Crop Failure, Crop Success and Food Storage
The impact of the Black Death on labor shortages was delayed for a generation because, frankly, when you have fewer people to feed, you need fewer farmers but now the manor system of farming is running right on the knife's edge. Those farms willing to innovate stand a better chance at survival. Farms clinging to the old farming methods are rolling the dice. With shorter growing seasons and the Little Ice Age upon them, it is change or die for farmers. By using fertilization, radical crop rotations, a change in crops (like planting peas, for example), using horses that are less susceptible to disease to plow the fields, farms stand a better chance at survival. And for everyone, food preservation is becoming a vital part of that survival. That is why the Venetians are getting rich on salt... the major food preservative of the day. People need it badly and they are willing to pay.    
Microsoft and the Siege of Orléans
Orléans sits at a strategic point blocking the incursion of the English into Central France. Taking it out is the next logical step given the terrain. Apparently the siege is not absolute since supply wagons can get in and out but with a civil war going on at the same time, its getting tough to rally the troops. John, the Bastard of Orleans, is doing his best to hold the line. He even manages to kill the English commander but it's not going to be enough. Only God can save them now.    
This Year in Wikipedia
Year 1428, Wikipedia.
- Cantor, Norman F., In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made. Harper Perennial. 2001. p. 134-135. (BOOK) Quote: "But successive outbreaks of plague and the failure of the population to make a sustained recovery made the situation gradually worse. Against this background, it was difficult for the manorial economy to bounce back from any new incidental blow that it suffered. There were several of these--a serious outbreak of plague in 1391, harvest failure in 1428, and floods in 1434."
- Hopcroft, Rosemary L., The Social Origins of Agrarian Change in Late Medieval England. The University of Chicago Press. American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 99, No. 6 (May, 1994), pp. 1559-1595. (JOURNAL ARTICLE) Quote: "In this article I present both qualitative and quantitative evidence that [...] a crucial component of regional differences in agrarian change in late medieval England was regional differences in the social organization of production at the local level (often referred to as the 'field system'). Regional variations in field systems played an important, but hitherto largely overlooked, role in English agrarian change."
- Convertible husbandry - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Little Ice Age - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Going postal - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Siege of Orléans - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Jean de Dunois (The Bastard of Orléans) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Orléans (Google Maps). 2014 [last update] (MAP)
- Alex Shrugged notes: "Drop the dime" means make a 10 cent phone call. For those who have had humor-by-pass surgery, that was 1960's slang and was meant as a joke.