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Pioneer Potluck: About making snowmen

Posted: January 21, 2014 - 3:44pm  |  Updated: January 22, 2014 - 11:00am

1940s Colorado to 2014 in Nikiski

 

I have for the past 70-some years of my life, had a passion for making snowmen. It hasn’t always been possible with the Colorado winters that were just cold with no snow and the Alaskan winters when it was too cold for the snow to stick together. So this past week I could not resist after it rained, to get out and make a snowman with the water-packed snow. I formed a snowball and rolled it around and sure enough it was ready to be made into a snowman.

My snowmen never turn out the same except they are made with lots of love and smiles and a pat on the head for good luck and always with the hope that it will make someone smile.

I remember the few times my Dad attempted to make a snowman with us and trying to get the snow to stick together because the air and snow in Colorado was so dry. When we had just the right “snowball snow” Dad’s snowman were always big! Mine are about 3 to 4 feet tall. The Colorado snowman usually wore an old hat of Dad’s, always a carrot nose and branches for the arms. Coal or buttons for the eyes and a pair of Dad’s old boots for feet. And sometimes we put an old work coat of Dad’s on him and always a scarf. I was very, very sad when he melted.

One year, years later after my Dad passed away the nephews were visiting Grandma and with lots of adult help made a great big wonderful snowman in Grandma’s back yard. Trouble is it can be nice snowman weather one day in Colorado and the next day the sun comes out and spoils all your fun. This big snowman started to melt and so did the two nephews, who will remain nameless, with the sobbing and crying for hours, because their snowman was going away! Even with hugs from them it did not help!

So through the earlier years in Alaska I have made many, many snowmen or snow women. It is always a surprise at the outcome, especially with my grandsons Arleigh and Grey’s help. The most outstanding and memorable snow woman was one that Grey and I made about 10 years ago. We had lots of wet snow to make a fairly large snow women. We worked and worked to get it just to our liking. She was overly sized or in real life “over weight.” We put lilac branches on for arms and put mittens on the end for hands. Grey looking it over, seeing that is was not anatomically correct, announced to me,(just as Bob was coming out of the house with an old pair of boots he was retiring) “Grandma she needs boobs!” Bob overhearing the conversation in his own hard of hearing world, thought Grey said “boots!” So Bob marched over to us and said “here use these boots.” I cannot explain the totally surprised look on Grey’s face! It was priceless. He regained his shock and surprise and said “Oh, OK Bob,” took the boots and placed them at the base of the snow woman. It happened so fast that I was still trying to figure out what Bob said and what Grey did — then it hit me! I looked at Grey and we burst out in a big belly laugh! After we explained to Bob what was going on and let him in on what we were laughing about, he laughed just as hard! This story gets told every year with lots of laughter and repeated to a new neighbor or to an older neighbor that needs a laugh for the day.

The other problem with making snowmen is if you have pets, especially dogs. You are never sure what will be the end result of your carefully crafted statue.

Last year Lily and I created a masterpiece of a snowman in front of Bob’s cave! We completed it with a floppy summer hat of mine, a scarf and because I had an abundance of large, long carrots, I used one for her nose and one for each arm. We placed gloves on the end of the carrot-arms, gave her some eyes made out of buttons from my large jar of buttons. I carved out lips from a red bell pepper and Lily finished the project by putting jelly beans down her front for buttons. We gave her a pair of my old shoes and we were done! We stood back admiring our creation when Old Sadie Dog walked up and with a half of a blink of our eye, snatched her carrot nose. (She loved carrots for a treat.) I told Lily we can replace it but she was not pleased at Sadie’s actions at all. Stomping around in the snow, Lily was busy trying to keep Sadie from grabbing a carrot arm and yelling “NO! No! Sadie!” I replaced her nose with a button and when the arms mysteriously disappeared I replaced them with twigs. But most of all her lips disappeared later along with the jelly beans on her dress. Our creation stood at attention in front of Bob’s cave for about a month and every time we went by we would have to readjust something or replace the stick arms because Sadie love to play with sticks too. Fun, fun!

