Tag Archives: Sharon Astyk’s Independence Day Challenge

Independence Day Challenge 7/19

Independence Days Challenge

So this is rather late on a Saturday, but it was a rough week with my health issues cropping up. I have CNS vasculitis (associated with lupus), and sometimes the arteries in my brain swell up can  and as you can imagine it’s not pleasant.  So I spent a couple of days literally icing down my head while Steve ran the show.

Plant or Harvest something:   Aside from doing a pretty good job of eating out the garden,  CA Poppy seed pods are ready for harvesting for next year’s seed bank .  We planted another run of zuchinni, an early acorn variety we have and early pie pumpkins.

Preserve something:  We froze some more greens and things like that that came in from the garden, but I wanted to focus on the things I didn’t grow as a reminder that you don’t have to have a garden to preserve food.  We bought 25 lbs of carrots with the bulk food order last week because they are super cheap right now. So we canned some and froze some shredded to use for carrot muffins and quick breads in the winter.  We also bought the clearance strawberries at Aldi and made ten jars of jam to put up for the winter.  I decided I am just going to take a picture of the cupboard where we keep the canned goods every so often. It’s pretty early in the season for what we can.  Most of our greens go in the freezer which is filling up nicely but doesn’t look as pretty. LOL

Waste not:  I dehydrated a bunch of egg shells and ground them up to add to our dog’s food for calcium and we fed some to the zuchinni.  I also made watermelon-strawberry sorbet for the freezer out of a watermelon that was a bit on the mushy side for my crew.  Sorbet’s are a nice way to use up excess fruit. It’s been our experience that if we pack them my special way, they will last 6-8 months in the freezer.

Want Not: As far as emergency supplies go, I got our own set of two way radios that will talk to the ones we bought for the medic group and I can keep charged with the solar lantern.  I’ve got the medic supplies kind of re-inventoried and know what we need to make to get them stocked back up.

Eating the food:  I ate something new this week.  We got a lot of kohlrabi from the local CSA and to be honest with you, it’s not something I’ve worked with lot.  So we roasted some just to see if you could do it, and it’s pretty good.  We are going to can the rest up and mix it in with mashed potatoes when we make shephard’s pie.

Caregiving and enhancing community support systems and mutual aid:   We did the usual mutual aid lunches (thanks to my partner in crime Steve who picks up my slack when my brain tries to explode.) The mutual aid group is also looking at ways that we can support the local secular homeschool group which is growing exponentially due to the fact that our governor is an asshat and won’t allow online schooling.

I was kind of thinking my days of being involved in the homeschool group were almost over,  but I have a granddaughter in the group now whom I watch a few days a week.  We hosted their first Zoom chat for the kids to get use to that format a little bit before we try to do more organized things in the fall.

Skill Up: I don’t really feel like I accomplished much in this area this week, but hey I was sick. Next week I am “job shadowing” a few people who have been building mutual aid collectives for longer than I have.

Winter is Coming:  That didn’t take long.  We found a dent-and-scratch AC/Heater thing that will keep our upstairs reasonable.  Now to figure out what to do about the electric bill that will result.

Independence Days Challenge 7/11

Independence Days Challenge

I honestly didn’t think anything would make me feel like blogging again but Sharon Astyk has accomplished that unlikely task by reviving the Independence Day Challenge.   I am probably almost fan-girl excited about this because this challenge really helped me pull my act together the first time around. So all you people who ask me how I manage to get so much done, you are about to learn.   First of all I am going to send you to her public Facebook post to read the format.

Then I want to talk to you a little bit about me.  My house is the hub house for distributing food for the Iowa City Mutual Aid Collective and I am  the coordinator of our local Herbalists Without Borders chapter.  I am  also a strong  supporter of the Black Lives Matters movement.  I run with the protests as a medic and coordinate a local medic group. I was there when the protestors were tear-gassed and I was pretty consistenly harassed by cops when they were marching regularly, so I am a pretty vocally and unapologetically leftist.

Plant or Harvest something:  Right now we are doing more harvesting than we are planting. We are mostly harvesting greens (lettuce, chard, beet greens, and colllard greens) although we’ve had a few zuchinni and cucumbers, now too. This week I transplanted some basil,  feverfew,  oregano, and thyme to a new sunny garden spot in our yard left there because we had an ash tree removed, but it was done more out of necessity than really thinking it was a good time for it.  It was beastly hot, so I left most of my herbs alone but the poppies are just at that point where I can harvest tops with some flowers and some seeds.

Preserve something:  We have a fairly good size garden ourselves and we also get garden donations for the mutual aid group. Some we use and distribute during the week and some we put away for winter because our goal is to build sustainable local systems.  This week we froze collards and kale and pickled radishes.  I started a couple of hydroethanolic extracts (tinctures) including wild lettuce and california poppy.

Waste not:  I spent some time this week re-organizing the freezers, but more of the week was spent planning what we could do to make some space out in the garage and making lists because my partner is taking the next two weeks off and we plan on getting some stuff done.

Want Not: Tonight was the night we picked up our monthly bulk food order.  I’ve been buying in bulk for decades now so I have a pretty good rotation going so that I am always about four months ahead of the game.  I got a really good deal on 25 lbs of organic #2 carrots.  It was also the month to stock up on cultures from the cheesemaking website– about every four months I order just enough to get the free shipping.

We have been super fortunate thus far that my partner has been able to work from home through all of this… so far.  I have held on to a couple of my paying writing gigs, but we definitely have less coming in than we did before because I can’t teach in-person classes right now.  Since that’s beginning to feel like I pretty long term reality, I finally broke down and bought a renewed computer and a webcam.  I have tried the online class thing before but my ten year-old computer was really holding me back.

Eating the food:  We eat really well because cooking dinner is the way my partner unwinds from work and people who are friends with me on Facebook probably see enough of those pictures.  I will share some of those recipes, but instead of taking the easy way out and talking about that a lot, I am going to talk about my struggles with executive function and feeding myself. 

I am an Autist and one my particular challenges is that I struggle with body awareness both in recognizing where my body is in space and with what is called interoception. You can read more about it here if you like, but the bottom line is that  I don’t really pick up on all the cues my body sends me to help me self-regulate. It is not unusual for me to have gone all day long getting food to other people without feeding myself.  So I am going to work on that.

Caregiving and enhancing community support systems and mutual aid:   I have kind of a easy out in that department.  I sent 120 sack lunches to our unhoused neighbors, 10 bags of prepared meals to households in need, (some due to illnesss and some due to financial need)  and this week we sent a meal to one of our amazing Community Helpers as a show of support for all their work.

Skill Up: I  have to take CEUs, so on the 2nd I finished a standard precautions training on safe injections/managing needle injuries. Between that, re-upping my Red Cross Severe Bleed cert and the WHO module I took on IPC for covid, I have pretty much all I need for the year which is pretty good because I usually put it off until October. I am working through a conflict management specialization from Coursera because communication is not my strongsuit and I hope it gives me some insight. I am also learning Adobe Captivate so I can put the medic trainings online.

Winter is Coming:  It was a rough week.  Yesterday was the first day that a lot of people around here were officially late with their rent after the legal protections ran out and you could hear it in the voices.   So I feel pretty petty saying that my major concern right now is trying to figure out a way to make it cooler in this house, but losing the tree has made our house like an oven. It really would make all the baking I need to do tolerable.  It’s the middle of the night and it still 88 degrees in my house.  I am also thinking ahead to when canning begins in earnest.