I’m following along with Sharon Astyk’s “Independence Days” project, which started a few 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 fourth post). I’ll try to do the same. Even though today is MONDAY! (where does the time go) 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
Planted a few more cucumbers (where romaine had been), two borage, and some coleus on Wednesday. Still thinking about getting bean seeds in but maybe it’s too late?
- Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean
Harvested 52 peas on Thursday (but some of those weren’t really quite ready yet); gave half to neighbours. Arugula is ready but I’m not quite ready for it. Harvested about 200 raspberries today. On walks, ate blueberries from plants along the trails. A friend came over last Monday to harvest some of the elderflowers while they were at the height of bloom, to make infused honey and elderflower tea. Keep re-covering the blueberries with row cover hoping the birds don’t swoop in when they’re ripe. I harvested kale today for a friend, and also the first honeydrop cherry tomato.
- Preserve something: food or local community resources
Nope, nothing preserved, although today I defrosted half a peach cobbler bread made last August from our peaches to give to a friend tomorrow. Continuing to buy from local farmstand, including green beans, cucumbers, and gobs of strawberries and fresh peas. Preserved my sanity by getting to the ocean on Friday and doing trail waking nearby yesterday.
- Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person
T retrofitted a drawer into the nightstand (that he made years ago), something I have long wished for. He’s working on another one now, plus making an additional cat window screen (to fortify against cat damage/escape). He also fixed the cat’s plastic egg — a device meant to slow down Bumblecat’s eating of kibble; it survived 4.5 years of abuse (mostly us accidentally kicking it) before it finally broke this week, and now it’s better than new. And he repaired (or is in the process of repairing) a spare router. He also patched some of his work jeans, an ongoing project. As I type, he’s cleaning rust from the washing machine lid.
Meanwhile, I remembered to stand the leftover basil in water and not store it in the refrigerator and so far it’s lasted over a week (cilantro, on the other hand, wilts dramatically in a few days if you try this). Happy to have friend take the elderflowers that I wasn’t going to use, and another take the kale I’m not using. Didn’t have to drive 54 miles RT to co-op this week because, yay!, a friend offered to pick things up for me there yesterday. Harvesting the raspberries today was also “waste not,” as I wasn’t at all in the mood, had a lot of other things to do, but did it anyway because they would have gone to waste otherwise.
- Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less
Cleaned and cleared out some door shelves in the fridge to better see what we have there. Took brief inventory of the freezer.
- Eating The Food: shop the pantry, new recipes, creative use of leftovers, help feed others
Used some pesto I made last summer for dinner this week. Tried a new quesadilla recipe, with tweaks (great, but takes a lot of time to make them in one stovetop pan).
- Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate
Continual checking in with friends going through difficulties.
- Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better
Watched T take lid off washer so hopefully I can do that next time. Learned not to leave cilantro that’s standing in water out of fridge. More Merlin, more PlantNet, and lots of bug ID help on FB is hopefully helping me learn how to better identify more things in the world.
- Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line
Did the Big Clean of the cat’s litterbox this week (done every 4-6 weeks). T checked battery life (at auto parts store) of one of the cars’ batteries and will make plans to replace it before too long. More bittersweet has been ID’d and will be pulled down and pulled out soon. So much watering of veggies and new plants (our area is in a moderate drought now, as of last Thursday). Spent 1.5 hours pulling mostly Virginia creeper out of the raspberry patch today. Worked out (weights) three days, and walked at least 45 minutes most days.
- Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years
Talked with my sister on the phone for half-hour on Wednesday. Sharing harvest with friends and neighbours. Attended Dharma Sunday via Zoom on Sunday. Had friends over for drinks/snacks on Monday night. Attended permaculture meeting on Thursday via Zoom. Emails with friends.
Featured image (top): blueberries along local trail, 10 July 2022