Pioneer Potluck: A summary of summer

  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017 9:54pm
  • LifeFood

Ricks Ranch, North Nikiski

Seems like summer was not even here and we are on the corner of fall and into winter! The rain has hampered an on-going renovation of our bathroom here on the Ricks Ranch.

With the very few nice sunny days we had lawns to mow and weeds to eat. The flowers grew tall and bloomed in spite of the rain. Some lasted through the downpours of rain and some did not. The fireweed in this area did not thrive like it usually does. However, the strawberries and raspberries have done well. We have enjoyed the bountiful berries. Last night we had strawberry shortcake (cake made from a box) with homemade chocolate sauce, a big puff of whipped cream and raspberries sprinkled on top. The king of the house loved every morsel and this queen of the house ate her share. Truly an Alaskan dessert.

We were blessed with wonderful visitors this summer from afar, the the three Thayer sisters and Jim. Most of our visitors were from right in this area. My children came to visit often and so did our grandkids. Then there are special visits from great-grandkids. Grandson Arleigh, the Dad and grandma Gail, bring Braleigh, age 2, and Bralyn, age 3, down the path to our house often. It is the highlight of our day! Those smiling faces with outstretched arms screaming “Grandpa, Grannie” will forever be a wonderful memory.

We also are blessed with grandosn Grey popping in and out from time to time. We hear about his days and what he is doing. Then he is gone like a blue streak in his blue car! Hurry back Grey!

We also had Kyanna’s happy grandsons, Scotty and Galvin here one afternoon. They call David Paw-paw. He does not let them get away with too much, but this is done with lots of love. We need to see Andria’s boys more often! David and Kyanna come to see us just to say “Hi.”

The other visitor that spends time with us is great-granddaughter Cecile, visiting her Grandma Susan and Grandpa Porter and Uncle Joey. She is here from Kirkland, Washington. She arrives at our place with Grandma Sue and Unca Joey usually, but this last week Grandpa Porter came out. He rooted for the Golf Championship while we noisily played our annual Bingo! Bob the Bingo caller and our friend Dolores joined us in a noisy round of double Bingo. Joey added his comments and we all won a prize or two, supplied by Susan. Two weeks ago we played with Natalie, our visitor from Anchorage. She is Cecile’s cousin. The highlight for those two gals were Jake the dog and Bootzee our 24-year-old kitty. Dolores joined in on this game for the first time. Her smile and comments are always welcome. We love her visits!

Of course, food is always involved! Not a big production, but it always is the best tasting, as it is shared with family and friends. Dessert varies, but the root beer floats were exceptionally good provided by Susan.

John and Nikki visit with their little doggie Buddy. There is always good conversation when they come to see us! They live “down the road.” We had a short visit from busy Cathy Fenton and Dan pops in once in a while. They are our neighbors “up the hill.” Larry our next door friend comes for coffee and to jabber and talk.

To wind down the summer rain, we have to finish what we started and that is to get a door back on the sunroom before the autumn leaves fall and the snow comes creeping into the neighborhood. As you remember, the sliding glass doors that served us so well for 15 years, were removed to push a stubborn shower stall into the sunroom. It lacked just mere inches of going through the door. S0 being resourceful as usual, Bob removed the doors with much difficulty. He and JT, our forever friend, pushed the shower stall into the sunroom. And then it would not fit in the bathroom by mere inches! Out went the shower stall and returned by JT in his truck with Bob as his helper. And that was another whole new story!!

At the beginning of this article I said on sunny day we had to mow lawns and weed-eat. The weed eater picked up a rock and “ping!” the glass on the sliding door setting on the front deck, was the target.

The hunt was on for the right sized door, needing to be wood with glass. Susan, Porter, Gail and David joined in the hunt, and a few other people with suggestions that we followed up on. Sunday we tracked down a sliding door, son David suggested but it was to tall and to wide. Darn! On the same trip we delivered a recliner to David who is recovering from a complicated hip operation. He will be “laid up” (is that an oil field phrase?) for 6 weeks. The recliner will be handy for him. We pray for his speedy recovery!

David suggested that King and Bernie, our other neighborhood visitors to the Ricks Ranch once in a while, who lived “just down the street,” said he thought King had some doors that may fit what we need.

We arrived at King and Bernie’s beautiful place with all the blooming flowers, to see what we could find. YUP! Guess what — he had just what Bob needed, a wooden door with full glass. Whooppee! And King not only provided the door, he provided the hinges. What are friends for? To help out other friends and those friends pass it on to others. Thank you so much King and Bernie.

The project is now back on the front burner. Bob removed the old sliding glass door-frame with much difficulty. A few pry bars, a hammer and terse words, the frame came out in pieces. Bob had installed that frame with the intension of it NEVER coming out. Well, guess what — it’s out and going to the dump. Our door is now the very last on the spring, summer, almost fall, project list.

So in closing I want to thank all our visitors far and near and all who have helped “the old folks” get us through the summer rain. You have given us many smiles and memories. To quote: What would we do without family and friends?” Well, we are much richer for having you all in our memory bank and we pass on all the good will.

The Pioneer Potluck series is written by 50-year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her mother, a self-taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day. Grannie Annie can be reached at

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