This post is sponsored by Birch Lane.

outdoor dining table place setting

Last week a friend brought a basket of squash and zucchini and spaghetti squash.

Someone dropped by fresh bread and left it hanging on our door.

And just when I thought our summer vegetable cup couldn’t run over any more….

….someone brought by a giant bucket of sweet corn.

Here’s to summer in the country.

dishes

When we moved here almost ten years ago, I never imagined it would be like this.

In the spirit of complete transparency, living in the country has its challenges.

There’s not a drive-through Diet Coke in the entire county.

We don’t have any stop lights here, except for two blinking lights….

….and one of those is broken.

dining outdoors

There are barns instead of shopping malls.

Chicken barns instead of fast food restaurants.

And we have to drive to another state to shop at Target.

outdoor dining table

At first I thought it would bother me.

I mean, seriously, I’m from the land of restaurants and theaters and order where-ever-you-want-what-ever-you-want convenience.

But now?

I only miss it once every other month and twice on Black Friday.

chair and pillow

Now I’m used to it.

I plan a little more time to get where I’m going.

I turn up Eye of the Tiger and sing louder when I’m stuck behind an international harvester.

I buy more groceries and stock up a little more and plan ahead.

And I’m not even a planner.

Outdoor dining

But I wouldn’t trade living here for anything.

Because when I sit outside on a summer evening, looking over the meadow and listening to the crickets chirp and the cows moo and the wind rustle through the trees…

….it’s better than any drive through anything.

place setting

And when the sun is about to set and I reach for a piece of freshly picked sweet corn.

And take a bite of a little bit of heaven.

I wouldn’t trade it for all the shopping or buying what-ever-you-want-where-ever-you-want convenience in the world.

flowers

I’m so grateful.

Grateful to live where the sun shines brightly.

Grateful for neighbors who bring over giant buckets of sweet corn.

Grateful for dining al fresco under giant oak trees with their leafy branches.

Grateful for every minute of every day.

dining al fresco

And as the sun sets and our family talks and laughs and shares the stories of the day and giggles at all the corn we have in our teeth….

….twilight comes to the country.

We linger just a little bit longer over the day and we slowly gather everything and bring it to the house.

Then for a moment….I pause and I look up….

….and I’m so thankful I can see the stars. 🙂

BL_PR_AlFrescoCampaign_Image1

This moment in the country and this beautiful dining al fresco setting under our oak tree was brought to you by Birch Lane.

Here’s a shopping guide for the post:

Petunia Melamine plates

Blue and white Briggman dish towels

Milford white dinnerware

Bennet flatware collection

Wood and metal pedestals

Milford rectangular platter

Blue and white bamboo bowls

Matea blue and white pillows

The Dining Al Fresco tour continues with Cedar Hill Farmhouse.

Be sure and stop by!

Comments

  1. Image for Nancy @ slightly Coastal Nancy @ slightly Coastal

    What a pretty setting for dining in the summer! I know what you mean about being grateful for where you live. After returning from vacation a few weeks back I was driving and I thought how nice it is that we don't have a single road on the island with a speed limit above 45 mph. We do have some drive thru conveniences, but it is essentially a small town and I love it. Nancy

  2. Image for Alice Alice

    I can relate! While I am an hour south of Boston, on the coast, our town has a ban on franchises. No fast food, drive thru is coffee only. We did finally get a Target 20 minutes away, but life is a little bit slower here, heaven!

  3. Image for ELLIEandELIZABETH ELLIEandELIZABETH

    Love the beautiful pics. I wouldn't trade living in the country for all the Targets in the world. (I have to drive an hour and 20 minutes to get to my Target...) Money can't buy that kind of beauty! Beth

  4. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Agree! When I turn off the highway (that goes up the mountain) onto our road- all stress releases. I love my peace and beauty! Our closest Target is 45 minutes:)

  5. Image for Cindy Baugh Cindy Baugh

    Gorgeous setting. I love living in the country too. Even though it's not as remote a setting as yours, it is my little piece of quiet and tranquility and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

  6. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    It looks so relaxing! Country neighbors are the best. :) I cannot wait to take that move from the city to the country full time! Ready for stars, peace and quiet, no traffic, and yes, even less conveniences. Gonna take my picnic table and give it a makeover, move it where the dogs can't dig under it, and make our own outdoor dining area! Thanks for the inspiration. Have a wonderful week! Cecilia

  7. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    Beautiful living in the country! We also have corn in our teeth too lately.. Such a nice problem to have. Love the blue and white.. Everything! But I am a bit jealous of that milk glass vase so pretty! Enjoy these last weeks before do I dare say it.. School! Have a super star week! No doubt you will that is your middle name.

