The First Bonfire of the Season


I am a horse owner, and I  board my horse at a barn nearby.  The other horse owners are mostly women of my age.  We don’t do a lot of competitions any more, just go for rides and enjoy nature.It is a nice, low drama  barn. We enjoy our horses and each other’s company.

One of the great things about this barn is the bonfire picnics. Several times a year, we all get together at the pond by the barn and share  a meal.  It is a potluck, with everyone bringing a dish to share.  The long suffering horse husbands attend, and they can commiserate together about their horse-mad wives. ( I have dubbed us “The Desperate Horsewives”)

The setting is beautiful. There is a fire pit with Adirondack chairs that overlooks the pond, and a stunning stone slab that is our buffet table. Our first one was last Friday evening. We all gathered by the pond, and watched the two Canada geese parents parade their goslings for us. We heard all of the song birds singing their goodnight songs,  heard the frogs croaking and felt the first breath of spring in the air.

Our stone table overlooking the pond. Love our shadows.

Potlucks always have a magical way of working themselves out. No one is assigned a dish, but we always end up with the right mix of side dishes and desserts. And also a good selection of wine!

Everyone filled their plate, and settled in around the fire.  We are always sharing horse stories.  Talk of days riding in competitions in our youth, our favorite horses, and reminiscing about our equine partners that have passed on. (The barn has a horse cemetery, where each horse has a grave marker. Most barns don’t do this, so it is very special that we have a place to lay our dear horses to rest).

Chillin’ by the fire.

The bonfires give all of us a chance to visit, and to get to know each other better.  Most of the husbands don’t come to the barn, so it is nice to meet everyone’s other half.  And dogs are welcome as well. The usual canine attendees are Zooey the Jack Russell Terrier and Cooper and another Zooey, both Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

I enjoy the rhythm of  each of the bonfires. Each one usually marks a seasonal change-spring, the summer solstice, and then autumn.  Our horses shed their winter coats in spring, look gleaming and shiny in the summer, and then start to get fuzzy in the autumn. Our menu is also tied to the seasons-spring vegetable dishes, summer bounty from our gardens and casseroles reminding us of the cooler weather coming.

Taking the time to share a meal and to get to know each other is such a gift.  We should all take time on a regular basis to be with our friends. The key word being REGULAR. We all get so busy, and it can take months to pin down a date that can work for a group.  It takes a commitment. And it need to be a priority.

And isn’t that what friendship is all about?

So plan that picnic, cocktails out, what ever it is. But make it a regular event.

Now go have fun.

Bean Salad Recipe

This is my go-to recipe for when I need something delicious and easy to make. It is always a hit. Shout out to my friend Patti for giving me this recipe.

bean salad

Take three cans of beans-I use pink beans, white beans and black beans. I like the color blend of these beans, but you can use whatever ones you like.

Drain and rinse the beans and combine in a bowl.

Add a  small bag of frozen corn or peas, or a combination of both.  Stir together.

You can also add a can of mild diced chilies, or some sun dried tomatoes.

Add just enough balsamic vinegar to taste.

Stir together and let it sit in the refrigerator so that the flavors meld.

And voila’!  You are done.



One thought on “The First Bonfire of the Season

  1. I love this Jeannette you have put in words what I feel when I come to this barn I am so thankful for the time of just being there with women of my age who have been there done that. Although I have not made it to any of the pot luck bonfires because of grand kids / babysitting I know that it is all good. This barn and group of people and horses are just what the soul needs after a bad day or just a long day after work. The comfort of food and friends what more is there!


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