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’m continuing the practice for now.

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 or started. I lightly thinned the arugula seeds that I planted 24 Aug.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Harvested cukes, cherry tomatoes, the last summer squash, and all the basil when temps were forecast for mid 40s overnight. Foraged concord grapes, growing high up in wild vines in back yard. We were given a couple tomatoes and peppers from a friend’s garden, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes from someone else’s garden.

  • Preserve something: food or local community resources

Made and froze two containers of pesto from our basil and garlic. Preserving local businesses: Ate lunch outside at local restaurant on Wed., bought baked goods at local bakery for friend’s birthday celebration on Friday, and on Saturday bought pizza from local pizza place for lunch and went to ad hoc beer garden at a local brewery. Ordered flowers this week for my sisters from local florists in their cities. Preserving sanity: A long walk at The Fells, in gardens and on trails, on Monday. Also a bunch of walks around town. Watched the first monarch butterfly eclose from its chrysalis and take its first flight on Wednesday!

pesto made – 1 Sept
pizza and beer at beer garden – 3 Sept
art in Fells meadow – 29 Aug
monarch pumping fluid into wings after eclosing – 31 Aug
  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person

Used water from rain barrel, buckets that caught rain, dehumidifier, and corn-cooking pot quite a bit this week. Stopped watering cucumber and squash that are getting dry and crispy in late summer aridity and heat. Actually picked the basil before it would have developed black spots from the chilly night air.

collecting more water from rain via gutter – 5 Sept
  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

We definitely don’t want for pesto; besides this year’s batches, I have a few left from 2021 in the freezer as well.

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

Nothing here this week other than using fresh produce more than usual (in salads and crudités) because it’s what we and the local farms are harvesting now.

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

It’s been quite a week for this here. Long phone conversations with my sisters concerning one sister’s husband’s very recently diagnosed cancer. I sent flower bouquets to both sisters. A local friend tested positive for Covid last Wed., so I’ve been checking in with her, and one of my sisters’ very close friends also tested positive then, so I’ve been texting and calling back and forth about her as well, trying to support my sister as she provides hands-on help. Then on Friday a good friend ended up in the hospital after worrisome symptoms (she went to the ER after some advocating by our Salon group, which includes several medical professionals) and she is still there; I’ve been visiting and calling each day, including a three-hour visit on Saturday morning and much shorter calls and visits since.

bouquet sent to one sister – 1 Sept
  • Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better

I struggle with this one. Nothing comes to mind. Husband installed and worked with a voice-recognition software on his Linux system, trying to help someone else transcribe tapes.

  • Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

As I type, husband is removing a rusted resonator pipe on my 1998 Civic and replacing it with a new one. Yay!

the damaged pipe – 5 Sept

He also “chased threads on exhaust bolts for reuse later” (whatever that means).

Husband connected a plastic plumbing-type tube this week from just outside a window to the heated birdbath to make it easier to keep water in that birdbath now and through the winter (we open the window and pour water from inside the house through the tube to the bath; otherwise, we’re having to wade through vegetation — where there might be monarch chrysalises and other vulnerable creatures — or through snow).

I had a medical appt on Tuesday. And I watered the gardens most days, due to lack of rain. (We’re finally getting some now, about 3/4 inches so far.)

We both spent a couple hours on Tuesday pulling invasive bittersweet and some Virginia creeper from part of the garden — both were choking out trees and other shrubs — and cutting down six or seven glossy buckthorn trees (also actively invasive in our yard).

small bit of what we removed – 31 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.

The usual weekly meetings: Salon in-person with three friends (and an 86th birthday celebration) on Friday, and permaculture (via Zoom) with six friends on Thursday. Lots of texts and phone calls with my sisters this week. I attended 2-hour Buddhist Dharma Sunday (via Zoom) yesterday (Sunday), with guided meditation, teaching, and Q&A; the topic was Gaia as Buddha. Husband chatted with other antique car owners at a local event on Saturday morning from 9-11.

featured image: black swallowtail caterpillar on fennel this week

One comment

  1. Yes, covid. We were at a wedding last weekend where all were careful but two people came down with the virus anyway, perhaps caught in transit. Things are definitely not back to usual….. We are in total water restriction so no watering the garden. So glad for this rain!

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