  8. Image for Michelle Michelle

    I love the images, both your lovely al fresco photos and the even more beautiful ones you conjure up with your words. I'm so grateful to be living where I've wanted to live for so long but you made me tear up a little and miss living in the country. There's nothing like it -- it's a different world where you can crack a bedroom window at night, just to listen to the crickets sing and catch a cool summer breeze, or absentmindedly (or on purpose) leave the doors unlocked. And you sleep like a baby because you're not worried about intruders. You don't even think about them. And the best part? Neighbors (I use the term loosely because they could be not even in sight) are truly neighborly. Keep writing, Karianne, you have a such a gift.

  9. Image for Ellen Ellen

    I grew up in very rural Pa. and at that time there wasn't even a grocery store close by. We grew much of our own produce on my Gram's farm as well as some livestock, hard work for sure. The benefit of fresh vegetables was worth it, sun warmed tomatoes can't be beat. Just picked corn- YUM! Thank-you for reminding me of those delicious outdoor meals of summers long ago. Your photos and thoughts are delightful, make me nostalgic for the good old days!

  10. Image for montanahappy.com montanahappy.com

    I so agree. It's funny my neighbor who is a GREAT cook brought me over a homemade crab melt sandwich last night. The day before another neighbor brought me a bag of Transparent apples. I in turn shared a large bag of onions I purchased but wouldn't use them all. I love country living!

  11. Image for Kris Kris

    Beautiful table! But please tell me you are going to remove more of the silk from the corn before you eat it ... ;)

  12. Image for Cassandra E Cassandra E

    I'll spare you my country living experience of yesterday. P-U! But what I want to know is where did you find the hanging thingy? (Thingy is a word, right?) The Birch Lane things are all beautiful. The setting is lovely. And, you're drinking water, right! xo

  13. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Do you catch lightning bugs and put them in jars?? Not for too long, though cuz we don't want them to die, but for just a little while to see how cute they are blinking. Dining al fresco is the best. Fresh corn, zucchini, delicious juicy tomatoes -- nothing like it. I really miss the summer bounty so we can really appreciate it when it's here. And I have to confess, the minute I saw that blue pillow with the tassels my eyes zeroed in on it. I can see some KariAnne fabric on a pillow, just that size, with fancy tassels dressing it up. Think I'll drag out my sewing machine and see if I can find some KariAnne fabric online. Have a wonderful day!!

  14. Image for Lisa K. Lisa K.

    We must live in the same in neck of the woods! We moved to the country 3 years ago and love it, too! Life is slower paced, people are so friendly, we grow our own vegetables, and enjoy quiet evenings on our porch. We drive an hour, over the river and through the woods, to shop at a Kroger or TJMaxx and it's a 2 hour drive to find a Target or Mall - so like you, Kari Anne, we plan our trips well.

  15. Image for Susan Susan

    What a beautiful and bounteous table...your cup truly runeth over, KariAnne! You have a good heart to be so grateful for the things you have..it seems to be human nature to want what we don't have...it takes a humble and reflective heart to truly appreciate the gifts you have already been given. I love it here in my small town with the two grocery stores that close at 5 pm. I have the best neighbours, too...just yesterday the neighbour who lives behind us brought us home-baked muffins and goodies from her garden. The day before, a neighbour who lives beside us roto-tillered a piece of land for us. Yes, we are truly blessed, too...thank you for giving me pause to take stock of what I have been gifted with!

  16. Image for Randi Randi

    I admit that my small town is not as tiny as yours, but there is not a Target in sight...and I get stuck driving behind tractors. Coming from So Cal, this has been a HUGE change, but such a good one. I like the slower pace. Here in Colorado, Olathe Sweet Corn is the hit of farmer's markets and grocery stores. Can't get enough of it...that and Rocky Ford Cantaloupes. Yeah for summer goodness! Have a great day!

  17. Image for Karen Karen

    Absolutely dreamy! I love that first picture! It beautifully captures the season and everything you're describing. Blessings

  18. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I live "out" like you do, and it does get tiring sometimes, but otherwise it is great. I am grateful for all I have!!!

  19. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    I grew up on a ranch 35 miles from town and about 2 hours from a Target or a mall. Now I live in a college town that is still too small for Target or Home Depot. But now it's only an hour to get to either one. Living in the country definitely has its challenges, but they're so worth it!

  20. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Amen :) and those of us that live in suburbia can dream a little when we read your posts and feel like we are there in spirit.

