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

The start of sun and warmth! It hit 70°F (actually, 72°) for the first time this year in the sunroom on Monday, and we had G&Ts to celebrate.

My renewed passport arrived on Wednesday!

We started doing some spring yardwork on Thursday, signalling the start of the gardening time. Actual garden planting of peas and greens will likely start next week. The garlic planted last fall is up, about 5 inches high.

Hellebores, daphnes, and hazelnuts are blooming, and the first of the daffs, coltsfoot, and crocuses.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Husband gleaned crumpet rings at the dump on Wednesday. Why?

We practically gleaned/foraged used books at the Five College Book Sale in Lebanon, NH on Tuesday; books, DVDs, and CDs were $1-$4 each.

(About 1/3 of us were masked)
  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: We ate outside at a nearby bakery on Thursday, when the high hit 82°F. I also bought some items there on Wednesday.

Preserved sanity: Lots of walking this week, including in town on Monday, Wednesday (just me), Thursday, Friday (just me), Saturday evening, and Sunday (just me), and at The Fells (Newbury NH) on Saturday and on a local trail on Sunday. Nice to be able to walk some wooded trails again.

Listen to the wood frogs on my walk on Friday:

wood frogs – 14 April 2023 (TURN SOUND UP! Frogs can’t be seen in video.)
  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person

On Monday, husband repaired a belt loop on a pair of Goodwill jeans, and he repaired other pairs of jeans with iron-on interface. He replaced the lateral brace on our wheelbarrow this weekend.

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

Ordered more masks (pink – for the June wedding) and small-sized nitrile gloves (the latter for trash pickup in town) from WellBefore on Friday.

ordered 14 April

Ordered more Covid rapid tests, tea, and vitamins/supplements on Tuesday. Picked up more cat food on sale.

Used the camp lantern on Wednesday when the power was out for 2.5 hours due to wind knocking over a tree onto the power lines.

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

Had leftover homemade (Easter) crabcakes and leftover seafood chowder (Xmas gift) on Monday, with couscous and corn; more leftover crabcakes on Tuesday, along with fresh asparagus and couscous; made store-bought Indian meals, plus samosas and papadums, for Wed & Thurs; had salmon (husband) and veggie burger (me) on Friday with locally grown spinach and leftover mac&cheese; tuna salad on arugula (me) and leftover salmon (husband) on Saturday; and tuna salad (on arugula) for both of us on Sunday. No new recipes this week, but a variety of dinners. I did shop the fridge by using up arugula and we used up an older bell pepper. The couscous was past its sell-by date.

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

Husband helped with floor and wall replacement at local car museum on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (9 hours total). I picked up trash on my route for the first time this season on Monday (2 hours).

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

Husband participated in Austin Healey tech call on Monday evening. We both watched fascinating Mt. Washington Observatory webinar on auroras and sky science on Tuesday evening.

We did several hours of yardwork (pruning, mostly, of dead branches and limbs as well as to shape up some trees and shrubs; also: setting up rain barrels, pulling a cherry tree straight, putting away snowblower, checking on how things came through the winter) on Thurs, Fri and Sat.

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

The usual workouts (three hours) for me, plus several 2-to-4-mile walks this week. Squats and chinups on ad hoc basis. I worked on my photo files and did a data backup today, which together took about three hours.

I checked the supply of DEET (for ticks) — we have ample right now. Some of the pruning we did was of shrubs too close to the house; this will help reduce excess moisture on the siding and around the windows, and reduce access to the house for rodents (and snakes). We took out a willow tree that was too close to the house and getting bigger all the time. Birdfeeders need to be cleaned out for next winter.

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

White-throated sparrow and ruby-crowned kinglet were both seen and heard this week in the yard for the first time since last year.

In fact, we’re hearing lots more birds now than a week ago. Here are 20 species heard by Cornell’s Merlin app (and me) in the yard during about 30 minutes one morning this week. (Not sure about the swamp sparrow.)

Also chipmunks are back in the yard.

And, not as happily, ticks are already creepy crawling, including one on my husband’s neck on Saturday.

So, yes, spring is here. Not to mention the two hot (> 80F degree) days on Thursday and Friday. Now we’re back in the 50°Fs.

Permaculture group met via Zoom on Thursday with 5 of us, the last meeting now until 4 May (people away), though some of us will be together at our friend’s memorial service in a couple weeks. Salon met in person on Friday (3 of us in person and 2 on Zoom) and we looked at possible countertop and backsplash tile samples for a friend’s kitchen remodel. Emailed and texted with quite a few friends and family, and talked with my sister by phone. Chatted with several neighbours over the course of the week while I was outside walking.

An internet-only friend, Denny Lien, whom I’d known and corresponded with since the early 1990s (on a listserv!), died on Saturday in Minnesota; I will definitely miss instinctively turning to him for help with booklists and esoteric knowledge. Several people I’ve followed and really enjoyed for years on social media have taken turns for the worst with their stage-4 cancers, and some animals I follow are also not well or have recently died. I’m feeling the grief of these losses, whose impact is as real and significant as losses of many people (and pets) I’ve known in person. Our social circles and connections are so wide nowadays, deep in places and less so in others, but stretching far beyond physical boundaries. As someone else said about losing Denny, “Some of the foundation of my world is less stable now.” That’s it exactly.

Next week I’ll probably plant peas, arugula, kale, and maybe other early season seeds or starts. The vegetable garden fence will need to be erected again to protect the veggie starts. Chives are up and can be used any time for meals.

More small-scale pruning will need to be done, and more glossy buckthorn removed from the premises. We’ll need to clean up the sunroom, too. Looking forward to highs in the 50°s and 60°s forecast for the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the cat really enjoyed the taste of heat.

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