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
Planned another short trip; made motel reservations and got on the cat-sitter’s schedule on Sunday.
I want to plant some bulbs to force inside and need potting soil to do it. Maybe next week.
Started a custom online Xmas gift early in the week, spent about 15-20 hours on it, and ordered it late on Thursday. These are my favourite kinds of gifts to give. Ordered a couple more Xmas gifts on Friday (from independent shops). Ordered 20 digital Jacquie Lawson interactive Advent calendars for friends and family on Sunday.
Harvest something: harvest, forage, glean, or bring to fruition
Nothing comes to mind.
Preserve something: food, local community resources
Local resources: Bought treats at local bakery on Friday. Shopped at local farmstand on Wednesday.
Participated in group hike on Monday through a local preservation group to which we belong.
Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage & repair, give away
Nothing comes to mind.
Keep Stocked Up: with food and emergency supplies, financial resources, and experiences that make life worth living
Food/Supplies: Rejiggered the Amazon subscribe & save again for this month’s (and future months’) delivery. Ordered tea (that I can no longer seem to find locally) on Wednesday. I bought a shirt on eBay Sunday.
Experiences: We went on a group hike (really, too large a group) with a local land trust group on Monday, to a parcel we don’t get to often. You can tell it’s hunting season.
On Saturday, we walked around the lake. Saw one loon and several mallards and black ducks.
And Sunday, late afternoon, we walked on two nearby conservation properties, including the bog.
I also took a few walks in town, including to a local art gallery to meet a friend and enjoy the art on Wednesday.
I finished The Last Devil to Die (Richard Osmon), which I very much enjoyed. We watched a couple of Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot/Ariadne Oliver dvds this week –> The Halloween Party and Elephants Can Remember. They’re my comfort viewing. I’m also now reading some Christie short stories in a book I bought at a local bookstore a few weeks ago.
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
Triumph of the leftovers this week! I made the cheesy tuna noodle casserole (with peas, garlic, onions) on Monday and we had it also on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, with an arugula salad (kalamata olives, carrots, peppers, cukes) one night, with cooked broccoli and cauliflower another night, with sautéed fresh spinach (and our garlic) another night.
On Wed., I made a hot dish with cheese tortellini and sautéed bell peppers, spinach, artichoke hearts, broccoli, and shrimp, with lemon zest and juice and olive oil, and we also ate that on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with cucumbers or bread. Sunday night was veggie burger on arugula, mac & cheese, and sautéed fresh spinach with our garlic. [Fresh spinach is readily available now at the farmstand, so we’ll be having it often for a while.]
Speaking of bread, as I was, my husband made two loaves of honey wheat bread on Thursday. And he made pancakes on Thurs. morning.
Be Neighbourly: contribute to community support systems, look for ways to help neighbours and others
Watered our friend’s plants on Saturday. (Most of the week — around the walks, working out, keeping in touch with my sisters, and a few social occasions — I was focused on online tasks and didn’t lift my head up much.)
Skill up: learn new things, especially skills or knowledge that remind us of our place in the natural world and within the social fabric
I watched a “Chasing Cancer’ webinar through the Washington Post on Wednesday, with two speakers: Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research, on using AI in medicine “to bring back the humanity, the humaneness,” and Dr. Renee Wegrzyn, the new director of ARPA-H (Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health), who talked about a couple of their projects, like Precision Surgical Interventons, which takes “innovations in imaging and new visualization tools for the surgeon and really allows it all to happen in real time during operations” (so e.g., pathology is done right along with a biopsy, which can allow further surgery to be done in the moment instead of having to perform a second surgery, later) and also CUREIT, a program that could use “mRNA-coded tools to actually directly target genes and either tune them up or tune them down.” I find these kinds of things fascinating.
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
Bodies: We both got our flu shots at the local pharmacy on Wednesday. Bumblecat had his annual vet visit on Wednesday, too, including blood work, urine and fecal labs, and a rabies shot. I worked out 4 times (4 hours) this week.
House & Garden: Bumble’s litter box was thoroughly cleaned by me on Thursday. Husband added brush and cuttings to the informal hugelkultur (well, it could be a hugelkultur) in the backyard on Monday. We had about 2 inches of snow on Thursday — the first snow — and husband shoveled the driveway (not enough snow to use snowblower).
Husband applied some undercoating to a few places on the Jeep on Sunday. He took trash and recycling to the dump on Saturday. He also communicated with our internet/cable provider when the upload/download times were noticeably slow on Thursday; he got a helpful response but before anything more could be done, the problem seems to have resolved. I did towel laundry on Tues. and clothes laundry on Thurs., and cleaned the shower and two toilets. I also cleaned out the Christmas cabinet where I store gifts and wrapping items on Monday.
Relationships: Spent about 45 mins on the phone with my sister on Monday and a half-hour on Tuesday, plus lots of texts with her and my other sister all week concerning my brother-in-law (in hospital). Met a friend and looked at art at a local gallery on Wednesday.
Salon met in person on Friday here, just three of us, but we had good conversations for over two hours. Permaculture group (5 of us) met on Zoom on Thursday to discuss our current book and decide on our next book.
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 little British convertible got gassed up and took its last ride for the year on Wednesday, another sign of winter in the offing. Of course, Thursday’s snow and the continuing cold (raw, windy) weather is another reminder. These plants, a zone 5 perennial and two annuals, did OK (until we hit 19°F this weekend).
I asked the Salon attendees to take a few photos of my husband, me, and the cat on Friday, hoping to use them for a Christmas card. We liked one shot quite a bit, so It might happen, or we may try a few more shots.
It felt great to finish the custom online Xmas gift on Thursday!
I think this is a good reminder — to cultivate joy while keeping aware of what’s heart-breaking — to make life better: