Alabama Sawyer’s Not So Secret Diary

1stdibs Aberdeen About Us AIA air quality air quality widget AK Jewelry AL Businesses AL.com alabama Alabama Sawyer Alabama the Beautiful alasaw Alva Amanda Loper American Institute of Architects American Society of Interior Designers apps apps for nature lovers April ASID astronomy ban best of Biophilia Biophilic Design Birmingham Birmingham Businesses Birmingham Museum of Art Birmingham Organizations Birmingham Zoo blog board oil Boston botany Bottle Opener Bromberg's Buffalo Rock bug repellent built in shelving Burke Decor butcher blocks Cahaba River Society candles Captain America carbon carbon sequestration charcuterie Christmas cider vinegar cities Citizen's Climate Lobby city city composting programs classic clever tips + tricks Cliff coasters cocktail cubes coffee shop colorful colors compost compost pile composting composting programs concentration conference contest corner shelving creative writing Crying Indian PSA custom table height cutting board cutting board oil David Baker Architects decomposition Dering Hall differences in dish soap DIY Earth Earth Day Earth Overshoot Day Earthrise EastFork Pottery EastFork Pottery Giveaway ECam and Co. eco friendly entertainment environmental environmental glossary environmental holiday Etsy Facebook Famous in AL favorites female owned businesses fixed bracket shelving floating shelving focus food hacks food waste Food52 Fossil Fools Day Friends of Shades Creek fruit fly fruit fly trap gas tax GASP gift gift guide giveaway glass recycling glossary Golden Rule Barbecue Google Google Reviews Goop Goop Exclusive goopGIFT green green burial green products greenwashing Grove Collaborative Gulf State Park Gulf State Park shipment Gumption handmade health benefits health concerns health information Hemlock Miyake Bench Hemsmith history of AL holiday holiday gift guide holidays home essentials how to how to guide how to polish wood furniture ice bucket Incense Set instructional guide interior design Interior Designer International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict interview jar Kamado-San Donabe Kassatex Keep America Beautiful kitchen knife holder Lanett Credenza Leigh Leigh Spencer link list local businesses Londontown longest running Made South magnolia MAKEbhm Michael Bruno Milwaukee mineral oil miyake miyake bench Montpelier mosquitoes movies Mullein & Sparrow municipal compost program nadii NASA National Endangered Species Day National Recycling Day natural burial nature nature lovers New York Times news Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin non profit oiling a cutting board orchard table packaging paint Pale Blue Dot pallet pallet compost pile pecan PeeWee Herman personal story Petite Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin photography plants plastic bag plastic wrap podcast pop up shop Precious Plastic Alabama PSA public service announcement recycle Recycled Moroccan Glassware recycling Red Mountain Park red oak Remodelista reviews round sunrise table science Self Made Self Made Foodie Giveaway Sen. Steve Livingston sensitive groups shelving shipment Sloss Furnace smart phones soap software South Jordan Spiderman Spring Break 2019 sputnik table standard table height Stump Side Table Summer Sanctuary Giveaway sustainable sweepstakes table height table top Taking Care of Our State Tender Earth Candle The Blue Marble The Boogie The Helm Tom Ford tray Trilogy Leather urban wood utensil holder vegetarian wall paint walnut walnut wine rack Waverly Table WBHM weedkiller white oak white oak host stand Wide Plank on Legacy Base Wide Plank Table on Sunrise Base wine rack Wine X Wine Rack wood wood furniture wood furniture polish wood polish wood scented wooden cutting board Workshops Inc

Eco Friendly Food Hacks

August 19, 2019

Eco Friendly Food Hacks

We think respecting the environment is incredibly important, and want to talk about some of the easiest ways in which consumers can reduce their carbon footprint in terms of simple food practices. Keep in mind this blog post is meant to address what individual consumers can do to help, even though changes in business practices and policy change on an international cooperative level are going to be vital in the coming years. 


We also want to make it clear that we aren’t trying to tell anyone what to do. What we are trying to do is offer solutions for those that would like to put in the effort.


  1. Consider not buying foods that come wrapped in excessive packaging. This could mean simply putting those apples in your cart and not in a plastic bag AND THEN your cart. Or maybe you could cut down on microwavable meals that come in those little plastic trays. The point is, avoid buying overly packaged food items. It will really help cut down on waste in the long run. 

  1. Eat less meat. Honestly, this is one I need to work on as well. Maybe I could do this one in baby steps. Perhaps I could start off with a rule where I am only allowed to eat meat past 6:00 PM at night, a part time vegetarian so to speak. To be clear, we want to support the tendency to eat less meat and NOT simply the idea. More specifically, we're not trying to promote any -ism, -ian, or -ist. We encourage you to create better habits because they are good habits to maintain. Not because we want you to support a certain ideology. 

  1. Reduce food waste by saving leftovers for the next meal. This is probably the easiest thing to do on this list, and requires very little effort to accomplish.     



Sources Cited


IPCC, 2014: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.


“5 Tips for Environmentally Friendly Eating.” GustoTV.com, www.gustotv.com/food/5-tips-for-environmentally-friendly-eating/.

 

Featured Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usepagov/13914380453

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August 12, 2019

Best Environmentally Friendly Facebook Groups To Join

If you’re reading this blog, then chances are high that you are an environmentalist. Or at the very least, you want to treat the environment with respect. 

Facebook can be a great resource of info on the environment, provided that you check your sources to ensure their validity. Here are just a few of the many Facebook groups you could join to keep you in the loop about all things environmental:

World Wildlife Fund: This is probably one of the biggest environmental organizations out there. You’ve definitely heard of it, and it’s Facebook page is a useful resource for staying up to date on all of the WWF’s activities and on goings. 

The Audubon Society: works towards conservation and protection of birds/ bird habitats. An added bonus is the insane amount of gorgeous wildlife photography that’s constantly posted.

