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Life On The Go

City Woman Lives Adventurous Life, Holds Many Talents

Anne Jackson creates a beaded project with her Yellow Labrador Retriever, Jake, looking on. Submitted photo

Anne Jackson has lived all over the United States, as well as in a foreign country. She was born at Camp Pendleton in Southern California while her father was in the Marine Corps. Later, her mother married Jackson’s step-dad, who was in the Army which took the family to Germany, North Carolina, Georgia and back to California.

Jackson spent most of her career as a legal secretary, starting in California, but in her mid-20s decided to leave the profession and go to truck-driving school. Prior to this, she had never driven a vehicle with a manual transmission. She took a job driving a truck for a while but returned to her former profession.

After making a decision to leave California, she moved to Seattle where she lived and continued her vocation for 10 years. She met Jim Jackson while he was attending a conference in the Washington city. He invited her to visit him in the small village of 600 where he lived in Alaska and where he served as a judge.

“I had always wanted to visit Alaska,” she said.

After a two-week visit, she returned home, gave notice to her employer, packed up and moved to the Alaskan bush, but not in the traditional way.

Anne Jackson does the beadwork that is inlayed in her husband’s wood pieces. Tiny beaded boxes and a beaded pendant are in the bowl in the foreground. Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

“I moved totally through the mail,” she said with a grin.

She sold her furniture, boxed up the rest of her belongings and sent them through the mail. Fragile items and whatever else fit were packed into her SUV, which she then drove to northern Washington and boarded a ferry to Juneau. From Juneau, she drove above the tree line, over huge mountains to Tanana when the vehicle was put on a barge on the Yukon River. Jim met her in a rental car in Tanana and drove her to Fairbanks, where they boarded a plane for the small town of Galena. Her vehicle arrived in Galena a few weeks later since the barge only runs when it is full.

“My friends and coworkers thought I was nuts,” she said.

She experienced a completely different lifestyle in her new home from what she had known in Seattle. “I’m very flexible, having grown up in the military.”

The couple was married at their home in Galena. Flowers were flown in for the bouquets and the bride’s headpiece, all of which were arranged by a friend. Food for the occasion was made by another friend and a third friend baked and decorated the wedding cake. The event was video recorded. Later, the bride added more video as she narrated while traveling to places of interest in the area. Several copies were made and given for Christmas to family members to enable them get a glimpse of her life in the 49th state.

Groceries and supplies were purchased during a monthly trip to Anchorage or Fairbanks, because they were much less expensive than those sold in Galena.

“We shopped all day, went to the hotel, boxed up everything and then took it to the airport at midnight to mail home.”

The airport in Anchorage was open 24 hours, 365 days per year. Since there had at one time been an Air Force station located in Galena, the only paved runway in the Alaskan bush is located there. Airline service was provided once or twice per day while the Jacksons lived there.

Besides their home, they had a cabin they would travel to by boat. They drove their snowmobile on the frozen Yukon River on the rare occasion they visited it in the winter. Firewood cut to heat their home during the winters, which reached -40 degrees, was transported on a sled pulled behind their snowmobile. Every fall the retired judge hunted moose, their main source of meat, and his wife helped him with the butchering process. Her husband taught her how to garden and cross-country ski.

“It was an adventure. It was very cool. It was so peaceful there,” she said. “It’s a joke in our family to never get me started on Alaska, because I’ll never shut up.”

The couple bought their home in Chautauqua County in 1998 because of Jim’s parents’ advancing age. Prior to the move, they boxed up pots and pans and smaller items and mailed them to the parents’ home in Celoron, who then delivered them to their son’s new home on Big Tree Road. Many stacks of boxes greeted the younger couple when they arrived to their home in 1999. They purchased a houseful of new furniture, since theirs was left behind.

They have added a large pond to the 29-acre property, which has seen as many as 100 Koi fish at one time. They estimate the current Koi population at 50-60 in the 14-feet deep pond.

Venison is now their main source of meat, which her husband processes and they raise their own vegetables, which she cans or freezes.

Jackson has had many interests and hobbies over the years. She became interested in fiber arts while living in Seattle and fished when she was in Alaska. She has a collection of brightly-painted Santas made when she attended ceramics classes in the past. Some of her framed counted cross-stitch and needlepoint projects hang in her home. She enjoys knitting, felting, weaving and spinning yarn from raw material, but making jewelry and teaching bead-weaving now consume much of her time.

“I love to teach beading,” she said.

