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
We registered the new (used) vehicle on Tuesday and applied for the title. It’s sporting NH license plates now. Next week: inspection.
Garlic arrived from Fedco this week. I need to prep the garlic bed for planting it around the end of the month. (I have not opened it immediately. On the other hand, it’s not frozen.)
postscript: I opened it on Wednesday (18 Oct) and realised there were also 25 apricot parrot tulip bulbs and 3 Aurora Maxima Crown Imperial fritillaria in the box! More to plant!
Harvest something: harvest, forage, glean, or bring to fruition
Harvested some more cherry tomatoes to ripen inside. Harvested parsley for dinner I made on Wednesday. Husband gleaned a three-prong heavyduty extension cord and a bicycle tire tube at the dump on Wedneday.
Preserve something: food, local community resources
No food preserving. And not likely to be any until next summer.
Local resources: Bought treats from local bakery on Thursday and Saturday. Shopped at local farmstand, including buying a pumpkin, on Wed. and Sat. Bought pizza at local pizza place on Saturday to bring to local beer garden that afternoon.
Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage & repair, give away
Husband repaired (sewed) two undershirts on Saturday.
Keep Stocked Up: with food and emergency supplies, financial resources, and experiences that make life worth living
Food & emergency supplies: Ordered an Aranet CO₂ monitor on Amazon Prime sale on Tuesday and received it on Friday. Our house (built in 1982) isn’t too bad, with most rooms in the green most of the time so far, but some rooms do hit 1100ppm occasionally. It’s hard to ventilate by opening windows when temps are in the high 30Fs at night. We already have a Winix air cleaner. We’re looking at ventilation systems.
I reviewed Amazon subscribe & save and made some changes for next week’s delivery.
Financial: Not good environmentally but I did return four items recently ordered from clothing stores online, none of which fit the way I hoped they would (two sweaters that would have been long enough actually had slits up the sides that exposed a lot of my torso skin!? I guess they are meant to be worn with very high-waisted pants??). Three items were returned at no cost; I won’t be ordering from the other store again. I bought a pair of used Columbia convertible hiking pants from eBay for less than $18 including shipping this week.
Experiences: I enjoyed putting together the October Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post today. I just started reading The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store (2023) by James McBride and I’m into it. I <chef’s kiss> my daily 1/3 of a rice krispie treat from the local bakery in town.
Our permaculture group met on Zoom on Thursday with seven of us and we had a good conversation and some laughs. Had a really nice poetry group meeting on Friday at a friend’s overlooking the lake. The host offered some seasonal candies, too 🎃
We walked on local trails on Monday and Wednesday, and I took a long walk in town on Saturday. I also walked in town on Tuesday to collect litter on my route.
I met a new bulldog in the neighbourhood on Tuesday and ran into him (Earl) and his person again on Saturday!
I love using Merlin to hear the birds that I can see flitting around the house. Some this week (and today I heard the first American tree sparrow of the season!):
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
A mixed bag this week, with one new pasta recipe and a slightly involved fish recipe that I’ve made a few times before; the rest was leftovers + frozen/pre-made entrees.
I made roasted cod with tomatoes, olives, and capers, plus sautéed-in-garlic fingerlings and broccolini, on Monday night. We had some of that on Tuesday plus pizza leftovers from the weekend.
Made a new recipe on Wednesday but it’s going to need tweaking: 5-ingredient spaghetti. I used bucatini, and the other ingredients are cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and either parsley or basil; I went with parsley because I could harvest it from the garden (basil has gone by in the cold nights) but I should have used basil for more flavour. I also added artichoke hearts and pecorino romano cheese. Next time: basil, more garlic, maybe more salt. I added to the leftovers for dinner the next night, increasing the black pepper and garlic (and adding a little Old Bay), and it was better, but still needs basil I think. Maybe plum tomatoes, too.
Friday was the standby (Prime Griller) veggie cheeseburger, with corn and a boxed herbed rice. We got pizza (spinach, artichoke, and olive — bought it from another local pizza place we hadn’t tried before and were pleasantly suprised by the abundance of toppings) for the beer garden on Saturday afternoon; my husband had leftover pizza for dinner that night and I had leftover red beans, jasmine rice, plus corn and cheese all mixed together for mine. Sunday we went with the premade Indian dinners and papdums.
Husband made three loaves of French bread on Sunday.
