which determines the arrow’s penetration.

The smaller the diameter, the better the impact, but you don’t want a shaft that’s so thin that it will break.

Nock

At the end of the shaft, opposite the arrowhead, is the nock. The plastic or aluminum nock is how the arrow attaches to the drawstring of your bow. The slot clicks on, so when you draw, the arrow doesn’t slip.

The nock size matters because if it’s too big for the drawstring, the arrow will move out of position. And if the nock is too small, it won’t lock on at all.

The most common nock is a half-moon, and there are four ways it can attach to the shaft.

Press-fit sits in the hollow of the bolt and is the most common. Pins fit over the bolt and lock into place. Over nocks don’t lock, but they also slide over the end. And conventional nocks have a cone shape and use glue or pressure to stay in place.

Fletching

The fletching parts of an arrow are probably what you refer to as the feathers and are essential to your aim’s success.

Manufacturers use either plastic fletching or real feathers on the end of the shaft before the nock.

An arrow needs at least three feathers (real or plastic) in order to fly correctly. That’s because these parts of an arrow stabilize the arrow in the middle of its flight, so you reach your intended target.

Assuming you have three fletchings on your arrow, one will be a cock vane, and the other two are hens. The cock vane is usually a different color. Its job is to show you which way to position your arrow on the string. The cock feather should always point away from the main part of your bow.

The fletchings can cause the arrow to spin or stay straight, depending on how the manufacturer sets them on the bolt.

Checking your fletching is a must when inspecting the parts of an arrow before bowhunting. If the feathers are not in perfect shape and connected firmly to the shaft in the proper places, your arrow won’t fly right.

Not only that, but loose fletching could pierce your hand and cause an injury in the field.

How the Parts of an Arrow Affect Speed

When you hunt with a bow, your arrow’s speed matters because your target won’t stay still forever.

You take your time finding your prey, drawing your bow, and taking aim, but once you release, you count on that arrow to reach the animal quickly.

The parts of an arrow work together to make that possible, as long as you check your equipment and choose an appropriate arrow for your bow and prey focus.

You want a strong shaft with the correct diameter and pristine fletchings in the right position. The nock needs to fit properly on your string, and the arrowhead must be appropriate for your target.

Depending on your bow, your arrows could travel between 150 and 200 miles per hour.

Use the Parts of an Arrow to Your Hunting Advantage

Once you understand the parts of an arrow and their functions, you can identify problems before heading into the woods. Ensuring you have the proper arrows in good condition can be the difference between bagging a kill and coming up empty.

If you’re not sure what type of arrows you should use for your particular bow, talk to a seasoned hunter or someone who specializes in bows. Take your bow into a shop, have the arrows fit personally, and check each arrow for integrity before adding them to your quiver.

What arrows do you like to use when you go out to hunt? Have you ever fletched your own arrows or had to get arrow replacement parts? Tell us about what’s in your quiver in the comments!

 

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watersoftenercritic.com

The Best Water Testing Kits: Find Out Exactly What Is in Your Water

It would be great if we could safely drink the tap water in our home but this probably isn’t possible without some water testing kits. It’s even unimaginable to use untested tap water for the plants. So, drinking it for ourselves is certainly out of the question.

A water testing kit can provide numerous benefits. It can detect the water contaminant that might be in your tap water, well water, pool, or any other source. This eliminates the need to pay top dollar for professional consultation.

Plus, these water testing kits will help determine just what contaminants are lurking in your water. No waiting for lab test results; you get to know the problem and start working on it almost immediately.

It’s not hard to use a water testing kit on your own. The instructions are usually clear. That’s why you don’t have to worry about any complications.

Curious about these kits yet?

Let’s discuss them further below.

How Do Water Testing Kits Work and What Do They Test?

If this is the first time you’re hearing about water testing kits, you’d probably have this question in mind, “how do they work?”

Fortunately, modern chemistry now gives you the ability to test any kind of water without having to rely on a laboratory.

As you conduct these tests, the kit will show the chemicals that are present in your water. This even includes the substances that are only present in minuscule concentrations.

Thankfully, these water testing kits don’t cost an arm and leg either. With the right kit on hand, you can quickly check whether your pool water is safe to swim in or if your tap water/well water is suitable for drinking.

The contaminants that these water testing kits can detect include bacteria, iron, pesticides, nitrite, nitrate, chlorine, lead, etc. They also check the pH level, alkalinity, and hardness of the water.

The functionality of these tests depends on what kind you use. Let’s discuss these separately now:

Color disk kits

Color disk water testing kits work when you add a powder and some water to a reusable tube. You can then put the tube in a viewing box, which has a plastic disk with a color gradient.

When you rotate this disk, you can find the part that matches the sample. After that, it’s a matter of seconds to check what concentration of the chemical that particular shade means.

Disk tests are usually a bit complicated, which also makes them more costly than other options. However, they have the advantage of being more accurate.

Test strips

These strips are an affordable option for testing water. They’re single-use strips that can change color when dipped in water. The resulting color indicates what chemicals are present within the liquid.

There should be a color card in the packaging for the test strips as well. Once you’ve waited long enough after dipping the strip in the sample, it should be possible to match the color to the chart.

Hand-held digital instruments

Digital devices might give you the most accurate results of all. However, these are also the most expensive option and require both batteries plus correct calibration.

How to Choose a Water Testing Kit

Though you can install the right shower head to protect your hair and skin from hard water, you’ll need to go a step further when it comes to drinking water that’s free of harmful minerals. That’s when you should choose the water testing kit that fulfills your need.

With the various options out there, it can be challenging to choose a specific water testing kit. The following factors will help you decide:

Know the source of water

The first consideration is the kind of water you want to test. Most water testing kits are formulated and designed for specific water sources.

For instance, a kit for testing well water might be different from one that tests a public water supply.

The kits will test for the common contaminants in that specific source of water. Before you place any orders, make sure your kind of water is mentioned in the description.

Finding out about the testing method

Water testing kits take different time periods to show a result. If you’re not too concerned about time, you may settle for a kit that takes longer but is more accurate.

If you’re in a hurry, though, you should go for the at-home kits.

Know your requirements

If you just want to test for a couple of contaminants instead of every single substance in your water, a less expensive test might do.

A more expensive option will give you a whole list of possible contaminants. So, you can reassess what you need.

The Best Water Testing Kits Today

We now come to the best water testing kits one can find on the market today.

One of these could be your path towards safe drinking water no matter where you are:

HoneForest

This HoneForest model is a great all-rounder water tester. It can test the quality of your water along with assessing the aquaculture, water purification applications, water treatment, etc.

The model here is quite easy to operate and reliable as well. That’s why you might want to make it part of your household arsenal.

You also get a 3-year warranty, automatic locking, and a backlit function. The model will turn itself off after two minutes if not in use, thus, saving your battery.

We especially like the carrying case with this option. It offers some protection and also has a belt clip for convenient carrying.

WaterSafe

The WaterSafe water testing kit is also a leading choice when it comes to ensuring safe H20. It’s a DIY model that can help to identify the common contaminant in your tap water.

Some possible substances you can find here include lead, chlorine, pesticides, copper, etc. You can also determine the pH level of your water and its hardness level.

This kit works with test strips. Therefore, it’s one of the more affordable options out there.

You’ll also get test vials and detailed instruction on using the strips plus interpreting the results. However, such a choice might not be too easy to use in the beginning.

