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

Nothing started but plenty going on this month already.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

We were gifted with frozen blueberries picked from a friend’s bushes last summer. And we ate them over the next two evenings for dessert!

  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved community resource: ate a meal with husband at local restaurant on Monday (inside, quite empty at 3:50 p.m, using gift certificate), got goodies from local bakery on Thursday and take-out lunch from same local bakery/café on Friday with a friend. Bought bags of fresh spinach at local farmstand on Friday.

Preserved sanity: Sanity not well-preserved this week, but did take longish in-town walks on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, and lake walk on Saturday. Shopped at regional co-op on Wed., which I always enjoy.

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

Husband repaired two small slits in my nylon/down winter coat on Friday. Happily accepted a frend’s downsizing giveaway (Italian murano glass vase that had been her mother’s) on Friday. Stuffed a folded blanket under closed door from kitchen to hallway last week during arctic chill and left it there this week (and onward) to reduce heat loss.

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

Ordered more masks (KN95, adjustable ear straps) and more Covid rapid tests on Friday, and set up a subscribe & save on Sunday for Amazon brand mouth rinse containing CPC (vs. gingivitis and Covid virus). Ordered other cat treats from Petco on Tuesday and restocked cat pâté with a digital grocery store coupon on Thursday. Restocked a number of non-perishables and not-very-perishables on Thurs. and Friday (toilet paper, boxed pasta, soy burgers and “chicken” nuggets, bread. nuts, high-protein cereal, King Arthur flour, English muffins, chocolate bars, cheese, et al.) with digital grocery store coupons. Need to restock canned beans and canned tomatoes after recent usage.

coupon usage – 10 Feb

Husband and I went to nearby LL Bean store on Wed. and bought new winter/year-round boots for when ours totally fall apart (using his Xmas gift cards). I also bought new Primaloft packable gloves from LL Bean online on Wed. as mine are getting hole-y. We got a $10 gift card to use in the next week or so on another item.

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

Made a good and easy shrimp bisque recipe that’s new to me for friend in hospice on Tuesday (and it provided one dinner for us too). Made easy bean nachos on Sunday, which I haven’t made in a year or more.

Used lots of beans (black and garbanzo), canned diced tomatoes, jasmine rice, papadums, and some salsa from the pantry this week, and some potato chips and stale-ish corn chips. Also used all the fresh arugula + all the home-sprouted beans this week. Used up the bell peppers, some leeks, all the fresh spinach, and a few onions. And lots of our own garlic, harvested last July. First round of Girl Scout cookies arrived on Saturday and we haven’t had many yet (some Thin Mints will be frozen).

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

Took food to friend in hospice on Wed. and visited with her and her daughter for an hour or so. Donated money (memberships) to a couple of regional garden/conservation research organisations this week.

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

Several webinars: Ethical Birding (Maine Aububon) on Tuesday, Birds of Maine (Maine Audubon) on Wed., “Science Behind the Beauty” (reading the forested landscape) from Longwood Gardens on Wed., and Dharma Sunday meditation and talk (“Loving the Truth”) on Sunday. All these topics feel useful to me.

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

Some supply replacement addressed above. I worked out 3x (3 hours) this week. Former Xmas tree, which was sitting on the front walkway, was moved this weekend (by husband) to the “forever wild” strip behind the house to become habitat and cover for birds et al.

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

Permaculture group met (only 4 of us) on Zoom on Thursday; many useful and interesting emails exchanged during the week among us as well. Salon group did not meet, but again, many content-rich texts and emails exchanged. Had a friend over to the house on Friday afternoon for a couple of hours of catching up. Texted with sister and nephew some. Poetry group may resume meeting in person in March. Attended two-hour online Dharma Sunday.

I’ve been focusing a lot of energy on a meditation challenge and a blog post project for the 28 days of February, which is satisfying and time-consuming. Thinking and writing about these things makes my life better.

I’m following the news about avian flu, norovirus, Long Covid (and Covid sequelae), the toxic gas released after a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio (already killing many animals with toxic exposure to vinyl chloride), the devastating earthquake in Syria/Turkey, the cyclone in NZ, and the military shoot-down of objects in our airspace and Canada’s with some trepidation.

I’m in the pre-planning stages of a local getaway in March and maybe further afield in April and June, all including Covid risk mitigation efforts and pet-care considerations.

the fox (foxes?) was around a lot this week (motion camera photo)

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