August has always been a very busy month for tourists and ex-pat Albanians that come back for the local wedding season. And this year was no different. We've had our first non-family visitor in a long time. She hailed all the way from New Zealand, a daughter of a friend and former colleague when I lived and worked in NZ. We took a few road trips to show her what Art likes to dub "The Kingdom of the North" aka Lepushe, Vermosh and Boge. We even took a dip in Lake Shkoder and explored the Rozafa Castle of Shkoder. All and all we loved sharing our homestead and experience someone's first time seeing the beautiful northland. Our nephew from Michigan was along for the ride and his presence helped even the playing field. I am most definitely not 22 any more and neither is Art but shh don't tell anyone. He still claims he's in his twenties if you dare ask.
We spent another few days up north in the Alps with family and to avoid the hot temps rising in our valley. There they hiked a path they've started a few times in the past but never made it to the top. Art captured the highlights of their picturesque hike to Pojanice. Would you follow him?
What scenery takes your breath away?
We've experienced a shift of seasons in our garden. We've pulled the last round of beans, peppers, potatoes, but still have fresh tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers. And the second round of mountain tea is nearly ready to pick. We have a few apples almost ripe but the main source of fruit at the moment is our figs!
We have been enjoying the daily bounty of fresh figs and are considering different ways to cook, preserve or store figs. We've made fig jams, dried figs, baked figs with some goat cheese and bacon. What's your favorite way to eat figs?
Art has been pruning the pomegranate trees in the orchard. We've almost reached the time of year where less watering and more of a waiting game for them to ripen.
The grapes sustained a bit of damage by a hail storm in June but what clusters we do still have are ripening to deep purple. We're on track for a late September/early October vine to wine harvest.
Our hoop coop has reached a new occupancy status of 33. We've introduced two large hens, and three rounds of chicks. We have four mama hens and their chicks to move in but overall they've adapted to their new home quite nicely.
Our cornelius cherries (thana) are ready to harvest. We typically collect the thana for a batch of raki but still have plenty of raki in the cellar so I believe the pigs will consume the bounty this year. Have you tried this fruit?