While Rebecca was away in London, I offered to help my friend, Ilia, plant some vines on his land. He had picked up 175 yearling vines from the town of Novosele and was planning to plant them that weekend. There were about 85 shesh i zi (red grapes) and 85 shesh i bardhe (white grapes); both of which are native varietals of Albania. The weather was so bad that weekend we had to put it off until this last weekend. Fortunately for Rebecca, she would be home to join us.
We went out to his village of Peshkepi at 7:30 am on Saturday and got to work. It was a lot more work than I had anticipated. He hired someone to dig the holes in 2 rows each about 1 metre apart. These were not small holes as it is important to get the root system deep to withstand the hot and dry Mediterranean summer. It is also important to make the holes wide to help loosen the predominantly clay based soil in the area. We added fertilizer and worm deterrent to the holes before filling them back in.
It was a great experience and I have not worked that hard for a while. I am still sore. Maybe we will be back one day to drink the raki and wine from these vines!