Sun Tea & Other Good Things

Make tea while the sun shines! And that’s exactly what I’m doing today since for once there is not a single cloud in the sky. And it’s hot – at least in the upper eighties. Hello summer? We had pancakes out on the deck for breakfast this morning and as soon as I was done clearing the table I whipped up some tea and put it down on the patio to perk away all day –

We also finally got the deck “finished” (yeah I know – I keep saying that). We moved the etagere to accomodate our new chairs and create more of a defined space from the nasty neighbors, and finally hung up the lanterns –

And here’s the view from behing the etagere, showing off our new chairs –

You’ll notice most of the plants are downstairs on the patio soaking up the sun while we’ve got some. We bring them back up at night (got to keep the squirrels on their toes!). You’ll also notice some pillows – I stitched those up this morning, actually. Here’s a close up –

I used some vinyl tablecloth fabric that I’ve had lying around for a few years now, that I bought with exactly this purpose in mind. Finally I get around to making them! They’re nothing fancy – I just eyeballed the dimensions I wanted, sewed them inside out and once I righted them, stuffed them with with batting I had on hand. I did take a shortcut here – instead of inserting a zipper, which I am well-versed in doing at this point, and instead of sewing the stuffing seam shut (which makes me cry every time as I struggle to get a nice closure seam) I closed it with stick-on velco. I know, I know – but no tears for me today and now I can easily replace the stuffing as they get flattened. I love this fabric for outdoor use because it can stand up to a little moisture and can easily be wiped clean. I have a little bit of it left, and I’m thinking of using it to replace the blue fabric in the white windowbox, but not today. A project for another weekend.

Oh, and just because we happened to snap a picture of it, here’s our new hops plant and the planter that my husband repaired –

I’m super pleased with how the space turned out. I’m looking forward to grilling out later and relaxing back there as a matter of fact. We’re going to be grilling steak, shrimp, onion, mushroom and pepper kabobs for dinner tonight, served with dolma and herbed couscous.

And of course, I can’t let a day like today go by without a couple of food projects happening in the background – I’ve got a double batch of barbecue sauce simmering on the stove, and I liked the jalapeno cornbread so much I’ve decided to make a variation of it for breakfasts this week – jalapeno-bacon corn muffins with sun dried tomatoes. But I won’t do that until after dark and it cools down a bit. And since the duck wasn’t defrosted enough to work with yesterday while it was cool and the weather was awful, I’ve got to do it today. In an hour or so, I’ve got to sharpen my knife and take it down. The breasts will go in the freezer for another meal. Then I’m going to render the skin and fat so that I can confit the legs and thighs. And then the carcass and wings will go in a stockpot to simmer into stock. It’s a hot day for all this kitchen work, but sometimes nature doesn’t cooperate. And fortunately, it’s not stuff I really have to stand over.

And I’m fitting in some relaxation and reading and internetting as usual… all in all, an excellent three day weekend. Hope yours is just as great!