Health Metric

If you have well water to test, it’s worth checking out this Health Metric option before consuming a single drop. Private wells aren’t under EPA regulation, so you’re on your own when it comes to proper testing.

Fortunately, tests like these will help you identify any harmful bacteria and other substances in such water sources.

This water testing kit will ensure that your well water is good enough to drink. It will give you information about nitrates, nitrites, hydrogen, manganese, and several other potential contaminants in the water.

What’s even better is that the kit is simple to use, with straightforward instructions and lab-grade results.

Hach 2745250

The Hach 2745250 is one of the less expensive products on this list. But that doesn’t mean it compromises on quality. You can easily detect the water hardness level with this kit without the need to break the bank.

If you do find that a certain kind of water is very hard, that means it has a high level of magnesium and calcium ions.

You can then take steps to get rid of these issues and make the water fit for drinking as soon as possible.

This kit also provides test strips that change color according to the water hardness. By consulting the color chart in the package, you can easily figure out your next move to get clean, safe water.

Safe Home

The Safe Home water testing kit has topped many lists that talk about such items. It requires a bit of effort on your part: gathering water samples and sending them to a lab for testing.

The law in question here is certified by the EPA. So, you’re in good hands.

With the lab results from this kit, you can get to know and analyze around 200 contaminants. This option might be a bit more expensive than the others we’ve discussed so far. But it does seem to deliver.

You get the results within 10 business days while the sample sending is free of charge. Don’t worry about the tests not arriving soon; if the time slot passes, you get another test completely free!

SJ Wave

The SJ Wave water testing kit is meant to test no less than 16 parameters. This will give you a thorough analysis of the water, either confirming or dispelling your contamination concerns.

In the package, you get a hundred test strips along with a dropper and a testing tube. There’s also an instruction booklet that’s color-coded for easy perusal.

Other great additions include an eBook about safe drinking water and a testing record chart with information from the WHO.

Overall, we’re impressed with the wide coverage of this test. It measures pH levels, chlorine levels, and the presence of lead along with copper, nitrate, lead, nitrate, and several other substances.

The procedure for using the kit is simple enough but the manuals will make it a breeze even for novices.

PurTest

The PurTest water analysis kit is an EPA-based option that gives comprehensive results. That way, you can quickly test the drinking water you have at home without much hassle.

It’s essential to drink safe and clean water at all times, and this is one of the tests that can help you out.

There’s also a free handbook included with the testing kit here. This will give you pointers in basic water knowledge, which might be useful in the long run.

The test itself is lab-certified and its results are no less accurate than the ones from a laboratory. You can get to know about 11 of the most common contaminants and rule them out before taking a sip.

Test Assured

The Test Assured kit is formulated especially for ensuring that your drinking water is safe. Overall, the testing procedure might take 10 minutes.

In the end, it will inform you about the presence (or lack) of pesticides, lead, harmful bacteria, iron, and copper in your water.

This kit has 10 tests in one package. After running this, you may hope to be free of the common and most harmful contaminants that can get into your water.

It’s also reassuring to know that the kit was made in the United States. This gives us some guarantee of high quality and accurate results.

What’s even more fortunate is that you don’t have to mail in any samples but can get the result almost immediately.

You can use this kit with tap water, municipal water, groundwater, spring water, residential drinking water, and even well water.

Ideal House

The Ideal House water tester kit is great for testing the water in pipes, aquariums, pools, and so on. It’s a convenient testing kit that can detect hardness and pH levels as well as the presence of several common contaminants.

All in all, this impressive water testing kit has whopping 16 functions in one go. You can get results in as little as 60 seconds and can then take the steps as needed.

You also get a warranty for 180 days here. That should be enough to assure yourself of the item. Using the stripes might be a bit difficult at first but practice makes perfect.

JNW

The JNW water testing kit will help to determine whether you’re surviving on hard or soft water. Once you’re able to assess this correctly, you can see whether your water softener is functioning properly.

This test also gives you the signal to recheck large appliances like hot water heaters, dishwashers, etc. Reading the results could be a challenge for some. But the company is more than happy to help out.

When you know that the water hardness is something to worry about, you’d be more likely to take the required precautions. This could potentially increase the lifespan of your expensive appliances and prevent a major loss in the future.

So, Which One Is the Best?

While all the water testing kits above seem to be quite comprehensive, we’d choose the Safe Home option at the end of the day.

While this testing procedure might take a longer time than other options, it does provide the most accurate results. Since we’re looking for safety above all, this will probably be our highest recommendation.

So, which of the above water testing kits fits your requirements? We’d love to know your opinion.

Categories
davescheapbikes.com

Studded Bicycle Tires: Are They Effective and Should You Buy Them?

You might think it’s impossible to ride your bike in the winter, either because of the cold, snow, ice, or all of the above. But in addition to winter cycling clothes to keep you warm, you can buy studded bicycle tires just like you can buy studded tires for your car.

Sound strange? It’s not. Studded bicycle tires mean you have a safe ride even with snow and ice everywhere, meaning you’re not stuck indoors on a trainer for half the year. So, what are studded bike tires made of, and what brands should you buy?

All About Studded Bicycle Tires

One of the biggest dangers for anything with wheels is black ice. You can’t see it until you’re on top of it, at which point you have as much chance of rolling right over it without incident as you do of losing control.

That’s why studded bike tires help you ride safely in the winter. There are some things you should know about them, though, before you decide whether they’re right for you.

How much do studded bicycle tires help, and how effective are studded bicycle tires for winter?

Studded bicycle tires work the same way snow tires for cars work. They have anywhere from 70 to more than 300 little metal studs that bite into the ice. The bite gives you the traction you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Because of that, you won’t slip and slide all over the place and risk falling (especially in front of a car if you’re on an icy shoulder).

Unfortunately, these aren’t the perfect solution. You get traction, but you don’t have the same traction you have on dry asphalt or concrete. It’s more like the traction you have while walking on a lightly sanded sidewalk. The grains of sand help keep you from slipping, but if you start running, they can roll, and you’ll probably end up losing control.

Some cyclists prefer studded tires on their front wheel only, but your best bet is to have them on both your front and back wheels. Even though your front wheel is your steering wheel, you use your rear brake to maintain control around turns and to come to a gradual stop.

The last thing you want is your bike to start fishtailing because your rear tire has no traction.

Finally, remember that studded tires work well for ice, but not for snow or rain. In snow, they’ll just sink, and in the rain, they’ll try and bite into the pavement, and you’ll ruin your tires faster than you can say “studded tires.”

Do you need studded bicycle tires?

Studded bike tires are heavier than your standard road slicks and mountain bike tires. More weight means you need to put in more energy to ride.

Consider this: Studded tires aren’t necessarily the best thing for your bike at all if you have 26-inch wheels. But for other sizes, you might be better off switching to a wider tire with pressure around 10 to 20 psi lower than usual.

If you have 700cc wheels, look for a tire with a design specific to wet, sticky conditions. That may include studded tires, and it may not. If you’re not sure, talk to the specialists at your bike shop.

In the end, though, you want what will work best for you. If you’re on a budget, find what’s closest to what you need that fits your budget.

How long do studded bicycle tires last?

These tires usually last you two to three seasons. If you use them all winter long, they won’t last nearly as long even on dry pavement.