Earthjustice: This group is dedicated to providing free lawyers to different organizations that defend the environment. Keep up to date with the ongoings of the organization by following them on Facebook.  

The National Wildlife Federation: A federation that works to strengthen environmental legislation (among other things.) They also have a lot of beautiful wildlife photography, so be sure to take the time to check out their page. 

SOURCE: https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/blogs/the-environmental-groups-that-dominate-facebook

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Summer Sanctuary Giveaway

July 29, 2019

Summer Sanctuary Giveaway

Alabama Sawyer has been doing a lot of giveaways these past few weeks, and this week is no different! We’re participating in the Summer Sanctuary Giveaway with a handful of other awesome companies that we encourage you to check out. So be sure to enter for a chance to win $500 worth of spending money at our shop. 

One good question would be, “what can I buy with a $500 gift card to Alabama Sawyer?” You could buy a bunch of different stuff from our shop. Me personally? I’d buy a Magnolia Utensil Holder, an Alasaw Logo Shirt, and a Stump Side Table. The utensil holder would look good in my bathroom for makeup brushes and the Alasaw Logo Shirt would be a nice way to spread the word about our company. And the stump side table would give me a nice place to display one of my many candles.   

As far as the other participating companies go, you could win a $150 gift card from minimalist fashion brand Hemsmith. Hemsmith priorities quality, comfort, and creates clothing that never goes out of style. There are a bunch of different ways you could spend that $150, but I’d probably go for this Tate Dress in grey

Mullein & Sparrow is another participating company that sells vegan skin care products. Enter the Summer Sanctuary Giveaway for a chance to win a $250 gift card to their store. One of the things that makes this company interesting is that many of their products come in sustainable packaging.

Another company involved in the giveaway is Londontown, a company that makes tons of different high quality nail polishes and nail care products. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win $150 dollars to their shop. Given that each nail polish is $16, I’d definitely buy a bunch of different nail polish colors with a $150 gift card to Londontown. Specifically Cockney Glam (pictured below) and Reverse the Charges are Londontown colors I’d go for. 

Burke Decor is another business participating in the giveaway, and they’re giving out a $200 gift card to their store. Burke Decor is another minimalist brand that sells everything from candles to tableware to bed and bath supplies. With a $200 gift card to Burke Decor, I’d go for this Asime 2 Light Wall Sconce by Mitzi

Alva is custom drapery and curtain retailer that’s giving out a $250 gift card in this giveaway. If I were to win the $250 gift card to their shop, I’d want this Red Ebony Wood Blinds.

Kassatex is a bed and bath luxury brand that provides products in affordable prices. For the Summer Sanctuary giveaway they are giving out a Lorimer Washed Percale Duvet + Sheet Set plus monogrammed Hotel Spa Robe.  

Nadii is a company that sells a bunch of high quality clothing, and is giving away a wellness bundle that includes: a candle, a sage bundle, a Tonic CBD Tincture, one month of nadii digital free, and a nadii goddess tote bag.

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EastFork Pottery

July 29, 2019

EastFork Pottery

We are excited to announce that we’ve recently become affiliated with EastFork Pottery! In honor of our affiliation, let’s talk about some of their amazing products and promotions. Right now they are doing a weekly giveaway on their website, so you should definitely check it out for the chance to win free EastFork Pottery products. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love free stuff? Now, on to the products themselves.  


Imagine this Tender Earth candle sitting on one of our Waverly Tables in Hackberry. The candle’s scent is described as “wet, fresh, and mossy”, which would work great with any biophilic themed interior design scheme.

    

Tender Earth | EastFork Pottery Waverly Table | Alabama Sawyer

Left: Tender Earth Candle, Right: Waverly Table


Or this minimalist Kamado-San Donabe sitting on one of our Wide Plank Tables on a Legacy Base. The Kamando-San Donabe could be used for a variety of dishes and soups.

 

Kamado-San Donabe | EastFork Pottery 

Left: Kamado-San Donabe, Right: Wide Plank Tables on a Legacy Base


Another EastFork recommendation comes in the form of their Incense Set, which includes Palo Santo incense and an Incense Burner. Imagine walking into your living room and seeing two of our Stump Side Tables on either side of the couch, each with an incense burner on it. Then you light the incense (but only one because two would be a little strong), and all your guests compliment you on your tasteful smelling incense. But also because you want your house to smell nice.  


 Incense Set | EastFork Pottery  Stump Side Table | Alabama Sawyer

Left: Incense Set, Right: Stump Side Table


These next recommendations are more alcohol centered so you can get your booze on in style. Imagine picking up an EastFork Pottery Brass Bottle Opener to open your favorite bottle of rosé, which is elegantly displayed in our White Oak Ice Bucket. You then pour yourself a glass in an EastFork Recycled Moroccan Glass. Is it normal to drink wine out of a non wine glass? Probably not, but for only $9, what are you waiting for?

 

Brass Bottle Opener | EastFork Pottery Ice Bucket | Alabama Sawyer Recycled Moroccan Glassware | EastFork Pottery

Left: Brass Bottle Opener, Middle: Ice Bucket, Right: Recycled Moroccan Glassware


Well, there you have it. I went ahead and entered the EastFork Pottery contest, and would strongly recommend you enter it as well.

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Self Made Food Giveaway

July 15, 2019

Self Made Food Giveaway

Did you hear about our recent giveaway? It’s called the Self Made Foodie Giveaway. Enter for a chance to win one of these prizes from a variety of awesome companies that you need to check out:

- A three month supply of Chickpea Granola from EFFi Foods. EFFi stands for Eco Friendly Foods Initiative. They are an organization driven to provide consumers with yummy food in an eco friendly way that doesn’t harm the animals we share the planet with.  

- An Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation) from VoiceBrew. VoiceBrew is a company that gives a series of guides on how to use Amazon’s Echo, thus making it more user friendly. As a consumer, I love the idea of a company that exists solely to aid someone that’s struggling with technology.    

