As you know, September is National Preparedness Month. So far, I have talked a bit about 72-hour kits and some of the reasons to be prepared. Another good reason to prepare is that we are living in hard times, and it looks like things may get worse.

But don’t despair. Hard time are something you can prepare for. One way to prepare is to increase your food independence (e.g., from an industrialized, on-time, petroleum-dependent food system). I am learning to do this by following Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.

In her book [amazon_link id=”0865716528″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Independence Days: A guide to sustainable food storage & preservation[/amazon_link], Sharon Astyk challenges us to do one of the following activities every single day to increase our food independence. If you would like to learn more, check out Sharon’s blogs The Chatelaine’s Keys and Casaubon’s Book.

Here’s a quick update of what has been going on around here.

  1. Plant Something: This week I transplanted some cabbage starts to some larger pots. The peas that I previously planted are blooming (#1). Also, the sweet potatoes are still going strong (#2). At this point, my keyhole garden doesn’t look like much. The sweet potatoes have pretty much taken over everything, and quack grass is growing into it. But, after I get the sweet potatoes harvested, I will be able to straighten things out. The Black-eyed Susans that I panted previously (#4) are starting to bloom. Right now, they are growing in a pot with my Sargent crab apple. I plan to transplant them to the keyhole garden. I also plan to transplant my crab apple tree to a smart pot later this Fall, after it drops its leaves. I am making plant to plant some blueberry bushes and at least one dwarf apple tree in smart pots, too. At first I didn’t like my smart pots. But as time goes by, I am really liking them. 🙂
  2. Harvest Something: Nothing
  3. Preserve Something: Nothing
  4. Waste Not: I build a new composter (#3). I used some metal T-stakes and some plastic garden fencing that I already had on hand. Already I have added a lot of tomato plants that I had to clean up (due to our previous rain storm) and some leaves that I saved from last year. I foresee a lot of compost materials coming available in the next few months, due to Fall clean up and what not.
  5. Want Not (Prep): I continued to replenish my pantry. DD helped me to reorganize things in the basement and in the kitchen. Recent purchases included iodized and canning salts, pepper corns, vinegar, lentils and hulless barley.
  6. Eat The Food: Nothing
  7. Build Community Food Systems: Nothing. Sadly, I have been shopping at Costco and Wal-Mart lately.
  8. Skill Up (Part A): I am taking Sharon’s Food Storage Class. Even though I took this class several years ago, it has really been helpful. Mainly, Sharon’s class has gotten me back in gear after moving and taking time off to deal with family illnesses and a big project at work. It has helped me to think of why I want to prepare and how to do that. Also, since Sharon has a Facebook group, I can ask lots of questions and discuss things with other class participants. Everyone in the class has different issues, and some live on the other side of the world, so it is very helpful to hear what everyone else has to say.
  9. Skill Up (Part A): I purchased a copy of Sharon’s new book, [amazon_link id=”0865716714″ target=”_blank” locale=”US” container=”” container_class=”” ]Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle in Place (Mother Earth News Books for Wiser Living)[/amazon_link], and just started reading it.
  10. Fitness/Health: Not much. I am just trying to get myself on a regular sleep schedule and eating healthfully. I really need to get back to walking and doing some calisthenics.

That’s it for now. I hope that you all are well.

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