First: I need to send out a huge thank you to all of the people who read and respond so faithfully here. I have learned so much from all of you. I was planning to put in seaberries but was educated about the invasive nature of this plant and changed my mind. That’s only one example out of many I could have used that saved me a lot of aggravation.

Second: The economic news goes from bad to worse. I know a lot of folks are having a hard time just making ends meet and I don’t know of anyone who thinks that rosy times are right around the corner. Our leaders are admitting that 10% unemployment (the real number is a lot higher) is the new normal. With that as a truth, it only makes sense to be thinking about your long-term food security. For those of you with room to garden, investing in food infrastructure is sound family policy. I just placed a plant order to Fedco and I have one more group order to go in as well as my seed order.

I purchased two Bartlett Pear trees. Bartletts are reliable around here and produce huge crops of pears that store moderately well if the temperature is kept low enough. I also ordered more elderberries, blackberries, high bush cranberries and strawberries. We are placing a big blueberry order right after the first of the year. I have just begun my seed order and I hope to have that ready to go in the next week.

For decades, the field behind my house has been mowed by a local dairy farmer. It has become harder for him to mow as the field has been broken up into animal pasture and garden space. We will have to do something with that space next summer. There are so many options, all of them good. By far, the easiest would be to enlarge the orchard and berry space. The market for both is excellent.

I have been thinking about how I use my storage food. I am still not using as many beans as I need to. I am way to quick to grab a can rather than think ahead and put some on to soak the night before. I have a lot of seeds for dried beans but it does no good to grow them unless I eat them.

One last thought. It’s cold. We buy our fuel in April. I need that propane to last for a full heating season. It is so tempting to push that thermostat up a few degrees but there is always something more I can do. I am making a lot more draft stoppers. I have a cold corner in the living room. The solution is some insulation but Bruce can’t do that until spring. For the time being, a large draft stopper will keep that draft off my feet. My closets are cold too and keeping those doors shut matters. Slippers keep feet warm. A fleece vest, warm socks and a turtleneck are much more frugal responses to being chilly than turning up the heat is. I cook with propane too so every time I use the oven to cook the whole meal rather than use both the oven and the stove top I save some fuel. I make tea throughout the day. If I only boil water once and then store it in an insulated carafe, I save fuel. Little and often starts to add up.