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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Dairy...



Hi Folks!

Summer is finally here, and we’ve been treated to some beautiful days and lovely evenings. Even the full moon on Monday night did not come with the cold snap that often accompanies it. Rejoice!

And another reason to rejoice. The recall election is finally over. Maybe we’ll get a little respite from political pot shots before the campaign for November votes starts in earnest.

ON THE SOAP BOX, AGAIN

ON RECALLS


Regardless which side we were on in the Walker/Barrett race, most Wisconsin voters seem to share the opinion that something needs to be done to ensure that never again are our votes discarded as they were this year.

We need to start a serious campaign for a change to the Wisconsin Constitution to prohibit recalls except in cases of proven law breaking or dereliction of duty by an elected official. And the “dereliction of duty” definition should include some rules prohibiting failure to participate in the body to which you were elected just because you know your side is outnumbered. Gee! Do we know anyone who did a thing like that?

To have a recall simply because we don’t like the outcome of an election seriously cheapens the value of our votes and undermines the entire system on which our Republic is based, and should never, ever happen again in Wisconsin. A serious flaw has been discovered in Wisconsin’s Democratic process, and it needs to be corrected.

If the majority of voters - statewide, not just in selected pockets of special interest - are unhappy about the outcome of an election, they only have to wait two years for the next Assembly election. Surely if a majority of voters feel seriously threatened by the outcome of one election, including that of a governor, they could go to the polls in force for the next Assembly race and win a majority there to insure that unpopular laws never get to the governor’s desk.

If their views are not popular enough to do that, maybe folks on the losing side just need to face up to the fact that the majority has spoken, and they need to live with the results until the next round of political sparring.

Anyway, enough on politics. Let’s get on with enjoying the beauties of Wisconsin in June. Watch the fire flies. Watch the stars. Bask in the sun. Listen to the garden grow. Sing around a camp fire. Catch some fish. Isn’t life grand?

GROWIN’ THINGS

It’s not too late to put in some Scarlet Runner pole beans. Plant them around a light pole, clothes line poles, whatever you have for them to climb on. Hummingbirds love them, and butterflies do too. Plus, the flowers are brilliant red and beautiful, and they produce beans all season long, starting with tender little snap beans and progressing to long and still tender flat green beans reminiscent of Italian beans, and finally, if you let them get away from you, they can be enjoyed as shellie beans. Well worth the price of the seeds!

VENUS VIEWING

Darn! Missed it again, and there won’t be another chance this century. Talking about the rare chance to view the planet Venus traveling across the face of the sun. That astronomical phenomenon occurs only twice in 105 or so years, and it happened Tuesday, June 5, from about 6:09 p.m. Eastern Daylight time to approximately half past midnight.

We could have seen Venus here for only short time before sunset, visible as a black dot about 1/32nd as big as the sun’s disc, moving slowly across the face of the Old Sol.

That is, we could have seen it if were prepared in advance with the right kind of eye protection for looking into the sun. Without the right eye protection, we probably wouldn’t have been seeing much of anything ever again.

The Venus trip across the sun visible from this part of our planet was the second time this century. The first was on June 8, 2004, but now it won’t happen again until December 10, 2117. Don’t expect to be around then.

DAIRY MONTH

Every year our local dairy farmers and their friends treat us to Breakfast on the Farm in honor of June Dairy Month. Oconto County celebrates its Breakfast this year on Sunday, June 10 at the O’Harrow’s Family Farm, LLC, 6401 Company Lake Road, Oconto Falls, WI 54154. To get there, go to Oconto Falls, then take Hwy. 22 a few miles west and turn north on Company Lake Road.

Tickets for the all you can eat breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and ham, pancakes, sausages, yogurt, apple slices, cheese, milk, orange juice, ice cream sundaes, coffee and water are $7 for adults and $4 for children ages six to 12, and those five and under are free. Serving is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As if all that food isn’t enough, the June Dairy Month hosts have planned a wealth of fun things to do, including tours of the farm, wagon rides, a petting zoo, ice cream making demonstrations, a giant hay maze, a pedal tractor pull, music by KNX Party Band, kids activity tent, a giant sand box, a corn shelling engine demonstration, face painting and more.

