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 a new jigsaw puzzle (given to me by a friend at Christmas) on Thursday, and finished it on Sunday. It was only 500 pieces but quite difficult to get going beyond the edge pieces. Pretty, isn’t it?

Some houseplants got a much-needed new start with repotting by a local garden center (taken in on Tuesday, retrieved on Friday). More will soon undergo the same treatment.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Nothing here.

  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: Bought items at local bakery on Thursday; ordered takeout from local pizza place on Friday.

Preserved sanity: Failed in this area again, though the soothing activity of the jigsaw was helpful. But we did take a few walks in town, on Tuesday and Friday, with a longer one (about 4 miles) on Thursday. (Husband cross-country skied for a couple of hours on Sunday.)

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

Husband cut and sewed together a few pairs of old jeans to make one serviceable pair of work jeans.

repaired jeans on left and to-be-done pair on right – 11 March
  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

Not really.

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

Made a tuna-carrot-cheddar chowder for dinner on Sunday, which I hadn’t made since Feb. 2018. I used to make it often, in the late 90s to mid-aughts, but somehow it fell off the rotation. It’s one of Tightwad Gazette writer Amy Dacyczyn’s recipes, several of which I’ve been making for about 25 years. On Tuesday, I made a one-pan orecchiette with chickpeas & olives that’s served on copious amounts of arugula and we had leftovers for a few days; and making it used up an opened tomato paste can, an older container of kalamata olives, and the last of the arugula.

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

We visited with a friend for an hour on Wednesday — she has recently moved to assisted living and is trying to adjust. Lent a friend a couple of scarves on Thurs. for a funeral.

scarves – 9 March
  • Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better

Webinars galore. I watched “Gardening for Wildlife in an Era of Climate Change” (via Cary Memorial Library, MA) on Monday evening; “Pet Friendly: The Art of Stephen Huneck” (Shelburne Museum of Art, VT) on Wednesday evening; and “Rain Gardens & Rain Barrels” (Iowa Master Gardeners), also on Wed. evening (it should be on their YouTube channel soon). The latter was especially knowledge-building and now I have lots of resources for improving my skills.

Husband watched “Black Bears” (Society for Protection of NH Forests) on Wed. evening.

I’m possibly improving my pattern-finding skills and spatial awareness with the jigsaw puzzles.

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

Husband took cat to vet to get his (cat’s) nails clipped on Monday; I completely cleaned cat’s litter box on Tuesday.

Husband also repaired the stripped worm gear on the snowblower on Tues. and Wed. Just in time for our new 12-18-inch storm starting Monday evening.

I spent much of the weekend doing financial & death admin: updating financial and legal info (company/provider names & phone numbers, account/policy numbers, online access usernames and passwords, etc), document-finding records (where important papers, passwords, etc. are found in the house or bank’s safe deposit box), password lists, my memorial service preferences and list of people to contact on my death. All of it’s in both digital and print form. Not only will the updated and clear delineation of these details help those who are left to navigate financial and legal waters in the event of my death, but if we should have to leave our house suddenly (fire, flood, civil emergency or other emergency), I will be grabbing these papers so that we can access credit card info, insurance info, et al., remotely. I hadn’t done an update since 2018 so it was a big, long-overdue job.

While working on this, I realised that my passport expired Friday, so tomorrow I will be sending everything off to renew it.

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

I caught up with my hair stylist bright and early on Monday morning (7:30, both masked). On Tuesday afternoon my poetry group met (inside); there were seven of us fairly well spread out. It’s the first time we’d met since Oct 2022 (when we met outside). On Wed., we visited our friend in assisted living. On Thursday morning, the permaculture group (only five of us) met on Zoom and had a really lively garden-focused discussion, and in the afternoon a friend came over for tea for an hour or so. That evening my college friend group (five of us, in Balto and NYC) met via Zoom for two hours. No Salon meeting this week but I spoke by phone briefly with a member in Alabama and texted with another. Also texted with a few other friends and some neighbours currently in Florida. Talked with my sister on the phone on Thursday. Feeling well-connected.

So — winter is coming (again) tomorrow and Tuesday. Snow on the order of 12 to 18 inches.

And we had house finches for the first time this year on Friday! (We rarely see them here any time of year.)

featured image: birds Merlin heard in or near the yard from 11:30-12 noon on Sunday, 12 March.

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