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 (caterpillars) last Sunday night and am about 3/4 finished.

This morning, my good friend Marion started her journey from the mystery of this life into the mystery of whatever’s next. She was 85 (and a half) and lived a long, rich, active life, full of curiosity, affection, gardening, hiking, traveling, reading, and endless conversation. I’ll miss her much.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

We gleaned quite a bit when our friend Marion’s family offered our permaculture group the chance on Thursday to come and help them clear out items from her house (she moved to assisted living in February), including many tools — soldering gun, breaker bar, socket set, much more — and quite an array of lightbulbs, a patio chair, a like-new crockpot, some kitchenware, a necklace, a purplish handmade bowl that reminds me so much of her style. We will think of her when we use/see these things. She also set aside about 25 permaculture, gardening, nature, and health books for our group, most of when have been distributed. And she left behind some scarlet runner beans she’d saved from her plants, which have also been distributed to members of the group and will be planted in our gardens this spring/summer.

  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserving local resources: We ate at local bakery this afternoon right before they closed (almost no one else there). Bought produce at local farmstand and a few items at local co-op on Friday.

bakery – 26 March
farmstand – 24 March

Preserved sanity: We walked around the lake on Monday and took longish walks in town on Tuesday, Wed., Friday, and today. Still 6 or more inches of wet snow on the ground here.

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

Did not toss the packaged grits whose sell-by date was two years ago but ate them. On the other hand, had to toss (outside in the yard for intrepid animals) 2 lbs of carrots that had mostly rotted in the sunroom. We helped salvage/reduce waste, I think, by gleaning things from Marion’s home.

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

Contributed the maximum to my Health Savings Account for 2022. Submitted taxes. We now have a good supply of light bulbs! Subscribe & Save on Wed. brought a bag of cat food and other food/healthcare supplies.

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

Husband used the “new” crock pot to cook chicken breasts yesterday.

husband’s dinner with crockpot chicken and homemade bread – 25 March

He used the chicken broth to cook up some barley. I made gravy with veggie “chicken” broth (so I could eat it too), something I’d never done before, using a roux, which I hadn’t made in a while. We had leftovers on Monday and Tues, I made shrimp and asparagus risotto on Wed. (not a new recipe but I hadn’t made it since last spring), which we also ate Thursday and Friday.

Husband made three baguettes on Wed., one of which we brought to a neighbour that evening (and he invited us in for wine and cheese!).

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

Not much here this week other than keeping in touch by phone and text with my sister as she navigates some health issues. Husband helped a neighbour clearing a path in the snow.

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

A rare week of no webinars! The only thing I skilled up on was working the (challenging) jigsaw puzzle. Husband reacquainted himself with using a crockpot and honed his bread-making skills. He also learned more about the Oracle cloud.

clouds I was watching – 21 March
  • Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

Husband cleaned the shower in the bathroom he uses the most. I worked out 3 times (3 hours). (Husband also works out but I don’t keep track.)

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

It’s hard losing friends, especially when so many of our friends are in their 70s and 80s (or 90s). It does feel winterish, and yet, like winter, it’s part of the cycle. Still, we sure miss them.

This week, both permaculture and salon groups met in person, permaculture (8 of us) for a couple of hours on Thurs. at our friend’s house to help clear things out (and someone brought ginger scones!) and Salon on Friday, with three of us in person and one (in Alabama) on Zoom. I also dropped some things off on Thursday at other friends’ home and briefly chatted then with them. We had impromptu drinks and snacks at our neighbour’s on Tuesday evening.

salon snack – 24 March

Monday was the first day of spring and our 31st anniversary. It was good to walk around the lake to celebrate both events. And though the high temp was a bit below 50F that day, it rose to 61F in the sunroom that afternoon, much to the cat’s delight. Spring is coming!

cat in sunroom – 20 March

Featured image: This evening, we toasted our friend who died this morning — and who didn’t drink much but liked a wee dram of single-malt scotch — with a 12-year-old single malt. Slàinte mhath, Marion!

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