Monday, October 24, 2011

Al Fresco Dining

Weekend before last, Red and I had another couple over for dinner al fresco.  It was the first time that I sat and had a meal at my outdoor dining table -- I'd sat out there and read before, but never ate and/or entertained.  It was lovely. 

The previous week I unearthed my lights on a string from the shed and hung those up along the car port eaves.  They had gotten heavy use inside a screened gazebo in the backyard of a rental house (two houses ago!) but had been heaped into a garbage bag until now.  I was pleased that (a) they still actually worked; and (b) none of the bulbs were broken.  And the strings were just the right length to give me two rows of lights.  I was worried they would be too bright at night, but it turned out they were just fine.

Next I wanted some screening behind the table so that while dining we didn't have to stare at my car.  I have bigger, more permanent plans for screening (of course I do) but for a budget, in a pinch remedy, I bought three rolls of the burlap that Home Depot sells for coving your plants for frost protection.  I cut the burlap to the proper curtain length, rolled one end over a piece of wood trim, and used my nail gun to tack them up inside the carport eave behind the lights.

The weather cooperated -- so the fire pit came out too. (You can barely see it to the right.)  In the front left is a rain chain sans rain barrel...

I wish I had taken a photo with the table set -- but alas, I did not.  I had a tub of beer on ice over on the potting table, with an bucket for the empty ones (a project using those is forthcoming...)  You can read about the potting bench project here:

I'm pleased to be able to report that the benches were not "tippy" -- a fear that I had.  You can read about the origin of the benches here (I thought I had blogged about Red and I making that table, but I can't find the posts...)

Appetizer:  Crackers and dip, and Roasted Grapes, Olives & Walnuts*
Entree:  Green salad, Roasted Vegetable Galettes*
Dessert:  S'mores over the fire and coffee

The week that followed was windy, and I quickly realized that my "curtains" weren't going to stay intact for long.  As the wind whipped them around, the bottoms started to fringe like an old pair of blue jeans.  I decided the quickest fix was to simply roll them up and tie them until the next occasion:

That worked well, and they actually look sort of pretty bundled up.  The whole sha-bang -- lights and curtains are under the eaves, so they don't get wet when it rains.

*  This isn't a food blog, but I have the recipes -- email me if you want them.  Divine! They were both new recipes... I like my guests to be guinea pigs, tee hee... 

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