Pioneer Potluck: About remodeling the old farm house

  • By Ann Berg
  • Tuesday, March 4, 2014 2:02pm
  • LifeFood

North of Fort Collins, Colo., 1947

We moved into our beautiful newly remodeled farmhouse, with two big bay windows in the living room, one in the dining room and one in the new bedroom that had real hardwood oak floors, a new bedroom set that mom called limed oak, which consisted of a big dresser with the big mirror, two drawers on each side. That big double bed had a matching bookcase-headboard and nightstands. I think Mom had draperies made for the big bay window to the east and a smaller window facing north. I am almost positive this bedroom was supposed to have been Mom and Dad’s bedroom, but somehow a silent argument occurred and Ginger and I got the beautiful new bedroom. I believe this silent argument was over the bathroom, which was situated down a little hallway behind the kitchen and next to the old bedroom that Mom and Dad had always occupied.

The silent argument started over whether there should be a shower or a tub in the bathroom. Mom wanted to tub, Dad wanted a shower. This argument was settled by not having either! Part of the problem was we had a cistern and water delivered every two weeks. Mom was forever reminding us not to waste water. I still am careful about “not wasting water.” We never heard them argue, we never heard cross words between the two — but we did know when they were upset with each other because of the “silent treatment.” They simply did not speak to each other. For example, if Dad wanted the salt and pepper and it was placed in front of my mother, he would ask the person sitting next to Mom to please pass the salt and pepper (or the butter or bread). Mom would stare straight ahead as we passed the item to Dad, who always said thank you and carried on with his dinner. So to settle the argument with the bathroom tub-shower problem, we took our bath in the basement in the large cement laundry tubs. Seemed normal to me!

If someone asked or if one of my brothers or sisters asked why there was just as sink and toilet stool in the bathroom and not a shower or tub, Mom would say, “Go ask your dad,” and Dad would say, “Go ask your mom.” So we never knew exactly why the bathroom was devoid of a shower or tub. And they avoided each other if the discussion of showers or tubs ever came up! This story still makes me smile!

The new living room was long and big with a huge fireplace made of blonde brick, on the east wall and tan or green carpet. Big plush green couch and chair and the old fashioned radio that worked on a battery and a brand new Motorola television (Dad’s pride and joy) two lamp stands and a floor lamp completed the living room.

The new dining room had a Duncan-Fife dinning table and chairs, that was placed on a big red, black and gray area rug that protected the wood floors. A big buffet with beveled mirror held Mom’s gold rim china, crystal and silverware. It also held the Irish linen tablecloths and napkins, nicely starched and ironed for the next holiday occasion.

The newly remodeled kitchen was the old farmhouse living room. It was surrounded with kitchen cupboards my Grandpa Cogswell made and the new electric stove, that Mom would stand back and admire and conjure up some of her wonderful dinners and suppers. She loved her electric stove after cooking on the a big old black stove.

We had wonderful holiday dinners, complete with formally set dinnerware, crystal goblets, and polished silverware set on a starched and ironed Irish linen tablecloth. Mom worked hard planning, cooking, baking and serving these delicious meals. Dad always saw to it that she had a big fresh bouquet of flowers in the middle of the table.


Please do not forget to include in your nightly prayers those who are suffering and need to be healed. Some of you know that my daughter Susan is battleing cancer again and we ask your prayers for her and my niece Sarah. Seek an Angel and God with an open heart and you will always find them. God please Bless our America!


The series is written by a 44 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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