- Live edge Charcuterie Board from Alabama Sawyer. That’s us, Alabama Sawyer! Our live edge charcuterie board would be a lovely way to present a killer meat and cheese plate to your dinner party. Or maybe you could use it to display some delicious and freshly sliced bread. 

- A free membership to Better Nutrition's online cooking class -- Clean Eating Academy or Vegetarian Times. Both provide various recipes and food related lifestyle tips to ensure that you are eating as healthy as possible. 

To enter, simply provide your first and last name, email address, and say whether or not you have a pet. Sounds easy enough, right? Please note that this giveaway ends July 26, so make sure you enter before then. Good Luck!

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July 15, 2019

2 Indoor Activities to Help You Beat the Heat

Are you barely tolerating this midsummer Alabama heat? If you answered ‘yes’, I’m going to recommend some indoor activities to keep your mind off the boiling weather.

1) Do a fun DIY project. This first suggestion is a DIY Beeswax Candle Making Kit from the company Grow and Make. They make all sorts of DIY kits to fulfill your every crafty desire, so be sure to check them out! What’s more is that they have a variety of other fun DIY kits, so if you’re aren’t a big fan of candles, why not go for the beverage making kit, or the soap making kit? The point is that Grow and Make definitely has a DIY kit to occupy your time as you avoid the heat.

2) Make it a media day. This next suggestion is very simple, just hang out and watch TV or movies on a comfy seat. Maybe you could start a new show now that Game of Thrones has left a great big hole in your heart. Or maybe you could listen to an audio book from AudiobooksNow.com. If you need audiobook recommendations, I'd say to start with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks if you're unfamiliar with Lacks and her story. 

But don’t forget about the comfy seat for your viewing/ reading pleasure. Preferably it would be a nice bean bag, like one you might find over on Jaxx Bean Bags. One of the coolest things about their bean bags is the extent of customization the company lets you do for each order, from material type, to bead type, and more. More specifically, I'd recommend one of their awesome Gaming Bean Bags.

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3 Eco Friendly Ways To Repel Mosquitoes

June 17, 2019

3 Eco Friendly Ways To Repel Mosquitoes

It’s summer in Alabama, which means your body is gonna turn into a feeding ground for mosquitoes every time you walk outside. Of course you could always use that name brand bug repellent that seems to work great, but isn’t so great for the environment. According to a Grist.com article titled The green take on insect repellents and sunscreens, bug repellent contains DEET, which is;

persistent environmental contaminant that breaks down slowly in soil. A recent U.S. Geological Survey report on water contaminants listed DEET as one of the compounds most frequently found in the nation’s streams. The U.S. EPA regards DEET as ‘slightly toxic’ to birds, fish, and aquatic invertebrates

Yikes. The next question would be ‘What are some eco friendly ways to keep bugs from feasting on my flesh without using something that’s terrible for the environment?’ For your convenience, here’s a list of some quick and easy ways to stay bug free and eco friendly this summer.

  1. Wear long sleeves:

I know this isn’t ideal if you live somewhere incredibly hot, but consider light colored long sleeve sweat wicking shirts paired with breathable pants. Why light colored? Darker colors tend to attract mosquitoes according to the aforementioned Grist.com article. I’m a big advocate for this solution since it doesn’t involve putting chemicals on the skin.

  1. Eco friendly bug repellents:

There are plenty of these on the market, here are two you should definitely check out.

-Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

-Kinven Mosquito Repellent Spray for Kids & Adults with Natural Oils

(Source: 13 Best Natural Bug Repellents in 2019)

  1. Wear scents that mosquitoes hate:

This is an interesting solution that not many people think of when trying to repel bugs. Here are just two scents that mosquitoes don’t like.

-Lavender

-Rosemary

(Source: 10 Scents That Repel Mosquitos)

Sources & Further Reading

McRandle, P.W., and Molly Rauch. “The Green Take on Insect Repellents and Sunscreens.” Grist, Grist, 10 Oct. 2013, grist.org/article/a-fly-in-the-ointment/.

Baardsen, Dana, et al. “Insects Will Be Too Cool for You After You Use Any of These Natural Bug Repellents.” Best Products, 12 Mar. 2019, www.bestproducts.com/parenting/kids/g1387/natural-bug-repellent/.

“10 Scents That Repel Mosquitoes.” Mosquito Magnet®, www.mosquitomagnet.com/articles/10-scents-that-repel-mosquitoes.

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June 03, 2019

Alabama Sawyer on Food52

If you haven’t seen what Alabama Sawyer is selling over on Food52, I’d strongly recommend you check it out. Some of our products on Food52 are only available through their website, so be sure to check us out over there! What’s Food52 you ask? As the name suggests, Food52 is a place for all things food, kitchen, and home maintenance related.

It’s a resource for all kinds of recipes - I especially like the recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies. It’s also a blog that gives a variety of home maintenance tips: like their useful piece on fridge cleaning. It’s a shop where consumers can browse some of the coolest kitchen gear imaginable: from silicon straws, to this modular cheese tower grater, which sounds like something straight out of Star Trek:

the tranya is right next to the modular cheese tower grater!”

All Star Trek silliness aside, we are pleased to announce that Alabama Sawyer is selling some really great products over there, like this Food52 exclusive walnut bread box:

Walnut Bread Box | Alabama Sawyer on Food52

If you’re interested in seeing other Alabama Sawyer products on their website, check out this screenshot to get a better idea of the different products we are selling through Food52: 

Alabama Sawyer on Food52

If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen some of these products on our website, that’s because some are Food52 exclusives. That’s right, some of these products are available exclusively through Food52. So go check it out! And while you’re over there, you may as well browse some of their recipes or home maintenance advice.


Sources & Further Reading

“Spock, Kirk and the Enterprise, 1968.” Wikipedia Commons, 12 Jan. 1986, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series#/media/File:

Leonard_Nimoy_William_Shatner_Star_Trek_1968.JPG.

