I love eating outside in the summertime.
When we were kids, we used to visit my grandparents quite often. Since we were a couple of hours away from them, we would travel over the river and through the woods on Friday nights and stay until late Sunday afternoons.
This would start after the long winter. We didn't travel too much between Christmas and Easter. But once Easter arrived? From then on, we'd be traveling gypsies. Easter, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and odd weekends thrown in amongst all those lovely holidays.
And always, there would be Sunday afternoon dinner outside. Grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles, aunts and uncles, sisters, brothers, in-laws, cousins, family friends. Everyone showed up for Sunday dinner outside.
Nan always had a big bowl of salad. She would put the Italian dressing on ahead of time and give it a good toss.
As plain as Italian dressing sounds now, with Russian, Thousand Island, Ranch, Blue Cheese, all kinds of vinaigrettes, balsamic dressings, blush dressings, and on and on, plain old Italian dressing is one of my favorites.
For dinner Saturday night, K and her cousin MR and Other Sissy went out to the garden and picked lettuce. The Man planted three kinds this year and so far, so good. No rabbits nibbling away. So we got to have a big bowl of salad, full of freshly picked lettuce from the garden.
No herbicides, no pesticides. Just organic deliciousness.I'm loving this appetizer right now.
Caprese mini-skewers. Cherry tomatoes, a basil leaf, and a chunk of mozzerella. Lay them on a platter, drizzle with olive oil, a crack of pepper and a dash of sea salt and you're done.
Mouth-poppin', finger-lickin' good.
More garden harvesting going on. This time from the herb garden. The girls got sent back outside to pick fresh basil.
I have a lot of it. It's my favorite herb. But I bought way too many plants and now I have a LOT of basil. So we're going to caprese everything this summer.
Know what we're having tomorrow night? Yup, Caprese Paninis. Mmmmm.
Lots of bubble blowing going on.
Other Sissy brought the little girls bubbles. They came in three different colors that you could blow as they were, or you could mix them together and make other colors.
We had to try them out.
I remember Nan taking Other Sissy and I downtown with her and my aunt on the Saturday afternoons we would be there visiting. We loved going downtown since it always meant a stop at the five-and-dime store to get a toy.
Sometimes I got bubbles, sometimes a book, sometimes a note pad, sometimes a deck of cards. We'd spend a long time looking things over, trying to pick the perfect toy. Nan was so patient with us, letting us examine each and every item that caught our eye.
I grabbed MR to take a few photos out in the barn. I love the light coming in the wide open door at the back of the barn.
Somewhere, I have many pictures of those outdoor Sunday dinners. Most of the older relatives in Nan's generation are gone now. Except for Nan. She's still with us.
I'm very thankful that we were a picture-taking family from a long time ago. Now I just have to find them.
On this weekend, we got together to celebrate all the fathers, and husbands, and sons, and brothers, and uncles, and grandfathers in our lives. We don't thank them enough, I think. At dinner, we got a chance to tell them how much they meant to us and how very much they are loved.
MR and her dad. They were oh-so-patient while I was shooting.
Other Sissy and I wandered around the yard, picking blooms here and there to fill the vases for the tables.
Dad wanted to know what the occasion was.
Father's Day, silly.
The roses came from a local market.
Nan had lilacs and pansies in her yard. I've taken shoots from that lilac and planted them at our last home. I don't have any at our home now. I need to get some from her so I can have a piece of her lilac with me all the time.
Multiplying lilacs. Call me Miss Rumphius.
Our home is near a small airport so the planes go right over head, usually on weekend evenings. And parachutes.
There's lots of parachute jumping around us.
We counted ten jumpers in the sky.
No, thank you. I believe I'll keep my feet on the ground.
J and P.
End of day.
The fire bowl got dragged out and wood was gathered. Embers floated through the air, while the wood crackled and popped as logs were thrown on.
Desserts came out and we gathered around the table once again. We sat and talked and then settled quietly, each of us savoring a fine dinner surrounded by those we love and remembering those who have passed.
What wonderful parts of our life, these men are. And we are blessed to have them. Oh yes, we are blessed indeed.