Pioneer Potluck: About 'Is you w-wwitching today'

October, 1962


Fort Collins, Colorado,

Brick house on Smith Street


I was reminded of the following story, when I saw this on Facebook. “If you can’t fly with the big girls, stay off your broom.”

The neighborhood where we lived in Fort Collins, Colorado, was quiet, nice and neat. We lived in a big brick two-story house on a large corner lot. Jack and I bought the beautiful old house with hardwood floors and a big hedge surrounding the back yard. The kids and I took naps on a quilt under a big apple tree in the summer and fall. Gail was 5, David 3 and Susan was 2. I have a whole memory bank full of great memories of living there. To make ends meet we rented out a downstairs bedroom to a Colorado Aggie (at that time) student, named Dave. And that is a whole ‘nuther story.

The neighborhood little kids that played with mine were all about the same age. One very curious little blonde headed guy age 5, loved to play with Gail and David. He had a constant habit of running up the front sidewalk, hit the wooden front porch floor with a jump and with one big leap, jump to the door and ring the doorbellnot just once but many, many times, until I could get to the door. It was most aggravating and many, many time I asked him to just ring it once, or go around to the back yard to see if my kids were out playing. He never once did that – and after about 2 weeks of asking Larry to please, please do not ring the door bell more than once, I had enough.

One fall October day we put out a few Halloween decorations on the porch and after cleaning the house, I started out the front door to sweep off the sidewalk. I had a broom in my hand and on the third ring- I jerked open the door holding the broom high in the air, and yelled at him… “Larry! Stop ringing this door bell so many times!” With emphasis on “Stop,” I pounded the broom on the floor a half dozen times.

Larry took off running, screaming across the street to his house, up the sidewalk, swung the door open and disappeared, slamming the door behind him. A few minutes later, Larry’s mom called and asked why I answered the door with a broom in my hand? Larry told her with big wild open eyes and a stammer that “Mrs. B-B-BBateman had a b-b- broom in her hand and she was W-WWITCHIN!” She wanted to know why I would scare a little boy like that. After I explained to her that I just happened to have a broom in my hand when he rang the doorbell a million too many times, that I had just lost my cool. She apologized for Larry and hoped that I would not be to upset with him as he loved playing with my kids.

Larry NEVER did go to the back yard to see if the kids were playing, He came to the front door and rang the doorbell just two times. It was Ok, because, by then, we knew it was Larry. I would open the door and Larry would jump back and stammer “Mrs. B-B-Bateman is youwitchin’ today? C-C-C-Can I play with G-G-Gail and D-DDavid?” I had the biggest urge at times to open the door with the broom in my hand, but I liked the little guy and decided I had scared him enough the first time.

We talk about this through the years, and sometimes, we say, when someone who has a broom in their hand, especially this time of year, “IS you w-wwitching’ today?”


The Grannie Annie series is written by a 49 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski.Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.


Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci. net



Place in crock pot in order given or in a Dutch oven with lid and cook on top of woodstove or a campfire. This can be cooked over a campfire in Dutch oven, during moose hunting season. Just place all ingredients in a large

Ziplock and transport in the Dutch oven to the campsite.

2 onions sliced in large pieces

3 large potatoes cubed

4 carrots cut in large pieces

1 to 1 ½ pound of stew meat. Moose,

Beef, Sheep, Goat or Bear can be used in this, trimmed of ALL FAT.

2 tblsp quick cooking tapioca or 2 tblsp flour

1 can beef broth but one can of beer is better, tenderizes tougher pieces of game meat.

1 beef bouillon cube

1 tea garlic salt

½ tea pepper

Cover and place on medium heat, and cook up to 8 hours on woodstove, 4 to 6 in crock pot and all day on a campfire. Put the Dutch oven over a low heat part of the campfire in the morning after breakfast and you have dinner done at 6. Give everyone a bowl and a spoon; ladle the stew into the bowls. Pass buttered sourdough bread or buttered biscuits. Dinners done!! This recipe is in my cookbook – ‘Grannie Annies Cookin’ on the Woodstove


1 ½ pounds of moose sirloin steak of beef sirloin OR

1 ½ pound of moose burger or hamburger

Cut and cube the sirloin. Dredge in flour and stir fry until browned. If using moose burger (hamburger) cook until no longer pink and drain.

In a large sauce pan:

Sauté in 2 tblsp oil

½ cup onion diced

½ cup celery sliced

1 cup sliced fresh mushroom or 1 small can mushroom pieces and liquid

Cook until tender soft.


1 can cream of mushroom soup

½ can beef broth

½ can milk

2 tea Worcestershire sauce

¼ tea paprika

Add the cooked moose (beef) stir and heat on low until heated through.

Stir in:

1 cup sour cream

Stir to mix well.

Serve on hot butter noodles with a sprinkle of parsley. A mixed green salad goes well with this yummy dish.


This recipe is in my Cookin’ on the Woodstove Cookbook


2 To 3 pounds cubed fresh pork*

Brown pork cubes in small amount of oil,

Small batches at a time to brown.

Transferr to hot crockpot.

Rinse pan with 1 cup water, bring to boil,

And add the liquid to crockpot.


1 Can low sodium beef broth

1 Can low sodium chicken broth

1 Can diced tomatoes with green chilies

2 Cans water

½ Diced onion

2 Stalks sliced celery

2 Teas paprika

1 ½ Teas ground cumin

1 ½ Tea oregano

½ Tea garlic salt

1 Tea garlic powder or 1 tea crushed fresh garlic

1/8 To ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 Small can sliced mushrooms with liquid

Simmer on high 3 to 4 hours

Adjust salt-the tomatoes are salty.


2 Diced potatoes

2 Large carrots – cut in 1 inch chuncks

Simmer on high until potatoes and carrots are done, about 2 hours. Adjust salt again.

Mix in a small bowl, ½ cup water – 3 tablespoons cornstarch. Stir into crockpot slowly.

Simmer another hour on low until thickened.

Serve with warm tortillias or warmed garlic bread. Dessert: colleens rhubarb-strawberry pie

*a whole cut-up chicken can be used in place of pork.