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
Planted three pink zinnia plants I bought on Monday (bought and planted on Monday, with the buying and planting occurring with barely 10 minutes between). Just felt like it and had some space open where slugs had feasted on orange zinnias a few weeks ago.
Found the first monarch butterfly larva on a milkweed in the vegetable garden on Tuesday. Found a couple more there and in the kitchen garden yesterday and today, plus some tiny black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars (second or third instar) on fennel today.
Made a plan on Saturday night for a quick getaway to coastal NH soon, trying a new motel and a few new cafés and restaurants if we can find some with outside seating.
Harvest something: harvest, forage, glean, or bring to fruition
Yay, I harvested all the rest of the garlic on Saturday. None of it had split, it all looked fine, with about 1/2 of the harvest of 32 bulbs quite large. They’ve been drying outside yesterday and today in the warm air and will come inside to finish drying for a few weeks tonight.
Harvested about 10 blueberries on Tuesday but checked the bushes today to find that some other creature is taking the ripe ones now. Tomatoes — what there are — are still green. I could harvest tons of thyme if I needed it for anything. Hazelnuts still green as of today; I note that we first began harvesting them on the last day of August in 2018, which is the last year we got them before another animal.
Husband salvaged a vintage Sears sabre saw and a lawn sprinkler — to replace one bought 40 or so years ago — at the dump today.
Preserve something: food, local community resources
Preserved local resources: Shopped at local farmstand on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, for corn on the cob, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, fingerling potatoes, lettuce, a sausage (for upcoming cocktail party), and of course zinnias.
Ate outside at local bakery on Wednesday morning — we ran into two friends there and sat and chatted with them. Bought a few items at another local bakery on Thursday and today. Ate dinner outside at a fancy local restaurant on Thursday evening, with the sounds of the “Hospital Days” festival midway — rides, fried dough and sno-cones, carnival games, haunted house, climbing wall, etc. — to accompany our meal.
I’m in the midst of preserving the garlic, by letting it dry.
Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage & repair, give away
Husband mended a dishtowel.
Keep Stocked Up: with food and emergency supplies, financial resources, and experiences that make life worth living
Supplies: Got free stuff — several substantial notepads, post-it pads, ballpoint pens, two travel bandaid kits, some eye wash, another resusable fabric bag, and probably more I’m forgetting — at the ‘Meet the Chamber’ event on Thursday evening, part of a local multi-day hospital fundraiser/festival (“Hospital Days”) from Thurs-Sat. this week.
Financial: Met with our financial advisor for the annual check-in on Thursday. Updated all the info and have a better sense of where we stand.
Things that make life worth living: I spent a fair amount of time looking at/for insects this week, in my garden and elsewhere. It’s high summer here and finally not raining constantly, so more insects are out and about (see Skill Up for photos).
Also stalked the hummingbirds quite a bit, from inside as well as outside. See them?
Took a longish walk on Monday with a friend, and walked in town on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
We went to the beer garden at a local brewery on Saturday to taste a few beers while eating our pizza there and basking in the perfect weather.
We’ve been enjoying watching the (1985-1986) “Mapp & Lucia” series during dinners this week. I spent my evenings chortling to We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Quietly Hostile, both by Samantha Irby.
I was very chuffed to find that a variegated hydrangea I bought at a plant sale in 2015, which has never bloomed, now has a few small blooms on it! (I bought it for the variegation but the delicate flowers are a nice bonus.)
While we were in Concord Thursday afternoon, we walked around admiring the pocket gardens and the State House grounds.
Most of the other things I enjoyed this week are recorded under Tend & Maintain (“maintain our relationships”).
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
On Monday, I made a salad from the leftover grilled shrimp and veggies we had on Sunday, adding them to greens, cukes, carrots, and red beans. Summer is so easy.
