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

Husband pruned the front rhododendrons, on Monday, the day before we got 22 inches of new snow. Even though we are still firmly in the midst of winter temps and snowcover, the shrubs have new buds, ready to burst when the time is right. They’re dormant but soon won’t be, so now is a good time to prune, especially to remove limbs before the birds — who are already making mating calls — build nests in there. This chore sounds like maintenance, and it is, but it also marks the very start of spring gardening for us.

husband pruning rhodos – 13 March

I started the process of getting my passport renewed on Monday (and the check cleared over this weekend!)

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Husband practically gleaned two items from the state surplus store on Tuesday, For $2, he got a tool to hold dies (for a tap and die set) and some stereo mini-jack plugs.

  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: Bought goodies at local bakery on Friday. Bought takeout corned beef and cabbage and fish & chips from local restaurant on Friday (St. Patrick’s Day).

St Patrick’s Day meal for husband – 17 March

Preserved sanity: I wish. I took walks in town on Wed, Thurs, & Fri. (and treadmilled 1.5 miles on Thurs.) We both walked for an hour Saturday evening, around the neighbourhood (running into a few people with whom we had 5- to 10-min conversations). Husband x-c skied on Thursday on local trails.

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

We used up some outdated or almost outdated foods this week (packaged Indian food, eggs, old frozen foods, 2-week-old fresh spinach). Even though I long (accidentally) overcooked the jasmine rice, I ate it.

I noticed that most of the butter in the fridge (12 bars) has a sell-by date of next week, but am pretty sure I can use it for a few more months with no degredation in quality. (Web tells me 1-3 months longer than that date in the fridge, and 9-12 months longer in the freezer.) Still, I need to think about some baking or other ways of using it (or gifting it to a baking friend) soon.

One of husband’s computer’s hard drives died and he ordered a replacement drive (SSD this time), put it in, and updated it in the last few days. He also bought more materials (fusible interlace) for repairing his other pairs of jeans.

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

Added money to the Health Savings Acct (max allowable) for 2022. Bought more teas in bulk, Tilex with bleach (hard to find, had been searching for about 6 months), cat’s food.

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

Shopped the pantry for the Indian packaged food on Tues. and for multiple items when making seafood casserole on Thursday. Leftovers on Monday, Wed., Sat. and Sun.

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

Calling and texting with my sister several times this week; she’s still undergoing tests for serious symptoms. Visited friend in hospice/asst’d living yesterday for 45 mins.

third floor common area at assisted living facility – 18 March
  • Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better

Husband skilled up with Java/Oracle some more (garden database), replacing the computer hard drive, and pruning the rhododendrons.

I meditated today for an hour (guided meditation, Dharma Sunday online).

19 March

On Wed. evening, I watched native-priairie gardener/designer Benjamin Vogt’s “Fundamentals of Garden Layers,” which was useful — I hope to act on some of the concepts this year.

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

Husband had (routine) medical appt. on Monday. I worked out three times (3 hours). I looked over recent banking info and downloaded/printed some financial info from 2022-2023. We’ve been maintaining the bird feeders but that will probably stop soon with temperatures warming and bears coming out of hibernation any time. Husband snowblowered the 22 inches of snow we got on Tuesday/Wed. in three sessions (with snowblower he fixed last week).

view through window of front yard – evening of 14 March
  • Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years

Met in person for Salon (three of us; plus 2 on Zoom from Mass. and Colorado) on Friday for a couple of hours.

three of us on sofa facing zoom screen 🙂 — 17 March

Permaculture met online on Thursday (7 of us) to talk about chapter 4 of The Resilient Gardener. Visited friend in asst’d living on Sat. Chatted with some neighbours we ran into on walk last evening. Exchanged a number of texts and emails with several friends this week. Friends parked their car in our driveway during the big snow so their plow person could clean their driveway while they were away at a family funeral.

This week, we saw our first-of-the-season song sparrow, cowbird, and red-winged blackbirds — had heard the latter by the lake a couple of weeks ago but hadn’t seen or heard any in the garden.

As I type, it’s 26F and “feels like” 13F, but looking over the next two weeks’ weather forecasts (through 2 April), the highs are all in the 40s and the lows range from 23-38F, with about half the days bringing rain, so Spring may really begin this year around the vernal equinox, which is tomorrow here in the northern hemisphere.

Enjoy your week, everyone.

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