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

This week I started adding plants to the homemade garden database my husband made for me. Which means, now that I’ve worked with it a bit, that there is more editing and coding for him to do.

On 27 March, Monday, I finished that caterpillar jigsaw puzzle that I started on 19 March — which was new, sealed in plastic — but unfortunately there was a piece missing! We are still trying to contact the company to get a replacement piece before I put that puzzle away and start another. It was a challenging and fun puzzle, and every caterpillar is identified on a coded map they included, but the missing piece was disappointing. See addendum, below!

puzzle finished, with missing piece – 28 March

ADDENDUM 4 APRIL: We found the missing piece! We had contacted the company, who couldn’t send just one piece (the puzzle cuts seem to be different with every run of the puzzles), so I was hunting for a date or identifying number on the box to see if they could check a box in the same run for the identical piece. This, after my spending over an hour this week hunting for this piece, including in the box and in the bag the puzzle pieces were in, shaking it out, over and over, and my husband spending a good chunk of time hunting for the piece as well … and there was the piece, stuck in the clear plastic bag and hiding right under our noses. Profuse apologies to Caterpillar Lab. Their puzzle was fantastic and I will be buying more.

the complete puzzle! – 4 April
  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

A dump-gleaned pull-up bar, which was going to be dismantled and made into something else, has become … a pull-up bar for us, as of Saturday.

pull-up bar in place (temporarily) – 1 April

Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: Bought dinner Sunday night from the local Chinese restaurant. Bought spinach a few times at the local farmstand, which is now open from Monday through Saturdays.

Preserved sanity: Well. Can’t make such big claims as that, but we did get in a three-mile lake walk on Tuesday, and three other longish walks in town this week.

Also meditated with Natural Dharma Fellowship (via Zoom) for two hours on Sunday, which helps. And had a friend over Monday afternoon for tea.

Husband and I (and I suppose the cat) have been re-watching The Good Life (aka Good Neighbors) this week; it’s a British sitcom — starring Penelope Keith, Felicity Kendal, Richard Briers, and Paul Eddington — that was originally shown from 1975-1978 and that always makes me laugh.

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

Husband and I both mended a pair of socks each on Sunday. He made a homemade soldering tip for his recently gleaned soldering gun. (Top two tips are the ones he made.)

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

Can’t think of anything here.

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

I made Italian fish stew after finding swordfish on sale on Tuesday, which we also had Wednesday; we had some previous leftovers on Thursday; and I baked fish and made rice pilaf, steamed asparagus, and sautéd spinach on Friday and Saturday. Sunday we bought Chinese takeout which will last us about four dinners each.

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

Sent cards of condolence on Thursday to my recently deceased friend’s four children (who are my age).

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

Husband is still adding to his Java/Oracle skills as he works on the garden database. I’m also learning more and refreshing my knowledge about my plants as I add them to the database, little by little. I participated in my first Zoom breakout room during Dharma Sunday and really enjoyed it.

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

Husband cleaned the air filter’s bits and bobs and went to the dump on Wednesday. I backed up my laptop on Tuesday (first time since November! I try to do it once a month, but obviously I don’t try very hard.). I’ve been cleaning shower tile this week, a lilttle at a time.

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

No permaculture group meeting this week but Salon did meet in person (three of us) on Friday. I had a friend over Monday afternoon for a couple of hours for tea and to catch up.

As mentioned, I attended Dharma Sunday (Rewilding the Soul is this year’s topic) today and stayed for the Council Practice, which is 10 folks in a Zoom breakout room (or in small groups at the retreat center, for those there), along with a convener who moves things along. I felt connected to this sangha — which is spread internationally: our little group had folks from Iceland, London, Virginia, Oregon, Philadelphia, Mass., and NH; and the primary teacher was in Hawaii, coming to us at 4 a.m. her time — in a way I hadn’t for a while, though I always benefit from gathering and meditating.

We had a fox sparrow visit us a couple of times this week, and the house finch and Carolina wren returned one day, too, as well as the grackles, cowbirds, and red-winged blackbirds. A couple of inches of snow and mixed precip fell overnight Friday, but it was 50°F on Saturday and snow is melting at a pretty good clip now even with lows in the teens the last couple of nights. The bird feeders will come in for good (until next Nov. or Dec. ) this coming week as black bears are being sighted nearby.

Looking forward to The Masters this week! That’s one of my signs of spring.

featured image: view of Mt Kearsarge from Kezar Lake on Tuesday

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