Asphalt and concrete will wear down the studs in studded bicycle tires quickly. If you have carbide studs as opposed to steel studs, they’ll last longer. However, if you’re a full-time winter bike commuter, you can expect to buy new studded tires every one to three years.

To extend their longevity, try using them only when ice is present or likely to be present. Use your regular tires when you know your roads and pathways will be dry.

See what this rider has to say about his experience with studded tires.

How to protect shoes from studded bicycle tires

Protecting your shoes from studded bicycle tires doesn’t take all that much unless you plan to regularly run over your feet or step on your tires.

However, if you’re someone who makes their own winter bike shoes because regular bike shoes just don’t work in cold weather, be careful with what you use for uppers. You want something very durable and warm, whether you’re using studded tires or not.

Best Studded Bicycle Tires

So, you want to ride your bike in your favorite freezing climate, and you’re looking for studded tires. There are many of them out there, so we’ve narrowed the choices down to our favorite five picks.

Schwalbe Marathon Winter HS 396 #11126448

Schwalbe is a well-known bike tire manufacturer, and the Schwalbe Marathon Winter HS 396 studded tire is great for road bikes. They’re wire-beaded with studs that work best when you’re riding on ice.

Because they only have studs straight down the middle of the tire’s surface, they’re decent for ice but better for snow than other studded tires. They’re okay in powder, but once the snow packs after plowing or people walking on it, they work much better.

You’ll hear noise that sounds a little like you’re riding on gravel if you use these tires on dry pavement. However, they still ride fairly smoothly.

However, they don’t work well when snow is wet and heavy because that snow sticks to everything, including your tires. If you try riding in these conditions, snow will coat your tires, fill up the treads, and ultimately cover the studs.

Pros

  • Suitable for ice and packed snow
  • Lighter weight than other studded tires
  • Reasonably smooth on dry patches

Cons

  • You’re better off with fat tires if you plan on riding in deep or wet snow
  • Best as “light to medium” winter tires
  • Lose effectiveness in more than three inches of snow

Arisun Sharktooth

The Arisun Sharktooth studded tires have studs and knobs arranged in a pattern that will grip not just ice but also give you more traction in snow and slush. These are fat tires, so you need the proper wheels for them.

However, since fat tires work better in winter conditions than standard-sized road tires, you’re better off with these anyway. You’ll also notice a considerable amount of resistance with these tires, but that’s because they’re fat and studded. You’ll always have more resistance on tires like these than you will with road slicks.

Pros

  • Easy to mount on the proper rims
  • More traction
  • Built to last through harsh winters

Cons

  • Noisier than mountain tires on pavement
  • You might lose studs depending on the terrain on which you ride
  • More expensive than other brands of studded tires

Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro HS 379

Another tire from Schwalbe, the Ice Spiker Pro, has small studs in most of the knobs on the tread. If you have a road bike and don’t want to switch to fat tires, you’ll probably do well with tires like these.

Perhaps one of the best things about these tires is that they come with specific instructions for breaking them in. You may not want to take them out on the ice or packed snow for the first time. If you break them in correctly, though, they’ll serve you well during the icy winter months.

They’re a little more expensive than other tires, but not as expensive as fat, studded tires. They grip well enough for tight turns, which is great if you want to do recreational riding in addition to commuting.

Pros

  • You have solid traction riding on smooth sheets of ice
  • They work reasonably well on partially melted snow
  • Tubeless, so they’re easier to mount on your rims

Cons

  • There is a break-in period, so you should buy them before you need them
  • Only good to three inches of snow
  • You can lose studs if you don’t break them in properly

Kenda Klondike Tire

If you’re looking for something that will fit your mountain bike with good clearance, then Kenda Klondike Tires are the tires for you. They have directional treads that help you shed snow and slush on the road or your favorite trails.

The studs are tiny but stick out from the treads enough to provide you with the grip you need to do your riding in both icy and snowy conditions.

Be careful, though. These tires won’t serve you well if you try and do some extreme mountain biking on a slippery trail. Studded tires are great, but even they can’t give you the traction you’d ordinarily have on a dry trail in the summer.

Pros

  • Smaller than other studded tires, so you have better frame and fork clearance
  • Tread helps shed snow and slush
  • Can run them up to 60 psi

Cons

  • May need to bring down tire pressure before riding on ice
  • Studs wear out around 1,200 miles
  • Work best with occasional use

Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus HS 396

Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus HS 396 is fantastic if you’re looking for a good studded mountain bike tire. Even if you’re not doing full rides, perhaps you use the winter to maintain your conditioning.

Regardless of what you do, you have an added security feeling when accelerating, stopping, and turning corners with these tires. Besides that, they work well both on ice and hard, packed snow. And they work okay on dry, fluffy snow because the studs will cut down to the ground and give you traction that way.

These tires are also useful for riders who are used to some drift when they turn corners. If you’re a mountain biker, you’re probably used to this, but be careful because the snow may still make your drift unpredictable.

Pros

  • Cheaper than many other brands of studded tires
  • Good shock absorption compared to other Schwalbe tires
  • Slower than road slicks but not as slow as mountain bike tires

Cons

  • Wire beads make it harder to mount the tire on your rims, and you’re better off using a mounting tool
  • Work on ice and fluffy snow, but not wet, heavy snow
  • You lose studs with higher air pressure

Ride All Year Round

The studded bicycle tires you decide on depend entirely on your needs and weather conditions. If your winters are full of ice and snow, then you definitely want studded tires, even if you’re only riding in those conditions periodically. That’s true regardless of whether you ride a road bike or a mountain bike.

Remember that these tires don’t work well on dry pavement, and you’ll give yourself a rougher ride. So, put them on when you need them, and then take them off when you don’t. And above all, enjoy your ride!

Categories
the-weather-station.com

The Smart Home Weather Station You Need for Your Home

If you want the most up-to-date local weather based on your exact location, you might consider buying a smart home weather station. These handy home weather stations sit on your property, and they collect weather data right where you are.

Yes, you could hop on a weather app and check local conditions easily enough, but your home weather station does more than tell you the temperature.

Yes, the station reports weather conditions, but it also helps you make accurate and informed decisions about your house’s temperature if you need to water your lawn, or even if swimming in your pool is safe due to localized lightning.

What Is so Smart About Home Weather Stations?

Back in the days of single-pane windows, all you had to do to check the weather outside was feel the window pane’s warmth or coldness.

Since then, tracking the weather is a bit more high-tech, and all that advanced technology makes your forecast more accurate than a windowpane.

Smart home weather stations have a lot to offer.

First, the weather stations gather data to generate forecasts related to your location.

Also, if there is more than one weather station in your area, they work together to generate a forecast.

While having local weather conditions available is fantastic for those who want weather conditions such as wind, rain, and barometric pressure at their fingertips, there is another reason to consider a home weather station.

The smart technology of home weather stations helps sync your smart home with the local weather. For instance, if you have an irrigation system, your weather station can feed it information and help set a schedule to avoid over-or under-watering your lawn.

Also, the smart weather station helps with smart thermostats to ensure your home is comfortable.

Key Features of Smart Home Weather Stations

There are several key features to consider with a smart home weather station.

For instance, the sensors are vital because you want to track more than just the temperature. Wind speed and direction, humidity, and rainfall all play a part in your local weather forecast.

Also, how frequent the data transfers is critical for having an accurate temperature at the moment.

