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

Planted peas and some of the arugula seeds on Monday, in between rain storms, as well as about a dozen kale starts.

It’s been so rainy (and chilly, in the 40s to maybe 50) that I think the next plantings — more arugula seeds, romaine lettuce seeds, perhaps some flower seeds or starts — will be in a couple of weeks. The bottom of the vegetable garden is very soggy/moatlike and there’s not much other sunny garden real estate available, considering that I’ve already ordered a couple of cherry tomatoes and some basil and parsley (from Foundwell Farm in Pembroke) to be picked up in a month or so, and I always add a few cucumber starts (from local farmstand) in June, and/or I may plant some cuke seeds. Oh, and I’ve got scarlet runner bean seeds. And dill and cilantro. And flower seeds. Not sure where all these will go but they’ll go somewhere!

In fact, here are just some of the seeds that I may or may not be planting this year. I’ll definitely be sharing with friends.

More of an ending, but feels like a clean start, so: on Friday I finally tossed out all the flower/plant bouquets we’d received over the winter, which had been languishing in the dining room until the snow melted and I could get outside to a. compost the easily compostable parts; b. rewild the pine and spruce bits to the back of the yard; and c. either keep or throw away the inorganic parts.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Nothing I can think of. Husband made a dump run on Wed. but somehow didn’t bring back anything from the swap table.

Of course, we are always, every week, getting (foraging?) free books and dvds from the library — this week, I think I borrowed eight books (six inter-library loans came in at once)! I’ve read four so far. Besides being free, they get returned so they don’t add to household clutter. Win-win.

I think I also forgot to mention in my post two weeks ago that I brought home a book from one of the little libraries at the Fells, where we walked one day that week. It’s Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden (1981) by Eleanor Perényi, which I have long wanted to read.

little library at The Fells, Newbury NH
  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: Bought goodies from local bakery on Thursday. Ate inside at local restaurant (at 2:30, when only one other table was taken) with a friend on Wednesday. Bought some sympathy cards at the local bookstore on Wed. Bought fresh spinach at local farmstand on Monday.

artichoke fritto misto at restaurant – 26 April

Preserved sanity: This has been a very rainy week, so not a lot of trekking, just moderate in-town walks on Monday, Tues., Wed., and Thursday. It’s raining as I write, with 1-2 inches forecast for tonight. I’m feeling a bit sluggish, which I guess is appropriate for the weather.

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

A friend gave me some Ukrainian tomato seeds this week to give away and I accomplished this on Friday by giving them to a friend who gave them to another friend! Yay for small wins!

Husband sewed buttons on a suit jacket and a pair of jeans on Thursday and cleaned out a bathroom sink drain on Tuesday.

He also moved a 5-foot tall white pine sapling from an unworkable spot in the yard, a foot or two from the house, to a better spot on Friday. We have lots of pines already but we couldn’t just get rid of one if there’s someplace it could safely and happily live.

When I tossed the flower/plant bouquets that have been in the house since November or December, I harvested and saved the decorations I could reuse on a wreath or similar.

decorations gleaned from winter bouquets – 28 April
  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

On Monday morning I noticed someone trying to get into my PayPal account when I got a texted code (thanks to 2-factor security, so I changed the password and reported it to PayPal. No fraudulent charges actually occured.

Subscribe & Save arrived this week with a couple bottles of nighttime cold & flu medication, some face cleaner, a mouthwash, 12 packages of Annie’s mac & cheese, and a big bag of cat litter. Ordered several packages of dried fruits and nuts from yesterday. order – 29 April

I also bought six pairs (different colours) of reading glasses online for $16, which arrived this week, and they’re perfect in size, weight, and focus.

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

I made linguini with spinach, artichokes, and shrimp on Monday and we had it for dinner through Wednesday. Had (store-bought) veggie burgers and sides (and a cup of raw arugula) on Thurs, then I made tuna-pasta salad with veggies (again served with a cup or two of raw arugula) on Friday, which we ate on Sat., too. Tonight we’ll have a homemade black bean and sherry soup. Again, nothing new, but I usually like to minimise time and effort spent thinking about what to make for dinner by ensuring there are often leftovers, and for us, leftovers don’t need to be creative.

I also helped, with two others, to replenish the catered food at a friend’s memorial service on Friday for a couple of hours. I guess that’s helping to feed others, though I didn’t make any of the food. Also, most of the leftovers (sandwiches, desserts) were packaged for the food bank the next morning.

food table at memorial service reception – 28 April
  • Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate

We attended both the calling hours and the memorial service for a friend on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, and as mentioned above, I helped maintain the refreshments table after the memorial service, which freed the family from that concern.

sitting outside at memorial service reception – 28 April

Sent a sympathy card on Thursday to a friend whose mother died last week.

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

Can’t think of anything here.

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

I set up five new peony cages on Friday for the just-emerged peonies so their blooms won’t collapse unseen onto the ground this spring like they usually do.

three of five new peony cages – 28 April

Above, I mentioned replacing supplies + some cleaning done. Additionally, after I tossed the winter bouquets on Friday, I vacuumed the dining room, laundry room, entry hall; and I also vacuumed the family room and a hall when I thought a friend might be coming here instead of us going out on Wed. 🙂

Husband bought $0.99 sim card online (arrived Sat.) for an old smartphone so he can use it in situations where his newer phone might be at risk (e.g., fishing, kayaking or canoeing, yard or building maintenance projects).

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

Neither of my weekly groups met this week but I spent time with friends from both groups at our friend’s calling hours and memorial service on Thursday and Friday, as well as having a late lunch out with a friend on Wed. Also talked with a few other friends and neighbours at those events. Chatted with neighbour/friend for 5+ mins. when we met while he was driving and we were walking in town on Tues. Talked with sister on phone for 40 minutes on Monday. Texted and emailed off and on with other friends and family.

Speaking of winter, it’s really spring here! Several “new” birds (new since last year) visited the yard this week, including a killdeer, catbird, yellow-rumped warbler, and Eastern towhee. Heard the pine warbler a lot, and the cardinals, chickadees, titmouse, various sparrows (chipping, house, white-throated, song, swamp), robins, nuthatches and other woodpeckers, crows and ravens, red-winged black birds, kinglets, juncos, mourning doves, broad-winged hawks, purple finches and goldfinches, and others are around. Temps are chilly — 40s to about 50F for highs, lows in the 30s and 40s, with rain at least part of many days in the last two weeks. Looking ahead, I see rain forecast every day this coming week except Friday, but by next weekend we should be seeing highs in the 60s, which will be pleasant.

Merlin heard birds in yard – p.m. 24 & a.m. 25 April
Eastern towhee through foggy window – 25 April

And tomorrow is May!

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