Then the Mad Scientist had a brilliant idea
He dug a firepit! We had the brick circle already because there used to be a Rose of Sharon there. (Those things are out to take over the world, I swear. They're nearly indestructible too, but the monkeys managed!). So he just dug a pit in the center and ringed it with brick. And voila! We can build a cosy little fire, and even cook over it. Everyone loved that part, especially when we did marshmallows. Monkey #1 wouldn't touch his, and insisted on having it fed to him, because he didn't want to get sticky:
Monkey #2 couldn't have cared less about the mess, and thought the marshmallows were great. Predictably, she got it EVERYWHERE:
We decided not to risk that with Monkey#3. He just got plain untoasted marshmallows. He took as many as he could hold, before his older siblings got them all. Then he gnawed through them like a mouse, and got all sticky anyway:
Oh yes, and then there's me:
Looking gracious and refined, enjoying my meal in a hurry before the monkeys wreak havoc on something else. (For the record, there's only water in the tankard.)
A few weeks later I reset the outer ring of bricks in a smaller circle and filled in between the two brick rings with rock mulch. I scraped the rock mulch out of my front flower bed, where it was preventing anything from growing. So the cost for the firepit was $0, because we only used what we already had on hand. I love our new firepit!