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
Nothing planted. First monarch seen on milkweed this season on Thursday.
Harvest something: harvest, forage, glean, or bring to fruition
Harvested several Sungold tomatoes on Tuesday (the only of the seven tomatoes with ripe fruit on it), and pulled up a garlic to check it; will harvest the garlic next week probably. Harvested raspberries on Tuesday and blueberries on Thursday, plus a few more blueberries on Sunday for a friend.
Preserve something: food, local community resources
Preserved local resources: Ate outside with a friend at a local bakery late Monday morning. On Wed. morning, my husband and I walked to another bakery/cafe and ate outside there. Shopped at local farmstand on Wednesday.
Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage & repair, give away
On Monday, my husband repaired the (rather old) refrigerator door, which wouldn’t always close tightly, by replacing the door closure (see photo). On Sunday, he took the door off again to add a washer and tighten the door closure screw, and now it works great.
We diverted the grey water from both loads of laundry this week to the yard, on Tuesday and Wednesday, to keep it from the septic system and to water the gardens.
Keep Stocked Up: with food and emergency supplies, financial resources, and experiences that make life worth living
Supplies: Stocked up on elderberry syrup for winter from Maine Medicinals this week, before their 1 Aug. price hike.
Received the new batch of KN94 masks and Covid antigen tests from WellBefore this week. Managed Chewy autosubscribe order on Wednesday (cat litter and various cat treats), to be delivered on Monday.
Financial: Trying to reduce spending, husband spent some of Friday-Sunday chatting with Verizon to find out about deals for a trade-in of an old phone (Note 9, bought Nov. 2018) for a new one (something in the S23 line), after my phone’s actual screen cracked on Thursday evening (under a screen protector) when it fell one foot from sofa to plush carpet. I really like that Note 9 but the crack is in a bad spot and likely to expand.
Experiences that make life worth living: Had a late morning snack outside at a local bakery and spent some time looking at art with a friend on Monday, and walked to and from those things through a college campus.
Husband and I walked at the bog on Wednesday, plus a short walk to the bakery in the morning.
I took a short walk in town between rain storms on Thursday and walked to and from a friend’s for our Salon meeting on Friday. Walked with husband in town on Friday after dinner, on Saturday afternoon (rain threatening), and we walked gardens and trails at The Fells in Newbury NH on Sunday.
Four of us met in person and one on Zoom for Salon on Friday, along with Chelsea the cat.
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
Grilled (soy) hot dog dinner on Monday, then I finally made the crabcakes (and homemade tartar sauce) on Tuesday, which was served over lots of arugula, as well as on Wednesday and Thursday, with various sides (cukes and cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, sautéed green beans and garlic, mac & cheese, garlic and herb rice pilaf, raw veggies and dip).
Friday was a summer green salad of tuna, hard-boiled egg, cukes, shredded carrots, cooked fingerling potatoes, bell peppers, kalamata olives, and garbanzos, and Saturday much the same but with red beans (and crêpes, either peach or banana with strawberries or Nutella, for dessert most of these nights).
Sunday we grilled shrimp in Old Bay/olive oil along with skewers of summer squash, fingerling potatoes, and red bell peppers, serving that over jasmine rice, with local cukes on the side, and there are leftovers for Monday’s dinner.
So not exactly inspired, and no new recipes, but it was tasty, fairly healthy, easy, used the crabmeat, and took advantage of nice grilling weather and of local lettuces, cukes, cherry tomatoes, and squash. And used two cans of beans from the pantry, plus some dip I’d already opened last week for my poetry group.
Be Neighbourly: contribute to community support systems, look for ways to help neighbours and others
As usual in summer, husband volunteered at local car museum on Tues & Thurs for about 9.5 hours. We both chatted with a neighbour/friend as we were walking and he was driving down our road on Wed. for about 10 minutes. I sent sympathy cards to two friends and attended a memorial service on Saturday morning for a poetry group member’s husband who was a Vietnam vet and a commercial airline pilot.
Sent my only remaining aunt a birthday card (she turned 85). Spent a lot of time talking and texting with my sister (who was hospitalised) on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Skill up: learn new things, especially skills or knowledge that remind us of our place in the natural world and within the social fabric
Husband learned how to fix the Whirlpool refrigerator door.
So many birds heard (by Merlin) from 10:25 to 11:45 on Tuesday, some that beggar belief. But the “black-billed cuckoo” has been heard on a couple occasional here since then.
I found these insects, among others, in the garden this week. Many insects favour angelica flowers, I notice. (Plant more angelica.)
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
Husband mowed the lawn on Wednesday and took trash/recycling to the dump on Saturday. He moved the pantry spider and her 40 or so offspring to other quarters on Sunday.
I worked out three times (3 hours) this week. I gardened on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for a total of about 6 hours this week, pruning, cutting back, weeding, harvesting, and just observing.
I cleaned the kitchen sink, strainers, and counters thoroughly, cleaned both toilets (more than once), did a couple of loads of laundry (clothes, towels) and some dusting, and clipped the daylilies to keep them looking tidy outside.
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
The nights are getting colder, with lows in the low 50°Fs this week and some high 40°Fs in next week’s forecast. All of the tomato varieties have flowers but only a few have fruit and most of those are green; I’m not sure we’ll have much in the way of a tomato crop this year. (Thankfully, the local farmstand grows them in greenhouses and hoophouses, almost year-round.) The basil I planted last week may not last too long.
Daylily season is coming to an end. We didn’t plant any of the daylilies on our property but there’s a row of the simple orange variety along the driveway that flourishes in the month of July, and so far, with a few more buds to go, they’ve produced 2,077 blooms! The most in any one day was 16 July, with 150, but there were 12 days with 100 or more blooms. We do absolutely nothing for them, no fertilizer, no weeding, just cutting them back when they’re finished. Hostas, clover, cinquefoil, hawkweed, and other plants grow among them, though not heavily.
I came across a phrase this week in Bess Kalb’s essay in her newsletter, The Grudge Report, that I hope to apply to some occasions now and in the apocalyptic future: “Handle it breezily.” It won’t work for everything — some things require handling with gravity, carefully, formally, gingerly, even heavy-heartedly — but I’m going to be on the lookout for circumstances where it’s just what’s needed.
featured image: one of the bakeries we like, from patio seat