“Cliff Spencer for Alasaw.” Food52, food52.com/shop/merchants/cliff-spencer-for-alasaw.

“Food Community, Recipes, Kitchen‌ & Home Products, Cooking Contests.” Food52, food52.com/.

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May 30, 2019

The Spring Home Refresh Giveaway | You Could Win Our Wine Rack!

Alabama Sawyer is participating in The Spring Home Refresh Giveaway where you could enter to win one of our wine racks in walnut. To enter, simply follow the link and enter the information requested, and you're all set! You may have noticed that there are a few other businesses who are participating in the giveaway. Those businesses are...

VoiceBrew - A business whose goal is to make Alexa more user friendly and easy to use. I don't use Alexa myself, but I've heard and read the stories of Alexa messing up and accidentally ordering an item that the user never requested. As such, I love the idea of this company.     

Mishkalo Wedding Registry - This business wants to give people memorable and thoughtful wedding gifts, which is why they allow you to register to get the happy couple custom portraits/ custom paintings instead of standard kitchenware. If you browse the artists sample products, you'll find some really gorgeous artwork.  

Embla - This company uses 3D printing and 100% natural bees wax to create very beautiful and geometrically shaped candles. Personally, I'm a fan of their teal pentagonal candle.

iTechDeals - A company that lets you find great deals on all types of technology. Basically, they give techie consumers a ton of different options for a variety of products. This type of website is actually a blessing for someone who's in the market for a new laptop. 

 

We expect and hope to do more giveaways like these, so let us know if you're interested in them! 

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May 22, 2019

Our Etsy Product Reviews

If you head over to Alabama Sawyer's Etsy page, you'll see that we have a total of thirty two 5-star reviews. Some of those reviews include written descriptions of why the customer liked our product, and we'd like to share some of those reviews with you.

Noaway Countertop Compost Bin

"Beautifully made, with invisible seams and a gorgeous smooth finish. Just the right depth to hold a few days' worth of kitchen scraps, too, before bringing it all out to the compost pile."

"A work of art sits on my countertop. Hidden inside? Eco-friendly decomposition."

"Impeccable design and function. Truly beautiful piece to adorn your countertop and make composting sleek and exciting! Wonderful craftmanship. Purchasing another as a gift! 5 Stars!!"

All-Natural Wood Polish & Furniture Wax

"Great accessory to maintain the beauty of the natural wood grain."

"I have already applied this all-natural wood polish to several of my wood items. It enhances the beautiful wood grain, without leaving a sticky residue. My oldest daughter has allergies and this wood polish does not affect her at all. I highly recommend this product."

"I love this stuff it brought my table back to life and it even worked great on my boots"

What about some of our less reviewed products, like our Breakfast in Bed Tray?

Breakfast in Bed Tray

These are just a handful of some of our Etsy reviews! Click to read some of our other kind reviews

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Standard Table Heights

May 01, 2019

Standard Table Heights

There are standard table top heights, then there are custom table heights. The height of a custom table will vary depending on table function, user height, chair height, and several other factors. This blog post aims to explore how you might pick a custom table height - and then give a list of standard table heights. 

How Do I Measure Table Height?

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's discuss how to measure table height in the first place. According to a Parotas blog post, "Standard table height measurements are taken from the floor to the top of the table or counter. This means you need to consider a lower chair height if you have a thick table top or overhanging counter." (Source: Parotas, "A Guide To Standard Table & Chair Heights")

Chair Height

Speaking of chairs, we'd advise a table height that allows for adequate leg room and space to slide the chair underneath the table. Generally, chair heights range from 17-19 inches. We recommend at least 10 inches between chair seat and table top. These discussions should beg the question, 'how do I measure the height of a chair?'

According to the Parotas blog post, "Standard chair heights are measured from the chair legs to the top of the seat surface. You do not include the height of the chair back or armrests in your measurements, unless you plan to slide chairs fully under the table or counter. If you are choosing chairs with armrests, allow around 7 inches (18cm) between the armrest and the underside of your table" (Source: Parotas, "A Guide To Standard Table & Chair Heights")

Elbow space is another important consideration that's very similar to the need for adequate leg room. No one likes using a table that's too tall to rest your elbows on. On the other hand, no one likes jamming their legs under a table because it's way too small. 

User Height

This is a pretty big consideration honestly. How tall or short are the users? If the users are really tall, consider a taller than average table top. The same goes for shorter users, who may require a shorter than average table height. These questions should definitely factor into the process of picking a table height. 

Basically, planning is your best friend when it comes to choosing a custom table height.

Standard Table Top Heights

That said, here are the standard heights of dining tables, counters, coffee tables, and bar tables. Big thanks to Leigh for making the graphics! (Please note: each of the pieces you see below is an Alabama Sawyer table. Find one on our website.)

Wide Plank on Legacy Base | Alabama Sawyer

Lanett Credenza | Alabama Sawyer

Orchard Table in Red Oak | Alabama Sawyer

Wide Plank Table on Sunrise Base | Alabama Sawyer

 

SOURCES

“Empty Table.” PublicDomainPictures.net, www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=271485&picture=empty-table.

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Why is it hard to recycle glass in AL?

April 29, 2019

Why is it hard to recycle glass in AL?

Why is it so difficult to find places in Alabama that will recycle glass? I’m definitely not the first person to ask. On the r/Birmingham subreddit, one user asks, “Every recycling plant in Birmingham that I've heard of doesn't seem to accept glass for some reason. I think it's simply because they don't have enough room for it?” A few comments pointed out the high expense associated with glass recycling, all for a non existent market. Similarly, The Alabama Environmental Council writes, “Glass is very difficult to recycle in Alabama due to a lack of end-users and processors.

Alabama Environmental Council | Glass 

That raises the question, where can I recycle glass in Alabama? Thankfully, The Alabama Environmental Council has the answers you need. Well, maybe not all the answers. None of this really addresses why Alabama lacks a good glass recycling program, and why some cities like Santa Monica have excellent glass recycling programs. Speaking of Santa Monica’s glass recycling program, it’s awesome. Seriously. Read more about SM’s recycling collection program, and consider how you could start your own glass recycling business.  

