Pioneer Potluck: About today and 5 years ago

Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

The following article was written five years ago!! It is nice to read what has happened and the improvements that were made to make our life easier. I am not in my 70s anymore and Bob is 78 now. He has gone through mouth surgery and is waiting for lower teeth so he can eat pretzels and pizza and steak. He has been the perfect patient and I have not heard too many complaints.

I am looking forward to friend Jo Anne Wahlstrom and her daughter Kandi to visit in August. Kandi and Susan went to North Star Grade School together, which is the Nikiski Recreation Center now. We will go back to Homer and stay at Kelly Cooper’s beautiful Glacier View Cabins. And, of course, jabber and talk till the wee hours.

Grandson Arleigh added onto his house a block from us and now has two of the cutest little kids! This great-grandma and great-grandpa think they are pretty special! Bralyn is 4 and Braleigh is 3 years old. What a delight they are! Grandma Gail has done a bang-up job turning them into little peoples. Arleigh works on the North Slope for three weeks and comes home for three weeks and does a wonderful job being a great loving, caring Dad. He added three bedrooms and a bathroom onto the house. What a wonderful addition.

Grandson Grey lives in the cabin next to us and just bought himself a pickup so he can haul wood for his fireplace. He is a grown young man full of ideas. We enjoy his visits.

We did not get to see pretty granddaughter Cecil or her Daddy Michael this year. Next year I hope!

Susan and Porter are getting ready to plant seeds for the beautiful flowers they have in their greenhouse this next summer. They put in long hours and the finished product shows!!

Son David has worked for Triangle in Kenai and traded jobs about a month ago. He is working on the ice road on the North Slope for the duration of the winter. Long, dark grueling work. He is helping put in the ice road to an oil platform for Conoco Philips new drilling site.



(written DECEMBER 30, 2013!)

YEAH!! We made it through another year at the RICKS RANCH!! To recap a few things that we are thankful for — the first on is our health. We are both in our 70s and still doing the things that we enjoy doing out in the woods in our little house by the lake, sewing room and Bob’s cave/shop.

We have had many improvements this year — one is a new water well thanks to our neighbor Larry for sharing! Our neighbors John Turnbull, Dan Fenton, son, David Bateman, Josh Borman, pitched in and helped get the water pipe ditched to the house. It was hooked up by the same wonderful neighbors spending days and days getting it hooked up. We will be forever grateful. We also switched to an on-demand propane water heater. Nice compared to the big monster electric water heater.

The other thing we are so thankful for is the gravel that grandson Arleigh delivered that covered the mud that was created by digging up our yard to get the water pipes into the house. I hung up my mud boots and took my mouth out of gear for all the terrible thoughts about MUD!!

Susan and Porter came out and started doing the improvements on our yard. What a blessing that is! Susan with the help of “across-the-lake Ginny” sawed and hauled trees and big elderberry bushes, then cleaned up the side of the hill outside my sewing room. Susan spent hours and days planting flowers in flower boxes that Porter and Bob made.

The next project was a deck on the front of our house and leading up the sewing room. Bob and Porter spent long hours and days making a wonderful deck so we do not have to walk in the mud and dirt that somehow came in house. It is the perfect improvement and such a blessing this winter. I am so lucky and blessed by all the improvements.

Great-granddaughter Cecile visited for two weeks from Washington and then her Daddy Michael came and visited for a week. We had bonfires and went and had a tea party with Aunt Alma. Cecile is a beautiful young lady at age 7. We look forward to her visits every year.

Another highlight this year was my very best old friends I had not seen since the ‘70s. Jo Anne Adams Walhstrom and her sister Sherry Mares came to visit in August. We had such fun with a picnic because I wanted them to meet all my good friends here in this corner of Nikiski, Alaska… Great food and lots of laughter. We went to Homer and stayed all night at my friend Kelly Cooper’s Glacier View Cabin and then we meandered home. We also went beach combing. The worst part about the whole visit was it was not long enough!!

