Here I am again, with fresh reports from the farm. My vineyard is ready for the harvest. It seems that the grapes were the only thing that made it this year. The corn sort of failed, also the potatoes, and tomatoes, and peppers, and beans didn’t even sprouted from the ground, and don’t get me started on the wheats that made only 20% than expected. So, only grapes, and walnuts survived the extreme heat and droughts. We will have to buy the rest, in small amounts, to save money and stick to what we have. In a couple of weeks, I’ll slaughter two pigs, from the twelve I have now, store them in deep fridge, roast one half, smoke the rest, and that is the end of the story of providing meat. But the grapes, oh, that’s a novel in sequels. Tomorrow, at the break of dawn, the half of the neighborhood will gather for a quick breakfast, and organize the trip to the vineyard. There, we will pull out our shiny blades, and start picking the ripest of the ripe grapes, cut them off of the branches and lay them neatly in the basket. And then we shall proceed to cut the rest, ripe and green, and we shall lay then neatly in the basket. This time, I expect to collect one ton of grapes, mush it down and store the pulp in a few 200 liter barrels. The sweat wine is already ready because it’s mostly a grape juice with high percentage of fructose. If you want white wine, you need to wait one week to drain it. And after the full fermentation and alcohol development, which is in a few months, you can drain red wine. The vineyard is made of several sorts of grapes, almost a half is a autochthonic breed, an old vine dating from the Roman era. There’s a vineyard tradition here, which just a few people nurture, with my family among them. Everything we make is purely for personal use. When the fermentations simmers down, we have the reproduction of grape mush that’s full of alcohol, perfect for distillery and creation of grape brandy. The grape brandy or moonshine because it’s domestic, can be used as a medicine, perfect for protruding veins, message of aching areas, and it brings down fever when used as a cold patch. But only the pure brandy, one made without water and a gram of sugar is the medicine. We are the only house in the county to make it that way. The bad side of this process is that you don’t get a huge amount of brandy, barely 90 liters from a ton – if the year was bountiful. Sugar elevates the fermentation and boosts the alcohol content, so the amount of moonshine you can make doesn’t have a natural limit, and people make it that way for sales. My family doesn’t change the recipe or takes a detour, but sticks to what we know and what we perfected. At least, drinking the pure brandy doesn’t give you a headache in the morning.