I followed along with Sharon Astyk’s now-completed “Independence Days” project, which ran for 10 weeks, from 17 June to 26 August, and was an “exercise [to build] community, accountability and solidarity” as we worked “to make our lives better now and for the future.” 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 did the same, but posted mine on Sunday or Monday. Although Sharon’s finished with this project (publickly, at least), I’ve decided to continue doing this for as long as I feel like it.

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 fall batch of arugula seeds on Tuesday and they’ve already emerged and been thinned.

Panicked last night thinking I hadn’t ordered special garlic bulbs for planting but then looked back through my email and realised I had, in June, from Fedco, and that they should be here in September or October along with a few giant fritillaria bulbs. (I will probably also plant some cloves from this year’s largest bulbs, which I harvested a couple of weeks ago, and maybe a bulb or two from the local farmstand. I prefer Georgian Crystal and Music varieties for their size and keeping longevity.)

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Harvested several good-sized and good-shaped cucumbers and about 30 cherry tomatoes over the course of the week, and the last of the peaches. Was given some tomatoes from a friend. Lemon verbena, parsley, and basil are ready to be harvested (and mint and lemon balm, too, if I wanted them), as well as a decent-sized summer squash.

part of this week’s harvest – 28 Aug
  • Preserve something: food or local community resources

Made six more loaves of peach cobbler bread with our peaches, which are now in the freezer. To help preserve local businesses, we got take-out dinner from local Chinese restaurant on Wednesday, I ate outside at a local restaurant with a friend on Wednesday for lunch, and we ate breakfast outside at another local restaurant on Friday. Shopped at local farmstand on Tuesday. Husband preserved sanity with a fishing trip in Vermont on Wednesday.

peach cobbler bread – 26 Aug
husband’s breakfast out — corned beef, poached eggs with hollandaise, potatoes
  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person

Husband sewed my PJ top (again) and sewed his socks to last another month or so. I dumped the dehumidifier water (and some corn cooking water) onto new garden plants. I was able to to get by with only three showers this week because of a hair appointment sandwiched in there.

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

Restocked cat treats, cough drops, some vitamins, shower gel, and tea on Monday. Ordered gemelli pasta in bulk online when I couldn’t find it in the grocery here. We opened a new bank account on Monday that’s only for eBay selling.

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

Had leftovers for three additional evenings from Chinese take-out. I cooked up the two small summer squash from the garden (that had been in the crisper for over a week) with an onion and had that for lunch today — still alive! Gave the last of our crop of peaches away to neighbours and friends. Husband made peach scones (combination of two new recipes). He also added peaches to homemade pancakes.

peach scone (photo 24 Aug)
  • Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate

Husband volunteered with car museum two days. He also finished sawing, chopping, and stacking (to dry) all the tree wood we got from neighbours recently. He helped another neighbour with a stuck pick-up lift. I took some baked goods to friends undergoing health challenges.

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

Nothing comes to mind other than my usual Merlin and PlantNet slow learning curve. I did find two more monarch chrysalises in the yard, making the total six (but there are certainly dozens out there I haven’t noticed). In general, I have been creeping around my yard looking closely and slowly at its spaces, plants, movements — honing my sense of wonder and my observation skills.

I watched this transformation on 25 Aug
detecting hiding hummingbird – 28 Aug
  • Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

Husband ordered motor oil for one vehicle’s oil change and arranged with a friend to use his car lift this week or next to do work on his vintage sports car (replacing differential gears). He replaced the batteries in the bathroom scale. I watered the gardens on four or five days and had a medical appointment on Thursday. I worked out four times this week and took several walks, on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

medical waiting room – almost no one else there! – 25 Aug
  • Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years.

Sent out birthday and sympathy cards to family members this week. Had tea at a friend’s (outside) on Monday morning, a Zoom call with a good friend on Tuesday morning, and lunch outside at a restaurant with a college friend who lives about an hour away on Wednesday afternoon. Chatted with a neighbour for about 20 minutes in our driveway on Tuesday and with another neighbour in his driveway for another 20 minutes on Thursday. Also had good conversations with my hair stylist on Friday and with friends/neighbours on Wednesday. No Salon or permaculture meeting this week but was in touch with many of the members of both via text and email.

We now have another cord of firewood for winter, thanks to our neighbours and to husband’s hard work. We had thought it was about 1/3 cord but now that it’s stacked it’s estimated to be closer to 1.4 cords.

auxiliary firewood stack – 27 Aug

featured image: one of many monarchs in the yard

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