Pioneer Potluck: About Bob rescuing our cat named Frack & me calling 911

Cecile and Bootzee April 2012.



In my other life a long long time ago, I rescued a little kitty from a couple of jerks setting at a bar in Kenai. I took that little kitty home and fed him baby formula with an eye dropper. He thrived and became a fat little fur ball. Susan and her family lived here at the time and her boys wanted a little kitty so they adopted him. They named him Romeo. Porter was transferred to Fairbanks and they moved all of their belongings plus a doggie and a kitty. It was a tearful goodbye and for the next 12 years they lived in Fairbanks.

A few months after they had arrived and settled in Fairbanks, Susan called me one day and said “Hey Mom — guess what — Romeo is a Juliet!” And she added that Romeo was going to have kitties. Later, she called and asked if Bob would like two black kitties for his birthday. Of course I said yes! 

We already had a golden retriever puppy so two little kitties would really make Bob happy, the animal lover. Thus began our amazing home for kitties through the years. Bob named the two little black kitties Frick and Frack. Turned out Frick and Frack were female. Turned out that their first litter was a big one! Still do not know who the daddy was but we suspect it was our neighbor’s big black cat that we called Melvin. He eventually adopted us too.

Between the two cats, they had kitties born all in ONE day. We had 17 baby kitties and the two mommas, plus Melvin. Now you do that math — it still boggles my mind and we never knew whose little babies were whose, as the Moms, Frick and Frack lay in a circle and all those little kitty critters were snug in the middle. As they grew a little older our Penny dog even helped keep them in control. I advertised at the post office to give away to GOOD homes some cute kitties. We had no trouble giving those little guys away. We kept two! So that made four kitties at our house, plus Melvin. And Penny-dog. At that time we still lived in a little one bedroom cabin ...

We moved into our new unfinished house along with Penny, Frick, Frack and the two kittens. Plus Melvin who visited when ever he pleased. 

Bob had made a makeshift kitchen cupboard to hold the sink so I could have a place to wash dishes. It was a piece of plywood with a hole for the sink in it. We had installed a propane stove and an old propane refrigerator. I had a work place made of four milk crates with a piece of plywood balanced on top. We were set, no complaints. He also installed a nice large florescent light fixture in the ceiling. It was fitted into the attic and also unfinished. 

Frack the black cat was a climber. She climbed everywhere. Frick the other black cat just watched. Counting kitty noses one afternoon we came up with one short — Frack. 

We called, we looked inside, we went outside, we looked under things in the house, and when I went into the kitchen, Bob looked up and he said, “Here kitty, kitty” — and from the ceiling light area we heard “Meow, Meow.”  

Bob grabbed two milk crates (what else?), stepped up and pushed the large two light florescent fixtures over and out peeked Frack. She would not come close enough for him to grab and would not jump down. So Bob put one foot on the plywood sink holder and reached up and grabbed the missing cat. As he handed me the cat, the plywood gave way and he went crashing down onto the makeshift four-crate work place that was holding my always-on-the-cupboard metal recipe card holder. His shoulder hit the cupboard, his back and ribs hit the metal card holder corner and he crashed onto the floor, on his back. 

I was in such shock, looking down at him with terrible pain on his face, I shouted at him (bent over with my elbows out like a big turkey, blowing out a bunch of wind), “911-911” — no response, so I screamed “911-911!” Then on the third shout of “911-911” he screamed at me “SHUT UP! Give me your hand and pull me out of here!” 

It was then I realized I did not have a phone in my hand and I was completely useless screaming 911. He was badly hurt with a big v-like gash in his back, and his shoulder hurt him for weeks. I wanted to call the paramedics and he told me I was crazy. He was going to be OK and then he looked at me and we both started laughing. We laugh and laugh to this day — and every once in a while, when someone has a little bitty accident, we will yell at each other 911-911!

We still have kitties, and right now we have five, four males and one female. She is about 14 years old — the ruling Grandmamma of the four males. They love her and give her kitty kisses and licks. The males are 5 years old, all fixed. The names Bob gave them? Bootzee, the grandmamma, Mr. Big, Mr. Little, whom I thought was a female, until the vet told me otherwise. Two black cats with white bibs, and dots on their noses, Sam and Beau. 