This year with Sadie watching me from her place in Heaven, I made my annual snowman. Small but cute and because I had no carrots in the fridge, raided my button jar again and gave the almost completeld snowman black button eyes and nose. Having no red bell pepper for lips, I happen to have a large slice of uncooked squash that I carved for lips. Then raided the jelly bean jar for black jelly beans. Placed a red knitted hat on her head and found the never ending stash of little gloves. I finished the project just as Bob was done plowing. We admired the end result patted her on the head and went into the cave to rest.

Our good neighbor Dan came to visit within the hour and we talked for a while. I went inside the house to continue what I had put off till later, because it was nice outdoors. Coming back out of the house, there stood Dan, Cathy and Chase’s doggies, Ranger, Rosie and a little Gus, admiring my snow woman ... or should I say, looking for more goodies they could glean off. Gus got the jelly beans because he is so short — Rosie and Ranger completed the rest of this story!

Makes me smile that I have through the years kept doggies tummy full by building snowmen.

Go build a snow man — it is good for your soul.

ONE PAN - NO BOWL CARROT CAKE

Heat oven to 350°

In an ungreased 8 x 8” or 9 by 9 square pan, place the following:

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir with a fork until well blended

Add 1 cup of coarsely shredded carrots and stir into flour.

Add:

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir to blend. With a rubber spatula, stir ingredients that are clinging to the sides and corners of the pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Bake for 25 to 30 min. until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool. Cut in squares. This can be frosted or served with whipped cream.

ROTINI SALAD

This recipe is from my cookbook

“Grannie Annies Cookin’ at the Homestead” Recipe Box of Susan Jordan, page 226

Into a salad bowl:

Sliced black olives-drain

Finely chopped green pepper

Crushed garlic clove

4 cups cooked rotini pasta

Finely chopped onion and celery

Toss with Italian dressing and let marinate two hours.

PS I always add more vegetables and usually add diced cooked chicken or turkey to this.

MACARONI SALAD

An old standby found on the same page of the same cookbook:

Cook small salad macaroni-about 4 cups cooked.

Finely slice the following:

Celery, black olives, dill pickles, green pepper and onion. Add cubed cheddar cheese and 1 cup of ham. Mix with Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and sprinkle with dill weed

Note: My own spin on this is add canned salmon or left over cooked fish in place of ham.

CHINESE B.B.Q. RIBS

Short ribs or spare ribs are great with this.

1-10 ounce jar plum jelly ˆ cherry or apricot

1/3 cup dark corn syrup or brown sugar - I prefer the sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 chopped green onion or yellow

2 cloves garlic minced

2 teaspoons ground ginger 2 pounds or more of spare ribs or short ribs cut into serving pieces

Heat everything but the ribs. Pour ingredients over ribs and marinate for 4 to 6 hours or over night. Bake or BBQ (slowly) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn and basting with marinade. Serve with lots of napkins.

GRANNIE ANNIES TURKEY NOODLE SOUP

One turkey breast-roasted

Slice off white meat for other uses, leaving a lot of meat on the bone

In a large soup pot place the turkey breast and cover with water

Add 1/2 teaspoon each garlic salt, celery salt, Italian seasoning spices

Add 1/4 teaspoon each black pepper and table salt

Add 1/2 cup each dehydrated minced onion or one half chopped yellow onion, sliced celery and carrots

Heat to just boiling, turn down to slow simmer and cook 1 to 2 hours. (NOTE: At this point I bring to a boil, turn off heat and set on woodstove to cook the rest of the afternoon)

One hour before supper time add another one half cup diced onion,celery and carrots

Adjust salt and seasoning-Simmer 10 minutes

Add one can undiluted cream of chicken soup-stir in, do not boil.

Add 2 to 3 cups already cooked home-style egg noodles. Stir and warm but do not boil, serve in soup bowls. Crackers and cheese and dill pickles go well with this or sour dough garlic bread.

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