It’s our first hard freeze and we finally fired up the stove last night. I feel ready for winter. We spent the weekend buttoning up. Bruce finished cleaning out the greenhouse and getting the insulation in. As soon as he was done, I put in the plants. I have three kinds of lettuce, Asian greens, chard, parsley, dill, broccoli, beets carrots, spinach, rosemary and kale. It looks beautiful. I have one further job. The carrots were planted in a raised bed which will not keep the roots warm enough. I need to insulate around the base. I am considering something like a homemade wall of water, If I put canning jars of water around the planter I wonder if the retained heat would last over night. I could wrap a blanket around the edges on really cold nights. This seems like a lot of work when I could just buy carrots right now and store them in the root cellar. I guess I will consider it an experiment and try it.

I did some tag saling over the weekend. I got some tremendous deals. I went to a library book sale and, for $7.00, got 9 terrific books. I also found a set of cookie racks for $.50. I never had enough room to cool cookies so this was a good buy. By far, my best deals came from Goodwill. I found nearly new hiking boots for $3.00, a wonderful wool car blanket for $2.00, a new purse for $3.00 and two sets of glasses for $3.00 each. I needed the glasses as I tend to break mine. I didn’t find the wine rack I was looking for but I’m sure one will turn up.

I started a batch of pear brandy. So far so good. I didn’t have a recipe so I just followed the directions of the peach brandy. I didn’t measure anything and I added a hand full of rice to boost the alcohol content and some orange juice as the pears don’t have the intense flavor of the peaches. It’s taste good so far. I am planning to do an apple brandy next.

Bruce and I are talking about how we will make a living in the coming years. Like so many, we took a big hit in our retirement savings when the market collapsed and we don’t see it returning to the pre-collapse levels in time to help us. We live with no debt and don’t need a lot of cash but we do need some. I think that Barefoot Farm will probably go into full scale honey production in the next few years. I am also anticipating turning out sellable jams and jelly for the farmer’s market. I have an amazing collection of unusual recipes that might sell well if I bottle them up in tiny jars and keep the price point low. I am also learning to make wreaths for all seasons. I don’t suppose I will make enough to worry about tax shelters but I would be happy to earn enough to cover my taxes each year. We have expanded the garden space for next year. I hope to grow a larger proportion of our food every year. We had barbecued pork last night. I need to come up with a barbeque sauce recipe that uses honey for the sweetener. We had some pickles from a batch I made using turmeric. I didn’t know what to expect. Delicious! They had a crunchy texture and garlic bite that went well with the pork and applesauce.

It is so quiet here. The girls are sleeping in as there is no school today. Even the cat is lazy and not yowling to go out as he usually is in the morning. The time for hibernating has arrived. Tea and the Agatha Christy mystery I got at the book sale sound like a good way to spend the afternoon. But first, the goat milk must be turned into yogurt, the bread crusts set out to dry and become stuffing for dinner, the carrots dug and brought into the root cellar and some apples picked and pressed into cider. I rarely do all on my list but as I have aged, that matters less and less. What gets done gets done. what doesn’t will wait. Winter is long and I have nothing but time.

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