I’ve followed along with Sharon Astyk’s “Independence Days” project, 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 offered a framework for recognising what we’re already doing and to perhaps motivate or inspire us to do more things to build resilience, community, hope, a better world.

Each Friday, Sharon posted what she’d done in each of the categories below (here’s her final post). I’ve done the same, posting mine on Sundays. 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. Perhaps cilantro and greens this coming week.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Harvested 300? or so peaches this week from our two semi-dwarf Red Haven trees, which is about 2/3 fewer than the past two years but not bad after a big pruning in the winter. Also maybe 30 or 40 cherry tomatoes, 4 cucumbers (all of decent size and shape) and one summer squash. Processed the last 25 garlic heads, for a total of about 50 in readiness to get us through the year, or close to it.

peaches in garage – 20 Aug
harvest – 16 Aug
about 50 garlic – 21 Aug
  • Preserve something: food or local community resources

Made 3 loaves of peach cobbler bread, so far, two in the freezer. Will likely make at least another three in a day or two. Husband made a peach pie, which is gone (1/3 given away). Garlic processed and in a dark, dry place. A friend came to get some elderberries today to make jam. Other friends took some of our peaches for jam, freezing, and other uses. Ate outside at local café on Friday morning and lunch/dinner outside at a local restaurant on Saturday. Preserved sanity by doing the lake walk on Monday, town walk four days, and woods trail today.

peach pie – 15 Aug
elderberries – 20 Aug
lake walk – 15 Aug
  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person

We gave away a lot of peaches that we couldn’t use or preserve in a week to friends and neighbours. Friend came to pick elderberries for jam. Managed to eat all the leftovers from last Saturday’s party.

  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

Using oldest Covid antigen tests first (five over the last 10 days, most because of a contact who tested positive on Wed., but all of ours were negative); they claim on the box to be almost a year past expiration but all the pieces inside are marked and none is past its expiration date (and the control line is present on the card, and the liquid in the dropper) … I guess this is “waste not,” because we didn’t just toss them, but we’re also preserving our emergency supply. Another Subscribe and Save with lots of stockpile items arrives tomorrow.

negative Covid rapid test – 19 Aug
  • Eating The Food: shop the pantry, new recipes, creative use of leftovers, help feed others

We ate the leftovers from last Saturday’s party! We are eating peach pie and peach bread, and peaches morning, noon, and night. We’re also eating most of a cucumber and some cherry tomatoes with almost every dinner. We had leftovers from our restaurant lunch meal yesterday, which husband ate for lunch today.

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

Took friend to hospital for her 2-hour PET scan on Tuesday (4.5 hours total with driving), and brought another friend (whose spouse has serious health issue) a couple of co-op goodies she requested on the way home. Husband volunteered two days this week for local car museum, mostly doing carpentry to repair a building. Took friends/neighbours going through difficult time part of a peach pie and a baguette, both of which husband made. Trying to support sister from afar as her family undergoes challenging health issues.

hanging out at DHMC – 16 Aug
  • Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better

I’m getting good at noticing monarch chrysalises — three last night, one today. I know there are more! Husband is honing his peach-picking skills, and his wood sawing and splitting skills as he cuts up the free wood from neighbours for winter firewood. We’re also becoming pretty expert at the Binax Covid tests. I’m getting a better sense of Dartmouth Hospital and how to park there.

3rd chrysalis seen – 20 Aug
  • Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

Husband sealed foundation against mice using special anti-mouse spray foam (it smells bad to them?).

  • Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years.

Not as much socialising as last week but still a fair amount. Lots of communication with friends and neighbours regarding the peaches. Spent almost all day with one friend on Tuesday and caught up with another for 15 minutes after a couple of months not seeing each other in person (partly because her spouse is immunocompromised), saw three friends briefly on Wed., good permaculture discussion on Zoom on Thursday morning with four others, Salon in person on Friday for two hours with five others. Arranged lunch with a college friend for this coming week (haven’t seen her in over two years). Husband is making good headway on the firewood project.

we were on the front porch for Salon – 19 Aug

As fall and winter approach, I’m appreciating the butterflies, moths, bees, other insects, and birds who live here. Appreciating the blooms of summer. Appreciating the hot weather, the sunroom as an extra space in the house, not having to put on boots and a coat to go outside, being able to dress in one layer, eating outside at restaurants and cafés. Appreciating the fecundity and ease of summer so much as it begins to wane.

cat snoozing on sunroom sofa – 17 Aug
hummingbird on cardinal flower – 16 Aug

Featured image: magical summer trail, 21 Aug.

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