Lastly, the ability to remote access the data is another key feature to consider.

How We Reviewed the Smart Home Weather Station Choices

We reviewed each smart home weather station by considering more than the price. The ease of set-up is critical with a weather station, as no one should need to hire someone for installation. Weather stations have a main component and sensors set thoughtfully in your yard.

Also, accuracy is a key criterion of our review process. There is no point in buying a weather station you cannot trust to deliver accurate information on weather right where you are. Inaccurate weather is no better than feeling your windowpane.

Lastly, the ease of accessing the data generated by your weather station has a factor in our recommendation.

Weather Station Contenders

Here are the weather stations we believe deserve consideration.

AcuRite 5-in-1 Color Weather Station with Wind Direction & Speed and Rain #01512

The AcuRite wireless home station is one of the contenders for the best smart home weather station.

This weather station offers rainfall history as well as wind speed and direction. The wind sensor handles wind up to 99 miles per hour. The rainfall cup is self-emptying, so your ongoing rain collecting efforts are accurate.

The display offers real-time information about the temperature both inside and out, as well as the level of humidity. The data updates every 18 to 36 seconds, so you are on top of current conditions.

This smart home weather station tracks high and low records and will give an accurate forecast for your location.

This particular AcuRite model has an access hub display sold separately, and the hub allows you access to the AcuRite app. You can still see the real-time weather ticker on the display, however.

This weather station is incredibly easy to set up, too.

Vantage Vue Wireless Weather Station #06250

The Davis Instruments Vantage Vue Wireless Weather Station has a lot to offer, as well. It shows indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity. It also handles wind speed and barometric pressure, and rainfall. Pretty much anything you would want to know about the weather, the Davis Vantage Vue delivers.

The Davis smart home weather station’s advantage is the up-to-date information because the device updates every 2.5 seconds.

This weather station includes the sensor set-up, the console, and the hardware for mounting. If you want the mounting pole, you have to buy it separately.

Plus, the set up for the Vantage is easy.

It even has a “this time yesterday” feature for those who like to compare the weather to the day before. And this solar-powered weather station has lithium batteries just in case.

However, the console interface is a bit cluttered, and it takes some effort to understand.

Ambient Weather WS-2000 Smart Weather Station with WiFi Remote Monitoring and Alerts #WS-2000

Ambient Weather is responsible for the WS-2000 Smart Weather Station. This weather station brings together your local weather and the data from your weather station.

The dashboard from the website is accessible from your computer or smartphone. You have access to historical data as well as current data. You can also set up email or text alerts to have notifications regarding weather patterns you wish to see. And if you want to download weather data to your computer to analyze later, you can do that too.

The display panel for this smart weather station is incredibly user friendly and easy to see and understand.

Furthermore, this weather station monitors soil moisture for your irrigation needs. This weather station also connects with your smart home features such as temperature control, lights, and even raising and lowering your blinds.

Another interesting feature of Ambient Weather Station is the optional leak detectors you can place on the floors to let you know if there is moisture.

La Crosse Technology V40A-PRO Complete Personal Remote Monitoring Weather Station

La Crosse Technology’s weather station will not disappoint weather enthusiasts.

The V40-Pro includes multiple sensors for temperature, humidity, wind, and rain. The sensors detect the weather outside, as well as temperature and humidity inside your home. Plus, the wind and rain sensor detects the speed and direction of the wind and rain levels.

You can also program the sensors to alert you if you wish to know high and low temperatures and humidity levels when they reach a specific point.

The sensors require batteries as a backup, and the station has an optional 5v power adapter.

The sensors connect to a display and update every few seconds. This weather station also connects to the National Weather Service (NWS), and it contributes to data for your area. The display for weather information is easy to understand, and you can customize the alerts, push notifications, and what you see on your display.

PRO+ 5-in-1 Weather Station with AcuRite Access for Remote Monitoring #01012M

This AcuRite smart weather station is similar to the one we mentioned above. However, it has some notable differences, including the access hub that comes with the bundle.

The data display for this smart weather station is self-calibrating as it pulls information from your sensors. Also, it features a Weather Ticker to stream information and alerts right to you.

The display gives you the information you would expect, such as what the weather actually feels like outside, warming and cooling trends, and your typical forecast information.

This particular weather station gives you access to AcuRite with their app, and it stores data for up to seven different sensors. You must use an ethernet cable to set this up to your internet router. Also, it works with either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you can get your information completely hands-free.

The data is transmitted every 18 to 36 seconds, which we have with other AcuRite weather stations. The station is easy to set up and can handle the elements.

Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 #6152

The Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 is an industrial-grade smart home weather station with tons to offer.

This wireless version of the Vantage Pro2 includes several sensors. For instance, this station uses an anemometer to measure wind speed and wind pressure. Also, the anemometer is something meteorologists use to collect information on weather patterns.

In the case of this weather station, the anemometer is tested up to winds 200 miles per hour. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, this smart weather station is worth consideration.

The Vantage Pro2 includes a radiation shield, which protects the weather station from solar radiation and from the heat reflected onto the station.

Also, this station is solar-powered and can transmit a signal up to 1,000 feet. It tracks all the weather data you would expect, and it does so rather precisely.

The data for this weather station is fast, as are all Davis Instruments weather stations. Also, the console shows current and historical weather data. The display is not in color; it has several buttons and is a little complicated.

Logia 5-in-1 Wireless Weather Station with WiFi #LOWSC510WB

Logia’s weather station is both affordable and user friendly.

The 5-in-1 station gives you real-time weather information, including temperature, rain, wind, and humidity.

The display is full color and shows you everything you would expect, including forecasts, moon phases, and the day and time.

This system is wireless and syncs with weather servers. The data will connect online with Weather Underground and Weathercloud and sendS information to your phone’s app.

Setting up this weather station is easy, as is its operation. When you open the box, you will find the station, an outdoor sensor, the console display, a power adapter, and the mounting hardware to set up either vertically or horizontally.

How’s the Weather Out There?

If you have a smart home weather station situated on your property, you will come to enjoy having real-time data on weather conditions at your exact location.

Also, most weather apps look at weather nearby, and that could be several miles away. The problem is many areas experience a micro-climate that is unique to a small area. So, the climate is different than the surrounding areas.

You can solve the micro-climate problem with a smart home weather station. A personal weather station helps you make accurate predictions regarding future weather and keeps you from being left out in the cold or the rain.

A smart home weather station can help you connect elements of your smart home. Some weather stations have sensors that trigger warnings about indoor flooding and can even let you know if you need to water your yard. If the weather drops, your smart weather station can send you a notification letting you know the house’s temperature is getting too low.

There are various weather stations to consider, and while all of the ones we listed are fantastic, there is likely to be one that suits your needs best.

Personally, we went for the AcuRite Pro with AcuRite Access. We do not need to integrate a smart weather station to our smart home, but having access to customizable notifications and alerts through the app works perfectly for our home.

Plus, we can also confirm it is easy to set up and use, as our younger teenager did all the work and needed minimal assistance.

Which weather station did you choose? Let us know in the comments.


A teacher by trade, Victoria splits her free time between freelance writing, her camping blog, and (frantically) guiding her teenagers into becoming functional adults.

Categories
dividendmantra.com

Dividend Champions List: What You Need to Know

Have you ever seen a company boast about their position on the Dividend Champions list?

