Woman of the West

Splash of Summertime

As Canada Day has just passed, I feel that summer has arrived. 

It’s time to enjoy warm evenings outdoors alongside a crackling fire, cotton candy painted sunsets, and wildflowers coming into bloom. 

Personally, my favourite time of year is the stretch of time between July and August. The heat and sunshine nourish my soul.

This is a time of year to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family, and hosting outdoor barbecues is definitely on the agenda this summer as my boyfriend, Marvin, and I recently purchased a new smoker/ barbecue duo that has already been put to good use. 

This led me to think, “What goes into hosting the best summer barbecue get together on the ranch?” I have put together some of the best food, décor, and activity checklist to make it a success.

For the food, always have easy, make-ahead appetizers ready to serve for when guests arrive. Some of my favourite before dinner staples are buffalo chicken dip, ham and cheese pinwheels, cowboy caviar, (which is a gussied up corn and bean salad), and bacon and artichoke crostini’s. For the main course, I find it easiest to make something that requires minimal assembly, such as a smoked beef brisket with char-roasted vegetables, and a hearty garden fresh strawberry spinach salad. Serve a refreshing homemade batch of lemonade and it is sure to be a success. 

For the décor, keep it simple. You don’t have to go over the top, as some simple string lights and comfortable patio seating is all you need, along with some citronella outdoor candles to repel insects and you’re set. 

For the activities,; make it inclusive, and easy so that everyone has the chance to participate. Games such as beanbag toss, mini roping dummy, and lawn darts. 

On the ranch, we have the prerogative to be outdoors.

It is important to enjoy this time of year, regardless of the work that is required to be completed; as Marvin says, “It isn’t really work when you love what you do.”

From checking and feeding cows, to haying in the scorching heat, there’s enjoyment to be had when you’re living in this little piece of paradise on the Alberta prairie.

With the busy-ness of summertime, it’s important to make time for the things we enjoy. As we all know living in Canada, the months of sunshine and warm weather are mere, and the time we have to soak up these glorious days is limited.

Photos and story by Chelsey Becker