My continuation of Sharon Astyk’s now-completed “Independence Days” project (June-Aug 2022), which offered a framework for recognising how we’re building resiliency, community, and accountability that will make our lives better now and in the future. Many of Sharon’s categories 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

I started Christmas shopping last week and will finish this week. This week I will also be starting (and perhaps finishing) Christmas baking, making spiced nuts, and wrapping and shipping anything not sent directly by businesses to friends and family. I hope to mail those gifts by the 14th.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Nothing here.

  • Preserve something: food or local community resources

Preserved local resources: I bought small Christmas gifts at the local bookstore on Wednesday; I bought several items at a local consignment store on Wednesday and husband bought something there on Friday; we got take-out pizza and salad at a local pizza place on Wednesday evening; we bought some baked goods at a local bakery on Thursday and Sunday; I bought drinks and a snack with a friend at a café as well as a handmade Christmas gift from a community art gallery on Thursday; and I bought food at the local farmstand and at a local co-op on Friday.

Preserved sanity: We walked trails at a local nature park on Monday and on another local trail on Saturday, plus some in-town walks on Wednesday and Friday. Moss and ferns were big themes.

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

Husband bought a fancy Krups coffemaker for $18 at a local consignment store on Friday (his Mr Coffee wasn’t heating the coffee hot enough — but he still has it, boxed up, as a spare). Today he completed a big sewing job on his warmest winter coat (which we bought almost 30 years ago), taking out the hem and sagging lining and rehemming it all much more neatly.

sewn coat hem – 11 Dec

I bought a couple of used tops and a nice pillow at the consignment shop on Monday. Husband spent two of his life-hours on the phone with Verizon on Monday morning trying to learn how we can successfully use one of our “plan perks” (he found out eventually, from another source, that the one we really wanted is not included but we can now access the others). On Wednesday, I immediately sent back something that I’d ordered for myself from Land’s End when it didn’t fit as expected (instead of forgetting to or just accepting it because it only cost $12). On the same day, I filled out an online warranty claim for a broken snap on a pair of pants that I bought probably in 2016 (possibly on eBay, which I mentioned in the claim) but just started wearing in November, and on Friday it was approved and mailed! (KUHL has great customer service.) When it arrives, husband will attempt to make a repair.

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

I reorganised the bathroom medicine closet on Tuesday (took two of my life-hours) so that we can find what we have much faster and not buy redundantly; I learned that we have six rolls of paper and fabric tape, plus more of waterproof tape, and more ACE bandages than we will ever need (I heartily hope).

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

Made veggie nachos for the first time in a year or two. Gearing up for making lots of Christmas cookies this coming week.

dinner – 10 Dec (and 11th)
  • Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate

Husband helped neighbour put up Christmas tree on Wednesday.

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

More webinars! This week I watched Salt Marsh Basics (Wells Reserve) and Giant Clams (New England Aquarium), both on Wednesday. If I go scuba diving off Fiji, I’m all set.

I also read Sharon’s latest 2023 Predictions and am preparing myself for scenarios she lays out. Husband is upgrading programming skills while working on a Christmas gift for me. I refreshed my Covid rapid tests skills on Tuesday (negative) before dinner out with a neighbour. And I am honing my Spelling Bee skills — I was Queen Bee on Monday!

Queen Bee – 5 Dec
  • Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

Husband has my car on the battery charger to prevent it losing charge since I so rarely drive it any distance and it’s 18°F outside.

  • 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 lot of time thinking about and ordering Christmas gifts for friends and family this week. We had dinner out with a neighbour/friend on Tuesday (inside, which for us was the the first time we’ve eaten in a restaurant in about two years – there was high plexiglass between the booths, which is something). Permaculture (seven of us) met online to discuss our book, etc., on Thursday. I spent the rest of Thursday with a friend, visiting the NH Audubon gift shop (masked) and an art gallery (masked) and café (sat outside in 40°F temps) in nearby towns. Salon met in person and on Zoom on Friday (four in person, one on Zoom). Talked with my sister for an hour on the phone on Saturday night. Husband briefly chatted with two of our friends at the transfer station today! We had a little snow today, another reminder of impending winter. I’m enjoying our three outside lighted trees and the inside twinkle lights and Christmas tree – definitely makes the short, cloudy days easier.

The woodstove fire in the evenings helps, too.

Featured image: deer in our yard, 10 Dec.

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