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5:34 PM Tue, Oct. 23rd

Meet Your Neighbors: When life hands him lemons, Albano doesn't just use them to make a pitcher of lemonade

Lemons are for more than making lemonade, as Lou Albano can tell you.

Albano annually harvests 300-400 lemons from a tree in his backyard, but does not use them in making lemonade.

He and his wife, Nadine, add them to salads, in cooking fish or as slices to flavor iced tea.

He gives away many of the lemons and has one neighbor who eats them straight, the way some people eat apples or oranges.

Albano moved to Kingman 12 years ago from Temecula, Calif, where he'd lived for 10 years.

He said he owned 6.5 acres there and had lemon, orange and peach trees.

He bought a small lemon tree in a 5-gallon bucket and planted it eight years ago in his backyard.

The tree now stands about 15 feet tall and just about as wide.

"When I dug the hole I made it three times wider than the pot, so the roots would have room to grow outward," Albano said.

"I also put in good topsoil, since what is here is almost decomposed granite.

The tree doesn't require a lot of water, maybe one watering every 7-10 days.

I fertilize it twice a year with a citrus food."

His lemon tree is ready for picking in November.

This year's fruit is smaller than usual, perhaps due to an excessively hot summer, but the lemons are no less sweet, Albano said.

Albano, who was born in Concord, Mass., freezes the lemons and thaws them out as desired for use.

"The tree can take frost for two or three days, but not for a week," Albano said.

"There was one year when I didn't pick the fruit before a frost and I lost all of the lemons high up."

He managed restaurants in Long Beach, Hawthorne and Torrance in California for 10 years prior to moving to Kingman, Albano said.

He said he was a sales representative for Frito Lay for five years and before that was self-employed for many years.

It did not take him long to warm up to the relaxed lifestyle of Kingman.

"I had a mobile home in California because I could not buy a home in my area for under $125,000," Albano said.

"A friend told us about Kingman and we found it wonderful."

Albano now enjoys coin collecting, in addition to watching lemons grow in his backyard.

Nadine Albano was born in Kansas City, Mo.

She said she worked for National Auto Club in North Hollywood, Calif.

for 15 years, the last 10 as office manager.

Sewing and golf are her interests today.

Lou has three daughters living in Lancaster and Simi Valley, Calif.

and Lakeview, Fla., plus six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Nadine has two sons living in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Calif.

plus five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

The Albanos also have three pets.

Their dog, "Champ," is a 2.5-year-old Australian shepherd.

Adding spice to the mix are their female cats, 5-year-old "Punkie" and 13-year-old "Misty."