 

SOURCES

Reddit | Where to recycle glass?

MaxPixel.net | Recycling Bottle Jars Bottles Recycle Glass

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The Black Marble

April 22, 2019

3 Amazing NASA Photos of Earth

Due to US copyright laws, NASA photographs actually belong in the public domain. Who knew? I figured I’d take advantage of that to discuss some of the most amazing photos NASA has ever taken of our planet. A quick note about the series of bolded numbers and letters following the title of each photo in this post: that is the official NASA designation for that image.

 

The Blue Marble (AS17-148-22727)

1. The Blue Marble (AS17-148-22727)

This is easily the most famous photo NASA has ever taken, and it’s probably the most widely reproduced and distributed. It was taken December 7, 1972 by someone on the Apollo 17 flight, although evidence suggests that Jack Schmitt was the photographer. Interestingly enough, it was an unscheduled & unplanned photo, which makes the image something of a ‘stolen moment’. If you think The Blue Marble is beautiful, you might be interested in the subsequent Blue Marble images. (Source: Wikipedia, "The Blue Marble)

 

Earthrise (AS08-14-2383)

2. Earthrise (AS08-14-2383)

This spectacular image has been described as, "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken." It was taken December 24, 1968 by William Anders on the Apollo 8 mission. Like The Blue Marble, Earthrise was actually unplanned according to a transcript from the conversation that occurred when the photo was taken:

"Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! There's the Earth coming up. Wow, that's pretty.
Borman: Hey, don't take that, it's not scheduled. (joking)
Anders: (laughs) You got a color film, Jim? Hand me that roll of color quick, would you...
Lovell: Oh man, that's great!" (Source: Wikipedia, "Earthrise")

 

Pale Blue Dot

 3. Pale Blue Dot

What makes Pale Blue Dot special is the almost barely perceivable Earth sitting in the middle of a sun beam. Earth is so small that it takes up less than a pixel in the entire image. Talk about putting things in perspective. It was taken February 14, 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe at the request of astronomer Carl Sagan. (Source: Wikipedia, "Pale Blue Dot")

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Eco Friendly Ways to Save Money

April 15, 2019

Eco Friendly Ways to Save Money

Usually the big misconception about going eco friendly is it requires gratuitous time and money to accomplish. Let’s put that misconception to rest, and talk about all of the easy ways to make your existence on this planet more cost effective and eco friendly.

Carpool: This is a good way to cut down on gas expenses and reduce your carbon footprint. Better yet, start biking everywhere. It’s obviously not an optimal solution for everyone - some places just don’t have the infrastructure to implement or maintain safe + usable bike paths.

No Disposable Kitchenware: Consider purchasing cloth napkins, reusable dishes + silverware, metal straws, ect… All of the disposable products that you have to keep buying week after week add up to a lot AND will eventually go to a landfill.

Cook For You: No dining out or buying those premade meals. Making the food yourself is a great way to save money without supporting restaurants whose practices are less than ideal for the environment. And what better way to cook for you than by maintaining your own garden? I understand that not everyone has the time to care for a garden, but it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even growing your own basil can cut down on shopping expenses.

Compost: Why not? Especially if you’re caring for a garden. Composting is a great way to reduce your production of food waste while simultaneously reducing your need to purchase fertilizer. While you’re at it, take a look at our beautiful Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin.

Go Vegetarian: Going vegetarian pairs nicely with the gardening and composting tips mentioned above. You probably already know this, but the meat industry produces huge amounts of pollution. Moreover, by cutting meat out of your diet, you can greatly reduce the amount of money spent on food.

Sources & Further Reading

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Clever Eco Hints for Coffee Shops

April 08, 2019

Clever Eco Hints for Coffee Shops

My boss recently visited the The Red Cat Coffee House, and was so impressed by their clever use of uncooked spaghetti coffee stirrers, she requested I write a blog post pertaining to different eco-friendly hints for coffee shops. Here are some of the tips I came across:  

 Uncooked spaghetti coffee stirrers: Well, what were you expecting? Of course I'm going to include the example that prompted this blog post to be written. And c'mon. If you haven't been to The Red Cat, go ahead. Treat yourself. Another option if you don't want to use uncooked spaghetti is reusable metal spoons. 

 Go Green: This might seem obvious, but you can boost sales by "going green" since there is a large consumer base that loves that type of thing. Ensure your coffee is organic, fair trade, and shade grown. What does shade grown have to do with it? Shade grown coffee just means that the coffee was grown in the shade of nearby plants and trees. This method of raising coffee promotes a healthy ecosystem.

Flickr: "Sustainability poster- Fair trade"

 Offer discounts: Give customers that bring in their own mugs a discount so you don't use as many disposable cups that will eventually be sent to a landfill. Or don't use disposable cups at all, just have reusable cups and mugs.

There are plenty of other eco- friendly tips and tricks you can use to make your coffee shop sustainable. Read about them here

SOURCES

Greener Ideal: "How to Make Your Coffee Shop More Sustainable"

The Red Cat

Pixabay: Spaghetti 

Wikipedia Commons: "A small cup of coffee"

Flickr: "Sustainability poster- Fair trade"

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3 Ways to Celebrate 'Keep America Beautiful' Month

April 01, 2019

3 Ways to Celebrate 'Keep America Beautiful' Month

April is 'Keep America Beautiful' month! One excellent way to celebrate would be to participate in the trash tag challenge (which seems to be declining in popularity and relevance unfortunately.) What's the trash tag challenge you ask? On Reddit and Twitter, users have been taking 'before' pictures of areas filled with litter; and 'after' pictures of all the litter collected into trash bags. I love the trash tag challenge because it's a viral trend that benefits the environment.

