I followed along with Sharon Astyk’s now-completed “Independence Days” project, which ran for 10 weeks from June through 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.

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

Nothing planted or started. Well, I bought my second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth Christmas gifts and came up with a small list of things I want for my husband and another for my sisters, nephews, close friends. But I don’t feel I’ve really started with Christmas gifts. I got a wreath for the door and we put lights on three small evergreens in the yard. Still, doesn’t feel like the Christmas season has started yet.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean


  • Preserve something: food or local community resources

Preserved local resources: several trips to the local farm stand, a couple to the local co-op, and two to a local bakery this week.

local farm stand – 21 Nov

Preserved sanity: walked at the bog on Wednesday and around Kezar Lake on Saturday, plus in town on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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

Husband repaired the snowblower, which mice had chewed and left seeds in. Took some things (calculators, sink strainers, etc.) to the swap table at the dump today. Threw the last of the cedar cat litter that the cat shunned into the compost.

seeds in snowblower workings – cleaned/repaired 21 Nov
  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

My Subscribe & Saves (Chewy, Amazon) came this week, which replenishes some of our supplies (cough syrup, tuna, vitamins, tea, nuts, toothpaste, other health & beauty, cat treats and litter). Replenished elderberry syrup supply (Maine Medicinals).

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

Made new recipes for Thanksgiving: crab bisque, with a 2012 recipe from Elizabeth’s on 37th restaurant in Savannah (which was great, and quick; I made a few changes), and roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic and balsamic. Husband made 4 baguettes. I also made a tried-and-true recipe, a mocha pecan pie, and hand-whipped cream with bourbon as a topping. We had all that for three days. Gave away two of the baguettes.

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

Visited briefly with recently widowed friend and dropped off a baguette. Texted daily with friend on a difficult family mission in S.C. this week. Renewed memberships in several local organisations (museum, farm, land preservation trusts).

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

Watched Longwood Garden’s “The Making of a Longwood Christmas,” online on Tuesday afternoon, which really didn’t give me any new skills but sure was fun and relaxing to watch. Maybe some new ideas slipped in? Made me homesick for Longwood (and Mt Cuba).

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

Husband replaced the coolant expansion tank in the Honda Civic (1998) on advice given during recent inspection. He also cleaned up the garage so all three cars fit and there’s room for the shop, access to the firewood and stairs, etc.

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

I sent flowers to my sister and a friend for Thanksgiving and digital cards to other friends and family. My sister sent me flowers for Thanksgiving, and a cousin and friend sent cards. We had pies and drinks with friends on Thanksgiving night. I mailed another sister birthday gifts and a card on Wednesday. Exchanged several emails with a friend in Georgia. Finally sent a newsy reply to an early Nov. email from a friend in VT. I hosted a Thanksgiving morning check-in of our permaculture group (8 of us attended). Salon didn’t meet on Friday because many were away but we kept in touch by email. I participated in a Sangha Live Dharma Sunday event online (with Lama Willa Baker) today for 1.5 hours – meditation and teaching with Q&A.

flowers sister sent me and I sent sister – 22 & 23 Nov
pumpkin, apple, and mocha pecan pies with friends – 24 Nov

featured image: Thanksgiving cacti are in full bloom

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