I love the transition from spring to summer: bringing the porch furniture out of storage, planting annual flowers, and generally preparing for a season of outdoor enjoyment. Over Memorial Day weekend, we finally managed to get the last of our seedlings out of the greenhouse and into the ground, freeing up space on the patio for the best summer accessory of all, our outdoor sink.
We live in the country, and we take our trash and recycling to the collection center ourselves. Three years ago, my boyfriend found an old porcelain kitchen sink that someone else had disposed of. Without straining his back (too badly) he wrestled it into the truck and brought it home. He’s a good amateur rough carpenter, and using some leftover 4×4 fence posts and plywood, he built a sturdy custom stand for it. A bit of offcut wood to replace a handle, some PVC fittings, and a 6-foot hose later, and we had a functional piece of patio equipment.
It’s easy to imagine how useful a sink near your garden and grilling area is. It also lends an air of goofy, out of the ordinary fun to any task you use it for. If you’ve ever seen New Scandinavian Cooking on PBS’s Create channel, you will know what I mean. If you haven’t seen it, you really should check it out. What’s more fun than watching a professional chef making amazing food? Watching him or her do so on top of a mountain.
Projects like this can be surprisingly fulfilling as a creative outlet. With a little imagination, we’ve given new purpose to all kinds of castoff household items. The shelf at the bottom is made from oven racks abandoned in our shed. A wooden gift box makes a dandy sink catchall, and the tin from some fancy rolled wafers is a dry place to keep a lighter for the grill. I can’t remember why I bought the pot magnets in the first place, but now they secure knives in their retirement from active kitchen duty. An assortment of extra hooks and hangers are a pretty way to organize grill and kitchen tools. Chipped dishes standby below the sink in a previously unneeded dish rack. An old laundry basket, a garage-sale garbage can, and an old galvanized pail form the clean-up crew. This year’s additions? A camping lantern we never take camping now lights the sink in the evening. I also snagged a welcome sign from our front porch for extra flair, just in case the whole thing wasn’t quite kitsch enough.
It’s a point of pride for me that the only new retail purchase I’ve made for the sink has been a metal bottle opener. It says “Drink Wisconsinbly,” and I couldn’t resist it. Every time I see it, I smile. I’m probably down to an investment of pennies per smile by now, so I’m okay with that. Now, if we could just find something for a counter surface that wouldn’t need to be replaced every year like the plywood we’ve been using…. Any suggestions? Projects of your own you’d like to share? I’d sincerely love to hear about them. Please leave a comment!