Tuesday was grilled (soy or beef) hot dogs with sides including local corn on the cob. On Wednesday, my husband had smoked salmon on a bagel with chives, red onion, capers, and cream cheese, while I had gemelli pasta sautéed with arugula, red beans, and olive oil and tamari for dinner. Thursday we ate outside at a local restaurant, photos above.
Friday, my husband had my leftovers from the restaurant dinner the night before + local corn on the cob while I had leftover gemelli sautéed with arugula, soy chicken, and olive oil and tamari, plus local corn on the cob. Saturday was veggie burgers (with arugula!), mac & cheese, corn on the cob, and, as we’ve had most of this week, homemade peach cobbler bread from 2022 for dessert; and tonight we had another summer salad, this one with arugula and romaine, canned albacore tuna, hard-boiled egg, carrots, cukes, red bell pepper, kalamata olives, roasted artichoke hearts, and the last of the red beans. The roasted artichoke hearts are a new thing I’m trying, auditioning it for the upcoming cocktail party. They turned out well tonight.
Be Neighbourly: contribute to community support systems, look for ways to help neighbours and others
Husband volunteered at a local car museum on Tue. and Thurs. for a total of 9.5 hours, and he drove a car from the museum in the “Hospital Days” parade on Saturday — a 1911 Model A with the license plate number “1,” the first antique plate issued in New Hampshire. I went to the parade and smiled and waved wildly at friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike.
Made a donation in a friend’s memory to the American Mountain Club (AMC) on Sunday.
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 both took a webinar on using iNaturalist on Wednesday evening.
I still have a lot to learn about it but I use it almost every day so eventually some of it’s bound to sink in. Here are some insects seen and identified (some provisionally) this week:
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 hair encutment on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. (masked). I spent four or five hours in the garden this week — harvesting, weeding, and observing — spread over five or six days. I dusted, swept, and tidied the kitchen and laundry room for about 2 hours today and washed the sheets. On Tuesday, I spent about 1.5 hours finding, collating, and transmitting updated financial info for the Thursday meeting with the financial advisor. I worked out for 4 hours this week. I remembered to water the houseplants.
Husband power washed some of the house (vinyl siding) on Wednesday for three hours. He also put out more ant gel on Friday in the kitchen after the ants came back following a couple of weeks’ reprieve (actually, these ants are a different species from the first invaders).
My sister called on Tuesday and we caught up for over an hour. My husband and I enjoyed, as I mentioned, chatting with friends for 20 minutes or so unexpectedly sitting outside at the local bakery on Wednesday, and saying hello to people we know during the parade and other events — including a neighbour who passed by as we were eating outside at the restaurant on Thursday and came up on the porch to chat a little. We ran into another neighbour as we were all walking after the parade on Saturday and chatted for a few minutes on the sidewalk with her.
Permaculture group met on Zoom on Thursday, with seven of us, to talk about our gardens, books, what’s going on in our lives. Salon met in person on Friday for two hours with four of us in person and one on Zoom from Oregon; we talked a lot about medical and health topics, which interests all of us since most of our total group of seven have health services backgrounds and several of us or our close family members have cancer, heart issues, and other serious/chronic conditions. (The featured image at the top of the page are the Salon host’s pink impatiens and red bench in rain that afternoon.)
I went over to a friend’s on a local lake on Monday morning for a walk and tour of her neighbourhood and lake house (now their full-time house). It was another beautiful weather day and there was a lot of interest to see and talk about.
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’m hanging onto summer! And so are the birds, including at least three hummingbirds seen together in the yard this week. The cedar waxwings seem to always be around, the goldfinches, red-eyed vireos, catbirds, and cardinals chatter continually, and I still haven’t seen the indigo bunting, though Merlin hears it often.
We spent several hours this week looking at our financial future in detail, which is always useful; though there’s nothing more uncertain than the future, we plan what we can and hope for the best.
We (well one of us not me) got the Japanese lantern into the garden with seven weeks of summer still to go!
Another thing that makes life worth living: these globe thistles (Echinops bannaticus ‘Blue Glow’), so dreamy and whimsical.