Cookout, cats and cucamelons – what a beautiful day!

What a lovely day today turned out to be!

The area we have the picnic table set up for painting is near where the cucamelons are planted. After painting last night, the girls checked them out and spotted baby cucamelons! When I’d checked them earlier, they weren’t even blooming.

Of course, I had to check them out, this morning.

The tiniest cucamelons on the tiniest of flowers! There are lots of them, and they are all barely visible. šŸ˜€

I had another smile waiting for me when I got back in the house. Our feline matriarch has laid claim to the base from under the washing machine; she likes the Styrofoam. Before heading outside, I took the piece that was inside the drum of the washer and set it on the floor.

She took the bait.

She’s been in it pretty much all day – and if she hasn’t, one of the other cats was in it! šŸ˜€

I think we’ll keep it, just for her. šŸ™‚

The girls and I planned a cookout today. Usually, we do these later in the day, when it’s cooler and the fire looks great as it gets dark. The girls have plans for the evening, so we did it earlier than usual.

Though we bought a big bag of potatoes while stocking up for the month, I ended up getting some from the store that were already wrapped and ready for grilling or baking. What can I say. The price was really good, and I didn’t feel like fussing with foil.

Along with the potatoes, I put together something we’ve never gone before, based on a recipe I’d found online. Ground beef meatballs, stuffed with cheese, encased in onion rings, then wrapped in bacon. I have a cooking sheet that’s designed to do things like vegetables on a BBQ, and I used that as my base. I lined it with heavy duty aluminum foil and made “sides” around the edges after the meatballs were set up, then covered with another sheet of foil. I also prepped corn on the cob by peeling off only a couple of the other husks, pulling back the rest so I could remove the silk, covered the cobs with the husks again, then let them soak in a giant bowl of water.

Once everything we ready, I got a fire going and built it up until I got a good, solid base of coals. While I was doing that, the girls painted one last coat on the picnic table.

Since the picnic table wasn’t ready to use, and we needed a table of some kind, we ended up bringing a pair of saw horses and a couple of 3×4’s that we’d been using to hold things near the picnic table. The sheet of high density plastic that I’ve been hanging on to (I think it was used to cover the basement window for the winter at some point) was brought over as a table top.

Once I had a decent amount of coals, pushed them to the back, then set up one of the oven racks from the broken stove over them. Sitting on the concrete blocks, the rack is still pretty high above the coals, so I used an old roaster lid to cover them and keep the heat from above, like a sort of oven.

After about 20 minutes, I set up the other rack and put on the meatballs. My daughter had added a baking sheet over it, just in case the cats decided to go for them, and I ended up leaving it on to serve a similar purpose as the roaster lid.

I’m not used to cooking thick hamburger like this over fire, and we had some concerns about getting them cooked all the way through (the cheese in the middle would help with that, at least), but within moments of putting the pan over the fire, I could hear it sizzling!

After about 10 minutes, we checked how they were doing.

Wow! The cheese just exploded out of them! šŸ˜€ There was quite a bit of liquid, so I left the baking sheet off and just loosely covered it with foil again.

The potatoes were ready by then, so I moved them to a corner away from the coals, and covered them again to stay warm.

We kept a close eye on them and, after a while, flipped them.

Sort of.

They kept wanting to fall apart, and the bacon was sticking to the foil!! My daughter managed to get it done, though. šŸ˜€

Once they were done, the pan was moved to the other corner, and the corn was put on.

The corn cooks very quickly, compared to most things. Still, after flipping them, I ended up using the roaster lid to cover them.

My husband wasn’t able to join us, so when the food was ready, I prepped a plate for him.

The plate was too small for both of his cobs of corn. šŸ˜€

The husks make a great handle to use while eating the corn. šŸ™‚

It all turned out absolutely delicious! I don’t know that I would do the meatballs again – at least not over a fire. They were quite difficult to get off the foil. Still, they were so tasty, they’re worth the fuss.

It was so nice, sitting outside then enjoying a delicious meal. We were serenaded by cicadas. Two of them. LOL (Cicadas are not really a thing in our area.) There was a constant snapping and crackling as caragana seed pods exploded in the sunlight, while we played “chase the shade” with our chairs. LOL We had feline company too, of course. Potato Beetle demanded attention, and kept steeling our chairs for naps!

While waiting for the fire to burn down, the girls (who had missed breakfast) had brought out hot dog fixings and toasted a couple of dogs early on. They left the supplies behind (in an insulated back with ice packs, of course) when they had to leave. Once the cooking was done, I started to build up the fire again and began working on the pile of branches against the old log cabin. I was out there so long, I ended up having hot dogs for supper, too! šŸ˜€

I found another smile waiting for me on our makeshift table.

Of all the places he could lay down for a nap, he chose the picnic backpack, and used the cutlery as a pillow. What a silly boy!

I’m not sure when this happened, but I noticed it after I had started to rebuild the fire again.

The half-block cracked in the heat! I pushed it back into position after the photo was taken and I moved the piece of wood off of it.

I check the other blocks, when the fire died down a bit, and can see that one of them has cracks, too. Only on the top of the brick, though.

Eventually, the piece on the half block fell right off. As I moved it to one side, I noticed this.

One of the bricks under it has not only cracked, but when I tapped it while moving the ashes around, chunks broke off.

Well, they still do the job, so I don’t mind!

Meanwhile, I’m already thinking ahead to what I want to try cooking on the fire pit next!

The Re-Farmer

4 thoughts on “Cookout, cats and cucamelons – what a beautiful day!

  1. That fire pit is working out surprisingly well. Just make sure to keep the area around it clear and that the fire is fully out. afterwards. šŸ™‚ I swear I’m being haunted by my grandfather the fire marshal, lol.

    If you really want to take those bacon wraps to the next level, take a look at this:

    The BBQ Pit Boys are… a bit eccentric, but they know how to grill some food.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, we’re big on the whole “don’t set everything on fire” thing. LOL We frequently hose everything around the fire pit down during cookouts – which is great for the moss we want to encourage! – and making sure it’s fully out.

      I’ve actually made a bacon bomb! Without peppers (they make me gag!). Soooo awesome. It was years ago, when we were still in the city, and cooked it in the oven. It sure would be something to try over the fire pit!

      Liked by 1 person

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