I followed along with Sharon Astyk’s now-completed “Independence Days” project, which ran for 10 weeks, from 17 June to 26 August 2022 as an “exercise [to build] community, accountability and solidarity” with a focus on making “our lives better now and for the future.” It offered a framework for recognising what we’re already doing and to inspire us to do more to build resilience, community, hope, a better world.

Each week, Sharon posted what she’d accomplished in each of the categories below, and so did others of us. Although Sharon’s finished with this project, I’m continuing the practice for now.

Today’s post, since last week’s was late, covers just six days, from Tuesday (11 Oct) to today (16 Oct).

Many of the items on Sharon’s list are (or could be) related to gardening, so it seems to fit here on this blog. (Equally, none of them has to do with gardening. They’re all multifaceted.)

  • Plant something: plant, start something

Planted about half the garlic on Tuesday and the three imperial fritillaria bulbs yesterday. Also on Tuesday I planted the variegated Solomon’s seal, a couple Japanese anemone, and some perennial arugula that a friend gave me. The rest of the garlic will be planted later this coming week.

garlic and perennial arugula planted here – 11 Oct.
  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Parsley and chives harvested on several occasions this week, and thyme today. I accidentally harvested a million beggar’s ticks (sticky plant seeds) on my fleece top when I was weeding out the Bidens frondosa (I think that’s the species) on Tuesday.

carrying plants past weed piles after de-ticking myself – 11 Oct.
  • Preserve something: food or local community resources.

Nothing preserved from the garden and nothing will be for many months to come now. Eventually, parsley will be (frozen). Helped preserve local resources by shopping a few times at the farmstand and buying from the local bakery and local hardware store. Preserved sanity with walks on local trails on Wednesday and Saturday.

  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person

Husband checked and replaced batteries and moved motion cameras to better positions (we hope). He found a battery charger for tools at the transfer station swap shop on Thursday for a friend.

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

Reorganised a little more of the pantry by expiration dates (rices, packaged Indian food, teas, cans).

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

I made a new pasta dish with artichokes and spinach on Friday. Husband made four baguettes on Saturday.

(one already given to friends) – 15 Oct.

Took peach bread (made this summer with our peaches) and a baguette to friends undergoing a difficult time. Today I will be making a new chocolate cake recipe, and using up some gorgonzola to make a cheese-onion tart.

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

Husband volunteered twice with car museum, on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. We visited friends undergoing a difficult time on both Friday and Saturday briefly. I texted with daughter of another friend undergoing health issues in hospital.

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

My Write 31 Days challenge for October, whose theme is “Today I Learned,” is focusing me on learning new things, and learning how to see old things in a new way.

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

Husband took down the fence around the vegetable garden on Tuesday and did (perhaps) a final lawn mowing and weed-whacking. I spent 5.5 hours in the garden on Tuesday weeding, pruning, planting, mulching, and another 2 hours on Wednesday doing the same, plus watering.

vegetable fence down – 12 Oct.
  • Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years.

Spent a fair amount of time focused on friends in the midst of end-of-life circumstances. Met with college friends on Zoom for almost 2 hours on Wednesday. Called a good friend on Thursday morning to catch up. Attended in-person salon (3 of us) on Friday. Texted and emailed with a number of people all week.

friend’s granddogs on deck while she’s on phone with me – 13 Oct.

All in all, it was a bit of a subdued week, with a friend dying (she died today) and a family keeping vigil and grieving, and another friend relapsing and being hospitalised on Friday. I spent a lot of time in the garden planting and doing necessary tasks and then yesterday cleaning the house for a small dinner party tomorrow night. Today is cooking and prepping day for that dinner. It also rained all day Thursday and most of the day Friday. But temperatures have been mild, with some days in the high 60s, and no hard frost yet.

Featured image: winter is coming but we’re sure enjoying the autumn colour and mild temps so far


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