The Magic of Eating Outside

Up over the ridges ran the blue of wild lilac like spreading smoke; manzanita and chaparral put on their creamy blooms; even the redwoods spread fresh fans of green, and far below all over the valley floor the fruit blossoms waved in soft airs. Jays laced the air with blue; quail drummed in the woods; every window of the farmhouse was flung open, and the dooryard table was spread three times a day, with birds to do the sweeping away of crumbs, and oak and pear tree shadows lying green upon the checked red cloth.” –Kathleen Norris, Shining Windows

The above, taken from one of my favorite old-timey authors, makes me want to move outdoors…until I look at the temperature! Doesn’t she paint a portrait of country charm? “Every window of the farmhouse flung open…the dooryard table spread three times a day…”

It heartens a woman’s soul, I think, to create beautiful vistas and welcoming surroundings. Different spaces to vary one’s living hours add excitement to everyday fare. I call it: Making the most of Summertime!

Our home place is abundant with potential. I’m always seeing it, yes, through my rose-colored glasses…because our property is far from *arrived*! But 90% of any project’s enthusiasm is in the planning, right?

I walk out the back porch door, face south–toward the garden and chicken house…and visualize the stone patio I want there under the trees someday, our old rope hammock stretched out at one end and a limestone slab picnic table beckoning us to enjoy the shady western evenings and the sun disappearing behind our big hill.

I see the big gnarly tree overhanging the garden and a “someday” tire swing full of laughing children (future grandkids?) with adults lounging nearby in lawn chairs around a fire pit.

Over behind the deck, between the outdoor corn stove and the sandpile, I want two Adirondack chairs situated around a low table, the perfect place for a husband and wife to meet at day’s end to catch up on each others’ news while the children and pups play. Or likewise, for two moms to sit and chat, little ones at their feet.

To have an old rectangular wooden table, a sturdy one with scads of character, to keep out during the summertime, under the Maple trees, bedecked with homespun and picnic basket and a flurry of mismatched flea market chairs–this has long been a wish of mine. I think we have one such table, maybe not so sturdy, buried in the back of one of the old sheds on this place…

I love outdoor restaurants. Adore picnics. Love finding the perfect park in our travels at which to grill or assemble sandwiches…to be perfect, it must have a pond with ducks to feed–over a bridge, of course. These parks abound, friends. You’d be surprised.

We don’t abound in special outdoor corners at our place yet, other than the “someday” ones painted in Outdoor Picnic with Salami Sandwichesmy heart. No bridges, ponds or ducks, or arbors or stone patios or Andirondack chairs. *Smile* For now, we spread out the old quilt or dust off the large flat rock uphill…and simple though it may be, the magic happens. A little shade, some freshly stirring air, a basket of treats, good company…good times.

Outdoors…the perfect gathering place. (Weather permitting, that is!)

***Btw, the first picture in this post is of my paternal grandma and her sisters eating apples***