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

Sorta? We undecorated and took down the Christmas tree on 25 and 26 January, earlier than usual this year as the needles suddenly began to drop.

tree before undecorating – 25 Jan (photo by T)

For me, this ritual always marks an end and a beginning, and this year it almost coincides with Imbolc, or Saint Brigid’s Day, a Gaelic festival celebrated from 1 Feb to sundown on 2 Feb, signifying the beginning of Spring. In the UK, maybe, but here in northern New England I’m betting on a couple more months of winter (we got about 15 inches of snow this week). Still, the end is in sight, so this heralds the beginning of Spring preparations.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean


  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: Bought pastries from local bakery on Friday for a friend’s birthday. Got takeout Chinese food from local restaurant on Saturday.

local pastries – 27 Jan

Preserved sanity: Snowshoed local trail on Monday. Took a long walk in town on Tuesday and shorter walks on Thursday and Saturday. Walked around the lake on Sunday.

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

Keeping thermostats reduced (constant 58F in living/dining rooms, 59F at night in our bathroom). My spouse repaired the over-30-years-old Kenmore vacuum cleaner again.

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

Nothing significant.

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

Made smoky chickpea, red lentil, and vegetable soup for a friend in hospice on Friday and took it to her with another friend on Saturday for a visit.

Added canned tuna to a pasta, artichoke, and spinach recipe for more protein. Eating Chinese leftovers and will be for two more dinners.

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

Took a few Covid rapid tests to a neighbour who needed them. My spouse did some snow removal for a neighbour in a medical boot. Checked with another neighbour to make sure his snow removal was taken care of.

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

Learning more about birds and birding with an Attracting and Finding Birds webinar on Tuesday through Maine Audubon. Also attended another webinar that evening on Edible Landscaping through Iowa Master Gardeners), though it was mostly stuff I already knew/do, and a really good Pollinators in the Forest: The Place of Wild Bees in a Changing Forested Landscape webinar on Thursday through the Xerces Society — I learned a lot about birds’ use of and need for the forests and about recommended forest management for birds.

Also attended a meeting led by a lawyer for trustees of a living trust (I’m the alternate, along with three actual trustees) on Wed. and learned some new things there about trusts, financial incompetency affadavits, pecuniary vs. percentage distributions, information to have readily available in the event of one’s sudden demise, etc.

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

My spouse had his annual physical plus two vaccines on Wednesday. Also on Wed., I remembered to water the houseplants! I’ve been using the treadmill again for aerobic exercise when I can’t get outside to walk (due to terrain/ice). On Sunday spouse knocked snow off dwarf spruce to help it straighten up again (to hopefully prevent it breaking) and he also added a power strip by my side of the bed to facilitate easier recharging of various devices. I cleaned the inside of some windows in the family room (to better photograph birds). Getting the Christmas tree out when we did probably helped prevent an even bigger clean-up later.

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

Ordered Girl Scout cookies — our second round — from a neighbour’s granddaughter on Sunday. Texted and talked in person several times with a couple of neighbours this week. Texted a friend whose husband died a year ago Tuesday just to let her know I was thinking of her. Permaculture met by Zoom on Thursday (7 of us) and Salon met in person and on Zoom at my house on Friday (4 in person, 2 on Zoom) and we celebrated a friend’s 84th birthday then. Visited friend in hospice at her house, with another friend, and caught up with another friend there as well as some relatives of the friend in hospice. So it felt like a good smattering of social interactions this week with twenty or more people in all.

my friend’s cat Chelsea again – 28 Jan

I also read a really good novel involving large scale human disruption caused by climate change, and i saw a bunch of birds.

Some birds (and one red squirrel) seen in the yard through the now-cleaner windows this week:

One comment

  1. I’ve started keeping a journal of sorts, trying to take fifteen minutes a day to write in it, but haven’t managed to make it a solid habit yet. This kind of blog post is an impressively organized way of keeping track of your days, and will serve as a journal for you in the future!
    I liked The Gifted School so I’ll add The Displacements to my TBR list.

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