Be Neighbourly: contribute to community support systems, look for ways to help neighbours and others
Tried to support friends (a couple), one of whom had a sort of surprise surgery on Monday, with texting, and also we were happy to have her over for dinner and peach bread on Monday evening while he was recovering in the hospital overnight. Texted some with another friend whose husband had a surgery on Friday. Texted most days with my sister whose husband is undergoing chemo and complications. I’ve also been keeping updated through Caring Bridge on a friend (and former boss, years ago) undergoing chemo and complications for a late-stage lung cancer, holding her in the light from afar.
The last day for the local car museum this season was on Monday; husband volunteered 3-4 hours there that morning helping to close it up for winter.
On Tuesday I spent an hour picking up litter on my in-town route. Interesting summer/fall transition items: High Noon vodka & soda and Simply Spiked Peach cans representing the waning of summer, and a Fireball nip bringing in autumn. A Chipotle cup was a rather exotic find as the closest Chipotle is 40 miles away.
Skill up: learn new things, especially skills or knowledge that remind us of our place in the natural world and within the social fabric
Thursday was webinar day. First, mid-afternoon, Benjamin Vogt — owner of Monarch Gardens LLC in Nebraska and author of A New Garden Ethic and Prairie Up — shared details on “The Troubles with Garden Design,” some of his prairie-garden design “fails,” though about half turned out quite nice eventually.
Next, that evening, was Heather Holm on “Landscaping for Native Bees.” Her books include Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States, Pollinators of Native Plants, and Wasps: Their Biology, Diversity, and Role as Beneficial Insects and Pollinators of Native Plants. I’ve heard her speak before on solitary wasps and on native bees, maybe even on landscaping for them, but she’s so concise, clear, informative, and knowledgeable that I happily signed up to hear her again. I was chuffed to see that most of her shrub and small tree ideas are species already growing in my yard. I may have to get a buttonbush in the spring.
I actually learned things from each webinar and have ideas to act on next spring.
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
Home: On Tuesday, husband replaced some surge protectors (they don’t last forever) and he swapped out some power strips for surge protectors. He also cleaned out the garage a bit. He went to the dump on Wednesday. I pulled some Asian bittersweet out of a concolour fir over the weekend.
Relationships: We had a good discussion of the book chapter (“Out of the Woods” in the book also called Out of the Woods,by Julia Corbett) and of everything else going on when our permaculture group met on Thursday morning (seven of us on Zoom). I got a pic with all of us smiling or laughing!
Poetry group with only four of us was lovely on Friday afternoon. Good conversation, good poems, a lovely setting on the lake.
I really appreciated the Dharma Sunday teaching and meditation this week, led by Susan and Bill Morgan, both psychotherapists, on “Cultivating an Inner Holding Environment for Meditation.” It included instruction on both creating a safe and trusting environment within ourselves, paying attention to ourselves the way we would pay attention to a grandchild or to a small bird in our hands, as well as preparing for meditation by physically stretching, loosening our joints, being aware of our physical, grounded body. The idea is to meditate without a sense of rushing, pushing (trying hard), agitation and restlessness. And Susan’s leotard! Perfect.
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 am noticing the migrating birds passing through and the birds returning here for winter.
A monarch eclosed in the yard yesterday, a windy 53°F inhospitable day for any butterfly, much less a newly minted one that needs to dry and pump fluids through its body by flapping its wings (which it can’t do in cold temps). That was sad. We’ve brought it in and are trying to feed it but I’m not sure how much it can open its wings since it couldn’t pump them in the cold. I don’t know how long it was hanging on a branch before I spotted it.
Winter is looming when it comes to insects here now. The male bumblebees are sleeping on the asters and most are barely moving around to feed except for a couple of afternoon hours per day, with temps reaching only the mid-50s at best, though there are a few who fly around at 10 a.m. like it’s just fine. These are their last hours on earth. The next few days will be slightly warmer, maybe even up to 62°F by Thursday. But rain comes in after that, and frost will be coming soon (temps forecast for 31°F next Monday night now) and even without frost most of the flowers are dying.
How to make life better in the future? Stop applying pesticides to lawns/properties/fields; it’s killing all the insects, not just ticks or mosquitos. Without insects (and particularly pollinators and particularly native insects, but at this point I’m not so fussy) we don’t have food, or birds, or reptiles and amphibians. And insects (and arachnids) are so great and amazing and valuable just in and of themselves!