  21. Image for maureen mawby maureen mawby

    I live in "the city" (Traverse City) and my parents live in "the country" on a farm. I was there this weekend helping with the cherry harvest. Can't beat the fresh air and the sunshine! LOVE the farm table and decorating! Your kids are so blessed to be living this lifestyle.

  22. Image for MARY-ANN FROM CANADA! MARY-ANN FROM CANADA!

    Lovely blog KariAnne! Love your blue & white! I, too, am blessed by living in the country on the shore of Lake Winnipeg! Sunrises and sunsets are absolutely breathtaking no matter how many times you see them! We love the quietness! I am a real country gal, too! I also love to order from Birch Lane! They have lovely things just waiting to have a country home! Bless you! Enjoy your week! Hope you can take some time out of your busy day for you!

  23. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    Oh, KariAnne, What a beautiful table and a setting to go along with it! Your love for your home and the countryside you live in comes through not only in your words but you gorgeous images! LOVE collaborating with you on this and love Birch Lane too!

  24. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    Oh Karianne, I so agree with you on country life. I was born and raised in the country and it was awesome. Now that hubs and I are having to sell Mom's acreage, we are looking for something a little farther north of us in mid Michigan. Basically, the traffic jams are watching out for horse and buggies, as it is a very heavily Amish community. I look forward to buying homemade yummy stuff as they sell their wares in their front yards. Love it. Enjoy. Hugs, Linda

  25. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I love the peace the country brings...beautiful setting and love that sweet corn and those sweet neighbors!! You are blessed, sweet friend!

  26. Image for Cris Cris

    KariAnne I love your blog...you are so funny and real. I love your house and your beautiful land and your green grass and the sound of crickets. I currently live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas (well, I have since 1981) but I grew up in the rolling green hills of Ohio. Whenever I travel up north, especially New England, I envy all those beautiful maple trees in people's yards. From what I can see on my end of the computer screen and judging by the shape of the leaves on that big beautiful tree, you my friend are the lucky owner of what appears to be a maple (not oak) tree! We have lots of oak trees here in Texas but not the maples that turn beautiful autumn colors. Maybe I'm not seeing the leaves clearly on my end but here's a hint...does that tree turn orange, red and gold in the fall? The leaves of a maple tree are palmate. Think "palm" of hand. Oaks are wonderful too...I wouldn't want to hurt your tree's feelings.

  27. Image for Linda Linda

    I am a suburban gal through and through but where we live we have a both of both worlds and I love it after more than a decade in HUGE cities. We love al fresco dining too when it isn't blooming hot! Linda

  28. Image for Sherrie Pfeiffer Sherrie Pfeiffer

    One of my favorite posts yet! I love that neighbors leave you some of their summer bounty. And sweet corn! My, my. Your milk glass cup doth truly runneth over. I said that in a Downton kind of way. Don't you miss that show? Enjoy you tasty treats!

  29. Image for Denise Moraris Denise Moraris

    So peaceful and beautiful! We live in a community with lg lots. We have a supermarket not far from our house, but also farms all around. Problem they are buying up the farms and building more homes. One Easter I did outside dinner under the oak trees. It was one of the most memorable dinners. Living in FL between the heat and bugs it is not often that we eat outside of the screen rooms. But I do have a large dinning room table in our Lani for large family dinners. Our family loves sitting in our Lani for dinner. We just bought a condo in Celebration FL. This community is in the middle of All the attractions. But when you drive in this wonderful community you forget about the world out side the perimeter of this beautiful community. My goal is to buy a home here in the future! I can see outside dinning in this beautiful community! Thanks for this wonderful post. Makes me think and dream!

  30. Image for Katherines Corner Katherines Corner

    I love this setting, perfect for sharing some summertime favorites. We are the ones who leave squash and zucchinni for onthers around here. We love it! Our garden is abundant and there is plenty to share with family, friends and neighbors. My hubby would be overjoyed to live as you do. Our daughter and her family moved to a very rural farm town recently and they love it. But it does have its challenges. Cell phone is spotty, so is the internet.But they do have a gas station, and a couple of restarants and a little tiny shop for staples ( milk eggs bread). Everything else is 35 minutes away. Even though they have moved quite a way from their previous suburban setting they all seem very happy and that of course, makes us happy too. Giggle, hubby and I once bought a bakers dozen of Ambrosia corn ( also known as candy corn) and a loaf of crusty bread and we ate it all for dinner, just the two of us,that's it, nothing else. It was blissful . Thank you for always finding time to share at the Thursday Favorite Things link party my friend. xo

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