Labor Day: New Deck and Grilled Chicken

September 6, 2010

We had a productive yet relaxing Labor Day weekend. We went over to John and Karen’s house on Friday after work for beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres. We had invited them to our house but our deck wasn’t quite finished so we we decamped to their backyard. It was a wonderful evening; beautiful weather and great company. Just what I needed after a stressful day at work with 3 separate production problems.

We don’t have a backyard; the deck is it and it is a bit cramped. We had the rel-squad over in June for our niece Megan’s graduation party and felt very pinched. In addition it was sloping down away from the house and the railing was an accident waiting to happen. So we had Douglas Bernhardt give us a bid on extending and improving things. He did a fantastic job. It had to be propped up at least 2 inches in a number of spots.

After the work was done we needed to re-treat it. We planned on doing it ourselves (really! we considered it). But we felt it needed more than we could do in a couple of weekends in the fall. So, we had Mike Johnson come over to tell us what he could do. He is a friend of Andrew’s; we’ve known him since he was about 12 or 13 – a great kid (pardon me: young man). He stripped the finish from the old boards, reset dozens of nails that had popped up, sanded, and stained it. He did a fantastic job. You can see here the improvements in looks, size, and finish. If you’ve got some work to do; I definitely recommend him.

Saturday afternoon we went to an art fair in the Pearl district to find a painting for Carla’s birthday. We saw some nice things but nothing for the house. We’ll keep our eyes peeled the next few weeks. On the way back we stopped for a beer and some appetizers at Nel Centro near my office. The pomme frittes there are among the best I’ve ever had.

Sunday I was on a mission to get a new pair of jeans. I walked from one end of Washington Square Mall to the other: Sears to Penney’s. Advertising works; I hadn’t planned on going to Penney’s but I had seen an ad for Lee jeans on sale at Penneys on Friday night. I’m glad I went – got 2 nice pairs of jeans. They were the best fitting of everything I tried.

I also went to Lowe’s and picked up a new motion detector light for the side of the house. I’ve been meaning to do this all summer and summer is winding down. I installed it while Carla was making dinner; it was a success: it works and I didn’t electrocute myself.

Monday we went to yoga at 10:00; Jeanette is a great yoga teacher, I try to go anytime I have a Monday morning available (usually just  a few 3-day weekends a year). We did some core work and  twisting. It felt great; I wish she taught in the evening one night a week. We got home and laid down an insect barrier around the foundation. We’ve had a lot of bugs and spiders getting in the house; an expected side effect of living next to this wonderful green space. After lunch the deck was dry so we moved our furniture and what-not back up.


Earlier this summer we played croquet and ate some fantastic chicken during a “Dinner’s for Eight” evening at the Blickenstaffs.  The chicken was butterflied, rubbed and grilled under bricks. I saw a similar recipe watching America’s Test Kitchen later in the summer and had it in mind to try. [Edit May 25, 2018 – I lost my version of the recipe. There is a gas grill version here.]  Jeff was coming over to dinner so tonight was the night. I brined the chicken this morning; then butterflied it and rubbed it in the early afternoon. At  4:30 we were ready to cook!


The Weber was doing the work. I just had to sit down and drink a beer. Looking out over the new railing of our deck I savored one of the last views of the green before Fall comes and takes down the leaves:


I made those benches over 20 years ago out of some lumber left over from our deck at our first house. No way did I expect them to last so long.

Flipped the bird a couple of times and it was ready


Carla had sautéed some broccoli and garlic; Jeff sliced some cucumber and put it on the salt block. A few cherry tomatoes from the garden and dinner was served

My plate

Back to work. Carla’s summer vacation is over; my uncle Jake and aunt Sally are planning on packing up from their summer place in Concho, Arizona back to Cottonwood. I talked with him this evening and they are planning on taking the southern drive home across the Mogollon Rim. Andrew and I made this drive a couple of years ago on our way to Tucson. It is a beautiful drive through a gorgeous white pine forest.

Rating: ★★★★. 4 out of 5 stars

One thought on “Labor Day: New Deck and Grilled Chicken

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.