Thursday, February 16, 2012

Independence Days Challenge

Independence is many things to many people.
To me, it is a powerful feeling to be independent. The New Oxford dictionary has a few different definitions. Here's the one that speaks to me the most:

not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence : I wanted to remain independent in old age.
• capable of thinking or acting for oneself : advice for independent travelers.
• (of income or resources) making it unnecessary to earn one's living : a woman of independent means.

I have always said it's more challenging to be independent in a small apartment, as many others know. Sometimes I lose sight of how to get to the end goal, even though I know in my heart that I shouldn't sweat it. Every now and then though, it's good to get a bit of encouragement. This morning, I got that bit of encouragement from a woman who's blog I've always enjoyed, but had slipped my mind. Sharon Astyk is an intelligent writer that has written on a variety of topics like the preservation of home, agriculture, food preservation, climate change, changing weather instability, peak oil, and the rejuvenation of family. Her blog, The Chatelaine's Keys is never boring and always gets me thinking. On February 1 of this year, she brought back a challenge she's done in the past that she called Independence Days

She challenges us to  not lose sight of the goal, not to get overwhelmed by the myriad of things we need to do to be independent. Here is an excerpt of that post:
"The whole idea is to get the positive sense of your accomplishments – it is easy to think we haven’t done anything to move forward, but in fact, we all do, almost every day.  We just think of accomplishment as a big thing – a whole day spent putting up applesauce or a hundred tomato plants.  The Independence Day project makes us count our little accomplishments and see that we are moving forward.  So for each week, tell us what you have done in the following categories:

Plant something: A lot of us were trained to think of planting as done once a year, but if you start seeds, do season extension and succession plant, you’ll get much, much more out of your garden, so I try and plant something every day from February into September.

Harvest something: Everything counts – from the milk and eggs you get from your animals to the first dandelions from your yard to 50 bushels of tomatoes – it all counts.

Preserve something: Again, I find preserving is most productive if I try and do a little every day that there is anything, from the first dried raspberry leaves and jarred rhubarb to the last squashes at the end of the season.

Waste not: Reducing food waste, composting everything or feeding it to animals, reducing your use of disposables and creation of garbage, reusing things that would otherwise go to waste, making sure your preserved and stored foods are kept in good shape – all of these count.

Want Not: Adding to your food storage or stash of goods for emergencies, building up resources that will be useful in the long term.

Eat the Food: Making full and good use of what you have, making sure that you are getting everything you can from your food, trying new recipes and new cooking ideas, eating out of your storage!

Build community food systems: What have you done to help other people have better food access or to make your local food system more resilient?

And a new one: Skill up:  What did you learn this week that will help you in the future – could be as simple as fixing the faucet or as hard as building a shed, as simple as a new way of keeping records or as complicated as making shoes.  Whatever you are learning, you get a merit badge for it – this is important stuff."

Sharon invites her readers to join up, write about their own accomplishments and chime in, and many do. I'm sure that even here, in our small apartment, there is a way I could work towards these goals while working nights and trying to de-clutter our lives. I'm sure we could all do something. Even if you aren't necessarily working toward increasing independence, it's not a bad thing.
I'm not sure I'll have something to report  on the above  "catagories" every week, but I'm going to work toward doing something. I'm going to try to have something to report every Friday.

What about you? Are you interested in increasing your independence? Is there some small way you could waste not, want not? Or is there a way you could plant something, or perhaps harvest something as the season progresses> If we all work together, it won't seem so overwhelming.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's check in!


farmgal said...

Well lets see if blogger will let me post, for a while its been touch and go, but wanted to drop a note an say, really being liking your posts, the one about the lunch box inspector was excellent, and I am happy to see that you are also joining in the independence days challange, I am as well, I do my write ups on monday under the Garden Monday-Independence Day, as I already had a regular food storage friday post.. but I link up to the main site, and want to add extra folks that I follow their sites, I will include yours if that's ok?

Carolyn said...

That would be great, Farmgal. Thanks for that! I enjoy sharing what I'm passionate about, what I learn and the things that make our world what it is. I'm very glad you're along for the journey.