Pioneer Potluck: About being thankful for this past year

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 70’s and still doing the things that we enjoy doing out in the woods in our little house by the lake, sewing room and Bobs cave/shop.


We have had many improvements this year – one it new water well thanks to our neighbor Larry for sharing!  Our neighbors pitched in and helped get the water ditch into the house.  It was hooked up by the same wonderful neighbors!  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 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 put my mouth out of gear for all the terrible thoughts about MUD!! 

Then 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 yard 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 coming out of the 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 bon fires and a tea party with Aunt Alma.  Cecile is a beautiful young lady at age 7.  We look forward to her visits every year. 

Another high light this year was my very best old friends I had not seen since the 70’s, Jo Anne Adams Walhstrom and her sister Sherry Mare 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.  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.  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 or you who sent her birthday cards.  She loves every one of them. 

I am thankful for all the readers of my column and the comments about the “olden days.”  They and you are appreciated!! 

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


3 to 4 lb. bone-in beef chuck roast

1/2 onions diced

3 potatoes peeled and cubed

3 carrots peeled and sliced

2 stalks celery thinly sliced

1 – 15 oz can each- cut green beans, yellow wax beans, lima beans, corn, peas, all drained

1/2 head cabbage – shredded

2 -12 oz cans cocktail vegetable juice – (I used one can of diced tomatoes and one small can of tomato sauce – 1 can of water

Place roast and onions in a large heavy pot and add enough water to cover the roast.  Simmer over medium heat until meat falls off the bone – about one hour.  Add more water if necessary.  Take out meat and set aside.  Add potatoes, celery, carrots and the canned vegetables.  Bring to boil.  Stir in meat and reduce heat.  Simmer slowly until potatoes are tender – 20 minutes.  Add cabbage and tomato juice or diced tomatoes.  Cook another ten minutes until cabbage is tender. 


1 lb of lean hamburger, browned and drained

4 cups water

4 cups of diced fresh tomatoes – I used two cans of diced tomatoes

1 cup celery chopped

1/2 of a green pepper chopped

1/2 of an onion chopped

1/2 cup instant rice – uncooked

1-1/2 oz pkg onion soup mix

1 tblsp beef bouillon granules

1/2 teas each, garlic salt and oregano

A pinch of hot pepper sauce or ground red pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot.  Simmer about 30 minutes.  Serve with flour tortilla grilled in butter in a pan, sprinkle with your favorite cheese and a small amount of diced onion and red bell pepper. Fold over and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 



3 Tbls butter

1 Tbls onion minced

2 teas dill seed

1 teas poppy seed

1/4 teas celery seed

10-oz tube of refrigerated biscuits - quartered

14 teas grated Parmesan cheese


Place butter in 9 inch round cake pan.  Melt butter in 400° oven. Sprinkle onion, dill,


1 cup water

2 cups potatoes peeled and cubed

1/2 teas garlic salt

1/2 teas pepper

10-oz can of cream of chicken soup

1 1/8 cup milk

1 cup sour cream

6 slices of bacon, sliced into small pieces, cooked crispy

1 Tbls parley

1 onion finely chopped

Garnishes:  Shredded cheddar cheese

In a large soup pot combine water, potatoes and bring to boil.  Simmer 10 minutes add salt and pepper. Gradually add soup and milk, stirring constantly.  Stir in sour cream and onion.  Heat slowly though.  Do not boil, stir constantly.  Top with cheese.


2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teas baking powder

1/2 teas salt

1 cup raisins or Craisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 egg – beaten

1 teas each almond and vanilla extract

2 tblsp butter melted and cooled

1 teas each lemon zest and baking soda

1 cup crushed pineapple

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Add the raisins and walnuts.  Mix in another small bowl, egg, extracts, butter and lemon zest.  Stir into flour mixture and set aside. Stir baking SODA into pineapple until well blended.  Add to the flour mix.  Pour in a butter 8 X 4 loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Cool on wire rack.  ENJOY!