Sunday, June 14, 2015

Out back









 





We spent most of today in the backyard, smoking ribs and making homemade French vanilla ice cream for an early Father's Day dinner with the Bear's parents. It was a beautiful day, just this side of too hot, with a mostly-clear sky and a light breeze. We've been having an unusually cool and wet June, to follow an unusually cool and wet May, with the monsoon just around the corner. There have been pop-up storms and showers most days lately, which isn't normal for June at all, it's more of a July-and-August thing. So today felt like a real gift, a whole day without any rain or surprising gusts of wind, a chance to be outdoors doing things we like to do, and some we had to do.

The Bear and I weeded the big planter bed; there was a lot of grass coming up toward the back, under the roses and Jupiter's beard where it's shady and stays fairly wet. Grass was coming in thick there, and we ripped out big handfuls. I pruned roses and we watered everything. We put the ribs in the smoker and got the ice cream machine churning, and then we just hung out. We ate lunch (a hodge-podge of leftovers) on the patio, listened to the radio, watched the clouds. I crocheted. We looked for hummingbirds and saw many.

We don't have a big backyard, but boy, do we use it up. Our property is about a fifth-acre, a deep but narrow rectangular lot. It's only about as wide as the house, which means we have good-sized front and back yards. We have a little bit of everything in the back: a chicken coop (with two hens), lots of flowers and shrubs, two patios, a swing set, an apple tree. We spend a lot of time out there, in every season. It's quiet and safe; the small Bears can even ride their bikes on the larger of the patios. There are things I would change, and eventually I will change some of them, but the backyard is one of the best things about my house, I think.

Later in the afternoon, the Bear's parents came over (they live in our neighborhood during the summer months, when they are not in New Zealand, their permanent home). We visited for a couple of hours while the Bear and I finished cooking our meal. He tended to the ribs outside and I made corn on the cob, baked beans and brown-and-serve dinner rolls. We only make ribs about twice a year; they're a lot of work and obviously not health food, but they are soooo good. The Bear does it all himself, using recipes from a rib expert called Meathead, specifically his Memphis Dust spice rub and Kansas City Classic Barbecue Sauce. We had our homemade ice cream for dessert. My recipe comes from The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever (really, it is). I'm particularly proud of that ice cream. I made the custard yesterday morning, to give it time to set up in the fridge. I used our own eggs. I think it's the best ice cream I've ever made. Sometimes my homemade ice cream seems greasy, but this one came out smooth and light.

My kids were gross by the end of the day, after playing in the backyard, hanging around a smoker, and slathering themselves in barbecue sauce and ice cream (twice, if you count licking the beaters after churning, and I do). They had baths as soon as possible. They had an extra-long story before bed (the Bear read to them from The Wind in the Willows). They went to bed tired and full. I'm about to do the same, feeling full in every way.

38 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful early Father's Day. I love the look of your ice cream maker - I couldn't work out what it was at first. Our hens are on a go slow egg-wise at the moment; it irritates me that I have to buy rather more pallid versions at the supermarket whilst they're still eating like mad! Your back garden is perfect and that view - gorgeous! xx

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful Father's Day to be enjoyed by all the family. Those ribs look "to die for" and by the look of the kids' faces, I'd say the ice cream was too, lol. Have a wonderful week.

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  3. That really does sound like the perfect day. I'll be getting my little ice-cream maker out soon I think, homemade ice-cream is delicious isn't it. And it must be extra special to have your own eggs. We use our little garden a lot as well. The patio furniture is out now and on warmer days we eat our tea out there. I'm just lacking those hens... CJ xx

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  4. That sounds wonderful, a great day to celebrate Fathers and be enjoyed by you all. Good food and good company doesn't get any better than that.

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  5. You seemed to enjoy that day ! thanks for sharing with us ... your ice cream looks so yummy .... miaaaammmm !!!

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  6. What a wonderful summery day....you have captured the atmosphere so beautifully for us with your words and photos, Jennifer.
    Happy new week.
    Helen xox

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  7. We can all eat ribs every now and then! I loved your photos and the heartfelt family commentary. We have just finished wind in the willows too!!! The blog feed didn't show your skirts so I missed those, they are fabulous, she looks keen to join in too. Jo x

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  8. Sounds like a perfect day. I do love your evocative writing Jennifer. And I love that photo of your children cleaning up the ice-cream churner!

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  9. I have no idea how to make ribs, but they do look wonderfully delicious, and home made icecream is such a treat. It sounds like a perfect Fathers Day in your attractive back yard, with its gorgeous mountain view. Love the pictures of the children with the chicken, the snail, and licking off the icecream - so heart-warming. A lovely post, as always.

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  10. It sounds like a wonderful day. That's what summer is all about, outside living and kids enjoying themselves. Your ice cream looks delicious, it's something I've never made myself.

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  11. that is my favorite kind of weekend.. looks like you all had a wonderful time and those pictures of the kids licking the ice cream of the beater.. awesome!

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  12. What a wonderful chilled out day at home. Those ribs look very very good and the ice cream looks delicious too. Hope this good weather continues and you can all enjoy more time outdoors. Have a great week!

