Yesterday was my day for trying out some of last fall’s apple harvest in the form of vinegar, hard cider and brandy. The brandy is excellent and ready to be racked into bottles with some put in the basement to age a bit more and some bottled for gifts. The had cider was a flop for me. I had some great stuff from my friend Jennica. It was light and fruity and delicious but mine was just vinegar. Not to worry though. I saw organic cider vinegar for sale for $18.00 a gallon. I do a lot of pickling so having an extra gallon of this good stuff is no tragedy. The vinegar I mad from the pomace left over after our cider pressing made a lovely vinegar. All I did was fill quart mason jars with the pomace and the added as much water as would fit. It has been sitting since October. Now I need to pick up some litmus strips so I can check the acidity. It has to be between 5 %and 6% to be safe for pickles. I need to start stocking up on pretty bottles for storing. A simple gift of vinegar looks a lot better if the bottle is special. I am thinking that a small jar of vinegar and a small jar of honey would be nice to give together as I drink a cup of hot water with vinegar and honey each morning as a tonic. My oldest foster chid works at our trash compactor and brings me home all of the pretty bottles and jugs she can salvage from the recycle bin. Teach them early is my motto.

I got a new catalog yesterday. One Green World is a fruit catalog with a lot of varieties I have never seen. I think I could be a crazy lady with this stuff. I am going to have to be scrupulous about my record keeping so I know how much fruit I need to preserve to get through the winter. I am certain I can sell any surplus locally but I want to be sure I don’t sell what I could eat. I am finding that I made too much jam again. I love to make jam and jelly. It is so satisfying but we don’t eat as much as we use to when we had 7 kids at home. I am wondering if I would have better luck selling unusual varieties of jam or it I should just stick to the reliable varieties. Who doesn’t love blueberry jam?

I will be posting only sporadically between now and the new year. I have a number of projects to tackle and very few extra brain cells to spare. I am also wondering if I have outlived my usefulness here. I love the blogging but I feel as though I have said all there is to say on the subject of preparedness. I fear I have hurt some feelings and angered some when I have strayed into philosophical discussions rather that sticking to simple sustainability and preparedness subjects. Maybe I should encourage some of you do guest postings for me. There is a wealth of talent on this blog and I have made friends I treasure. Part of what I will be doing over the next couple of weeks is some soul searching about just where to go with this.

My very best wishes go out to all of you and your families. I hope for a new year of peace and joy.