Pioneer Potluck: About the big brown bear in the blueberry patch

The Ricks Ranch


1999, North Nikiski, Alaska


“I’m going up to see if the blueberries are ripe. Be right back,” I told Bob. I jumped in my old green Thunderbird that Bob called the Green Bean Machine.

I drove up past the blueberry patch just around the corner from our house, turned around and stopped on the side of the road, leaving the car running and the door open.

I walked around the front of the car and stepped down into the ditch and up onto the area where the blueberries were. “Wow! They are ready to pick-what was that?!” I caught a movement in the bushes as I looked up. Not seeing anything I went a few more steps farther into the blueberry bushes. I saw a movement again! I looked up to my right just in time to see a big brown bear stand up on his hind feet, stick his neck out, sniff with his head held high....probably thinking I was going to steal HIS blueberries.

My heart stop!! My feet turned to lead. I just stared for a half second. Then my heart jumped into high gear, my feet started going backwards toward the ditch, down the ditch, up the ditch onto the road, feeling for the fender my car, the hood and the other fender, around the open car door..... I jumped in, slammed the door. I was safe and heaved a big sigh!!

Then my over imagination kicked in..OH NO!! I left the door open!! I wonder if a BEAR is in the back seat! My head whipped around, looking to see if a bear was looking at me...NO Bear! I put the idling car in gear and took off like I was scared of a bear of something!!

My hair still stands on end telling this story and I have NOT been back to the Big Brown Bears’ Blueberry Patch!


I make two of these and freeze on for later when the snow is falling and we need to remind

ourselves how nice it was when we went blueberry picking.

Go out to the blueberry patch with your blueberry pail and pick blueberries - but be on the watch for Mr. Blueberry Bear!!

Wash and pick-over:

1 1/2 cups of blueberries and set aside. (The blueberries go on top.)


In a large bowl, combine:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup white sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teas salt

Combine with a fork.


1/4 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp grated lemon rind (op)

Beat by hand until well combined and smooth.


1 egg

Beat into mixture.

Pour into a 8X 8 well oiled square pan

Mix the 1 1/2 cups of blueberries with:

2 Tblsp melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

Drizzle the blueberry mixture over the batter. Bake 350% for 40 minutes.

Cool and cut in squares.

Serve with a big hot cup of coffee to your breakfast guests.


I was in a hurry, had breakfast guests and grabbed the following: Makes 12 muffins.

1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix

1 box of Jiffy blueberry muffin mix

1/2 cup of well drained blueberries

Combine the mixes and follow the directions on EACH of the boxes.


1 tblsp mayonnaise. (this gives extra moisture)

Mix very slightly until combined.

Fill lined tins 3/4 full and top each with:

1/2 teas sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Bake according the package direction for the blueberry muffins, about 20 minutes.

Test. Do not over bake. Serve with real butter and blueberry jam. I use this recipe often!


With tomatoes, cucumbers ripening and fresh herbs ready to pick, this is a perfect salad.

In a large serving bowl combine:

1 cucumber quartered, and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

3 to 4 tomatoes, chopped in bite sizes

1/2 each green and red bell pepper, chopped in bite sizes

1/2 cup red onion thinly sliced halves

12 or more Greek olives sliced. I use ripe black olives in a pinch.

2 Tblsp fresh minced parsley

1 Tblsp fresh minced basil - use other herbs from you garden if you have them-1/4 teas each

In a small bowl combine the dressing ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 Tblsp red wine vinegar - or apple cider vinegar

2 Tbslp balsamic vinegar

1 teas sugar

1/2 teas dried oregano - or - 1 teas minced fresh oregano

1/4 teas minced garlic

1/4 teas black pepper

Mix well with whisk and pour over salad. Refrigerate up to 4 hours

Just before serving mix in:

4 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed.

Serve with sourdough bread stick fresh out of the oven.


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