Just what does it take to make breakfast for about 4,000 people? According to the Oconto County Breakfast on the Farm Committee, there will be about 150 volunteer workers, manning two huge egg frying pans, a large grill to make the sausages, four pancake griddles, each about four feet long, three 100 cup coffee makers, 65 three-gallon pails of ice cream, 35 gallons of real maple syrup, a lot of eggs and a few hundred pounds of cheese!

Marinette County’s Dairy Month Breakfast this year will be on the farm of the Ed and Julie Nowak family, W8977 W. 26th Road, Crivitz, starting with a church service on the farm at 7 a.m. To get there, take County P 2 miles west of Hwy. 141, and then go north 2.5 miles on 25th Road, and turn right onto W26th Road.

Tickets for the all you can eat feast are $6 for adults and $4 for children ages six through 10, with younger children served free.

Menu includes pancakes, eggs, sausages, cheese curds, real maple syrup, applesauce, milk, juice, coffee and ice cream sundaes.

There will be a live polka band, wagon rides, farm tours, a petting zoo, face painting, balloons, and a kids bouncy play area.

These are a first-come, first-served parties, with no advance reservations accepted. Committee members recommend coming with big appetites, and enough time to enjoy everything their fun day on the farm has to offer.

DAIRY MONTH FACTS

Despite loss of numerous family farms in the last couple of decades, dairy farming remains the major agricultural industry in Marinette and Oconto counties.

According to some of the latest available census figures, there were 11,800 head of dairy cattle living on 93 dairy farms in Marinette County and 20,100 living on 198 dairy farms in Oconto County. Statewide, Census of Agriculture statistics say each cow generated about $21,000 in total sales.

The majority of farms in Marinette County remain almost entirely family-owned. Only half a percent are owned by non-family corporations or outside interests. Family partnerships account for another 6 percent of farms in the county and family corporations own 3.2 percent.

Overall, dairy and otherwise, agriculture pays $4 million in taxes in Marinette County and contributes $47 million to county income.

DAIRY MONTH FICTION

Try these out on the kiddies:

See answers just before Thought for the Week.

1: What do you call a cow that doesn’t give milk?

2: What do cows do for entertainment?

3: How do you make a milkshake?

4: What band is a favorite with cows?

5: What do you call a grumpy cow?

6: What do you call a sleeping bull?

7: Why do cows wear bells?

8: What do you call a cow who just recently had its baby?

Yes, absolutely right. The reason you need to try these on kids is if you spring them on folks your own size, they just might hit you.

FAIR, FOUL WEATHER FRIENDS

Speaking of weather, we hear much about Fair Weather Friends - the ones who are there only to share the good times. They genuinely rejoice with us when fortune smiles, but are sadly absent when the chips are down. They’re always ready to celebrate and make fun events even more fun, but they turn awkward or absent when death, illness or other sadness strikes.

It occurred to me recently there are also Foul Weather Friends - the ones that are wonderful about providing comfort, support and concrete help in times of woe, but they always seem to drag in a cloud or two when all our skies are sunny.

They are the ones who, if we won the lottery, would caution that misfortune almost always follows a wonderful turn of luck, and warn us against those who want to celebrate with us.

If we’ve had surgery and seem to be recovering well, they tell a tale of someone who later developed an infection from the same procedure and died.

It also occurred to me that, whichever type they are, it’s not their fault. We need to appreciate them for who and what they are. We need plenty of both kinds of friends, because the third kind - the Steadfast Friend - is an extremely rare bird.

Steadfast Friends are the ones who love us when we’ve done something well, and still love us when we’ve done something stupid, even if they’ve warned against it. And if we’re about to do something stupid but aren’t ready to admit it yet, they’re not afraid to point that out. But if we go ahead and do it anyway, they may or may not say “I told you so,” but they don’t rub it in.

