Archive for the ‘Western Red Cedar’ Category
A cedar arbor provides a pleasant, quiet haven in the garden for reading, quiet contemplation or basking in the sunshine. Many people enjoy planting climbing vines, flowered or otherwise, to grow over and around their cedar arbors to provide shade and create a scented atmosphere.
During the autumn and winter months, your cedar arbor may be decorated to reflect the season or holiday. For example, for Thanksgiving you could place pumpkins, gourds and other seasonal decorations in and around the cedar arbor.
Strings of lights can be strewn over the cedar arbor to provide a nice glow at night. If you wish, candles provide a romantic ambience. Don’t use real candles, though. You don’t want to start a fire! Battery-powered candles serve the same purpose without the fire hazard!
Flowers and other plants also make lovely decorations for a cedar arbor. Consider surrounding your arbor with planters containing poinsettias, holly and evergreens during the Christmas season to provide a festive atmosphere for your garden. Think of your cedar arbor as another household location that can be decorated any way you wish!
Celebrating Oktoberfest can get expensive for you and your friends, especially with cover charges for live entertainment. Instead, invite friends to your home for a beer tasting!
Beer tastings are gaining popularity. They can be less expensive than wine tastings, although some craft beers and microbrews can be pricey. Create a budget covering the costs of the beers you select plus food. Plan to serve at least four varieties (at 3 ounces per guest) for the tasting plus additional beer (of any type) for post-tasting enjoyment. Add seasonal lights to my 20-inch planter with trellis and it’s a decorative cooler for the beer.
One tasting format is the vertical tasting: one brand, several varieties. For example, Samuel Adams has different beers for assembling a good “flight” for your tasting. Its Web site has sample flights assembled by others and provides a way to choose your tasting’s beers. One sample: Sam Adams Boston Lager, Oktoberfest, Maple Pecan Porter and Harvest Pumpkin Ale. Many local liquor stores might not stock many varieties, but they might steer you to stores that do or will special order them for you. Next: Another Tasting Format plus Food for Your Tasting
Tailgating is a time-honored tradition at most sports events: football, in particular. However, many of us can’t get to the stadium to participate in this festivity. Do you miss the camaraderie? Do you long for the taste of freshly grilled burgers, dogs and brats? How about some nachos and chicken and bean dip? Here is a link to some tailgating recipes you might enjoy: http://www.campbellskitchen.com/Entertaining/Tailgating
Can’t get to the stadium? Invite a few friends over to watch the game and set up a “yard-gate” in the yard, deck or patio. The entertaining ideas I presented in previous posts should help you prepare and conduct your yard-gate.
If possible, position your TV so guests can watch the game while lounging outside. Otherwise, set up the grill and food outside, perhaps on one of my Western Red Cedar picnic or market tables or a teak dining table, so your guests can chow down outside before and after the game. Provide munchy foods (chips and dips, veggies and dips, etc.) inside for during-the-game snacking. After the game you can adjourn to the outdoors to continue your yard-gate … if anyone is still hungry or has tummy room left!
(Continued from August 20, 2013) Lighting can consist of traditional tiki torches or hurricane lamps. Use strings of red, white and blue lights. Many party, hardware and home design stores sell these. Also try placing red, white and blue candles in clear Mason-type canning jars or clear jelly jars. Don’t leave real candles unattended. (Otherwise, use battery-powered votive lights.)
Delegate responsibilities to a few of your guests so you’ll be able to relax, too. One of them could be the greeter/bartender who provides the first drink, then guests can help themselves. If you’re grilling, have more than one cook; unless, of course, your cook prefers to hold court at the grill! If children are attending, ensure that a few adults share the oversight duties. And check out my Child Chair/Table Set as an addition to your outdoor furniture. I’m sure it will help your little ones feel more included (just like mom and dad’s)!
Provide insect repellent so guests can spray themselves. And don’t forget that Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate, so have a Plan B: to move indoors or announce a rain date if you don’t have room indoors for all the guests. Happy Labor Day!
Kale isn’t one of my favorite vegetables, but it might be yours. So, here are some tips for growing, prepping and cooking it. According to Betty Sanders at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, July is a good time to plant kale when a light frost (as it grows in the fall) can make it sweeter. (I know it’s August, but there’s still time!) You can grow it in pots of minimum 8 inches deep and 8 inches wide, with at least eight hours of sunlight.
Kale should be stored in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag. Strip leaves from the stems, which are tough. Wash the leaves before cutting and blotting them dry. Kale’s texture can be tough in raw salads. Try this: thin-cut it, then rub it in a dressing that includes lemon, lime or vinegar. Kale’s bitterness can be released by cooking but don’t overcook.