Another way to participate would be to get your workplace involved in 'Recycling at Work'. This voluntary national effort is dedicated to increasing recycling in the workplace. That's a pretty noble cause, isn't it?

Of course the trash tag challenge and the 'Recycling at Work' effort aren't the only ways to participate in 'Keep America Beautiful' month. Planting and maintaining a garden is another great way to celebrate.

 

A woman enjoying gardening outdoors - Free Stock Photo

Since we're on the topic of gardening, composting for your garden is incredibly resourceful and will greatly help in your gardening adventures. If you need tips getting started, read our blog post on building a pallet backyard compost bin. What's more, this FineGardening article will give you all the information you need to start composting. Keep in mind that you'll need to store the compost somewhere before moving it to your backyard pile, so feel free to check out our beautiful Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin. These expertly crafted bins come in magnolia, walnut, and sapwood made using timber sourced almost entirely from the urban forests of Alabama.  

 

Sources & Further Reading

Olive, Jim. “STUDENTS PICK UP TRASH ALONG ROADSIDE.” Wikipedia Commons, Source U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 9 Oct. 2011, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:STUDENTS_PICK_UP_TRASH_ALONG_ROADSIDE_-_NARA_-_543927.jpg.

Asarch, Steven. “Viral #TrashTag Movement Wants to Make the World a Cleaner Place.” Newsweek, 11 Mar. 2019, www.newsweek.com/trashtag-trash-tag-challenge-twitter-reddit-1359221.

“Keep America Beautiful.” Keep America Beautiful, 6 Feb. 2019, www.kab.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwm-fkBRBBEiwA966fZBtWrzdMQqR5QoLIeuoiKKZsJAIaZEVuJxcy9PgYPZgVFWqIDLBUshoCiLYQAvD_BwE.

“Get Started in Composting.” FineGardening, 25 Apr. 2014, www.finegardening.com/article/get-started-in-composting.

“Take the Pledge Andearn Recognition For.” RecyclingWork RSS, recyclingatwork.org/.

“A Woman Enjoying Gardening Outdoors.” Freestockphotos.biz, www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/16337.

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Our 5 Most Popular Species of Wood

April 01, 2019

Our 5 Most Popular Species of Wood

Walnut

The dark brown wood is strong with a handsome grain and polishes easily. Rich, flavorful nuts taste delicious fresh and retain their flavor and texture during cooking. They belong to the same family as hickories and pecans. 

Walnut trees are monoecious, meaning they can self-pollinate. However, walnut groves are best for nut production. It's no wonder that walnut is one of our most in demand species of wood, just look at some of the walnut products we offer:

Small Walnut Breakfast in Bed Tray | Alabama Sawyer

Small Walnut Breakfast in Bed Tray | Alabama Sawyer

 

Walnut Utensil Holder | Alabama Sawyer

Walnut Utensil Holder | Alabama Sawyer

 

Live Edge Walnut Knife Holder | Alabama Sawyer

Live Edge Walnut Knife Holder | Alabama Sawyer 

Magnolia

Named after French botanist Pierre Magnol, the magnolia tree belongs to the Magnoliaceae family. This type of tree isn't just old, it's ancient. It appeared before bees did and many Magnolia trees are known to survive for 100+ years.

Mississippi and Louisiana share the Magnolia as the official state flower. Speaking of which, Magnolia flowers can be pink, green, white, purple, or yellow. Here are a couple Magnolia products we offer:

Petite Noaway Compost Bin in Magnolia with White Oil | Alabama Sawyer Petite Noaway Compost Bin in Magnolia with Blue Oil | Alabama Sawyer

Petite Magnolia Noaway Compost Bins with White Oil (left) and Blue Oil (right) | Alabama Sawyer

 

Both Sizes of Breakfast in Bed Trays | Alabama Sawyer

Large and Small Breakfast in Bed Trays in Magnolia | Alabama Sawyer 

White Oak

Also known by its Latin name Quercus alba, some white oak trees have lived up to 450 years. Despite the name 'white oak', these trees usually don't have white bark since they are instead named for the color of the finished wood. White oaks have certain characteristics that make it resistant to water and rot. These characteristics make it ideal to be used to make wine and whiskey barrels that resist leakage.

It is used in construction, shipbuilding, architecture, and more. White Oak has also been used extensively to build Japanese martial arts weaponry due to its density and strength. It's no wonder that White Oak is such a popular species of wood. Here are some of our White Oak products: 

WineX Wine Rack

White Oak WineX Wine Rack | Alabama Sawyer

 

White Oak Ice Bucket

White Oak Ice Bucket | Alabama Sawyer

 

White Oak Round Sunrise Table | Alabama Sawyer

White Oak Round Sunrise Table | Alabama Sawyer 

Pecan

The name “Pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack. It is a species of Hickory, native to Mexico and the Southern United States. Pecans are not actually considered a nut, but instead are a fruit surrounded by a husk with a stone pit in the center, which is the part you eat. The state tree of Texas, it can live to be anywhere between 300 - 1000 years old. See some of our Pecan pieces below:

Pecan Table Top | Alabama Sawyer

Pecan Table Top | Alabama Sawyer

 

Pecan Counter Top

Pecan Counter Top | Alabama Sawyer 

Red Oak

Also known as Spanish Oak, its name comes from the red hairs on its twigs. Southern Red Oak is a durable shade tree which reaches 60 to 80 feet high. See some of our gorgeous Red Oak products below:

Red Oak Orchard Table | Alabama Sawyer

Red Oak Orchard Table | Alabama Sawyer

 

Red Oak Miyake Bench | Alabama Sawyer

Red Oak Miyake Bench | Alabama Sawyer

 

Sources & Further Reading

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5 Environmental Holidays

April 01, 2019

5 Environmental Holidays

Most people reading this will know about and love Earth Day, so you’re probably aware that it’s celebrated around the globe every April 22nd. What you might not know is that peace activist John McConnell created Earth Day and its unofficial flag (see the featured image above.) 

