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

Yes! On 1 Feb, I started both a month-long Real Happiness Meditation Challenge with Sharon Salzberg (third or fourth year of participating) and a Write 28 Days project based on my responses to the meditation challenge. Together these take anywhere from two to eight hours of each day.

I also started my February Nature Photos album in Google photo, whose link I mail to friends who’ve asked for it.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Yes! On Saturday, I used a Florida friend’s giant lemon (juiced) in a pomegranate champagne cocktail for my husband’s birthday. (She sent them around Christmas time and two remain, still in good shape.)

cocktails with friend’s Florida lemons – 4 Feb
  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: On Monday I shopped at the local (in-town) co-op and on Thursday bought fresh spinach at the farm stand. Bought sugary goodies at the local bakery on Saturday. On Thursday we ate a late lunch at a restaurant (Warren’s, which we’ve been going to for about 30 years) that’s local to Kittery, Maine; nice bonus in winter is seeing loons in the river. Another nice bonus for us (Covid-cautious) was that the restaurant was perhaps 1/5 full and we sat in the most remote booth.

Preserved sanity: Mainly, on Thursday we went to the NH seashore for the day, which was bliss. Lots of birds, weather not arctic (yet) but cold enough — felt like 19F — that we saw almost no people at all (and no loose dogs) over three hours.

Also took in-town walks on Wednesday (windchill temp of 12F) and Saturday (windchill temp of -38F) and a short walk in town on Tuesday.

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

My husband repaired (sewed) a napkin that had a big hole in the center of it. We tried to reduce electricity use during the arctic freeze on Friday and Saturday, when lows reached about -20F and windchills -46F; we had a woodstove fire going most of that time (still using wood from neighbour’s downed trees).

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

Not really. A neighbour repaid our loan of a couple of Covid rapid tests, which was nice. (I did another rapid test, negative, on Friday before visiting a friend in hospice and meeting with Salon in person.)

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

Stretched a seafood casserole made on Wed. and leftovers from a restuarant meal on Thursday for six or seven meals (including breakfast). A neighbour brought us yummy cranberry muffins.

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

Went to visit a friend in hospice on Friday but she was having a hard day so it was a short visit. A friend was willing to be our back-up cat carer this week when we were away for the day (and came over on Tuesday to see what it entailed). Friends shopped for a couple of things for us at the co-op that’s 40 minutes away on Wednesday and another friend offered to do so on Sunday.

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

Webinars! “Birding Basics – Behavior” on Tuesday night and “Improve Your Gull-ability” on Wednesday night, both through Maine Audubon, both chock full of new info.

I also attended Dharma Sunday this week via Zoom, with Lopön Charlotte Rotterdam speaking (from Colorado) on “Rest in Your Nature: Dharmic Balm for Everyday Life.” Meditation and dharma are always helpful and make my reality better.

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

Husband cleaned the HEPA air purifier (the monthly cleaning, but more) on Wednesday. I “maintained” by working out three days and using the treadmill three evenings.

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

Salon met in person and on Zoom (4 in person; 2 on Zoom, from AL and CO) on Friday for two hours. On Wednesday afternoon, a friend dropped off some items she’d bought for us and stayed for an hour for tea. Chatted briefly with my neighbour when she brought muffins and the Covid tests on Thursday evening. Enjoyed the Q&A and seeing all the faces on Dharma Sunday Zoom.

Continued my bird-stalking project (mostly through the windows); even in dire temperatures, they were active, and the Carolina wren survived! For his birthday, I gave my husband a spotting scope (which he had requested) that we’ll use soon, along with a tripod, to expand our birding repertoire (and photos, hopefully).

I’m enjoying the meditation challenge and the blog writing (and thinking), even though it’s monopolising my time for 28 days.

cat quite interested in VCR player – 30 Jan

One comment

  1. Impressed that you’re doing the Happiness Challenge! I did last year’s, but this one seemed too time consuming. Happy Birthday to T!!

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