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.

Most of this week’s energy has been spent on Christmas-related tasks.

  • Plant something: plant, start something

I started Christmas shopping and am about 3/4 through. Bought a wreath for the door and got a Christmas tree. I also started my Jacquie Lawson Advent calendar on Thursday, yay!

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Nothing harvested, foraged, or gleaned. Well, we harvested (found and cut) a Christmas tree from a local family grower for $40 on Sunday.

cutting the tree, which was living with blueberry bushes and a pine tree – 4 Dec.
  • Preserve something: food or local community resources

Preserved local resources: bought food at local bakery on Thursday, a few food items at local farmstand on Monday and Saturday, and food at local co-op on Monday and Thursday; bought a few clothes and a pillow at local consignment store on Saturday; bought a Christmas tree from a local Christmas tree farm on Sunday.

Preserved sanity: walked to and within the town cemetery on Monday, walked in town on Thursday and Friday, and walked around for a half-hour picking out our Christmas tree on Sunday. (Rained a few days this week, not conducive to much walking.)

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

Gave away a bunch of magazines to a few friends on Thursday, as well as those recently bought dressings and the tahini I mentioned previously in one of these postings. That was at a permaculture group swap event at which I also gained (for free) a cookie sheet, a car flashlight/flare, a taper candlestick holder, and some electrical tape. Husband mended a frayed bath sheet hem and a T-shirt on Wednesday. He also fixed some outdoor twinkle lights (wires broke off control box) and replaced 6 or 7 bulbs on our Christmas tree light strands.

at a friends to swap things – 1 Dec
  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

On Monday morning, I chatted online with Anthem and spent time on to find and enroll in the best healthcare plan for me for 2023 (blech.) I have imminent plans to reorganise the bathroom supplies closet.

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

I made a new recipe by combining two recipes using pasta, many cloves of garlic, copious artichoke hearts, lots of black pepper, and fresh spinach. Husband made 2 loaves pumpernickel bread on Thursday.

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

Chatted (with a few others) for about 20 minutes with a friend’s daughter about her mother’s health and what she needs from us in Dec. and Jan. Chatted with three neighbours while on a 45-min walk on Friday.

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

I watched a couple of webinars this week: Maine Wonders (via Laudholm Farm) on Wednesday, mostly about the sex & reproduction and metamorphosis & transformation of animals (terrestrial, airborne, and aquatic) as well as info on some iconic Maine animals; and Birding in Costa Rica (via Maine Audubon) on Thursday. I had no idea there were so many species of hummingbirds globally.

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

Husband put snow tires on one of the vehicles on Tuesday, and he replaced one vehicle’s engine and cabin air filters on Wednesday. He cleaned the air cleaner filter and behind the bathroom heater on Saturday. And he took the cat to the vet on Friday for a skin growth (that I’d noticed 2.5 weeks ago) which turned out to be a TICK! What?! I backed up my computer for the first time since late July on Wednesday, and I participated in (2-hour) online Dharma Sunday this week. I also worked on my library booklists website for 3 hours on Tuesday. Worked out for 3 hours this week.

cat (and tick) on my desk – 1 Dec
  • Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years

Zoomed with Salon group on Friday (instead of meeting in person, due to some of us flying and visiting family over the Thanksgiving holiday) and college friends on Wednesday evening. Participated in an in-person (masked except when eating) swap event (with scones, spanakopita, and tea and cider) with permaculture friends on Thursday morning. Chatted with sister on Saturday re Christmas. Have filled the family room with twinkle lights and the lighted & decorated Christmas tree to try to brighten the short days and long evenings. Ordered more lights for the outside shrubbery.

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