The notion of dining alfresco is one that holds great appeal for me. When the days are turning balmy, gardens are bursting at the seams with color, and the songbirds are treating us to their mellifluous tones, it seems quite natural to me to want to relax outdoors with a glass of wine and an elegant meal. My aesthetic tendencies lean in favor of whisking out beautiful linens, silver, candelabras, and limoge china...you know, in much the same way that Isak Dinesen might have done,...say, somewhere off at the foot of the Ngong hills.
But much as I'd love to laze peacefully outdoors with knot gardens within my reach and platters of elegant foods laced with rose petals and adorned with ornamental pansies, reality can be quite different from the dream. Eating outdoors, much like painting en plein air, can have its inherent challenges. Take for example, mosquitoes. Wind. And pollen wafting through those same balmy breezes that, from indoors, seemed so soothing. Flowers are beautiful, but they do attract bees, and then, there's all that dead-heading beforehand that's required, to make those flowers all look the way they should in my vision of things.
For a fleeting period, in mid-spring, however, there are some days when eating on the deck is possible, and holds a definite appeal. We try to take advantage of that whenever we can. I'm eagerly awaiting those mornings, before the sun is too scorching hot, and the bugs are not out in droves, when we can have our meyer-lemon-blueberry pancakes with warmed syrup, outdoors.
Maybe one day I'll be one of those people who twists tree branches into elegant configurations resembling an outdoor chandelier with little tea lights dangling over a linen-dressed table, brimming with beautiful china and a display of fresh herbs encircling forks and napkins...
Until then, I suppose our fold-up chairs and windexed glass table will probably suffice.