For businesses that make the exclusive list every year, it’s quite an accomplishment. But what does that mean for the average investor?

Whether you regularly invest or not, you probably know that the way to make money on an investment is to buy low and sell high.

The risk comes with the fact that you don’t know how a company will fare from year to year. In fact, you could lose your investment entirely.

Taking a Risk

So, why should you take the risk at all?

If you want to invest in the market, you always run a risk. You can minimize that risk by doing research, looking at historical data, and diversifying your portfolio.

But if you want to make money without selling your positions, there’s a way to do that too. You can accomplish this by choosing companies that give dividends to their investors to share in the company profits.

And if you want to use dividend distributions as a factor in choosing a company in which to invest, the best place to look is the Dividend Champions list.

The Dividend Champions list is updated at the end of every month and includes companies that release regular dividend distributions.

So, you can adjust your portfolio on a regular basis if you choose to. Although this doesn’t eliminate your investment risk, it shows you the listed companies’ longevity and profitability.

But before you look on the list for stocks to buy, you first need to know about stock dividends.

What Is a Stock Dividend?

A stock dividend is a payment a company makes to its shareholders in the form of extra shares. A publicly-held business does this because they want to share their profits with the investors who support them.

Sometimes companies even offer cash instead of stocks for their dividend payouts.

One of the benefits of a stock dividend is that you don’t have to pay taxes on the gift until you sell the stock. So, the extra shares will increase your position with the company without any cost to you.

The downside of a stock dividend is that the distribution can cause the stock price to dip a bit. That happens because there are now more outstanding shares for the company, and it slightly dilutes the price.

Not every company offers a stock dividend, and price dilution may be partially to blame. But some businesses consistently pay dividends to their shareholders.

And it’s those businesses who can make it on the monthly Dividend Champions list.

What Makes a Company Distribution a Dividend Champion?

To make it on the Dividend Champions list, a stock must release a dividend every year for 25 or more years in a row. And since businesses can run on different fiscal cycles, updates to the list happen at the end of every month.

As you can imagine, this isn’t an easy feat considering these companies can afford the increases in dividend distributions over such a long period.

In fact, in October of 2020, there were only 136 companies on the Dividend Champions list.

Dividend Champions List for October 2020

Although the list is continually changing, the companies on the list as of October 5, 2020, include businesses offering regular dividends for decades.

We’ve organized this compilation by the length of time each company made the Dividend Champions list.

The over 60 club

  • American States Water
  • Dover Corp.
  • Genuine Parts Co.
  • Northwest Natural Gas
  • Procter & Gamble Co.
  • Emerson Electric
  • Parker-Hannifin Corp.
  • 3M Company
  • Cincinnati Financial

Between 40 and 59 years

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Coca-Cola Company
  • Lowe’s Companies
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Farmers & Merchants Bancorp
  • Lancaster Colony Corp.
  • Nordson Corp.
  • ABM Industries
  • California Water Service
  • Federal Realty Inv. Trust
  • Hormel Foods Corp.
  • SJW Corp.
  • Stanley Black & Decker
  • Target Corp.
  • Commerce Bancshares
  • Stepan Company
  • Tootsie Roll Industries
  • H.B. Fuller Company
  • Altria Group Inc.
  • National Fuel Gas
  • Sysco Corp.
  • Black Hills Corp.
  • Computer Services, Inc.
  • W.W. Grainger, Inc.
  • MSA Safety, Inc.
  • PPG Industries Inc.
  • Universal Corp.
  • Becton Dickinson & Co.
  • Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • Leggett & Platt Inc.
  • PepsiCo Inc.
  • Tennant Company
  • Gorman-Rupp Company
  • Middlesex Water Co.
  • Nucor Corp.
  • S&P Global Inc.
  • VF Corp.
  • Wal-Mart Inc.
  • Consolidated Edison
  • Illinois Tool Works
  • RPM International Inc.
  • Telephone & Data Sys.
  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • MGE Energy Inc.
  • RLI Corp.
  • United Bankshares, Inc.
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.
  • Automatic Data Proc.
  • Carlisle Companies
  • McDonald’s Corp.
  • Pentair Ltd.
  • Clorox Company
  • Medtronic plc
  • Sherwin-Williams Co.
  • Franklin Resources
  • Community Trust Banc.

Companies on the list for 28 to 39 years

  • Eaton Vance Corp.
  • Old Republic International
  • AFLAC Inc.
  • Air Products & Chem.
  • Weyco Group Inc.
  • Cintas Corp.
  • Sonoco Products Co.
  • ExxonMobil Corp.
  • Atmos Energy
  • Brown-Forman Class B
  • AT&T Inc.
  • Brady Corp.
  • NACCO Industries
  • Universal Health Realty Trust
  • T. Rowe Price Group
  • Chevron Corp.
  • Donaldson Company
  • Eagle Financial Services
  • Mercury General Corp.
  • McCormick & Co.
  • Tompkins Financial Corp.
  • UGI Corp.
  • 1st Source Corp.
  • National Retail Properties
  • First Financial Corp.
  • Erie Indemnity Company
  • Jack Henry & Associates
  • Community Bank System
  • General Dynamics
  • SEI Investments Company
  • Arrow Financial Corp.
  • Artesian Resources
  • Badger Meter, Inc.
  • Chesapeake Financial Shares
  • Enterprise Bancorp Inc.
  • Ecolab Inc.
  • Franklin Electric Co.
  • MDU Resources
  • McGrath Rentcorp
  • People’s United Financial
  • UMB Financial Corp.
  • Westamerica Bancorp
  • Essential Utilities, Inc.

The newcomers: 25 to 27 years

  • BancFirst Corp. OK
  • Chubb Limited
  • John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Linde Plc
  • Realty Income Corp.
  • PSB Holdings Inc.
  • Roper Technologies Inc.
  • Stryker Corp.
  • Thomson Reuters Corp.
  • West Pharmaceutical Services
  • Albemarle Corp.
  • A.O. Smith Corp.
  • AptarGroup Inc.
  • Brown & Brown, Inc.
  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • Cullen/Frost Bankers
  • Essex Property Trust
  • Expeditors International
  • NextEra Energy Inc.
  • Raytheon Technologies
  • Canadian National Railway
  • First of Long Island Corp.
  • International Business Machines
  • Lincoln Electric Holdings
  • Matthews International
  • Northeast Indiana Bancorp
  • New Jersey Resources
  • Polaris Industries
  • RenaissanceRe Holdings
  • Southside Bancshares

Dividend Champions Contenders

Unlike the Dividend Champions list requirement of 25 consecutive dividend distribution years, the list of contenders includes companies on their way to becoming champions.

These stable companies have 10 consecutive years of dividend distributions, which is a good indicator of consistent growth and strength.

Although they have a ways to go before hitting the Dividend Champions list, each year, they ensure their investors reap a portion of the profits they earn.

That alone could be a good reason for investment consideration if dividend distribution stocks interest you.

Make Your Money Work for You

When you’re looking to invest in the stock market, there are many factors to consider. One of those factors is your confidence in a company to stand the test of time and remain profitable.

Some may use the metric of dividend distributions to gauge a company’s strength and longevity when deciding on whether it’s a good investment.

Certainly, a place on the Dividend Champions list shows stamina and profits over an extended period. And it could give you extra confidence in your investment.