They celebrate with us when we’re happy, cry with us when we’re sad. They gladly go joy riding with us when we get a new car and offer the loan of a vehicle when ours breaks down. They attend the graduations and weddings of our children, and also go along when we visit them in a hospital or even in jail if that should come to pass.

If we’re disgraced, they stand by us. If we’re lonely, they cheer us up. If we’re hungry, they feed us. And if an in-law is coming for an unexpected visit, they help clean the house.

We may only meet a handful of true Steadfast Friends in a lifetime, and they are precious indeed. They are the angels who soar with us when all is well and lift us to our feet when our own wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Thank God for Steadfast Friends!

COOKIN’ TIME

Wisconsin in June just overflows with good things to eat. We are so fortunate! Asparagus season is coming to an end soon, so let’s enjoy it while we can! By the way, strawberry season is here, and a meal that features both, along with good Wisconsin butter, cheese and cream is hard to beat!

CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

Lots of luscious Wisconsin flavor in this easy treat. Can be made with canned asparagus if you can’t get fresh. Not as good, but still very, very edible. If you’re using fresh asparagus, save some cooked tender tips to garnish the bowls and add color and texture.

4 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cups washed asparagus, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash white pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup half and half

Melt butter in 3-qt. saucepan and gently cook onion until soft. Add asparagus and cook 1 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly until thickened. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 5-10 minutes until asparagus are fork tender. Stir in half and half. Spoon half of asparagus mixture in blender. Cover and blend at low speed until smooth. Pour mixture into bowl. Repeat steps with remaining mixture. Return mixture to pan. Heat through. Serve soup hot or cover and refrigerate to serve cold. If chilled soup is too thick, stir in additional half and half or milk.

MARINATED ASPARAGUS

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small clove garlic, finely minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup olive oil

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

2 pounds medium asparagus, trimmed and bottom of stalk

peeled

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice and mustard together in a small bowl. Add the garlic, salt and pepper then gradually whisk in the olive oil and stir in the diced tomato. Taste and correct salt and pepper if necessary. Let this mellow for at least half an hour. Meanwhile, clean asparagus and get rid of all the tough parts. Blanch, steam or microwave the asparagus until just tender/crisp, about three to five minutes. Drain and arrange the hot asparagus on a serving platter if you will be serving it right away. Pour the vinaigrette sauce over it and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Let this sit at least 10 minutes before serving. Better yet, put into a flat dish, pour on the vinaigrette and let sit overnight. Then, just before serving, arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle on the cheese. Zap it just a few seconds to remove the chill if you like. Keeps three to four days or more in fridge. This makes a smashing party presentation when you alternate stacks of the asparagus with rows of deviled eggs.

STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM BARS

Crust:

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 ounces) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

Filling:

1 cup white vanilla baking chips

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

Topping:

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup water

10 to 12 drops red food color, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom only of 15x10x1 or 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Press evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. In small micro-wavable bowl, microwave baking chips uncovered on high 45 to 60 seconds or until chips are melted and can be stirred smooth. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in melted chips until blended. Spread mixture over crust. Refrigerate while making topping. In small bowl, crush one cup of the strawberries. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the crushed strawberries and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in food color. Cool 10 minutes. Gently stir in remaining 3 cups strawberries. Spoon topping over filling. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set; serve within 4 hours. Store covered in refrigerator.

Riddle Answers:

1: An udder failure.

2: They go to the mooooovies.

3: Give a cow a pogo stick.

4: Moody Blues

5: Moody

6: A bull-dozer.

7: Their horns don’t work.

8: Decalfinated

Thought for the Week: God, our State has just been through a very hard time. Help us heal the wounds, forgive the friends and relatives who have disagreed with us, and work together to make Wisconsin in particular and this old world in general a better place to live, work, pray and play. Amen.

COUNTRY COUSIN


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