Pioneer Potluck: About rain, more rain and more rain.

Left, Lily, 4, and Cecile, 6, celebrating their birthday’s with a strawberry-chocolate poke cake at Grannie Annie and Bob’s home, August 17.

1995 Nikiski, Alaska


Bob and I met when we were both in our 40s. What a treat he has been and fun besides. We built our little house in the woods beside a small lake full of fish.  No running water, no electricity and a state-of-the-art outhouse was built just for me. Our unfinished house was cozy and warm. We read stories to each other by lamplight (he is a much better reader, Robert Service is his best!)  We laughed; we giggled and had lots of fun reading by the light of the lamp, sitting around the wood stove.  We were afraid that we would have the Pattie Wagon called on us, if someone knocked on our door,  as we laughed so hard at Patrick McManus and all his stories about Rancid Crab Tree, in his book Grasshopper Trap and Real Ponies Don’t Oink, and all the other stories he has written.  We still laugh at those stories.  

We built our house a year much like this summer. One of those rainy seasons, with down pours of rain all summer long.  When we walked across the newly disturbed ground, the mud would build up on our shoes, making us about 2 inches taller by time we got to where we were going.  And it just kept raining!  

I loved our wood stove from the very start and curled up on the floor in the sleeping bag before the house was done. We decided we could get along without electricity and running water for a couple years, besides it would be fun! Yeah-Right!!  But before the house or anything was started, a state-of-the-art outhouse was built. It still is a nice place to “go” in the summer, but the winters, those are shivering interludes I prefer to forget. 

The sub-floor, the walls of the house, was built in the rain. A big green tarp was spread over the top to keep the rain out at night.  Before Bob went to work at Unocal in the morning, we would take a T-like two by four that he built and push the rain up and out of the green tarp that sagged almost to the floor. 

  I tried to do what I could during the day, but most of the house was built after Bob got off work. With the help of our good friend J.T. we got most of the house closed in. And with the help of other friends we finished the roof by late October, 1995. We moved in and lived within the four walls, while we finished the inside with sheet rock. Bob would put up the sheet rock and mud the cracks.  I would sand them off during the day, and he would come back after work and sometimes have to redo my intense sanding. Those were tough days, as we had sheet rock dust everywhere! 

 I was the blame for moving in before the house was done.  I could not stand to 5th wheel that J.T. had so nicely let us borrow while we were building.  It was built in California, with tinted windows and when it rained the condensation was terrible inside.  I felt so confined in the tiny bedroom, as it was built over the 5th wheel part, leaving about 3 foot of headspace.  I woke up once again with the ceiling dripping and the bed clothes damp and cold.  I grabbed a sleeping bag, headed for our unfinished house, re-built a fire in our newly installed wood stove, curled up in the sleeping bag on the floor next to it and went sound asleep!

Bob woke up in the fifth wheel wondering where I was, came into our house and discovered me asleep on the floor next to the wood stove. When he asked what I was doing, I told him I was not sleeping another night in the damp, cold fifth wheel.

 So we moved into the unfinished house and we have been there every since!  Oh yes, the house has been finished with the handiness of Bob. He built cupboards in the kitchen, a closet, wired for electricity and plumbing for water.  We were set and we read to each other each night by lamplight.


Next week finishing the house, and digging a well with the engineering of J.T. and Bob and the 1963 Ford pickup.


Easy and fun to serve to kids.  Big kids liked it too!

One box of white or yellow cake mix prepared according to directions.

1 large box of strawberry Jell-O prepared with three cups of water NOT four.

1 to two cups of fresh strawberries, crushed.

1 large package of  Instant Chocolate Pudding-mix as directed.

1 8oz container of Cool Whip


Bake the cake in a 13 x 9 pan.  Bake as directed. Prepared the Jell-O with hot water as directed, only using the three cups of water just before taking cake out of oven. Immediately after taking out of oven, poke holes in the cake with a handle of a wooden spoon. Pour the hot Jell-O over the cake and cool for about 20 minutes. Place the strawberries over top. Put in refrigerator at least 6 hours or overnight.  Prepare the chocolate pudding and spread over the cold Jell-O cake, pressing into the holes.  

Refrigerate until serving.  Spread softened Cool Whip over top.  Serve.  


6 pack strawberry soda pop

1 8oz can crushed pineapple juice and all

1 can Eagle Brand Milk

2 cups of thawed unsweetened strawberries

Alaska strawberries are so good with this.  

Put all ingredients in chilled freezer.  Freeze

According to directions.  Take about 30 minutes to freeze.  Place in separate container and put in your freezer to mellow and harden.  

Sherbets stay fresh for one week in the freezer.  

You can use blueberries, and peaches for this.

Use 7-up as the soda pop


3 to 4 ripe peaches – 1 1/2 cups

Peel and chop into small pieces

2/3 cups sugar – mash into the peaches

4-8oz cartons of peach flavored low fat yogurt

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 can 7-UP

2 tsp vanilla


Mash sugar into peaches until finely crushed.  Add yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla and stir in 7-UP.  Pour into chilled ice cream maker. Freeze according to directions.  I put the frozen yogurt back into the yogurt containers and freeze individually. You will have more than the 4 carton.  Saves scooping.  One half cup is 165 calories. 

Use your imagination as I have used raspberries-stained through a sieve and followed the about directions except use raspberry yogurt.  Same with Blueberries and strawberries.

Fun to make and easy too…Kids love this! 


made this for Lily and Cecile’s birthday party we had at Grannie Annie’s and Bob place-2012

6 pack orange soda pop 

1 8oz can crushed pineapple with juice

1 can Eagle Brand Milk

Pour all ingredients in the chilled electric freezer can.  

Freeze according to directions.  When done put in to another container and let mellow and harden in freezer for two hours.  

This is my grandson Arleigh’s favorite ice cream.  He entered it into a Women’s Day Magazine contest in 2000 when he was 11.

We never heard back!


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