Getting Ready for Company

I received a call late last week that a friend that I haven’t seen in a very long time will be visiting.  She will be staying in our camper guest house and we are getting ready to create a warm Northern Michigan welcome for her.


Although it does not get dark until after 10pm when the sun finally goes down it gets DARK!  To ensure save travels between the house and the ‘guest house’ we created a lighted path.  These light posts with the guides are perfect for filtering traffic along a specified path, ensuring that traffic late at night would avoid any washouts from recent rains or land-mines left courtesy of the dog.


Of course there is more to welcoming a visitor than just a well lit path.  Creating a welcoming place to visit, dine and enjoy great conversation.  A beautiful patio space with a relaxing fountain and a place to sit back is a must.  A fire pit is the perfect place to roast marshmallows, share some drinks and reminisce.

My friend is coming to town to participate in Horse Shows By the Bay a HUGE equestrian festival in Northern Michigan.  As a result, an equestrian themed patio is a nice touch.

Dining is a must.  What visit is not made better with tasty food?  I’ll break out the trusty smoker and try a recipe courtesy of

Prepare your smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Butterflying your chicken will help infuse the smoky flavor deep into the meat and shorten the cooking time.


  • 1 medium chicken
  • 2 red chillis seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 50g or 2 oz butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prepare your smoker according to the owner’s manual.  I suggest an apple wood for this chicken because of the mild flavor.  Mesquite would mix nicely with the chilli/cumin combination as well.

Take the garlic and chilis and mix with the softened butter.

Butterfly your chicken by cutting close along both sides of the spine.  (Don’t throw that spine away – use it to create a rich broth you can use to flavor soups and stews!)

Gently put your hand in the neck end of the chicken and pry the skin away from the flesh taking care not to puncture the skin – patience is a virtue at this point!

Take the chili garlic butter mix and smear it on the flesh under the skin, sprinkle the skin lightly with cumin, salt and pepper and then you’re ready for the barbecue smoker.


Smoke the chicken based on the guidelines included in your smoker’s manual.  Ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180° F in the thigh.  Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes prior to carving.

Perfect with a cold beer or a crisp glass of white wine.  Definitely a meal to remember.


Speaking of memories, once you snap your pictures, enjoy your laugh it is time to share the story!

Beyond The Page MDF Barn Album-10"X10"Inkadinkado Clear Stamps 4"X8" Sheet-Horses

Using albums, accents, stamps, inks and more from Home and Garden Welcome I can create an album to remember the sights and stories of this visit with a special friend.


This is how I do it – create precious memories then keep them to share forever!



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Filed under Artistic Expression, Grilling and Barbecues

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