Before you put your money anywhere in the market, thoroughly investigate the company, and see if they are a good fit in your portfolio. And if you’re unsure of what makes a good investment, speak to a professional.

Are you invested in any of the Dividend Champions? Was their place on the list a deciding factor in your investment decision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Categories
goodmorningquote.com

A Thank You to the United States Postal Service and Mail Carriers

We’re saying thank you to the Postal Service for all they do! Since before America claimed independence, there’s been a form of postal service. Today, they’re more essential than ever.

It’s been more than two centuries since Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General in 1775. By 1896, people in rural areas received free delivery, which today, we have generally taken for granted until recently. 

Notably, more than 200 federal laws protect the sanctity of the U.S. Mail. Further, the laws are enforced by one of the oldest law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The USPS shaped how our country came to be in many ways. (see video below)

In 1847, Congress authorized United States postage stamps, and one featured Franklin. They were five cents and had to be cut apart with scissors. Another ten-cent-stamp featured George Washington, who appears on more stamps than anyone in history.

 

Today, anybody can send a letter for 55 cents to anybody in the United States. Incredibly, the USPS is the only organization that delivers to every residential and business address in the country.

The Postal Service Guiding Principle

Today, the United States Postal Service states the service is rooted in one single, great principle:

“The history of the United States Postal Service is rooted in a single, great principle: that every person in the United States – no matter who, no matter where – has the right to equal access to secure, efficient, and affordable mail service.”

USPS Mail meme 1
The guiding principle of the USPS with image via YouTube

The USPS Mission Statement

The USPS is an independent establishment of the Executive Branch of the Government of the United States. As such, it operates in a business-like way but is written into the U.S. Code in Title 39, the Postal Reorganization Act.

The USPS mission statement, as written in Section 101(a) of Title 39:

“The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.”

Below, see a vintage instructional film called “The Mailman” from 1946:

Postal Service Unofficial Motto

The famous unofficial motto is still commonly used today, dedicated to mail carriers’ heroic daily efforts serving Americans.

Though not official, the motto is chiseled into the granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue. (Now the James A. Farley Building) The words come from Greek historian Herodotus in The Persian Wars. As far back as 500 B.C., the Persians had reliable mounted postal couriers.  

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

USPS unofficial motto
The USPS unofficial motto with image via YouTube

The USPS: Looking Out for Americans

Today, the Postal Service is delivering in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, hurricanes, earthquakes, snowstorms, and wildfires. As they carry out their duties, they keep an eye out for communities.

For example, last week, mailman Fernando Garcia ran to help a man cut by a chainsaw in California. Garcia sprang into action and used his belt as a tourniquet, saving a Norwalk resident.

“I was a little panicky but at the end of the day…did what anybody else would have done, which was to try to stop the bleeding,” Garcia said. “I was just fortunate to be there, to help him out.”

A Quote from the Former Washington D.C. Post Office

You’ll find a lesser-known inscription carved into white granite at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum. Before it became the museum, it was the D.C. Post Office. 

It’s a beautiful tribute to mail carriers written by Dr. Charles W. Eliot, former president of Harvard University. Originally entitled “The Letter,” it was edited by President Woodrow Wilson before the version below was carved into the Post Office:

“Messenger of Sympathy and Love 

Servant of Parted Friends 

Consoler of the Lonely

Bond of the Scattered Family 

Enlarger of the Common Life 

Carrier of News and Knowledge

 Instrument of Trade and Industry

 Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance

 Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and Nations.”

USPS quote by Dr. Charles W. Eliot
USPS poem by Dr. Charles W. Eliot with edits by President Woodrow Wilson with image via YouTube

Recommended Reading: Freedom of Speech Quotes and Sayings With Images

Thank You to Our Mail Carriers!

Today, receiving the mail has never been more important as we get through a pandemic. Postal workers are links to the world during the pandemic, delivering more packages than ever. 

To thank USPS employees for putting their lives on the line for us every day, one might be tempted to give them money. However, mail carriers must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec­utive Branch. Thus, they may not accept tips or gifts worth greater than $20 and o gifts worth more than $50 from a customer per year.

Ideas to Say Thank You

Therefore, man people are leaving personal handwritten notes, and gifts of snacks and thoughtful small items. Readers’s Digest recommends an insulated travel mug or a pair of warm gloves.

Another idea is to send a letter to USPS’s Office of Inspector General to share appreciation and kind reflections about your mail carrier.

Since the USPS relies on postage sale, not tax dollars, it’s always a great idea to buy stamps. Notably, you can buy stamps at the post office’s website without leaving the house. Also, you can buy stamps from many retailers, grocery stores, pharmacies, and some banks.

Below, the USPS shared a video thanking Americans for the many “Thank You’s” they’ve been seeing lately.

Recommended Reading: 10 Amazing American Dream Quotes and Sayings

Watch “How the Post Office Made America” by Wendover Productions below:


Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube

Categories
stayhunting.com

Insulated Rubber Hunting Boots Review: 10 Pairs You Need to Try This Year

From forest to field, there’s no shortage of great insulated rubber hunting boots on the market. While a big part of choosing the right boots for yourself relies on which shoes fit your feet best, you should also take a close look at the features offered by each model. Our rubber hunting boots review can help.

Sore, blistered feet can ruin even the greatest hunting excursion. To help you find the right pair for trudging through mud, snow, and everything in between, we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular boots available.

How to Choose the Right Hunting Boots for You

Before running out and buying one of the models listed in our rubber hunting boots review, it’s important to know what separates an okay pair of boots from an excellent one.

Insulation rating

Some insulated hunting boots advertise a rating, typically formatted as something like 800G or 1200G. This number refers to the insulating fabric’s weight — specifically, the number of grams per square meter. 3M Thinsulate is one of the industry standards for neoprene insulation.

Generally, the higher this rating, the greater insulation offered by a pair of boots. However, other construction details and materials can make a lower-rated pair more suitable for colder temperatures, and vice-versa.

Noise and odor reduction

You want your footwear to help you hunt, not hinder you. Improper hunting boots can make noise and release odors, scaring away game before you even get the chance to take a shot.

Look for a pair of rubber boots that are noise-free and include odor-blocking materials. These features are of equal importance whether you’re hunting with a firearm or bow.

Proper fit

If you’re going to be donning one of the shoes from our best hunting boots review, chances are you’ll be wearing them for several hours at a time. Whether you’re traveling over rough terrain or sitting up in a stand, the last thing you want is an uncomfortable or even painful fit.

Along with general fit, think about what socks or pants you’ll most often wear with your new boots. A pair of boots might fit fine with everyday socks, but throw on a pair of thick wool ones, and you’re in for a bad time.

For women and those with smaller feet, look into specific rubber hunting boots for women.

Insulated Rubber Hunting Boots Review: Top 10

We’ve looked at some of the most popular models currently available from a variety of the industry’s top brands for our rubber hunting boots review. While the following boots are numbered, they are listed in no particular order.

1. LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro 18″ Realtree Edge 1600G

The LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro 18″ Realtree Edge 1600G boots lead the pack in more ways than one. These hunting boots feature scent-free rubber covered in Realtree Edge camouflage that will blend into the natural environment year-round. With 1600G neoprene insulation, these boots offer protection down to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The gusseted design ensures your feet stay dry while also providing plenty of room for different leg sizes. LaCrosse’s Burly Pro outsole is one of the brand’s best for handling all types of tricky terrain, including mud and sludgy snow.

