Monday was the start of our summer barbeque season. Invitations went out last week, and while the forecast didn’t promise sun, it didn’t mention rain either. By Monday, that had changed – rain was a given, possibly high winds and even a chance of lightning. We were undaunted, spurred on by the fact that the party would be standing room only in our smallish home if we crowded all our guests inside. Fortunately, seasoned campers that we are, a solution was at hand.
These apple trees are about 100 years old, hollow to the core. Those are my teenagers up the ladders. Their Dad is supervising, from solid ground you notice, having sent the expendable troops into danger. However, all was well, and we were ready when guest began arriving. For the first couple of hours, the worst that happened was the occasional sprinkle of rain.
Before the meal, the appetizers were a huge bowl of Okanagan cherries (the kids commandeered it), and 2 dozen devilled eggs – Random Photographer does a mean batch of these (and had the sense to save 4 for family later). We provided locally grown grass fed beef burgers, locally made weiners for hot dogs, homegrown lettuce, local hothouse tomatoes. Guests provided: a salmon one of them caught that morning off the west coast of the Island (that was soooo good), another family brought sausages made from their own pigs, and another brought a marvelous chicken noodle salad, made with one of our chickens. Dessert was a homemade, homegrown rhubarb crisp, local strawberries and ice cream and a homemade chocolate cake. I think you could say we ate well.
Not long after everyone finished eating, the rain started to get serious. The kids went inside – the 6 boys to watch a movie (the new Muppet Movie, which I’d borrowed from the library – I can guarantee there are laugh out loud moments, because I heard them from outside). the four eldest girls (who are the reason the rest of us are friends – the girls all started in kindergarten together and are entering grade 12 in the fall) disappeared to talk the way teen girls do, and the middle group, more girls – pulled out a bunch of board games and spread themselves out in the living room. Which meant that all the adults had room to relax under the tarp outside, tea and coffee in hand.
For our barbeques, especially larger ones like this (we had 28 guests – 15 kids, 13 adults), we ask people to bring their own dishes, as we don’t have enough to go around. Having learned last year that some people interpret this as paper plates and plastic cutlery, I added in the invite that my garbage was full (actually true), and they would need a plan to take any paper plates home again. I think the two families who did bring paper stuff were a bit surprised that I meant it. Now they know. It just makes so much sense – they can wash them and pack them in my kitchen, and it saves a bunch of garbage. I also don’t provide paper napkins – I have a stack of cheap cloth ones (and these are not hard to make, either).
There has been a fire ban in place here since May 1st (with this never ending damp weather?), and this has been consistent over the last few years, so my husband bought a gas campfire a few years ago. It runs off the propane bottle for the bbq, and is very efficient. I would far rather have a regular campfire, which would also be more resource wise, but this is still pretty good. The dog has to be held the whole time, since she has no idea that her tail is part of her until she sweeps it through the flames. Speaking from experience.
Did I mention that in my optimism for this event, I planned a water fight (bring your own water gun)? The boys went at it with great enthusiasm – in the rain. This is the youngest member of our group (age 7) warming up after. It was a great evening. Good food, good friends, a campfire. The lightning never materialized, there was barely any clean up, and the best part is: there are leftovers! Even in the rain, it’s a good way to start the summer.