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 better match my own life and community; I may continue to tinker with the framework as time goes on.
Plant something: plant, start something
I planted eight ‘Purple Sensation’ alliums on Wed. for spring blooming. They should be about 2-3 feet tall with a 4-5-inch flower ball.
Also on Wed., a male monarch eclosed from the chrysalis in the front yard, when the high temp was a sunny 77°F. The chrysalis, which was on jewelweed and maybe 8 inches off the ground (quite low), was there for at least 12 days and probably a day or two more; I noticed it on 23 Sept. as I was pulling some weeds. (I actually pulled on that jewelweed but felt the chrysalis and was able to stop in time!) Hope the butterfly has flown south now that highs here are in the 50°Fs and lows in the high 30°Fs.
Harvest something: harvest, forage, glean, or bring to fruition
Harvested a couple more handfuls of cherry tomatoes from the garden on a few days. Harvested a little basil for a caper-basil butter to go on grilled swordfish on Friday, and used about half a head of my recently harvested garlic in two side dishes that night as well. Husband was gifted nice socks from the car museum board this week and several Bartlett pears from another car museum volunteer’s pear tree. We were given pumpkin muffins by a friend today!
Preserve something: food, local community resources
Local resources: Picked up goodies from local bakery on Friday and got coffee & pastries and ate outside on the patio at the bakery this morning.
I did a big grocery shop at area co-op on Friday afternoon. Husband got car tires put on rims by local (independent) car repair shop on Wed. I bought a pair of socks at a local (NH) clothing store on Sat. We ordered pizza on Sat. from the local place in town.
Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage & repair, give away
Husband mended (sewed) one of his shirts this week. I’d like to note that we are still using the “summer” comforter we bought 32 years ago, in 1991. (The winter one is almost as old.)
Keep Stocked Up: with food and emergency supplies, financial resources, and experiences that make life worth living
I ordered some winter tops/sweaters from Land’s End and Banana Republic this week; I rarely buy new clothes other than socks, shoes, and underwear — most of my clothes come from eBay or thrift/consignment stores — but these items were specific colours and/or sizes I wanted. I bought a new pair of sneakers last week to replace a pair (that I loved) that split across the fabric (a big split) and were not salvageable except possibly with duct tape. On Saturday, I also bought another pair of Darn Tough socks at a local clothing store (part of a small NH chain). They’re the only brand I buy: made in nearby Vermont, most styles are at least 60% Merino wool so they’re warm but breathable, and they’re very durable.
I am really enjoying reading Maggie Smith’s You Could Make This Place Beautiful, about her divorce after almost 20 years together. It’s a memoir in an unorthodox style and so well written that I don’t want it to end.
Also dipping into some of the Agatha Christie Poirot short stories. We’re all caught up on the Hulu TV show “Only Murders in the Building” now, which is a little sad. I guess the 4th season won’t be aired until next summer.
We took a few woods & garden walks this week (Monday, Tuesday, Wed., and today), mostly looking for stinkhorn fungi, which we didn’t find … yet. Found lots of other things, though, including the shaggy mane mushrooms (Coprinus comatus) that we’ve also been checking one spot for these last few weeks.
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
This week I made one nice meal, on Friday: grilled swordfish (husband grilled) with a homemade caper-basil butter, garlic roasted fingerling potatoes, and garlic sautéed green beans.
Otherwise, it was leftover seafood casserole a few nights, microwaved Indian dinners (and leftovers) with papadums a couple of nights + a lunch, veggie burgers with sides, and take-out spinach-artichoke-olive pizza last night and tonight (and there’s more left), with big green salads (farmstand carrots, olives, farmstand peppers, red beans, arugula/lettuce) both nights. We have been eating more pears and local Asian pears lately. I love a good Asian pear.
Be Neighbourly: contribute to community support systems, look for ways to help neighbours and others
We tried to swap a newish car battery (from the car we’re “recycling”) with friends/neighbours today whose battery is a few years older but the sizes weren’t quite right (it worked on paper!). Husband helped friends/neighbours with urgent gutter issue on Thursday. I noticed that our neighbour picked up some dead tree branches I had pruned out of a tree and took them to the brush dump this week. Husband volunteered at local car museum for 10 hours this week, the last week they were open for 2023. On Monday I emailed friends, acquaintances, and neighbours the monthly link to my nature photos album.
Skill up: learn new things, especially skills or knowledge that remind us of our place in the natural world and within the social fabric
Nothing really, other than noticing the birds here now, the fungi popping up (and not), and how long the loons, butterflies and moths, dragonflies, and other animals stick around (or not) when it gets colder and darker.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time watching bumblebees on the asters this week, again.
The late eclosing of the monarch in our yard on Wed. didn’t really surprise me — there are often some stragglers — but I was surprised to see the monarch feeding in a meadow today, as the temperatures have dropped steadily since Wed. and we had over an inch of rain yesterday.
I’m also still researching and learning more about various blood counts and autoimmune diseases.
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 ordered and received new tires for the Healey this week. He had them put on the rims by a local car repair place on Wed., then he balanced them himself on Thursday using a borrowed tool.
On Thursday, I cleaned out my 1998 Honda Civic, which will be going to a recycler/scrap metal place soon. It’s been a good, very reliable car for the 15 years I’ve owned it, and if the swaybar weren’t detaching from the frame due to rust, we’d be keeping it.
Husband emptied the two rainbarrels for the season. They look like stocky grazing animals on the savannah to me now as they drain.
The cat’s nails were clipped by the vet on Friday and an appt. made for his annual visit in November.
I did some vacuuming this week. Also four loads of laundry, which is a lot for us, including a load of towels, a load of sheets, and the “summer” comforter and shams (circa 1991). I made the bed today with clean sheets and the “winter” comforter.
Lots of texting this week with my sister whose husband has been in the hospital since Wed. and a couple of phone calls with my other sister about family stuff and her own health issues. My permaculture group Zoomed on Thursday morning with five of us. Salon met in person on Friday afternoon with all five local members.
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 first Christmas gift I’ve ordered arrived this week from Etsy; this is about 6 weeks earlier than I usually buy anything. (Can’t show a photo in case the intended recipient reads this post.) We’ll see when item #2 is bought…
In the last 10-15 years, I rarely buy decor for the house that doesn’t have a purpose other than aesthetics. But these crocheted autumnal-hued pumpkins, also on Etsy, struck my fancy, weirdly, and I indulged. (They actually didn’t cost quite as much as they’re listed for now.) I’ve plunked them into a ceramic pumpkin dish given to me by a friend about 10 years ago. Trying to embrace the season!
Some more autumn decor —
Featured image is from a drive on the highway on Friday.