These rubber hunting boots will stay secure and comfortable throughout the day while still being easy to slip off when you finally call it a night.

Pros

  • Rated down to minus 70 degrees
  • Official Realtree Edge camo pattern
  • Flexible calf gusset for a better fit
  • Tread pattern resists mud build-up
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Each boot weighs less than three pounds

Cons

  • Too warm for temperatures above freezing
  • Not as warm as expected
  • May not fit all feet

2. Irish Setter Men’s Rutmaster 2.0

Owned by parent company Red Wing Shoes, the Irish Setter Men’s Rutmaster 2.0 are some of the top bow-hunting boots around. These rubber boots for men feature a composite outer material that’s super lightweight and 800G neoprene insulation.

Hunters can choose from several different camo prints, including those by Realtree and Mossy Oak.

Each pair of boots features the brand’s ScentBan technology, which essentially kills off odor-causing bacteria that can build up over time. The backs of these boots are specially constructed to expand and contract, making it easy to put them on or take them off.

During wear, however, this flexible back helps lock the boots in place for a secure fit.

Pros

  • Made with lightweight RPM material
  • Thin, 800G-rated insulation
  • Outsoles resist mud and slippery surfaces
  • ScentBan technology prevents odor build-up
  • Available in several camo prints

Cons

  • Flexible heel is a known weak point
  • Older versions feature defective design
  • May run large

3. Muck Men’s Wetland Tall Boots

As the name implies, the Muck Men’s Wetland Tall Boots are for trudging around in the mud, water, and everything in-between. The top half of this boot is soft and flexible for easy movement while also sporting a snug-fit opening to keep out cold air.

Despite being entirely waterproof, these boots feature a breathable inner-lining to prevent moisture build-up and nasty blisters.

The neoprene insulation is 5mm thick and suitable for temperatures from 50 to minus 20 degrees. These boots are versatile enough for yard or farm work in cooler weather.

Pros

  • Specifically created for wetland conditions
  • Waterproof insulation keeps you warm and dry
  • Hard rubber layer protects against harsh terrain
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • Suitable for hunting, farming, fishing, and more

Cons

  • Not rated for extremely cold temperatures
  • Only available in solid colors
  • Poor traction on smooth, slippery surfaces
  • Soft upper is prone to snagging and ripping

4. LaCrosse Women’s Alpha Agility 1200G

The LaCrosse Women’s Alpha Agility 1200G boots are another great offering from the brand, though these obviously come in a smaller size range. These rubber boots are waterproof and equipped with 1200G neoprene insulation.

In other words, these will keep your feet warm and dry in temperatures from 30 to minus 60 degrees.

Built for an active lifestyle, the flexible shin panel and calf gusset offer tons of comfort and maneuverability. Plus, each boot weighs just over two pounds.

Pros

  • Built for temperatures down to minus 60 degrees
  • Secure heel with hands-free, kick-off design
  • Adjustable calf gusset for a custom fit
  • Each boot weighs less than 2.5 pounds
  • Thin, waterproof insulation

Cons

  • Not available in camouflage patterns
  • Too insulated for mild conditions

5. Bogs Classic High Mossy Oak

The Bogs Classic High Mossy Oak boots might not look as sleek as the competition, but these hunting boots are still worth a try. In many ways, their simplistic design is what garners support from hunters and outdoorsmen of all sorts.

Built with a hard exterior and a flexible inner-bootie, each boot is 100 percent waterproof and weighs just 2 pounds. These Bogs rubber boots feature 7mm Neo-Tech neoprene and are rated down to minus 40 degrees.

Pros

  • Comfortable in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees
  • Available in camouflage and solid colors
  • Inner-bootie stretches for a perfect, comfortable fit
  • Rugged, non-slip outsole

Cons

  • Longer break-in period than expected
  • Inconsistent sizing
  • Poor grip on smooth surfaces
  • Shorter than other rubber hunting boots

6. HUNTSHIELD Men’s Neoprene Muck Boot

While not an industry heavy-weight product, the HUNTSHIELD Men’s Neoprene Muck Boot is popular among hunters. These boots feature a waterproof, hard-rubber exterior and odor-resistant fleece lining inside.

A layer of 4mm neoprene adds extra insulation, though HUNTSHIELD doesn’t provide a specific temperature rating for these boots.

These rubber boots offer many of the same details seen from big-name brands, including an adjustable calf gusset, reinforced toe, and a hands-free heel kick.

Pros

  • Elastic cuff keeps out cold air and moisture
  • Scent-free fleece and neoprene insulation
  • Soft insoles for added comfort
  • Hands-free heel kick design
  • Great option for hunters with large calves

Cons

  • Reinforced toe does not feature steel or composite material
  • Sizing runs small
  • Best suited for mild-to-moderate cold temperatures

7. Muck Women’s Wetland Tall Boots

If you need women’s sizing, the Muck Women’s Wetland Trail Boots are another excellent choice. Like the men’s version, these rubber hunting boots for women are also great for fishing in marshy areas or slushy snow. The bob-style outsole offers plenty of traction without adding weight or bulk to the boot’s overall design.

These boots feature 5mm Flex-Foam neoprene that is waterproof, insulating, and designed to prevent blisters.

The AirMesh lining also stops painful chafing by wicking away moisture trapped inside the boot. Like the Men’s Wetland Tall Boots, you can expect to stay comfortable in temperatures from 50 to minus 20 degrees.

Pros

  • Offers traction without a bulky, heavy outsole
  • Built specifically for women
  • Waterproof and moisture-wicking materials
  • Extra insole layer for added cushion

Cons

  • Not available in camo patterns
  • Too heavy for some wearers
  • May run large
  • Mud easily builds up on soles and sides

8. Rocky Sport Pro Rubber 1200G Insulated Waterproof Outdoor Boot

The Rocky Sport Pro Rubber 1200G Insulated Waterproof Outdoor Boot is rugged, comfortable, and easy to put on and take off. Unlike most other insulated hunting boots, these boots feature a heavy-duty zipper.

Not only does this small detail add convenience, but it can also minimize wear-and-tear caused by yanking your boots on and off.

Aside from its zipper, this boot is waterproof, includes a removable memory foam insole, and sports Realtree Edge camo across its exterior. And the 1200G 3M insulation is extremely thin while still providing plenty of warmth and protection from the elements.

Pros

  • Convenient waterproof zipper design
  • Optional memory foam insert
  • Official Realtree Edge camouflage overlay
  • Features 3M Thinsulate Ultra neoprene
  • Thick and rugged outsole

Cons

  • Heavier than other rubber hunting boots
  • Some customers report issues with the zipper
  • May run small/narrow
  • Not as warm as expected

9. HISEA Neoprene Insulated Hunting Boots

The HISEA Neoprene Insulated Hunting Boots are simple, functional, and often more affordable than other popular hunting boot brands. Available in several classic solid colors or camouflage, these insulated rubber boots are the perfect option for hunting or day-to-day.

Keep in mind, however, that they probably won’t hold up to heavy wear-and-tear.

Each boot features a waterproof layer of 5mm Flex-Foam insulation and a mesh inner-lining for breathability. The flexible upper material and rubber calf gusset work together to create a comfortable, custom fit.

The elastic cuff ensures warm air stays in while cold air, water, and dirt stay out.