The former Roycroft members have a beautiful workshop with tables and cabinets made by Jim using desktops purchased from Crawford Furniture Company and a vacuuming system that he created. His woodturning tools hang neatly above his lathe. Across the room are containers holding millions of glass beads. The couple creates products for their The Beaded Forest business. Anne does the beadwork that is inlayed into wooden jars, vases, bowls, etc. that have been turned by her husband.

They enjoy visiting Vermont and Maine with their Airstream trailer.

“It’s just perfect,” said Jackson, who also says her husband would be happy selling the house and traveling year-round, but her home is important to her because of the multiple moves of her childhood.

She is a member of Chautauqua County Society of Artists and volunteers monthly at the food bank at Ashville United Methodist Church. Jim is a retired Chautauqua County coroner. He has two grown children who reside in the Chicago area.

They have a three and a half year-old, well-behaved, smart Yellow Labrador Retriever named Jake who knows each one of his toys by name.

Jackson now lists cooking as a hobby, but hasn’t always felt that way. “I didn’t enjoy a lot of cooking until I got married. Jim is a good cook.”

When she lived in her parents’ home, she the second oldest of five girls, with her older sister, did much of the cooking. They made Caramel Nut Cake and she grew up with Lime Gelatin Salad on the table. She makes Coffee Fudge about once a year, even though her husband isn’t a fan of fudge and claims the Turkey Soup recipe as her own. These recipes and others follow.

LIME GELATIN SALAD

2 pkgs lime or lemon-flavored gelatin

2 c boiling water

2 c lemon-lime pop, chilled

2 large bananas, cut into slices

20 oz crushed pineapple

2 c miniature marshmallows

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Pour into 9-inch by 12-inch glass dish. Stir in pop. Chill briefly until thick, ut not until firm. Drain pineapple and save juice for topping. Add pineapple, marshmallows and bananas to chilled gelatin. Continue to chill until firm.

Topping

1/2 c sugar

2 T flour

1 c pineapple juice

1 egg, beaten with fork

2 T butter

2 c whipped topping

1/4 c grated cheddar cheese

Combine sugar, flour, pineapple juice and beaten egg. Cook over low heat until thick, while continually stirring. Remove from stove and add butter. Chill. Fold in whipped topping, mixing well. Spread over gelatin. Sprinkle with grated cheese and chill several hours or overnight.

TAVERNS

3 lbs ground beef

1 onion, chopped

4 c ketchup

4 T dry mustard

4 T chili powder

Hamburger buns

Do not cook ground beef prior to mixing. Mix all ingredients in large pan. Cook until beef is fully cooked. Spoon into hamburger buns. Left-over mixture may be frozen.

CARAMEL NUT CAKE

4 eggs, separated

1/2 c white sugar

2 sticks butter, melted

1 box light brown sugar (or 2 1/4 cups)

2 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 c chopped nuts

Powdered sugar

Separate eggs. Beat egg whites until stiff, adding white sugar. Set aside. In a very large pan, melt butter slowly. Add brown sugar, mixing well with spoon. Beat egg yolks separately and then add to mixture in pan. Beat well. Remove pan from heat. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in egg whites, vanilla and?nuts. Mixture will be thick. Pour into greased and floured 9-inch by 12-inch pan. Bake in 350 degree oven until set (fully cooked) in center. Let cool somewhat and while still warm, cut into squares and roll individual squares in powdered sugar.

BUTTERMILK COOKIES

2 c sugar

1 c shortening

3 eggs

4 c flour

1 tsp soda

1 tsp baking powder

Dash salt

1 c buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla

Additional sugar

Cream sugar and shortening together. Add eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with buttermilk to shortening mixture. Add vanilla. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until done.

COFFEE FUDGE

1/2 c milk

1 stick unsalted butter

2 c granulated sugar

3/4 c marshmallow cream

12 oz dark chocolate (bittersweet) chips

2 tsp instant espresso powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

Line a square 8- or 9-inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine milk, butter and sugar over medium heat, stirring continually. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Turn heat to low. Add remaining ingredients and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Pour fudgy mixture into prepared pan, spreading smooth. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or until fudge is firm. Cut into squares.

ANNE’S TURKEY SOUP

6 32-oz boxes of chicken broth

3 c carrots, chopped

2 T garlic salt

1 tsp white pepper

2 tsp ground marjoram

2 tsp poultry seasoning

2 tsp ground sage

2 c dry rice

2 T minced garlic

1 1/4 c onion, chopped

1 1/2 c celery, chopped

4 c cooked turkey meat, cut into bite-size pieces

Mix all ingredients in a large pan and cook on low until rice is cooked. Cooking soup takes several hours. Stir frequently. Soup may be frozen.

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