Updated: Jan 20, 2020
Finding the balance and pace of what we could accomplish in one day to the next was less complicated than I expected. New furniture was delivered, additional pieces ordered, figuring out the routine for remote work (installed back-up batteries for power outage support for modem), enjoyed our meals on our front porch and the never ending game of pick up from our yard kept us busy during the first few weeks. The home and land had not been maintained for over a decade and when I mentioned in a previous post that new windows and doors were installed, I failed to mention the old ones were still in the backyard along with loads of other materials and rubbish. My husband started on what is now part of our massive garden with cabbage, onion, and garlic. During our weekends we explored the lake, nearby towns, hiked the land behind the house collecting wild pears, matter for tea and pomegranates and harvested the persimmons.
We acquired some bikes from family in the area, bought and tried out new fishing gear, went on a very long hike with his sister and her family that was supposedly for fishing but it was more like over the mountain and through the woods and explored a few castles. The weather in the fall is ideal, warm sunny low 70s, perfect for exploring. And since we were receiving a bucket of fresh cows milk a few times a week, from the neighbor, we even tried our hand at making homemade cream cheese, because why not. The texture and taste turned out pretty good.
We also picked the last of the grapes for wine and eventually raki. The art of making homemade wine was fun, messy and delicious. Once we sorted most of the leaves from the grapes we placed them a large plastic container after manually hand mashing the grapes, like I said fun but messy!! He promised our first harvest the following year I could feet smash the grapes, gitty excited! And now the waiting part and twice daily smash begins. After 7 days, we were able siphon the liquid and sift the grape mush. At this stage it is DELICIOUS!!! We continue to siphon and sift the mixture for another 2 to 4 days. We funnel the liquid into 5 gallon glass jars and after a few days of rest we sift and transfer to wine bottles and cork. Supplies for this are available at most stores around the area as it is tradition to make homemade wine and raki.
Ok, some of you may or may not know what raki is so let me explain. Raki, pronounced Rah Key in English, is the Albanian equivalence to moonshine in America. It is distilled liquor from fermented fruit. It is very strong and can still be felt for a few minutes after each swallow. We made our first batch together from the grapes post wine. We were blissfully aware and overwhelmed with how happy we were to be living together and free from the what if conversations that plagued our year.