But Earth Day isn’t the only environmentally oriented holiday, meaning April 22nd isn’t the only time to celebrate our planet. In fact, ‘celebrate’ might not even be the best word here since you can celebrate the Earth all you want, but at the end of the day the Earth should benefit from those celebrations. Instead, I think that ‘honor’ is better suited for our purposes. Read on to learn about 5 non Earth Day environmental holidays to honor our planet:

Fossil Fools Day: This holiday gets extra points for cleverly referencing April Fools Day by taking place on April 1st while the name is a play on the words ‘fossil fuels’ + ‘April Fools Day’.

Clever name aside, Fossil Fools Day (FFD) began in 2004 across the US and Canada as an environmental demonstration day. Now FFD is celebrated in many different cities all over the world with events intended to promote education regarding alternative energy sources, environmental justice, effective legislation, and corporate responsibility to the environment (Source: Wikipedia).

Earth Overshoot Day: You better get your passport ready, ‘cause you’re about to go on a guilt trip with this one. Nah, just kidding. Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) will, however, stir your inner eco-activist when you learn what it’s about. The EOD’s website put it best, “Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. In 2018, it fell on August 1. We are using 1.7 Earths. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb” (Source: Overshootday.org).

That’s upsetting. So what does Earth Overshoot Day do to ameliorate that? More importantly, how can I help? The website then goes on to explain (with some excellent resources), that it is possible to improve sustainability in the areas of, “food, cities, population, and energy to #MoveTheDate” (Source: Overshootday.org). There it is, the ultimate goal of EOD is to #MoveTheDate, and the website gives a number of ways to achieve that.

International Day For Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict: In 2001, the UN declared that November 6th would be the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, which I'm going to be referring to using the acronym IDPEEWAC.

The UN created IDPEEWAC to acknowledge the great damage that tends to come to the environment during wartime, and seeks to minimize it by implementing its own list of Sustainable Development Goals, which you can read more about by following the link to the UN's web page about the holiday (Source: UN.org).

National Recycling Day: You can probably guess just from its name what this holiday revolves around. National Recycling Day (NRD) falls on November 15th, and aims to persuade people into buying recycled goods and encourages people to recycle as much as possible.

However, it's not just about buying recycled products or using your recycling bin (although both of those things are important.) If you want to really dig your heels into it, then consider participating at a local event aimed at promoting the NRD and its goals (Source: NationalToday.com)

National Endangered Species Day: The holiday is held on the third day in May every year. I know what you're thinking, "Well, I'm not actively setting polar bears on fire OR stomping bees. How could I even help?" One way would be to donate money or participate in events for the National Wildlife Federation.

You also have the option to discuss the National Endangered Species day on social media with the '#ESDay', or even sign a petition. Oh, and if you come across an endangered specie? Try not to wreck its habitat (Source: NWF.org).

 

African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog (Source: Pixabay.com).

SOURCES:

Popular Science: “10 Environmental Holidays That Are Cooler Than Earth Day”

Wikipedia: “John McConnell”

Wikipedia: “Earth Day”

Wikipedia: “Fossil Fools Day”

Wikipedia: “Earth Overshoot Day”

Earth Overshoot Day home page

Wikipedia: "International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict"

UN.org: "International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of 

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5 Birmingham Associations & Organizations We Love

March 26, 2019

5 Birmingham Associations & Organizations We Love

1) If you've never listened to 90.3 WBHM, then you're really missing out. They deliver high quality news broadcasting on topics ranging from the arts to science & technology. We love supporting them, even if that support goes out in the form of simply tuning in and paying attention. But we also like to give them money, and you should too.

2) According to its description on Google, Red Mountain Park is a "1,500-acre park with 15 miles of scenic trails, historic mines, zip lines, tree house & a dog park." Speaking of hiking, there's nothing better than hiking a Red Mountain trail with loved ones. For me "loved ones" refers to my framed picture of Frances McDormand bench pressing a grizzly bear.

Red Mountain Park Trail Map

3) The first time I visited the Birmingham Zoo, I got to bottle feed a koala. Then I got pooped on by some birds at the Aviary. Needless to say it was the best day of my life. On a completely different note, Alabama Sawyer has made a bunch of different stools for the Birmingham Zoo, so be sure to check them out the next time you visit!

Birmingham Zoo

4) The Birmingham Museum of Art is a great place to visit if you get the chanceI know I know. You might hate museums because you think they're boring. That was my position on museums before I ever visited one, the BMA being the first. Honestly, they've had some pretty great exhibits and pieces on display over the years. And I'm not just saying that because they've exhibited some of our furniture before. No, I've liked visiting the BMA long before I started working here. 

 

5) Here is a description of Workshops, Inc. taken directly from their website, "Workshops, Inc. provides outsourcing solutions for local businesses. All outsourced handwork is completed by people with disabilities and other barriers to employment who are striving for their highest vocational potential." We've worked with Workshops, Inc. in the past, and would love to work with them again. 

 

Sources & Further Reading

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What NOT to Compost

March 18, 2019

What NOT to Compost

Composting is a great way to generate fertilizer for your garden. That said - ensure you’re not composting materials that shouldn’t be composted.

  • Dog + Cat Poop
  • Vegetarian animal poop = perfect to compost; feel free to use rabbit, chicken, horse, and cow poop. The rule of thumb is that manure from vegetarian animals is acceptable while manure from carnivorous animals is not. Meaning no contributions from Mr. Whiskers.

    A Hungry Bunch taken from the Library of Congress.

    Inorganic Materials + Diseased Plants + Cooking Oil
    This should be obvious, but anything that’s glass, metal, or plastic isn’t going to break down in a compost pile. Additionally, treated lumber or sawdust from treated lumber shouldn’t be composted. As far as diseased plants go, think about it. Do you really want to raise plants using compost from a diseased plant? Probably not. And cooking oil? It’s hard to break down cooking oil and will eventually attract pests. Cooking oil actually slows down the decomposition process, so you’re better off disposing of it some other way.

