Country Living Series

Monday, September 22, 2014

Valued visitors

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.


  1. Humm, They have handsome sons and you have beautiful daughters. Wedding bells in say about 4 years?

  2. Hello. This is off the subject, but I don't know how to reach you for general observations. I remember how warmly everyone seemed to regard Ayn Rand, and I was, like.... *hunh*!!? I really wondered how many people had actually read her stuff. This article should give readers of your blog a pretty fair estimate of how warmly Ayn Rand herself would have regarded your regard for her: What Happened When Some Libertarians Went Off to Build Ayn Rand's Vision of Paradise. You can google - Alter Net Sept 11 2014 Richard Eskow - to pull it up. The woman was pathological!

    1. Yes, this post is wildly off topic, totally irrelevant and utterly disrespectful of Patrice, her readers and Ms. Rand, whose books I very seriously doubt you've read, much less could actually wrap your head around.

      "...and I was like....*hunh!!?* "


      So are you richard eskow or do you just hawk books for him and spread libertarian bad manners for fun?

      A. McSp

  3. Thank you for introducing us to the Duffys, Patrice. What a lovely family. Please thank them for agreeing to share the visit with us and for all those good photos of them. And your place looks great.

    And I confess, my mind went to the same place as Anoymous 9:23's as expressed above. ;)

    We're presently doing the same thing here: getting ready for company....they're coming next week from out of state, and I can hardly wait to see them. There will be much celebration, lots of good food and much music will be made. The rain is even greening up the pasture and yard. Great timing.

    A. McSp

  4. I know exactly how it is when you want to present your best to someone you respect. There's an old saying - can't remember who said it - "The respect of those you respect is worth more than the applause of the multitude." (Mark Twain, maybe??)

    Those red potatoes look amazing! I'm putting in some reds next year.

    What a fine day it must have been.

    Just Me

  5. Must be going around, we are hosting our 4-H club family day Oct. 6th. We have cleaned around our lake so the members can fish, top dressing fields, cleaning chicken coops, barns ect. One good thing, has forced me to clean up the shop area in case of rain. Funny how invited friend help motivate.

  6. I love Backwoods Home Magazine and can understand you wanting everything just so. I'm that way when I invite guests, it doesn't matter if I know they won't care, I still do! This southern gal was thinking the same thing as above commenters, I got distracted from the article looking at the young people, thinking, hmmm, maybe something down the road here?

  7. Just don't mention it to Dave Duffy if you don't take a flu shot. He gets really upset and questions your intelligence. :/