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Pioneer Potluck: About bears in Alaska cont’d…

Posted: October 5, 2011 - 9:42am  |  Updated: October 5, 2011 - 9:50am
Ginger holding her Teddy Bear.
Ginger holding her Teddy Bear.

Year: About 1979
Bear Story number 1

I was "bombing" along in my old green L.T.D., radio blaring, arm out the open window so I could feel the cool mountain air. It was a wonderful warm August Sunday, a long time ago in my "other life."  I had spent the weekend in Anchorage, visiting with old friends and two daughters.  This was my usual thing to do since I have moved back to Nikiski.

Susan lived in Chugaik at that time and Gail lived in Eagle River.  I'd had a great time and it was time to head home and go to work in the morning.

The trip usually took me three or four hours.  Turnagain Pass was beautiful with the trees just starting to turn a nice shade of yellow and orange, and the fireweed and the wildflowers were in the last stages of bloom.

I came into the open stretch just out of Summit Lake with its spans of open meadows and tall pines and birch.  What a nice day and what a nice time I had visiting with my daughters and friends.  I rounded a curve, looking forward to the next open meadow that I was sure was full of blooming wild flowers.

I slowed way down and was creeping along taking my time, looking at the wonders of fall, when in the distance I spotted a "big something!"  I glanced at the road and back at the "something."  It was the BIGGEST brownie (grizzly) I had ever seen!  I could not take my eyes of him! He stood up and looked at me (more of a glare) and I thought OH! NO! I have my window open!!  I rolled up the window, locked the doors and took off like a shot out of a cannon!!

I final came to my senses about a half mile down the road, going at least 80, and I started to laugh.  That poor bear never knew what was going on; he was high up in the meadow, probably 200 yards away.  He probably thought "look at that crazy lady rolling up her windows and speeding off like I was gonna' eat her!  She didn't look that tender and funny how I scared her!"

I could not keep from laughing all the way home, every time I thought how I reacted at seeing a big grizzly.  I still look for that big "grizz" every time we go by that same spot, and start to laugh at myself all over again.   

Bear Story number 2
1970's Nikiski, Alaska

My friend had just moved out of a trailer court and they  bought some land on Lamplight Road.  They cleared off a place for her to plant a big garden for her growing family.  She planted her garden and worked hard at keeping it growing.  Scooting her youngest out the door to "go play and don't go very far from the door!" 

She got out her ironing board, glanced out the window, and saw her little 4 year old playing in the garden, and a black bear stalking him, about 10 yards away.

She grabbed the loaded gun her husband had left for her beside the door, screamed at her little boy, "lay down!"  Honed in on the bear with her loaded rife and shot him dead!! 

I got a phone call from her, in full hysteria... "Ann-Ann can you come over quick....I just shot a bear."  I said is he dead?  She said yes, yes, dead-dead.  And then she started to cry.  By the time I got over to her place, her husband and all the friends in the neighborhood were there "taking care of the bear!"
 
And my favorite bear story:

The Teddy Bear Story:
This is my favorite picture.  It is my sister Ginger holding her Teddy Bear.  She was never without it.  It went everywhere with her.  And if it was temporally lost, everyone stopped what they were doing to find Ginger's Teddy Bear.  In my memory's eye, I never picture Ginger unless I see the Teddy Bear in her arms.  No One Touched Ginger's Teddy Bear.

Grandma's Country Cobbler

1 cup of sugar
2 cups of fresh fruit (she used fresh peaches, apples and I have used rhubarb)
Mix in bowl and set aside
 
Mix with a wire whisk or fork, in another bowl:
1 tblsp butter
1/2cup sugar
 
Mix in:
1 cup flour
1 tblsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2cup milk

Mix well and spoon batter into a well buttered 8 X 8 casserole dish.  Spread batter evenly in bottom.  Pour the fruit over top. 
 
THE SECRET: Cover with 1 cup boiling water and DO NOT MIX     

Carefully place in oven and bake at 375 degrees  Bake 40 to 50 minutes, no longer. 
 
NOTE: Canned or frozen fruit may be added, but cut the sugar in half if sweetened. I used a large can of canned peaches, and sprinkles sugar over top with some cinnamon, no added sugar.
 
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on warm cobble, what could be any better??

Macadamia (or Cashew) Cranberry Pretzel Bars

This has a crust, a filling and a topping.

CRUST:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed pretzels
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cups butter, melted
1 egg white

FILLING:
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (crasins??)
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted macadamia nuts *SEE NOTE
2/3 cups butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

TOPPING:
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips-or white choc chips
1 teaspoon shortening
 
Heat oven to 325 degrees  Line 13 X 9 pan, with foil, extending foil over edges to life out.
 
Combine crushed pretzels, brown sugar in bowl.  Stir in 1/2 cup melted butter and mix well.  Stir in beaten egg white.  Press into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake 8 minutes.  Sprinkle cranberries and nuts over hot partially baked crust
 
Combine 2/3 cups butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Continue to cook stirring constantly 1 minute, Pour evenly over the cranberries and nuts.
 Return to oven and continue to bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the caramel layer is bubbly and golden.
 
Place chocolate chips and shortening in microwave and. and melt on high about 45 seconds.  Stir half way through.  Drizzle over bars.  Cool completely and lift out of pan and cut into bars.
 
*NOTE:  Use chopped cashews for macadamia nuts.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Ring

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Two tubes of refrigerated cinnamon rolls (about 16 total)

Generously butter a tube or bundt pan

Measure into a flat dish:
1/2  cup white sugar
1/2  cup brown sugar
4 tblsp cinnamon
Mix together.
Melt 1 stick butter

In separate bowls;
1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup raisins or Crasins
1 cups chocolate chips
Separate rolls and dredge in butter.

Dip in sugars
Arrange in bottom of buttered pan
Sprinkle with nuts, raisins or Crasins and chocolate chips
Spoon two tblsp butter and two tblsp sugar over top-taking from dishes.

Arrange another row of cinnamon rolls

Sprinkle with nuts, raisins and chocolate chips, butter and sugar.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes.  Let set for 5 minutes.  Invert on serving plate.
Drizzle the existing frosting packets over top.  Let cool 10 minutes before letting your guests dive in. 

Easily separates with two forks.

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