    Meat + Dairy Products
    Technically you can compost meats, but doing so will give your compost pile seriously bad odor. Additionally, don’t be surprised when your pile becomes the most popular eatery for our friend the squirrel, or his friend the raccoon. You should avoid composting dairy products for the same reasons you avoid composting meat. Smelliness + uninvited critters.

      
    Lunch Hour! (left) and Typical Cows (right) both taken from the Library of Congress.

    Glossy Paper
    This includes magazines, business cards with a shiny finish, catalogs, wrapping paper, etc… Usually this type of paper has been chemically treated. Interestingly enough the Alabama Sawyer business card would be fine to compost since it doesn't have that shiny finish. 

    "Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!" 

    Since we're on the topic of compost, feel free to check out our Petite Noaway Counter Top Compost Bin

     

    sources

    https://balconygardenweb.com/things-you-cant-compost-what-not-to-compost/
    https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/10-things-you-should-not-put-in-a-compost-pile

    https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995003748/PP/ (glass bottle image taken from the library of congress)

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    Alabama Sawyer's wooden credenza

    March 04, 2019

    Health Benefits of Wood Furniture

    Did you know that spending time around wooden furniture can benefit your health? Here are some of the ways:

    • It improves your emotional state
    • It increases your cognitive ability
    • It reduces your stress levels
    • It improves air quality through humidity moderation
    • It stores carbon long term - thus fighting climate change

    You might be wondering how wooden furniture can benefit a person’s health. Research does tell us that being around wood furniture produces similar health effects to spending time in nature. Moreover wood tends to elicit feelings of warmth, comfort, and relaxation. Regardless of its effects, wood has a pleasing look that helps you feel more connected to nature, and at the end of the day, who doesn't love that? 

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    How to be Eco Friendly in the Kitchen

    February 26, 2019

    How to be Eco Friendly in the Kitchen

    At Alabama Sawyer, we want you to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Here are some tips on how to be more eco friendly in the kitchen and around the house:

  • Make your own cleaner: This one is particularly rewarding because you get to clean with your own efforts to be more eco conscious. What you’ll need: vinegar, baking soda, lemon, water, dish soap, spray bottle, bowl, sponge, scrub brush, and measuring spoons. For an all purpose cleaner you’ll want to put 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon of dish soap, and 2 tablespoons vinegar into the spray bottle. Shake it up, then fill with warm water and shake again.
  • Select non toxic paints: Thinking about repainting? Be sure to purchase paints low in volatile organic compounds. It’s better for you and the environment.
  • Recycle & Compost: All you need for this step is a recycling bin and a composting bin. For more information on creating your own backyard pallet compost pile, feel free to check out our blog post titled "How to Build a Pallet Compost Pile".
  • Purchase energy efficient appliances: If you’re in the market for any new kitchen appliances, look into energy efficient ones.
  • Eat organic & local: Kind of a no brainer but still worth mentioning.
  • Lighting: Replace incandescent bulbs with the more energy efficient LED’s, and only use those when natural lighting is inadequate. For more info, check out this excellent infographic:
  •   



     

     



    Sources:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/02/AR2010030202932.html

    https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/8-ways-to-go-green-in-your-kitchen

    https://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/design/make-your-kitchen-greener

    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-your-own-kitchen-c-108759

    Featured image of the woman in the green jumpsuit taken from the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/  

    Link to BD Food Safety Infographic: https://www.slideshare.net/bdsafety18/kitchen-cleaning-tips%20  

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    5 Classic Birmingham Businesses

    February 25, 2019

    5 Classic Birmingham Businesses

    Alabama Sawyer is practically a toddler compared to some of the more classic Birmingham businesses. In their honor, here are some of our favorite companies that have been in Birmingham for quite some time.

    1. Trilogy Leather: a leather repair & craft shop established in the 70’s by Sam Sicola and brothers Tony + Salvatore Pardi. They offer a wide variety of products from crocodile + gator hide belts to handbags and briefcases. According to their website, “the name Trilogy was chosen to signify the 3 of them.”

    Sam, Tony, and Salvatore - image taken from the Trilogy Leather website

    1. Buffalo Rock Co.: Founded in 1901 by the Lee family as an independent Pepsi bottler, Buffalo Rock even created its own grape flavored beverage in the early 80’s called Grapico. According to their website, “The mission of the Buffalo Rock Company is to be the premier provider of beverages and food products. We have 10 divisions inclusive of 2,100 employee-partners who are committed to this mission.”

    Image take from Buffalo Rock’s website

    1. Bromberg & Co. Jewelers: This family owned jewelers founded by Frederick Bromberg has been around since 1836, and has been providing its customers with the highest attention to detail in jewelry making ever since.
    1. Davis Architects: Founded in 1912, Davis Architects is the oldest still running architectural firm in Alabama. They even employed the first registered female architect in the state. According to their website, they prefer to take a client centered approach to architecture. Some of their work includes the Birmingham Crossplex, the College of Health Sciences at Samford University, the Center for the Arts at Montevallo University, ect... One of their quotes? “Every problem has a solution. As optimistic as it may sound, it is the driving force behind our work. Great design starts here.”

    Image taken from the Davis Architect website

    1. Golden Rule Barbecue: Opened in 1891, Golden Rule is the oldest continuously running restaurant in the state of Alabama.

    Image taken directly from Golden Rule’s website

    There are a lot that I didn’t mention here, so take a look at this AL.com article that I drew from to learn more about some of the longest running businesses in Alabama.

    Sources

    AL.com article: “These Alabama businesses have operated 100 years or more”

    Buffalo Rock Company Wikipedia article: “Buffalo Rock”

    Trilogy Leather website

    Buffalo Rock “About Us” website

    Bromberg’s Website

    Tommy Daspit photography website

    Golden Rule Barbecue “About” page

    Golden Rule Barbecue website

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