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October Squeezing and Adventures


We had a very eventful October. Art decided to build a cement foundation for the hoop coop, which meant we had to move it. Cheers to old water pipes as wheels.

We had two visitors from the States and played the role of tour guides this month. We visited Lezhe Castle on our way north, stopped off at Mrizi i Zanave Agroturizëm for a farm-to-table experience before heading to the Homestead. We gave a guided tour of our homestead, orchard, vineyard, and the mountain behind our property. Art guided them to Mokset Castle, and I met them at the old fort with glorious lake and mountain views. We took some road trips to show off the Albanian Alps. The fall foliage did not disappoint.

Art moved this year's wine to an oak barrel to age while I was away. Sorry, no footage. Our last mama chicken hatched 11 chicks and is SO protective. She lost 11 chicks this spring to a fox or hawk in the early morning hours. So, this is her redemption round.

As our visitors moved on to a few other Balkan countries, we worked on squeezing our pomegranates. We've squeezed approximately fifty liters of juice and even pasteurized one batch to test its shelf quality. We still have a few hundred to collect in the orchard and more wild pomegranates from the garden and the hillside.

When our visitors returned, we headed south. We stopped in Saranda, woke to a beautiful sunrise over the Ionian Sea before heading to the ancient ruins of Butrint. Picked up a few tasty gyros from a roadside vendor and headed to Gjirokaster. We made it up the steep cobblestones to our hotel, explored the castle, and the small artisan shops in the bazaar. It's not for the weak ankles, but it was very pretty. Woke up to a stormy morning before heading to Apollonia, another ancient ruin site, and the weather cleared. We ventured through some small towns to the city of windows, Berat. We enjoyed a farm-to-table-style dinner before walking the long promenade. The next morning, we took a walk in the fort and village above Berat. It offers a stunning view of the valley, town, and river below.

Once back at the homestead, I helped Art pick persimmons. We discovered that dehydrated persimmons are an amazing treat last year. To capitalize on this, we have three dehydrators running at once! We pick them just before they soften, peel, slice, and dry for 24 hours. We pack them in jars and store them (out of sight). If they are within sight, they are gone in a minute. SO GOOD.

In other news, we've added a new title to the Homestead Albania Print. Ernie Meets Figgy by Kim Malaj. An illustrated short story.

The fall colors have arrived here, along with a bit of rain that started today, and so far, November looks WET. We had to chase a few new chicks that transitioned to the big coop in the rain. Cheers to October.

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