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.
It’s been a year since I began this weekly post. I’ve been using Sharon’s list for a guide, and it’s a good one, but it’s not entirely tailored to my life, to what’s most important to me and to my experience of community. Next week, I’ll begin a new year of “Independence Days” by replacing or rewording some of the variables to better reflect the experiences and actions that I want to keep track of and that that give me a sense of resiliency, satisfaction, and joy as I look toward to the future.
- Plant something: plant, start something
Nothing planted due to SO MUCH RAIN all week — 8-1/2 inches of rain in June in total (more than twice what we normally see in June), with 5 inches of it this week — but on Wednesday we did pick up the native perennials I ordered recently.
I’ve been picking slugs by the dozen off some of them and off the veggies already planted, or what were the veggies — beans, basil, plus petunias have all been well nibbled, and there’s minor slug activity on the kale. So far, peas, garlic, parsley, thyme, arugula, and tomatoes are unscathed, as well as borage, calendula, nasturtium, and marigold.
When the rain stops for more than a day or two and I can apply more diatomaceous earth and/or eggshells around slug-vulnerable plants, I’ll plant the perennials plus the basil I bought on Monday. If it’s August, then it’s August.
- Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean
I could be harvesting elderberry flowers right now, but I’m not. They’re pretty, though.
Harvested all the garlic scapes and the first batch of arugula on Monday.
Harvested and washed a bunch of kale for friends on Wednesday.
Peas are this close to being ready to harvest, at least some of them.
Actually, I did pick one this evening and it was sweeeeeet.
Hazelnuts are just starting to form; I hope to eventually harvest them before the bears or other creatures do.
Ditto the blueberries, which seem to be having a great year. But the bears or birds always seem to get them first.
- Preserve something: food or local community resource
Preserved local resources: Bought three basil plants at local farmstand on Monday and bought food there on Wed., Fri., and Saturday, including their strawberries and cucumbers, plus asparagus and lemons from elsewhere.
Ate outside at local bakery on Friday morning. Bought Coast of Maine compost from local hardware store on Saturday. Also on Sat., bought pizza from local pizza place and beer from local microbrewery at their beer garden – perfect weather!
Preserved sanity: Hmm, not an easy task this week with the septic system suddenly failing on Wednesday evening. Fortunately, the septic company arrived by 2 p.m. on Thursday and got the system pumped out, but the problems that led to the failure (pump not working, leak in pumping station, possibly the oversaturated ground from all the rain) haven’t been addressed; there’s nothing we can do about the rain, but the other possible causes will be addressed this week.
Anyway, the rain let up for Thurs., Fri., and Sat., which is a help, though another inch of rain fell today and more coming. I got in a few shorter in-town walks between the rains, on Tues., Fri., Sat., and Sunday, though still not in the woods or around the lake.
I attended a Zoom Dharma Sunday today that was helpful.
- Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person
My husband gave a headlamp to a friend. I gave kale to friends.
Of necessity we have reduced our water/septic use further since Tuesday night, due to the septic system fragility. My husband spent a good part of Thursday and Friday replacing the electrical box for the septic pump, installing it properly, and installing a GFI outlet at the switch.
- Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less
- Eating The Food: shop the pantry, new recipes, creative use of leftovers, help feed others
Made an asparagus frittata on Wed. (used too much Gruyere cheese! It was delicious!) I hadn’t made a frittata in a while. We had that with an arugula (our arugula) salad with cukes, kalamata olives, and orange and red bell peppers.
Made cacio e pepe on Thursday, with shrimp, plus cucumbers, and we ate it again on Saturday with roasted asparagus mixed in, and then again on Sunday! Leftover grilled shrimp and veggie kebabs on Monday, and the old standbys of veggie burgers, with rice & peas, on Tuesday and grilled soy hot dogs (beef dog for husband) on Friday with corn and mac & cheese. I bought lump crab at the store that sells it pretty cheap this week, so I’ll be making crabcakes this coming week. I should also use some beans this week that have been languishing in the pantry, maybe in a salad or for nachos or tacos.
- Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate
Visited a friend in the hospital on Monday morning before she was discharged.
Husband volunteered at local car museum on Tues/Thurs for 9.5 hours, and he also helped them with a community event, Cars & Coffee, on Saturday.
Friday someone mentioned on a local Facebook page that they make sourdough bread and will sell a few loaves each week for $6 per half boule or $12 per whole boule. I DM’d her, we arranged to meet up (walking distance from my house), and today I was happy to exchange $6 for a half boule. Hopefully the start of a beautiful (if transactional) friendship 😉
- Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better
Well, my husband learned quite a bit about some aspects of our septic system this week as well as how much it might cost to connect with town water — prohibitive, it sounds like, due to the design of our yard/house and where the public water hookup is located — and what that would entail. I collected names of septic companies that replace systems (and leach fields) and got a sense of costs in case the problem is larger than what our usual company can handle and we decide not to connect to town water. Is there anything more boring than researching and talking about sewage disposal?
- Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line
The cat’s nails were cut (by vet) this week on Tuesday. I had a hair appt. on Monday and husband had a medical appt. on Monday. On Thurs., I rescheduled an Aug. dental appointment for an earlier date to accommodate a trip I hope to take later in the summer.
Husband spent a lot of today diagnosing a problem with his antique car’s fuel system and addressing it. A few weeks back he applied some windshield treatment to another car (the one whose wipers failed a few weeks ago) and we tested it in the rain this week – worked well.
I vacuumed today using the handy “new” Dirt Devil upright from the dump. Earlier this week, I cut branches from a maple that was hanging too low with the weight of the rain. I tied up the peonies on Monday so we can see the rain-laden blooms.
- Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years
A permaculture party planned for Thursday evening was cancelled due to forecast rain, but there was actually no rain that day; that was a bummer. Hopefully it will be rescheduled. So there was no permaculture group meeting this week. But Salon met in person on Friday even though there were only three of us — it was a good conversation and connection, lovely to sit out on her screened porch.
We both had some conversations on Saturday with friends and acquaintances, between the Cars & Coffee event and a church summer fair I went to. Also chatted with my stylist on Monday, neighbours on Monday and Tuesday, and some other folks here and there as I went about my errands and walks. Lots of texting and FB messaging with locals about the septic issue on Wed./Thurs. I mailed my sister a birthday card on Friday and ordered her gift. Talked with my close friend in Baltimore by phone on Tuesday for a half-hour about a possible trip together. Texted with a VT friend quite a bit, reconnecting after a few weeks of not much texting or emailing (though I see her most weeks on Zoom).
Looking forward this week to an in-person permaculture meeting on Thursday. I’ll call my sister on her birthday and send something to a friend whose birthday is also next week.
We had a visit from one of the yearling bears on Friday but so far it hasn’t gotten into the veggie garden or trampled anything. I wish they ate slugs.
Featured image: part of husband’s workshop in the garage