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  13. That sounds like a perfect day spent with family! Those ribs look so good, and who wouldn't want to lick the beaters on delicious homemade ice cream.

    We've had some strange weather over here, too. Our Spring was so incredible, and we got much more rain than we ever get. We were getting to enjoy sitting on our patio in the late afternoon, but that's over now for a few months. Time to put away the patio furniture and put up the sunshades.

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  14. It all sounds wonderful, Jennifer. :o)

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  15. The food looks delicious! It sounds like a perfect day to me. I love the second photo of your kids licking the beaters! I had no idea that your kitchen opened up to your family room - such a nice, cozy space.

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  16. It is so lovely dropping in to share a special day in your garden Jennifer. And after a busy day you cannot beat a bath and a good book, whatever your age.

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  17. It's so lovely, what you describe and how you describe it. I'm already noticing how much we use our back garden here compared to before. We just need some sun! The ribs sound amazing. Xx

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  18. Wow, sounds like a wonderful day. There is nothing like homemade ice cream. We have yet to make the first batch but I think we will be doing it soon.

    Have a great week Jennifer.

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  19. Hi Jennifer....
    Everything looks lovely....even the snail!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  20. Your posts are always so enjoyable...I love this home-y post showing a slice of your family life. Your lot sounds like ours - long and narrow - but unfortunately, our front and back yards are still both very small. We at least had room in our back yard for a swing set when the boys were little. Our patio is on one of our side yards. We have so many mosquitoes here though, that we can't enjoy any outdoor time now. It really stinks. Your ribs look fantastic - so cool to have your own smoker. And your ice cream sounds amazing. Didn't know that your in-laws lived (mainly) in New Zealand. Is that where your husband is from?

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    1. Thanks, Melanie. No, my husband is American, as are his parents. They became expatriates when my father-in-law retired in the late 90's. They have homes in a few countries, actually. They have an adventurous life. :)

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  21. My kind of day!!! And the food looked and sounded amazing! I love that you can enjoy your outside space for most of the year and that your little ones have so much access to nature! We have had similar things going on with our weather patterns....lots of flooding going on currently and my garden is like a swamp! How nice that the rain held off while your in-laws were over! Here is to good things this week my friend! All the way around! Nicole xo

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  22. It sounds like an awesome day! The ribs look delish! Kristi got a Cuisinart ice cream maker and I am excited to see how the ice cream turns out. There really is nothing better than homemade. When we raised Nubian Dairy goats I used to make a lot of ice cream when we had too much milk. Coffee and mint ice cream was a favorite. Have fun! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  23. Sounds that you had a wonderful time. All things looks yummy!! It is really a good time when all the family members help in work. I have experienced it. Love it...

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  24. Our weather has been so lovely and warm we have been spending more time outside as well. My granddaughters have been practicing pedaling their bikes on the concrete pad where we sometimes park our cars. Hayley, now 7 has just learned to ride in a circle without her training wheels! We haven't made homemade ice cream in a very long time...your successful efforts inspire me :) xx

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  25. The blue sky has been absent here in my corner of Norfolk in the UK lately, each day seems to be grey until lunchtime, then the sun breaks through gaps in the cloud. There is more heat in the sun than you realise so it doesn't take long before the summerhouse warms up and you need to open the windows and doors to be comfortable sitting in there, crocheting, listening to birdsong and the radio. Thanks for visiting my little blog, and lovely to see these photos of your family.

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  26. The blue sky has been absent here in my corner of Norfolk in the UK lately, each day seems to be grey until lunchtime, then the sun breaks through gaps in the cloud. There is more heat in the sun than you realise so it doesn't take long before the summerhouse warms up and you need to open the windows and doors to be comfortable sitting in there, crocheting, listening to birdsong and the radio. Thanks for visiting my little blog, and lovely to see these photos of your family.

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    1. Hi Edwina, thank you for your lovely comment. I hope your weather improves and you get full days of sun very soon!

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  27. Thank you for sharing your day with us Jennifer. I adore Wind in the Willows, one of my favourite ever books. X

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  28. Those ribs do look sooo tasty. Yum! Sounds like a great day! Miserable and rainy here so lovely to see your summery pics. x

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  29. Those ribs are making me feel hungry! It all looks so delicious, and you had such a perfect day for your early Father's Day celebration. You have a backyard filled with so many nice things, including wonderful family memories.

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  30. Yum, those ribs look so delicious I can almost taste them! Perfect day xx

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  31. wow, what a delicious sounding day! And so sunny. Oh, the sunshine... it's erm, summer here and we have grey clouds and slightly warmer rain haha!!
    Homemade Ice Cream sounds lovely, and judging by the beater licking it must have been :)
    Hope you all had a great early Fathers day day x

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  32. sounds like a wonderful family day x

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  33. It looks and sounds like a perfect day Jennifer, I just wish our weather was warm enough to enjoy long happy days like this. :) xx

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  34. This sounds like a perfect happy day, the kind I'm very much looking forward to enjoying with my own soon to be daddy and little one! Your ribs look delicious, in fact the whole menu sounds just right! x

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