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

On Monday, I planted scarlet runner beans (Marion’s) in the veg garden and I planted ‘Cherries Jubilee’ baptisia (from a plant sale) and a beach plum (from Foundwell Farm) in the back yard.

I finally wrote and published (today) that blog post on our visit to Bedrock Gardens in mid-May.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Chives harvested for a pasta/asparagus meal on Friday and again on Saturday. I was given tomato seedlings (4 in all, I think: a ‘Sweetie’ cherry, a Cherokee purple, and two chocolate cherries) by two friends this week, which another friend is watching for me for a week or so until I can get them in the ground.

  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserved local resources: Ate outside at local bakery on Wed. morning and bought goodies there on Friday. Bought produce at local farmstand on Friday.

eating outside – 31 May

Preserved sanity: Walked some trails in woods on Wednesday – saw hundreds of lady’s slippers and some painted trillium, et al. Walked a trail in the same woods with a friend on Thursday. I walked in town on Friday, running errands. Walked with a friend on her partially wooded property on Tuesday for a half-hour. On Tues., Wed., Fri., and Sat. walked to a friend’s house (2/3 of a mile) to pick up his mail.

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

On Tuesday, my husband replaced the bathroom sink vent and rearranged the support for the weeping larch tree. On Thursday he repaired the milkweed plant support system, reusing the materials from last year. I let people give me some of their excess tomato seedlings 🙂

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

Perhaps stretching it a bit, but my garden pruning this week and earlier this year was partly aimed at giving some plants that weren’t thriving more space and sun, to improve their health. A Tinkerbelle lilac particularly benefitted, though it’s still a little too shaded. But it’s blooming much more robustly than it ever has. Other beneficiaries are irises, some blueberries, some phlox, some baptisias, and peonies. Still more work to do but it’s better than last year.

happier Tinkerbelle lilac – 3 June

My husband spent more hours this week on his frustrating quest to find a workable cheap wireless plan for his old phone.

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

The beginning of the week was grilled hot dogs (soy dogs for me) and grilled broccolini again, then veggie burgers (on a cup of arugula for me) on Tuesday with (frozen) corn and leftover mac &cheese. On Wed. we grilled shrimp, bell peppers, and onions on kebabs and had that over jasmine rice, and we ate those leftovers on Thursday. Friday I made a penne-chives-pine nuts-asparagus dish and added soy chicken to it, and then enlarged the leftovers on Saturday, adding more pine nuts, pecorino romano cheese, chives, pasta, and stock/lemon juice but switching out the soy chicken for sautéed shrimp that night, and I added artichoke hearts to replace the dwindling asparagus; and we had the same thing again on Sunday night, with fresh cucumbers from the farmstand and for dessert old fruit popsicles from last summer.

kebabs – 31 May

A friend fed me a perfect lunch in her gazebo on Tuesday.

lunch at friend’s – 30 May
  • Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate

Picking up mail and watering plants all week for a friend who had knee surgery the week before.

Husband volunteered at car museum, which opened for the season this week, working about 8.5 hours total on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

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

Can’t think of anything, though my husband got some fly-fishing practice in on Monday morning and Friday afternoon.

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

I spent 4.5 hours planting, weeding, and pruning in the garden on Monday. I also spot cleaned and vacuumed the family room carpet on Monday. On Tuesday I completely cleaned the main bathroom sink and everything on it, and on Thursday, I pulled apart and cleaned the kitchen stovetop. I watered veggies and newly planted perennials every day until Saturday, when we’d had enough rain and chilly temps (40s and 50s) overnight and during the day Sat. and Sun. that I didn’t need to. I weeded the vegetable bed on Saturday. Husband repaired a sleep mask strap on Sunday.

Husband got his hair cut on Thursday. We made a very rare (semi-annual) trip to the dry cleaner on Thursday to get a summer suit and a top cleaned. I worked out (with weights) four hours this week.

Under the category of “preventing hassle down the line”: Spent some time online and on the phone with Longwood Gardens on Monday to make sure we’re all set for visiting them later on (now that they do reserved ticketing some days). Double-checked with catsitter on Wed. about some upcoming dates and I’m glad I did as she had written something different on her calendar.

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

On Monday I ordered a hand mixer from the registry for my friends’ daughter and her wife-to-be who are getting married on 10 June, and I sent my nephew a digital gift card for his 31st birthday. On Thursday I sent a digital gift card to my cousin for her birthday. I wrapped some gifts for my sister and others on Sunday.

Permaculture group met by Zoom on Thursday with six of us to talk about growing squashes and pumpkins. After that I took a catch-up walk with a neighbour (and one of her dogs) who spent the winter in Florida (and we looked at each other’s gardens), and then I took a lady’s-slipper-spotting walk in the woods with a friend after that. On Tuesday I had lunch at a friend’s, outside, and we went on a short walk on her property. My husband and I (figuratively) ran into a friend in a local parking lot on Wed., both driving their little British cars. Talked with my sister by phone on Monday and Friday and texted with her quite a bit this week. Met with a friend briefly on Wed. afternoon to discuss details of an upcoming task. Salon didn’t meet this week.

Another social media “friend” (in the UK) died this week (Saturday) of metastatic cancer after living with breast cancer for 15 years. She was a huge exponent of and champion for unrelenting patient self-advocacy and quite a presence in my corner of Instagram. It’s hitting hard.

I spent a lot of time this week editing photos and also catching up on posting reviews of books I’ve read recently to Goodreads. I enjoy having these records as well as sharing images and reviews, though it can be time-consuming and tedious to actually transfer these things from my brain (in the case of reviews) or my phone/camera (in the case of images) to shareable platforms in various formats like collages, narratives, blog posts, Insta stories, etc. I think on the whole though this kind of desk work (and sharing the results) does make my life better, as long as I’m balancing that kind of work with moving my body, getting outside, spending time with friends, creating in other ways, etc., enough.

It’s been very dry here the last few weeks, but since Friday we’ve received about an inch of rain and high temperatures are in the 50°Fs, which is helping replenish streams and soil. More rain forecast for next week, with high temps mostly in the 60°Fs.

Wednesday and Thursday were warm, mid-to-high 80°Fs. The cat and I loved it.

cat – 31 May

Featured image: peas a few days ago

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