After all that cleaning and pruning on Monday, I enjoyed spending Tuesday morning on the patio, doing my reading and writing, and watching the sunlight move across the yard. There was a delightful breeze that made the wind chimes sing.
I stayed out there until noon when I came in and baked biscuits for my lunch. Terry was gone most of the day, providing technology assistance to members of the organization for which he volunteers. He enjoyed a biscuit along with watermelon we got in our csa box yesterday when he got home and the temperature had climbed to 94 degrees.
It’s nice to get ones work done early in the day so as to be indoors during the heat of the day.
Gigihawaii is seeking advice about decorating her patio. I am definitely not the one to give advice in that area. As you can see, our patio is pretty plain:
I look at gardening magazines and Pinterest boards with envy of all the beautiful outdoor spaces that people have been able to build. I think about what I could put in this very large space we have off of the family room, but every time I come close to adding something, I pull back, remembering that anything I put there will have to come off when I clean the patio. The patio seems to be a dirt magnet, and during the summer months I am constantly cleaning out there.
Usually I take everything off of the patio floor, moving it out to another large cement slab we have in the yard that we call the greenhouse because that’s what the original owner had planned for it. You can see the chair skeletons lined up out here for their cleaning. Then I sweep the patio floor and hose it off. With our water shortage this summer, that second step may have to be eliminated unless we’re going to have guests. Terry and I can live with a layer of dirt.
So, the more stuff I put ON the patio, the more I will have to take OFF to clean it. In addition to that wrought iron table and chair set, there is also a chaise lounge that the cats use for their bed and a small cart I got for my gardening pursuits. Both fairly easy to move.
Before our hiatus in San Francisco, I had another wrought iron table with two chairs as well as a large barbecue grill that sat on the patio. I gave both items away in our downsizing effort. I keep two large wicker chairs and an ottoman in storage that only come out in the summer months and usually stay out on the greenhouse pad. It’s a lovely place to sit on summer days, under the shade of the pear tree.
I’m sticking with my minimalist backyard decor for now.
It is lovely out here on the patio. You know the one, the patio that needs its own caretaker. There is a delightful breeze blowing through the yard as sit at the patio table and type. My wind chimes are jingling in the breeze. I’m trying to enjoy as much time outdoors as possible. I know a hot, dry summer is headed our way and the afternoons will be spent indoors, with the air conditioner running.
I baked a pan of brownies, did two loads of laundry, made croutons, all after returning from my docent training at Kearney Mansion this morning. Next Thursday I give my first tour so I was anxious to work my way through the house, being sure I can open and lock the doors and operate the Victrola. I was terrified I might break it, but I think I have it figured out. Of course, when I have to operate it with 20 children staring at me, I might not do as well. Operate it and talk at the same time!
While I’ve been sitting here, the neighbor’s cat has come by:
I call him the neighbor’s cat, but he pretty much lives in our yard. He likes it because it’s quiet with lots of secluded spots for sleeping and I keep food out for him; that’s why he was here, to get a snack.
It’s such a pleasant afternoon for all us of out here.
We don’t have a pool, but we do have a very large patio that needs constant cleaning. I need a patio boy!
Although it is officially autumn, our weather has felt more summer-like the past two days. Today it is 81 degrees at 1 p.m. We might hit 90 by 5. I turned on all the house fans today as I have been baking and will continue later this afternoon.
This morning I made a piecrust of ginger snaps, pecans, and oats. It baked for about 10 minutes. Then I poured in a mixture of browned butter, sweet potato, sugar, cream, eggs, and spices to make the most delicious pie. That had to bake for 20 minutes. A rib roast will be the last thing from my oven for dinner this evening. Another 100 minutes of heat coming from the oven and filling my kitchen air.
Due to the warm weather, I decided to clean the patio again, maybe for the last time this year. Of course, it could still be warm at Thanksgiving at the rate we are going with our seasons. We got our flu shots today, so we are ready when the cold weather does come.
Having a patio is nice. It shades our house; it’s a place to sit and read the paper on a Sunday morning; the cats use it as their bedroom; we occasionally eat there. The amount of work, however, to keep it clean, is mammoth.
For one thing, it is a big patio. Probably the same size as the tiny SF apartment. The two trees in the backyard shed their leaves which then blow up on the patio, along with piles of dirt. I don’t know where all the dirt comes from. Over the years, I have probably hosed off an acre of dirt, yet the backyard does not get larger.
The spiders like the patio because the bugs love it, too. For a long time we had a pest control service that kept the spiders and all bugs under control; but the use of poisons bothered me even though they said it was all organic. (Hey, killing something doesn’t seem organic to me.) We had to be sure and leave the gate unlocked for the service rep to come in the back yard which also meant taking in all the cat’s food and bedding, and cats too, for that matter. Then there was the cost. I have apartment rent to pay now, in an expensive city, so I’m cutting costs. The spiders are happy and making their home again in the patio roof. Their webs are just more to clean up, however.
I usually clean the patio early spring, mid summer, and late fall. Today was the mid summer cleaning. It will be around 108 today so I did all my errands and chores, which today was the patio and greenhouse pad (that’s another story), before 11 a.m. It will probably be too hot this evening to go out back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Baked some more Red Wagon Pies. This time I made my own crust using pastry flour and butter thinking I would get a flaky crust. I didn’t.
Red Wagon peach pies
Sunday morning is one of my favorite times. Coffee, toast, and newspapers.
The Sunday Chronicle
After church I went out work in the backyard. The weather has finally turned warm enough to enjoy the shady yard.
The patio is still waiting for me to clean it. Maybe on Monday.
The patio still has winter grime.
I usually clean the patio of all its winter dirt by Easter. This year I have been unbelievably LAZY and just got around to it on Memorial Day weekend. Although I did clean off the greenhouse pad, I’ve never completed the job by cleaning the patio and hauling the furniture out of storage. The furniture is still sitting in my storage unit. Maybe next weekend. Of course, that is what I’ve been saying since April.
I have a wrought iron table and chair set on the patio that stays there year round as it does not fold up for storage. This is an old set, at least 40 years, and I have replaced the seat cushions once. They are easily removed for cleaning. Here are the chair frames, sitting in the warm sun on the greenhouse pad to dry:
I liked the way they looked, like they were waiting for ghost guests.
After I got the chairs cleaned, then it was the big job of getting all the dirt off of the patio. It’s a big patio, much like cleaning another room of the house. Here’s the finished product:
The clean patio with chairs back in place
It won’t stay clean for long. The neighbor cats enjoy living here and actually spend more time on the patio than any of our family.