They, like all cats, bring offerings to us almost every morning after a night of stalking and hunting. Last week, the lights were blinking in the wind storm, and not wanting to miss out on my morning shower before the power went off, I jumped into the shower, turned on the water and shampooed my hair twice, looked down and the water was not draining. I bent over stuck my finger in the drain, jumped back, jumped out of the tub dripping wet, realizing I had just felt something warm, soft and fuzzy. I took a skinny handled comb — the only thing handy — dug out a very small, already dead shrew (mouse). Then I had to get it out of the tub, run dripping into the kitchen to get a ream of paper towels to fish that tiny little dead thing out of the tub. Doing that, I washed out the tub, got rinsed off and went to tell Bob how lucky he was he did not get in the tub first. From now on, I will outwait him! And pay closer attention to what those cats have in their mouth! 

Bob's PBBC Soup 

Bob loves soup!  But especially potato soup!

Here’s a version of potato soup

 Potato, Broccoli, Bacon, Cheese, soup

Heat one can of chicken broth plus1/2 can water


Four medium potatoes diced

1/2 cup onions diced

1/2 cup celery sliced

Add to chicken broth and simmer

Fry one fourth package bacon, diced first and then fried.

Add to the broth and vegetables

Add one can of canned milk

One can of cream of celery

Heat to a simmer and add

1 cup small broccoli flowerettes

1 cup Velveeta cheese-diced

A pinch of red pepper

Simmer slowly until cheese melts

Stir occasionally. This does not seem to need salt as the soup and cheese, contain plenty.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

4 cups of fresh chopped broccoli – use the stems and leaves

OR 1 pkg frozen broccoli – thawed and drained

1 can chicken broth

1/2 cup onion diced

2 cans canned milk

1 1/2  cans water

1 can celery soup or mushroom or cream of chicken soup

2 cups cheddar cheese shredded

2 tblsp cornstarch

4 tblsp water

Simmer broccoli and onion in broth 5 minutes.

Add milk, water, and soup.  Heat to a bubble – do not boil. Add the cheese.   Add the cornstarch stirred into the water and stir into soup until thicken, if needed.  Turn off heat and ladle into bowls. 

Garnish with shredded cheese and paprika. Pass the grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.  

Broccoli and Noodles

Broccoli grows very well all over the state of Alaska.

1 tblsp olive oil

2 tblsp butter

Large head of broccoli, cut in inch pieces, using the tender stems, peeled and the green leaves chopped. 

2 tblsp garlic minced

1 cup cream or canned milk or 1/2 can mushroom soup, diluted with 1/2  can milk

Pinch of red pepper. 

1 pound of egg noodle, fettuccini, spaghetti noodles – your choice.

1 lemon for juice – the zest of the lemon

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated

Prepare the noodles according to directions.  Drain and keep warm.

In a heavy skillet, add the olive oil and butter, heating over medium heat.  Add the broccoli, garlic and stir fry until tender crisp about 5 minutes.  Remove to warm bowl and add the cream or milk or soup.  Stir until smooth and add the red pepper and stir in the juice of one lemon and zest. Stir in Parmesan cheese.    Return the broccoli to the pot you cooked the noodles, return the noodles to the pot and pour the sauce over top.  

Gently stir to coat and place in warm serving bowl.  

Sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, black pepper and a curl of lemon rind, makes this a dish fit for the King.  

Potato Salad with Reindeer Sausage

Reindeer sausage takes the place of Kielbasa in Alaska.  

Made right in  Kenai, Anchorage and Indian Valley, it is a great tasting 

sausage, usually fried for breakfast or sliced as a snack with cheese slices.

3 pounds of red russets or yellow Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked, cooled and peeled.  

1 cup reindeer sausage, (or smoky kielbasa) sliced and cut in 4ths.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tblsp yellow prepared mustard

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tea salt 

1/2 tea pepper

4 hard boiled eggs-chopped

1 cup celery sliced

1/2 cup onion

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish (or use dill relish)

Quickly stir fry reindeer sausage in hot skillet about 4 minutes.  Place in bowl with cubed potatoes, onion, celery, relish and eggs, salt and pepper.  

Mix mayonnaise and sour cream, mustard and buttermilk.  Fold into potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Serve at room temperature, but is great chilled.