When people ask the question, “how can I make money without any?,” there is not one answer that suits everybody. You have to figure that one out on your own, and the answer will be based on the opportunities that come your way.
Over the course of the last year, I’ve figured out several ways that I can make money with any, simply by selling some of nature’s treasures. This is probably something you can do, too. In my area, our treasures consist mostly of herbs, geodes, fossils, trees, feathers, bones and roadkill. What natural treasures can YOU find? Open your eyes to the world around you, and there is probably something sitting around or growing somewhere that you can make money on.
To give you some ideas, here is a list of some things that you can be on the lookout for. As an aside, I can tell you from experience that I find it easier and faster to sell my treasures as supplies rather than as a finished product, but you will figure out through experience what works best for you. I’ve included ideas for both supplies and finished products.
Ginseng – $500 a pound and up
Goldenseal – $15 to $40 a pound
Bloodroot – $8 to $16 a pound
Mayapple – >$1 to $2 a pound
Black Cohosh – $2 to $4 a pound
Blue Cohosh – $2 to $3 a pound
There are other valuable roots, and the best way to find out which ones are in your area is to ask a local dealer for a price list. Wild roots, especially ginseng, are probably the most lucrative treasure that most of us can find, but . . . to make any money from ginseng, you have to know how to find it, wash it, dry it, where to sell it, what the laws are, et cetera, et cetera. Get it wrong and either make no money at all for your efforts or – gasp – end up paying a huge fine and/or going to jail. No worries, though, I’ll walk you through it in my e-book coming out in the fall of 2014. Learn more in my article How to Find and Dig Ginseng.
Lots of people sell these as lapidary rough, jewelry making supplies, or geology specimens. Do some searches on ebay and etsy and you will find some ideas on how to market these.
downed limbs - make into walking sticks
willow shoots - make into primitive arrows or stick furniture
tree trunks - plane into slabs for table tops or serving trays, made into self bows
hedge apples - for warding off spiders
acorn caps - for crafting
cherry pits - for heat pads
Fur bearers – skin them, stretch them and sell the fur
Animal Bones – make into buttons for historic reenactors, sell antlers in their natural state, make primitive arrows
Birds – use the feathers to make hat bands
Deer – tan the hide, sell the sinew
When dealing with roadkill, be aware that there are laws regarding picking up some animals, specifically deer and certain types of birds, though there are probably other animals with restrictions as well. For instance, taking home a dead bald eagle or even taking one of its feathers – no, no, no. In Kentucky, you cannot take dead deer unless you have a special permit for picking them up as roadkill. Check with your state fish and wildlife department and make sure you know the laws before taking or selling any animals or animal products.
Please remember to be responsible in harvesting anything from nature so as not to do any damage or wipe out anything non-renewable.