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Updated: May 18, 2020

My Mother died when she was just 60 years old. My Dad was quite lonely but thirteen years later he married his next door neighbor, Fern. What a love affair they had! They were inseparable.

It was six years after Mom died when Fern and her husband, Ed, moved next door to Dad. They had lived in Dixie, Idaho - a remote mountain village where bear, antelope, deer and other wild animals are plentiful. They were self sufficient; they felled trees for lumber to build their log cabin, hunted wild game, grew their own vegetables, and picked wild berries for jellies, jams and wine. Ed manufactured his own gun powder and loaded his own shell casings. Ed also built all of their furniture from the trees on their land. They did have a generator but mostly they used lamps and candles for light. They were forced to leave Dixie when Ed fell ill and needed to be close to medical help. Besides hunting, field dressing animals (including bear!), Fern played the organ very well, wrote articles for a newspaper, raised a garden, and made wine along with other spirits. I doubt there are many women like Fern. She was quite a lady and a spunky one too!

I am so fortunate to have some of the furniture that Ed had built and I have Fern’s recipes. From her recipes it is obvious that she loved making wines and mixing special drinks. These are a few of those recipes – next time I’ll share more of her recipes.

Black Berry Sour 1 jigger Blackberry Brandy

Juice of ½ lemon

½ TBS sugar

SHAKE well with ice and strain into sour glass.

ADD a little soda, slice of orange and a cherry


1 oz bourbon

1 TBS cherry liquor

1 oz light cream

½ crushed ice

Early Bird Cocktail

1 ½ oz gin

1 ½ oz grapefruit juice

Grape Wine

20 lbs grapes washed

6 quart boiling water

(Pour boiling water over grapes)

Let stand 3 to 4 days.

Strain twice

Add: ¾ lb sugar per quart of juice

Let stand 7 days

Jug adding 1 TBSP sugar per quart and seal

Dandelion Wine

1 quart dandelion flowers

3 quart water

3 lb sugar

Juice of 3 lemon or oranges

Proceed as above with Grape Wine

Hot Buttered Rum

8 servings 2 TBSP brown sugar

1 tsp whole allspice

1 tsp whole cloves

¼ tsp salt

Dash ground nutmeg

3 inches stick cinnamon

2 quarts apple or pineapple juice

1 cup rum

In large saucepan, combine brown sugar, allspice, cloves, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and apple or pineapple juice. Slowly bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in rum; return just to boiling. Remove from heat; pour through strainer to remove whole spices. Place a pat of butter or margarine in each of eight mugs. Pour in the hot rum mixture.

Photo is my Dad (Hugh Bostwick) and his new wife (Fern Church) in front of the courthouse the day they ran off and got married!

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