It’s early days, but in spite of today’s rain I’m calling it. My tomato plants are blossoming, I’m harvesting dinner salads, and my blueberry bushes are about to fruit. If the 80 degree weather we had last weekend evidences anything, it tells me that in spite of the calendar, summer is upon us, Seattle.

I could go on about how special summers are here. Our access to all things outdoorsy, concerts and theater in parks, how much we relish the rare sunny skies… all those are lovely things. For me, however, what I love best about summer is living and entertaining outdoors.

Alfresco. From the Italian: ‘To take place or located in the open air’. Just saying the word can make you feel fancy. Particularly if you’re simultaneously, and ever so casually, gesturing toward your balcony or patio with a glass of lemon-spiked iced tea. C’mon, try it. ‘Al-fres-koh’. See? Way cooler than, ‘Going outside for food. And stuff’.

My significant other and I live in a small house. Not so small as to be a tiny house, but small enough that between May and October, our backyard becomes our living room and the front porch our dining room. During these glorious six months, we live alfresco.

For example? Coffee on the front deck in the morning before work. The previous night’s BBC news podcast plays in the background, piped out the kitchen windows for our listening pleasure. In May and June it’s just chilly enough to pretend we’re camping. On the weekends I’ll be there too, reading a book, playing a game, or checking email with Chet Baker or Miles Davis for company.

Dinner? Frequently from the garden and almost always off the grill. Served at the oak picnic table out back, or maybe the iron café table adjacent to the house. Citronella candles flank us in an attempt to ward off the mosquitos, but they’re in the deal. Blood will inevitably be drawn, but it’s a small price to pay, dining mere inches from softly fragrant white rhododendron blossoms.

Weekends bring friends, and with friends, fun. We take a note from the life of rock god Joe Strummer who believed that a good campfire fed the soul and unified those present. Our fire pit is ablaze at least three or four nights a week when the nights grow warm, and music, live or recorded, is always a feature. This summer we’re adding outdoor movies, the first of which will likely feature The Ramones.

By no means is it an elegant scene, but it doesn’t need to be. The best outdoor event at our place last summer was a chili dog party. If you’ve never hosted a chili dog party, I whole-heartedly suggest you plan one now. Do it for the leftovers! Chilies with chocolate and cinnamon, bacon white bean, vegetarian, and spicy sausage, too. Friends that like to cook made this a fantastic event. And those that don’t generously brought condiments enough to garnish any type of dog imaginable. The variety of meat and meat free hot dogs available ensured everyone had the dog of their choice.

Be it Salsa dancing under the stars or face painting by firelight – considering trying something alfresco this season, something you’ve never tried before. And while you’re at it, give me some pointers, too. I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Alicia Diefenbach

My name is Alicia Diefenbach and I’m a Community Relations Specialist at Verity Credit Union.  I absolutely love my role at Verity!  I have the opportunity to explore the communities in which we’re located, reach out to organizations and individuals making these places dynamic, inviting places to live, and get involved with activities that support their well-being.

In my spare time I dote on my vegetable garden.  It still never ceases to amaze me that I can create my dinner out of dirt, some seeds, and cooperative weather.   I love my dog, Frank.  Also, I go to rock shows.  A whole lotta rock shows.

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