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 sixth post). I’ll try to do the same. Even though today is MONDAY. 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

Nothing planted (way too hot and dry) or otherwise started. I did however plan a short (still upcoming) trip to Maine, which is “starting something” in my book.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Pulled up a couple garlic but don’t think they are quite ready yet; probably this coming week. Harvested 100 peas last Sunday (shared half with neighbours) and another 20 or so on Friday, then pulled up and composted the plants. Harvested a few cherry tomatoes and one small summer squash, plus a few blueberries and two cups of raspberries. Also foraged quite a few blueberries on a shrub along the road (pretty sure it’s not sprayed). Friend invited us over to harvest some of her lettuce on Friday. I want to plant the pea and garlic areas with a short-season annual/veg but not sure what. And it’s been too hot and dry anyway.

blueberries along road
  • Preserve something: food or local community resources

Another raspberry-rhubarb pie made with harvested raspberries and friend’s rhubarb. More food bought at local food stand (green beans, peas, cucumbers, and dry goods). Had dinner outside at one local restaurant and breakfast/lunch outside at a local café twice this week.

dinner out – 19 July
  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person

Now adding hair and dryer lint to compost. Using the raspberries better than in past years. Very glad for rain barrel during these hot dry days. Grabbed a small utility table on wheels from the side of the road on Saturday, which will be repaired for use in garage or other space as needed. Going to grocery store less than before because we’re using fresh local or homegrown produce and using up some things in pantry/freezer.

We didn’t let the hot days of summer that we look forward to all winter go to waste: we walked around town four days, walked around Kezar lake on Friday, went the The Fells to walk and look at plants yesterday, husband fished one morning and one evening, and we ate outside three times.

Kezar Lake – 22 July
alpine garden at The Fells – 24 July
  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

More tick spray purchased. Again reorganised Amazon Subscribe & Save items to better reflect what we need when we need it. Stocked up on bandaids. Found stash of 8 large bottles of Fevertree grapefruit tonic!

Subscribe & Save
  • Eating The Food: shop the pantry, new recipes, creative use of leftovers, help feed others

Eating produce that’s available now locally and in the garden. Shopping the pantry more. Creating new ad hoc recipes to give us more protein, fiber, and to use what we have fresh and in pantry and fridge/freezer.

  • Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate

Checked in with friend whose husband had major surgery on Monday and will continue to do so, hoping to be able to run errands for them. Wrote chatty email to another friend recovering from major surgery in June.

  • Skill up:  particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better

We both took the SAGE test and completed the other (physical) exercises in the WSJ’s Five Do-It-Yourself Tests To Monitor Your Health As you Get Older, which is more checking our skills than learning new ones but I’m counting it. I meditated a couple of times. Continuing to learn through PlantNet and Merlin, and also learning more about how to make better collages online.

birds Merlin heard – morning, 21 July
  • Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

Husband replaced 20-yr-old battery in his antique car. Cat’s nails were trimmed at vet on Tuesday. Husband had follow-up medical appointment on Monday. Pruned out dead limbs from a couple of shrubs/trees. Watering, watering, watering veggies and new plants almost daily. I checked in via the portal with my PCP. I got my hair cut on Monday (stylist and I both masked and only people in the salon). Husband ordered and received second boat roof rack so two boats can now be transported at once (in anticipation of a friend’s visit in a couple weeks).

new battery in car
cat stretching on hot day, showing off newly cut nails (which still look long)
  • Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years

Caught up with college friends via Zoom “cocktail hour” Thursday and follow-up emails. Sisters and I shared some texts re one sister’s husband’s upcoming medical procedure. Poetry group met on a screen porch by the lake on Tuesday for a couple hours of catching up, poetry, and appreciation that we can do this together in such a lovely place. Spent a little time with a friend while harvesting lettuce at her house on Friday. Permaculture group (five of us, anyway) met on Thursday on Zoom to discuss Permaculture Principle #9 (Use Small & Slow Solutions) and chat about our gardens and lives. Shared half the big pea harvest with neighbours. Traded several memes with nephew.

lake view from poetry group meeting – 19 July

featured image: relaxing, reading, eating fresh peas and drinking a faux rosé from Töst.

One comment

  1. Molly, I admire your perseverance on this project. I signed up, think about it every Friday after reading Sharon’s blog, but never commit the time to write anything down. Thanks for intro to Amazon Subscribe and Save!

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