I’m following along with Sharon Astyk’s “Independence Days” project, which started a couple weeks ago. It’s a “10-week exercise [that] builds community, accountability and solidarity as we work to make our lives better now and for the future[,] … a way of keeping track of the work we’re doing to get ourselves through the current hard times, and prepare for hard times to come.” It’s a framework for recognising what we’re already doing and perhaps motivate or inspire us to do more things to build resilience, community, hope, a better world.
Each Friday, Sharon posts what she’s done in each of the categories below (here’s her third post). I’ll try to do the same. Even though today is Sunday. Many of the items are (or could be) related to gardening, so it seems to fit here. (Equally, none of them has to do with gardening. They’re all multifaceted.)
- Plant something: plant, start something
I planted the remaining tree I ordered in January from a local native plant farm, a serviceberry, Amelanchier canadensis.
I started my new Google Photos Nature album for July. (Let me know if you want to get an emailed link each month.)
- Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean
I harvested the last of the garlicscapes and romaine lettuce. Took some garlicscapes to a friend yesterday and gave some romaine to a friend on Friday. I made pesto from the rest of the garlicscapes and used about half of it on dinner on Tuesday (leftovers Wed-Fri). We’re happily eating the romaine.
Still haven’t harvested more than a couple of peas but this will be the week.
- Preserve something: food or local community resources
Bought local, from the farmstand: fresh peas (yay!), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, strawberries (3 quarts this week). Spouse made pie today with some of those strawberries and a bunch of rhubarb a friend gave us from her garden. Not our preservation effort, but another friend gave us frozen yogurt this week that she made with our 2021 peaches!
- Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person
Gave away some of our excess garden produce to others. Didn’t buy a dishtowel or two that I really liked when we were visiting Woodstock, VT, on Wednesday. Continuing to take fewer showers, and even with the hot weather it’s not been a problem so far. A/C installed in the bedroom this week but we haven’t had to use it yet with the whole-house fan keeping us cool enough for sleeping (and a supplementary fan on my face if that’s not enough). I’m hardly driving anywhere at all.
We also discussed permaculture principle #6 – produce no waste in our meeting on Thursday, brainstorming creative ways to do this and also recognising that there is a lot of waste we can’t control and systems in place that make it very difficult to reduce waste except by refusing the product (and its packaging) at all.
- Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less
I ordered and received some giant toilet paper rolls from Staples this week, the same kind we ordered in the chaos of supply chain issues at the start of the pandemic. The rolls are 2-ply, not perforated (you decide sheet size), 1000 FEET per roll, not quite as cushy as our usual TP, and it fits an industrial-sized dispenser, so we just place the rolls on the bathroom counters. I use this TP quite a bit for spot cleaning but it’s perfectly fine for its intended use as well. The first box of 12 has lasted us over 2 yrs — we’re on the last roll now. At $40 a box, it’s a very good value. And Staples wants us to know that it’s “manufactured for WorkLife Brands LLC by a certified WBE (women owned business).”
(I realise that I could use washable rags to clean the bathroom floor, counter, toilet seat, pick up errant cat litter, pick up shower hair, clean bloody wounds, wipe down dirty windows/mirrors, and so on, instead of this toilet paper, but I’m not ready to go there yet. Having cleaning rags around the bathroom is aesthetically unappealing to me, and functionally, what I’m often cleaning up are pieces of cat litter, dead bugs, wet hair, purple shampoo spills, blood, and other fluids and solids that could either damage the washer or the other items in the load. I also find it hard to grab onto small things in nooks and crannies with rags and sponges. Maybe this is just me.)
- Eating The Food: shop the pantry, new recipes, creative use of leftovers, help feed others
I’ve been shopping the pantry a little more, using some canned black beans whose expiration date was last month and some mac&cheese that’s also been around a while. Opened a jar of special olives instead of saving them until they become inedible. I felt pretty satisfied to have made the garlicscape pesto (shopping the garden – also used our chives).
- Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate
Visited a friend yesterday who is recovering from major surgery. Checked in with a friend whose husband had major surgery last week. Checked in with another friend about recent scans.
- Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better
Still trying to learn bird songs and calls, and using Plant Net and knowledgeable friends constantly to learn what’s growing in my yard and along trails. Reading a lot now, but mostly crime fiction so I’m learning how to kill people or find out who killed people.
- Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line
Tending to my need to get outside and explore new places (even with broken toe) — we explored Eshqua Bog in Vermont on Wednesday, just in time to catch the end of the showy lady’s slippers bloom, eating outside at Mon Vert, a new restaurant for us, in Woodstock VT. Yesterday we walked on a trail (new to us) in Grantham, NH. Also watering all the veggies and new plants most days. Spouse got a new battery for one of the cars before it actually died.
- Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years
Took a friend to lunch (outside) for her birthday this week. Ordered birthday flowers for my sister. Hosted salon in person (only three of us, with two more on Zoom) in my ventilated sunroom, and hosted permaculture on Zoom, with nine of us participating in a good conversation on permaculture principles #5 (use/value renewable resources and service) & #6 (produce no waste). My college friends cocktail hour (Zoom) met on Wed. evening for 1.5 hours after a few weeks’ break. We were the recipients of rhubarb and frozen yogurt from friends this week.
Featured image (top): Eshqua Bog, Hartland, VT.