Independence Days Challenge

I’ve wanted to internet-marry Sharon Astyk since the local Urban Harvest group read her book, Independence Days, in 2009, and I became a loyal blog reader. Here was someone who values the same things I do, who worries about taking care of her loved ones in such a way that resources are left for other people to take care of their loved ones, and who had gone past worrying to actually doing things to make the world around her better.

Around the time the book was coming out, she had started an Independence Days Challenge on her blog – following in the footsteps of Carla Emery to each day:

  • plant something
  • harvest something
  • preserve something
  • waste not
  • want not
  • eat the food
  • build community food systems

Holding the challenge on one’s blog is a lovely idea – not only formally reminding yourself of your committment, but holding yourself accountable for results in the eyes of The Intarwebs. So this year, I am formally joining. (I will probably also start tracking my progress on her Anyway Project as well, as eating mindfully is inextricably intertwined with building resilience.)

So, this last month:

Plant something: mung bean sprouts. Wayyy too early for starting things for outside. I shall also count taking advantage of the unseasonally disturbing weather to cover the emergency-drainage-fix bare dirt in the front yard with straw “books” – if we get any moisture this winter yet, this should prevent erosion AND give me a head start on mulched beds. I was going to plant herbs there anyway, but how nice not to have to remove the sod myself!

Harvest something: mung bean sprouts

Preserve something:  Becky Vs The Pressure Canner Round 2: Beef Stew: The Redux went much better than last time (although the claim that the canner can hold 19 pint jars is an utter lie. I only got 17.)

Waste Not: Veg scraps go to rabbit, and rabbit is now mostly litterbox-trained! woot! I don’t really mind having to add the paper pellets in the litterbox to absorb the urine, as it smells less than the de-facto hay absorbant from her previous arrangement, and has less seeds for the compost pile to worry about. Plus, having a lovely 5-gallon pail (with Gamma Lid) of droppings at the top of the stairs waiting to be carried to the freezing outdoor compost pile gives me a convenient spot to park the veg scraps she can’t eat. Bunneh definitely illustrates how the permaculture technique of adding new elements to a design connected with multiple other elements, makes everything function better.

Want Not: put up shelves on a long unused wall in the living room; got a drumcarder for the 7 lbs of black Corriedale in the garage that’s wanting to be blended with the grocery sacks of angora; splurged on Spoonflower prints for living room window quilts.

Eat the Food: made lots of 100% whole-wheat and flax bread dough for Christmas, and am still eating the last of the frozen flatbreads from the last batch; used 2 cups of my precious Hidatsa Shield Figure bean stash in a Jamaican Oxtail recipe (with actual grass-finished oxtail and neckbones.  The neckbones were quite meaty and amazing, actually.) Lentils in crockpot right now, with the last of a bag of onions and some disappointing sausage from the depths of the freezer. Terribly proud of myself for making last-minute veggie stirfry for two without having to go to the store.

And incidentally, started (albeit did not finish) two knitting projects from stash.

Build Community Food Systems: added eggs to my grass-finished beef herd share; for Christmas got 50 lbs each of local organic dried black beans, green peas and green lentils, and shared with friends and family; applied for the open spot on the North Dakota Community Forestry Council. I’ll be presenting two sessions at the ND State Horticultural Society Conference in Bismarck in July, and just learned this entitles me to a free vendor space. Now to plan for a High Plains Permaculture presence…


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