You Asked, We Answer

Update on the latest before the Q/A.

We are officially entering into our grape harvest and pomegranate season. Thrilled to restock my supply of fresh pomegranate juice (I ran out in early March). We freeze small bottles and use as tea, a splash of juice at the bottom of the mug with hot water is the perfect way to end the evening and a small shot in the morning.

We picked our first round of grapes from the Merlot row for a round of mushti, grape juice with a kick, this week and will be pull the juice out this afternoon.

Last week, I opened our blog up for questions that I promised to answer in this post:

1. How is the weather this time of year? We are entering the cooler evenings but still warm dry sunny days, little to no rain yet and are able to open windows in the evenings and not smother at night. We are finished with high 90s F (38 C) in the immediate forecast and evenings cooling off mid 70s F (24 C). Low humidity in general for the valley here so even when it is hot it is not too intolerable.

2. What kind of grapes do we have in our vineyard? We have four varieties of grapes in our vineyard including Çilek, merlot, hafisali pink and yellow. Çilek is our main grape and the sweetest. The wine we produce is a soft red, not dry but not to sweet. Similar to a Malbec.

3. Do you get lonely? Lonely, no but I do talk to my chickens and the pig. I spent years working away from home every week so the fact I get to wake up next to my husband is great. Do I miss family and friends outside of Albania? Yes. I have a lot of friends and family I keep in regular contact with through various forms of communication, texts, phone calls, group chats or a video chat. This week was rougher than most my grandma spent some time at the hospital but is now home with family doing well.

4. Why Albania? This question came from a stranger that doesn't know Art or I, but worthy of an answer. My husband Art and his family are 12th generation Albanians and originally from the land we live on. We are homesteading his family home and land. But why did I choose to make this our permanent home? IT IS STUNNING! The US has many stunning places but I have the best of the best scenery wise for 800 times less plus it has his family roots tied to the soil. It is a blend of northern Cali wine country, Boulder, CO hiking and mountains, and Lake Tahoe with lush green space and mountains all wrapped in to one corner. Just a few reasons of why we stay in our corner and not somewhere else in Albania.

5. What animals do you keep? Currently we have one pig, Chewy and 13 baby chicks, 11 hens and two roosters. The follow up question to this is why no dog? We keep what produces food plus the dogs that have visited so far has harmed our chickens, I love my fresh eggs.

6. What do you grow in the garden? The list is long, we grow seasonal vegetables, salads and some fruits: tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, bush beans, climbing beans, zucchini, watermelon, melon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, garlic, onion, okra, spring green salad, spinach, quinoa, chamomile, peppermint and spearmint, strawberries, eggplants, peppers, blackberries, pumpkin, leeks, cabbage, carrots

7. What kind of fruit and nut trees do you have? This list is long as well: apple, cherry, peach, fig, chestnut, plum, nectarine, Cornelius cherry, mulberry, walnut, date, pomegranate, quince, pear, persimmon, avocado, lemon, olive, and a total of 46 varieties. Vine wise we also have kiwis. Not all produce every year and some are still growing to maturity but it is what we have on property to date.

8. What do you do? We work the land, make wine and raki, tend to the animals, and work on side projects. Currently, I am writing my first fiction novel and Art published his book in February. We support the local community in April we delivered on a our Stock the Library Project, and we sell prints and other items related to Homestead Albania online in our shop.

Living here has inspired so much creativity and love of nature I can honestly say was missing from my life. I can't wait for each of you to visit one day and enjoy the peace and fresh air in our corner of the world.

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