For the past couple of weeks, Don and I have spent every spare moment cleaning up and tidying the outside of the house, barn, and shop.
This is our normal fall routine when our busy season is over and we can attend to neglected projects and chores, and hopefully complete them before the snow flies. But this year we had an unexpected motivation. We were expecting valued visitors.
These visitors were Dave Duffy and his wife Ilene. Dave, for those unfamiliar with him, is the founder and publisher of Backwoods Home Magazine, which I write for on a routine basis.
When I learned Dave and Ilene planned to be at the Sustainable Preparedness Expo in Spokane on September 21, I immediately invited them to our place for a visit.
They graciously accepted... and then the rush was on to get the place tidied up. You know what it's like when you're expecting people you want to impress.
I should first explain that Dave and Ilene are among the most laid-back easy-going people we've ever met. I know for a fact they wouldn't care less if the place was a mess.
But WE cared. And so we organized, tidied, and cleaned.
Since the Duffys were driving from Oregon all day Saturday to attend the Sunday expo, we agreed to have them over on Monday morning for brunch, a farm tour, and a nice relaxed visit.
The girls and I attended the Expo on Sunday for a few hours. We hung at the BWH booth, chatted with some of the visitors, reviewed the vendors, and listened to what speakers we could (acoustics were bad to the point of inaudible).
Nonetheless every speaker spoke to a full audience, sometimes standing room only.
Here's Dave and Ilene.
The Expo was packed. I took this photo during a brief break in the crowds.
This is the booth for the event organizers, centrally located and very classy. They even had a seating area with videos for tired patrons.
Then it was home to continue tidying and preparing for our guests this morning.
One of the things we wanted to do was serve a brunch consisting of as much home-grown food as possible since, of course, we couldn't feed them just any food. Not the Duffys! So this morning at dawn (which these days is around 6:45 am) I went into the garden and dug up some potatoes.
The Duffys had their two youngest sons with them, strapping young men, so we needed a lot of food. I filled the bowl to capacity with potatoes which I then diced, spiced, and baked.
We had fresh eggs and a fruit salad made of fruit we had either grown or canned from outside sources. The only store-bought item served was pork sausage. I even put a tablecloth on the kitchen table to hide some of the stains and scratches.
Well my goodness, we had the loveliest visit. These people are a host's dream guests -- interested in everything, easygoing, fun to talk with. Between tours of the garden, barn, bull pen, and house, we yakked nonstop for two or three hours.
Younger Daughter's parrot, Lihn, was a big hit. Here's Sammy Duffy holding her.
Dave and Ilene toured (one at a time, since it's so narrow) my canning closet, which Don remodeled from an unused bathroom. (Don't worry, I'll be giving a Virtual Tour of the canning closet shortly.)
One thing I found heartwarming: As I toured Ilene around the upstairs, she looked at some wedding photos of Don and I hanging on our bedroom wall. Turns out she and Dave have been married only five months shorter than Don and I, and we'll both be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversaries this upcoming year. And we both agreed that we are lucky, lucky women to have the men we do.
The Duffys departed amidst a flurry of well-wishes. I look forward to seeing them at future events.
If you've ever wondered about what magazine founders are really like, rest assured the Duffys are the Real Deal. Great folks.