My cedar 10-inch planter box or raised garden boxes are perfect for growing this “wonder” vegetable. To get the proper depth with the raised garden box, buy two (photo).
I ran out of space the other day before I could include a couple of final tips for refreshing the look of your outdoor space. One idea is to mix different pieces into your grouping. For example, a teak bench or Western red cedar bench provides additional seating around a circular or octagonal table. This idea provides an instant solution if one of your chairs is broken or otherwise unusable. It’s also less expensive than purchasing a complete new set.
One or two rattan wicker pieces, such as rattan chairs with a rectangle teak table or a Western red cedar oval table. Or consider using benches with any of the teak tables. Use your imagination to create cozy, charming seating arrangements that bring your guests closer together.
Now that your deck or patio is clean (see “Tips on Sprucing Up Your Outdoor Living Areas,” August 6, 2013) you’ll want to “accessorize” it for a fresh look. Try these ideas:
Add or change seat cushions. If you haven’t added seat cushions to your chairs or loungers, try our Adirondack Cushion Set, which fits our Adirondack Chair plus Ottoman and is available in Forest Green, Navy Blue or White. Also available are cushions for our teak chairs, steamer and lounger in blue, white and green (some styles also in red).
Try basing your decorating on a theme; for example, your and a loved one’s birth month. August’s gemstone is peridot, a pale green-colored stone; it’s flower is the gladiolus or poppy (http://www.birthdaygems.org/birth-month-flowers/). Between the two items, you have an instant color scheme: pale green and bright red (although poppies are available in other colors). Use the scheme to mix and match inexpensive cushions, place mats, curtains or drapes, rugs, and table cloths or runners. You could even use the colors to create a mural or hanging for a conveniently located wall or fence. Make it a family project!
Are you tired of the appearance of your garden, back yard or deck? Does your outdoor furniture look dated and/or tired? Have you been considering a makeover on your outdoor space but can’t afford to spend a lot of money on the project? I have some suggestions and tips to make your outdoor facelift affordable and easy.
First, plan what you want to do and how much it will cost. Decide what your budget will be and stick to it! Second, a little elbow grease will go a long way in sprucing up your outdoor party space. You may be vigilant about keeping the furniture clean and the deck or patio swept, but you might consider giving the area a thorough “deep cleaning” with a pressure washer. Google “renting a pressure washer” to find a rental outlet (for example, Home Depot) near your home.
Third, if your budget is large enough, consider adding a new piece of garden furniture to enhance your outdoor décor. The item doesn’t have to be big and expensive. For example, our Western Red Cedar Wishing Well (large or small) makes a unique, whimsical addition to an outdoor landscape … provided you have the space!
Summer is officially here! It’s time to get grilling! I’m sure some of you have been enjoying outdoor barbecues since the weather turned warm where you live. Whether your grill is well seasoned already or you’re just getting started with a Fourth of July grill-over for family, neighbors and/or friends, why not try something new … something besides dogs, burgers and ribs.
I’m including a link for a site that provides healthy (yes, healthy!) recipes to freshen your barbecue menu. Give them a try, and let me know which ones you like best. I’ll pass on the feedback for others to enjoy! http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/healthy-summer-barbecue/grilling-recipes. If you entertain large groups regularly, purchase one of my table sets, like the Oval Picnic Table Set on gardenfurniturepatio.com. I also have a Round Picnic Table Set and two Market Table Sets that will accommodate several people.
Check my blog regularly for other great summer food recipes and menus. Great grilling!
“Love seat” … The term evokes memories of the living room suite, a three- or four- piece set of living-room furniture that included a matching or coordinated sofa, love seat and one or two arm chairs. These furniture sets are rarely sold today; but you can still purchase love seats, primarily for small living spaces or bedrooms.
This piece dates to the late 1600s, but the term love seat became common in the 1700s as a seating arrangement for courting couples. The earliest seats were designed as seating for women and their big-hooped dresses. Late in the 1800s the Victorians espoused the virtues of courtship and fidelity. The love seat enforced the Victorian ideal of “controlled courtship” in that it allowed togetherness but not intimacy.
Love seats are also known by several other names: tete-a-tete (head-to-head); vis-a-vis (face-to-face); confidante; or Siamoise (probably referring to the Siamese twins Chang and Eng of the early to mid-1800s). My wife owned a love seat made of white pine, but it was called a deacon’s bench. Or maybe that’s a different type of furniture, though very similar. My Adirondack Love Seat is perfect for an unobtrusive corner of your garden!