And so am I.
This almost-licked-clean jar is the last of our wild grape jelly. And if you look closely, you can see that the date on the lid is from September of 2010. The 2010 stash was very carefully rationed as it was going to have to last until the harvest of 2012.
So what happened to the harvest of wild grapes in 2011, you ask? There was none. We had a drought last year and every single wild grape vine I could find had shriveled up and died before the fruit was able to ripen, so that meant no grape jelly. Wild fruits like chokecherries, wild grapes and plums were a total loss in 2011. The only wild fruit I was able to harvest were persimmons. Not sure why they survived.
And here we are again, in a drought. There is one wild grape vine within reach of our 150' hose, so I've been watering it at least once a week, hoping that what grapes still on the vine will survive to ripen. The other wild grapes around the property will have to make it on their own. We did have some rain a few days ago and I'm hoping that it was enough to keep them from drying up like they did last year. So that means that there may not be a 2012 harvest either.
This is pretty much the crappiest gardening year we've had in the 7 years we've been here. Out of the eight apple trees we have planted, there is not a single apple on any tree and there were tons of flowers on them this spring. Same for the two cherry trees. The peaches, nectarines and pears have a handful of fruit on them, but nothing near what I would have hoped. Definitely not enough to can, let alone make any pies out of.
My grape jelly shortage and lack of fruit on the trees really has me thinking. Most non-farming folk don't have three days worth of food stored in their pantry. Can you imagine having to store two or three years worth of food in your larder? Even most hard-core homesteaders can and preserve their harvest for the upcoming year; what happens if there there is no harvest the following year?
Since our homestead garden is no where near up to snuff, we rely on the supermarket or bartering to provide the bulk of our canned/fresh vegetables and canned/fresh fruit. But even though we have the luxury of just running into town for a bag of beans or a can of corn, we still try to keep our pantry stocked with several month's worth of food.
Can you imagine having to do that within the confines of your own homestead? With the labor from your own hands? Hoping, praying and working to make sure that you have enough vegetables planted (and kept alive), enough feed for the animals, keeping those animals healthy so they can eventually nourish your family?
It makes my head spin. But hopefully it will give me a little kick in the pants to get our garden producing.