Yesterday I peddled off to have a small adventure, a picnic on the shore of Bay Farm Island to celebrate the birthday of my MIL (who is off having adventures in the afterlife and who is sorely missed by thems that knew her). I’m still basking in the glow of an afternoon well spent, and not all of that glow is from my resulting sunburn. The reason why my impromptu picnic was a fitting memorial to the Mister’s mum is something that would take quite a few words to articulate, but as I simply MUST get to the hardware store to buy a replacement bathroom faucet this afternoon, and then there’s the gym, and oh, another 10 lbs of jalapenos to process at some point (brine fermented this time, I think), as well as over 5 lbs of fermenting eggplant that really ought to be checked before I leave the house…
Why don’t I picnic more often? As yesterday proved, picnics take very little planning if the weather promises to behave. But I suppose we ought to define a picnic, oughtn’t we? My definition is simple: it’s eating outdoors and taking more than 30 – 45 minutes in which to do it. I knew I’d need supplies for my celebratory picnic, so yesterday after the Mister and I went to morning mass and lit some candles for his mum, and he went to work and I made my farmers market run, I scuttled around the homestead, and in record time had a few picnicking essentials loaded into the trike. Your picnicking needs might vary, but here are mine: bring good, hearty food and drink; a tarp or blanket and one pillow per person; a book or magazine; and a craft project, of course. With the trike packed, I made my way along Alameda’s bike lanes and paths to a tiny pocket beach on Bay Farm Island. Here are some pictures from my very lovely afternoon, along with a few comments and random suggestions.
Really, the only true essential for a picnic is food and drink. I brought a tasty composed salad of brown rice and veg (which sounds austere but wasn’t), a can of seltzer, and two of the Mister’s chocolate-chocolate cookies (in honor of the birthday girl, donchya know). To make the picnic special, I tossed in a plate and cup, as well as a fork and a cloth napkin. Thus provided, I ate like royalty, my pets. Oh – allow me to briefly digress: would you like to know how to keep a can cold for a few hours, even in the heat? It’s simple and “un-invented” by moi: slip a few crushed ice cubes into a wide-mouth quart jar, add an already cold can and some more ice scraps, screw on the lid, and enjoy an icy cold drink up to three hours later.
If you plan to be sitting around for a few hours, why not bring an easily portable craft? You get bonus points for choosing a project that’s repetitive and that might be a bit boring if you weren’t pleasantly distracted otherwise. I brought a little pile of denim scraps, from which I cut a tidy stack of small hearts. Digression # 2: if you have a small paper pattern that you’ll be using repetitively, why not use clear packing tape to “laminate” it on both sides? The now-laminated pattern will be much easier to use as a chalk stencil, and far sturdier to boot. Also, for projects like mine, bring an old wooden cutting board as a drawing / cutting surface. This is a good idea even if you are assured the use of a picnic table at your destination. (Picnic tables are very useful, but always so dirty, yes?)
As I sat in the sun, happily producing a steady number of denim hearts, the tide was gently coming in and nibbling away at my tiny beach. The sound of the wavelets slapping the beach finally reached my conscious mind, so I moved the trike up to the grass, and returned to my bench and kept producing hearts as the tide made its way under my perch, which was a few inches above the water.
After having to rescue a wind-borne scrap of denim from the shallow water at my feet, it was time to relocate up to the grass. I brought over my blanket and my pillow, plunked down the denim heart project and the picnic basket, and stretched out to admire the view for a good long bit. View sufficiently admired, I sat up on my pillow and continued to cut out hearts. I should mention that well before this point I ought to have applied sunscreen, but I didn’t and I rather wish I had. After amassing a nice stack of hearts, it was time to flop down and do some serious reading of a non-serious book (the latest Dr. Siri mystery – Don’t Eat Me – by Colin Cotterill, if you wondered). As usually happens when I put my nose in a book, time passed quickly. Eventually my shoulders and arms felt pleasantly burnt and my stomach was starting to think about food again, which meant that it was time to make my way back homeward. I said goodbye to my picnicking spot, loaded up the trike, and made my way home, a contented woman.
And that’s it for this week, my pets. As you might have guessed by the radio silence of the last two weeks, I have been QUITE the busy woman ‘round the homestead. The next week or so will be equally busy as I prepare for the last mad dash to preserve summer’s bounty. Do let’s chat in two weeks, shall we? I have all sorts of fermentation tips to share with you, as well as some thoughts on canning tomatoes and drying zucchini…
Until next time, be safe and eat well, because it’s still summer and we’re not dead yet. With much fondness, yr little munakins