Pros

  • Simple and affordable
  • Versatile enough for hunting or daily wear
  • Available in several colors and camo patterns
  • Snug, waterproof design
  • Hypoallergenic inner-lining

Cons

  • Less comfortable than other insulated boots
  • Not built to last
  • Waterproof exterior is prone to leaks
  • May run small

10. LaCrosse Men’s Burly 18″ 800G Thinsulate

If you’re in the market for versatile rubber insulated boots from a tried-and-true company, the LaCrosse Men’s Burly 18″ 800G Thinsulate boots are probably the best choice. These mid-weight boots are the perfect combination of sleek and outdoorsy design.

Whether you’re hunting or running errands in the mud and snow, the 800G insulation will keep your feet warm and dry without weighing you down.

These boots are entirely waterproof and include a wool midsole for natural insulation and odor-prevention. The adjustable cuff and molded ankle design help ensure a comfortable, secure fit.

Pros

  • Versatile enough for almost any occasion
  • Lug-style outsole offers increased traction in mud and snow
  • Rated down to minus 40 degrees
  • Wool midsole wicks moisture and repels odors
  • Durable and long-lasting

Cons

  • Only available in a single solid color
  • Not specifically designed for hunting
  • No insulation above the ankle
  • Reports of strong rubber odor

Conquer the Outdoors in Unbridled Comfort

For heavy-duty insulated boots that will keep you hidden, go for a pair like the LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro 18″ Realtree Edge 1600G or Bogs Classic High Mossy Oak boots.

For rubber boots that work for hunting or day-to-day chores, consider the Muck Wetland Tall Boots or LaCrosse Men’s Burly 18″ 800G Thinsulate boots.

At the end of the day, any of the styles listed in our rubber hunting boots review will get the job done. It’s all about what you want out of your new footwear.

So, which brands have you tried before, and what was your experience? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
factsd.com

Facts About Strange Forms of Currency used During a Pandemic

Today, digital currency stands to eliminate paper money one day, possibly. As people can now transfer money electronically on their smartphones, governments are moving to eliminate cash.

Today, business professors say that using digital currency could help eliminate the spread of viruses like Covid-19.

Whatever the eventual fate of paper money, it’s interesting to look at alternative forms of currency throughout history. So, we’ll look at two strange currencies from medieval times.

One of these forms of money lost popularity after a pandemic, the Black Plague. The other currency may have helped stop the spread of the same widespread pandemic.

Finally, we’ll look at one odd paper money with a fascinating story. (But not plague-related for a happy change!)

Eels as Currency

In medieval England, one common form of currency was eels. Recently, a Ph.D. student in Medieval Studies from Cornell University, Dr. John Wyatt Greenlee, explained how the eels were used.

Eels were so popular in England that they appeared on medieval shields and crests and were a favorite food for nobles and King Henry I.

Notably, Shakespeare talked about eels more than any other fish.

Paying Rent in Eels

Greenlee shared a map showing where people paid taxes in eels. In 1200, people paid as many as 500 thousand eels. Landlords received payments from their tenants in “sticks” of 25 eels. On the other hand, the English called a bundle of ten eels a “bind.”

According to TIME:

“Many landlords collecting rent payments in eels were monasteries; being paid in eels meant the monks would have enough fish to eat during the Lenten season when they couldn’t eat meat. The fish was thought to be the perfect food to eat to suppress sexual thoughts during this fasting season.”

Dr. Greenlee, now an eel historian, says that an Amazon Prime subscription would cost between 150 and 300 eels today. However, European eels are critically endangered. Thus, Greenlee is trying to show people why endangered animals like eels are worth saving today.

Eels After the Black Death

In 1348 and ’49, the Black Death outbreak led to a rapid 90% decline in rent payments made in eels annually during the 13th century and the 14th century. Unfortunately, the human population declined rapidly. At the same time, other forms of protein became available, and it seems eels were no longer as essential.

Next, we’ll look at another animal form of currency that seems to have protected a country to some extent from a plague.

Related: The Most Amazing Facts About Fish: Everything You Should Know

Payments in Squirrel Pelts and Parts?

As we’ve seen, eels were an extremely popular currency in England until the Black Death. Meanwhile, in medieval Russia, one popular form of money was squirrel pelts. The pelts were a form of currency. Also, people used parts like ears, claws, and snouts. Today, we speculate those parts were to make change.

Related: 22+ Fun And Nutty Facts About Squirrels: Acorns, Habitat And More

Squirrel pelt currency
image by CreditCards.com, CNBC

Pennsylvania Bank executive David Doty collects odd forms of currency from around the globe. In a CNBC interview, Doty speculated about a possible benefit of trading in squirrels during the Black Plague.

By reducing the number of squirrels, it stands to reason it also could have reduced the exposure to infected fleas.

“During the Black Plague, Russia didn’t get hit as hard as everybody else. By making their currency the squirrel pelt, it may have reduced the number of disease-bearing parasites,” Doty explained.

However, today Russia is cracking down on hunting another rodent, the marmot. Officials suspect the hunters on the border with Mongolia and China could be spreading bubonic plague carried by the animals.

Red Squirrel Currency

In medieval Europe, red squirrel pelts were a form of currency and appeared in currency exchange charts until 1926.

In Finland, the word for money, Raha, translated to ‘dried fur,’ comes from squirrels. If you had ten pelts, it was called a Tikkuri, while 40 pelts were called a Kiihetelys. With 100 pelts, you could buy yourself a cow.

Seeing how we can now trade in digital currency, could it be going the way of the squirrel soon? That’s the topic of this video from VoxCreative below:

Cook Islands Bill Featuring Ina Riding a Shark

Now for something totally unrelated but fascinating. One of the weirdest paper currencies may be a bill from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

On the note, which can be 3 or 20 dollars, a naked woman rides a shark into the sunset. As she rides, she holds a coconut, which she has opened by cracking it on the shark’s head, per the legend.

The woman is Ina, a representative of the “first woman.” 

Per the island myth, she’s the loved one of the Eastern Polynesian God of the Ocean named Tinirau. The sea God lived on a floating island called the Sacred Isle Motu-Tpau.

On a journey to visit Tinirau, Ina travels by shark, aided by Tekea the Great, the king of all sharks, per the Cook Island News.

Ancient DNA Tied to Ina

Interestingly, an American man from Montana, Darrell Crawford, was found to have the oldest North American DNA ever tested last year. Astonishingly, his mitochondrial DNA was traced back 17,000 years to an ancient female ancestor: Ina, one of four ancient ancestors, including Ai, Chie, and Sachi. 

The four women were among the earliest colonizers of North and South America. The ancient women’s mitochondrial DNA was passed through generations until today as discussed in the Seven Daughters of Eve by Oxford genetics researcher Bryan Sykes. 

Cook Island Bill
$20 bill from the Cook Islands screenshot via Foreign Currency & Coin Exchange
Image via MoreBankNotes.com

As another odd footnote: The Cook Islan $3 bill featured Ina is by artist Rick Welland who died in 2016. Little did he know, his artwork and the bill became one of the country’s most sought-after souvenirs after it was adopted in 1992. Before he died, he was surprised to learn the bills were going for $300 on eBay. 

Footnote: Last year, the island’s government reportedly provided $450,000 in the budget to reprint more of these bills.


Featured Image: Squirrel via Pixabay and Eels via Pixabay