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.

I’ve modified Sharon’s categories to match my own life and community; I may continue to tinker with the framework as time goes on.

  • Plant something: plant, start something

On Wednesday, I planted 11 native plant perennials (three gaillardia, one of three tradescantia, two larkspurs, three liatris, and two Indian grass), and on Thursday I planted the other two tradescantia. The basil are still inside, but I think the slugs are diminishing, not due to lack of rain but because the catbirds have found them.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage, glean, or bring to fruition

Harvested the last of the peas (45 pods) and a small batch of arugula on Monday; I used the arugula with dinner on Saturday. I think I just ate the peas or maybe used them in a lunch.

  • Preserve something: food, local community resources

Bought veggies at local farmstand on Monday. Had breakfast outside at local restaurant on Wednesday morning, and ate outside at local bakery on Friday morning.

  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage & repair, give away

My husband took in a pair of my pants on Sunday. Gave away some free admission tickets for a local garden/historic house to some friends on Saturday.

  • Keep Stocked Up: with food and emergency supplies, financial resources, and experiences that make life worth living

We used Amazon Prime Day to buy a mini HEPA air purifier (for travel), batteries, LED lightbulbs, safety goggles, and ear protection.

Had fun at a potluck permaculture/going-away party on Monday evening by a lake with eight friends. It rained a lot this week but I managed to walk in town on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and on Saturday evening.

I’m always amazed when the orange daylilies that someone else planted alongside the driveway bloom each year, and this year has been perhaps the most spectactular so far. We started this second week of their bloom with 118 daylilies flowering on Monday, then had two days with counts in the 80s and 90s, then four days of over 100 flowers per day, including 132 daylilies on Thursday and 150 on Sunday. (If you don’t know, each daylily blooms for only one day, hence its name. The next day, there are all new daylilies blooming.)

  • Food Stuff: learn new food skills, try new recipes, use what’s available in the pantry, use what’s grown/made locally and what’s seasonal

Nothing new this week. Broiled Old Bay shrimp and made some charred (burned) peppers and onions for the potluck, because it was raining and we couldn’t grill. We did grill outside on Tuesday, shrimp w/ onions and summer squash, over jasmine rice. Husband had that again, with sautéed red bell peppers on it, on Wed., while I combined the grilled shrimp with egg noodles, fresh arugula, and the peppers for my meal. Thursday and Friday we had store-bought Indian meals with papadums and cucumbers. Saturday we were back to veggie burgers (with home-grown arugula), mac & cheese, and corn, and Sunday was another old standby, a combo of canned tuna, mac & cheese, and peas, plus (separately) a raw red bell pepper, with enough left over for dinner on Monday. I did open a can of black beans early in the week and had them for lunch twice with rice or noodles.

  • Be Neighbourly: contribute to community support systems, look for ways to help neighbours

Husband volunteered at local car museum on Tuesday and Thursday for 9 hours total. He chatted with a neighbour outside one day (about their flooded basement). We fed, watered, scooped, and patted a travelling friend’s cat on Sunday morning before the weeklong caretaker was able to come over that evening.

Chelsea cat – 16 July
  • Skill up: learn new things, especially skills or knowledge that remind us of our place in the natural world and within the social fabric

We each watched a catbird eat slugs (three total sightings this week), so now we know what we need when we have slugs! 😄

I learned how not to make roasted onions and peppers.

I spent quite a bit of time this week researching autoimmune diseases and checking in with a rheumatologist friend for my sister who called on Tuesday and Friday needing help. There is so much to know in the medical world, I have renewed empathy for physicians and other healthcare workers who are working hard to keep abreast.

  • Tend & Maintain: maintain our bodies, minds, and relationships to keep us resilient; and do what’s needed in the house, yard, and elsewhere to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

I had a dental cleaning follow-up on Tuesday afternoon, and my husband had a dental check-up on Thursday. My back hurt on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, so I didn’t work out much (only 2 hours this week) but I did garden quite a bit when it wasn’t bothering me, including an hour on Monday between the rains; three hours on Wednesday, planting (as above), weeding, and cutting back; an hour or so on Thursday; and another hour on Friday. My husband also worked in the garden, putting up additional supports for the milkweed and veronicastrum and mowing the lawn on Friday.

us doing some garden chores (in pencil sketch) – 12 July

He also pumped rainwater off the place it collects on the patio during the heavy downpours all day Monday.

And he fixed his vintage car’s fuel pump problem on Tuesday.

I lost a credit card this week and had to cancel it after searching the house, cars, and yard fruitlessly and calling around to the several places I thought it might be. Always a hassle but hopefully soon remedied, and though I didn’t discover it missing for a couple of days, no one had used it. (It’s probably somewhere in the house but now it’s just a piece of plastic.)

I wrote a long catch-up email to a friend on Tuesday, mailed a check for a vacation rental to a friend on Thursday, enjoyed Zooming with the permaculture group (six of us) on Thursday morning as well as spending several hours at the lakehouse permaculture potluck party on Monday evening and meeting up with friends at a local nano-brewery for pizza and beers outside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I missed our Salon on Friday – it was cancelled due to forecast rain that didn’t materialise.

at nanobrewery with friends – 15 July
  • Winter is coming: notice Earth’s seasons and our own seasons of life and daily rhythms, and look ahead to what’s needed now to make life better in the future

I had a lot to think about in terms of seasons and rhythms this week with the rain (close to five inches), my back hurting — unusual these days though common in my 20s and 30s, a friend moving away to Maine, another friend entering hospice this coming week, my sister’s medical issues, etc.

Sharon Astyk started a new feature on her blog and her Facebook group this week called Friday Afternoon Weekly Doom Roundup, where Scaring is Caring. Of course I love it. She collects what she feels is the most pressing global doom of the previous week, five or six items tops, and others can add to the list and/or add references and notes related to hers. It helps me prioritise my thinking about the future and consider my preparedness for various scenarios, and I think it will help me make better and more informed decisions concerning healthcare, finances, where to live, how to live. In weighing pros and cons of various decisions, current and near-future consequences of societal collapse and climate disaster are important to consider, along with all the other factors like what sparks joy and curiosity, what strengthens connection with friends and family, what’s affordable, what’s sustainable, what’s best as we age, what we (each) want, what we (each) have energy and time for, and so on.

Featured image: super-saturated lawn on Monday

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