My family is all well. Grandson Arleigh will be moving into his nice little house he built just a block from us. Grey has had stops and starts in his life, as all other teens do. We all push and shove him through the worst parts with hugs and pats on the back. I hope he never give up his wonderful values and nice outlook on life. Gail is doing well and has been busy with her life as usual.

Son David spent the summer months in Bethel with a company that has tugs and barges. He was the heavy-duty mechanic. He is home now and enjoying a new life in North Nikiski.

Susan and Porter are closing the Fireweed Gift Shop and concentrating on the Fireweed Greenhouse business. It is a happy new turn of events in their life.

I try to visit Aunt Alma in Sterling, Alaska two to three times a month. In the winter it is harder. She is doing well but so very lonesome! Thank all to you who sent her birthday cards. She loves everyone of them!

Bob and I are in good health and wish all our friends and readers a very Healthy New Year.


I read that the New Year has to start with black-eyed peas, pork, greens and cornbread. So I guess I have everything on hand. A spiral ham we got for Christmas, and a can of spinach and a can of pork and bean. I have two packages of Jiffy cornbread mix. I am sure my wonderful southern friends will cringe when they read this –- as they are probably having pork roast, collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread from scratch. HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS!


3 to 4 cups flour

3 tablespoon sugar

2 packages of active dry yeast

Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar and yeast

Combine with:

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon dry marjoram crushed

1/4 teaspoon thyme crushed

In a small sauce pan mix:

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

Heat until just warm

Add to the flour mixture and add:

1 egg

Mix well:

Add the remaining flour to make a soft dough and knead until smooth.

Oil a large bowl and add the dough. Cover and let rice until doubled. Punch down and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into three equal sections. Roll each of the section into a 30-inch rope, braid the ropes. Form a circle, pinch the ends together and seal. Place on oiled sheet pan.

Allow to rise to double.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Cover with foil if necessary to keep from over browning.

Remove from oven. Brush with remaining butter and allow to cool.

Slice when cooled slather with warm butter.


6 bacon slices cook till crispy crumble and set aside.

Sautee 1 cup onions chopped in the bacon grease


2 cans 28-ounce baked beans

2 cans 28-ounce lima beans or pinto beans or kidney beans

1 cup BBQ sauce

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup dark molasses

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Mix and pour in baking dish and crumble bacon on top

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

I know some one that puts chopped jalapenos in his.

Broccoli-Bacon Salad

This could be your New Year dinner for “greens”! ?

In a large bowl:

4 large heads of broccoli

1 cup raisins, rinsed

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup of bacon crispy and chopped fine

Trim off all the broccoli stems.

Break broccoli heads into small bite-sized pieces.

Add rest of ingredients and make the dressing.

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup vinegar apple cider

Mix well. Chill. Keeps well.

You can substitute half the broccoli for bite-sized cauliflower.


2 pounds pork tenderloin

Place in glass dish and combine:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup apple juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup bourbon

Spread over tenderloin and let set 2 hours and as long as overnight.

Cover and bake at 450 degrees until no longer pine and thermometer reaches 165 degrees about 30 to 40 minutes.

I serve it like this but Amy adds the following:

1 cup pitted prunes

1 cup of apricots — dry, chopped

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup bourbon

Cook over low heat — covered. Simmer 6 to 8 minutes. Slice pork diagonally and place on platter and spoon the fruit.

Mixture of top. Nice change and contains 303 calories. Thank you Amy!!


In a large bowl: Empty 2 packages of Jiffy corn meal muffins.

Prepare according to directions EXCEPT 1/4 cup less milk.


1/4 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons chopped onion

3 tablespoons jalapenos chopped

3 to 4 whole corn

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese

Bake as muffins, but I bake this in a bacon greased Cast Iron Skillet.

Bake as directed.

There you have it good luck for the coming New Year Celebrated in the snowy cold “nort” land of Alaska.

• By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

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