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Country Cousin

Autumn...

Hi Folks!

How swiftly time passes! Yesterday we were marveling at the early Spring, and now Autumn has burst upon us in all its glory! Each day new color bursts out on the forested hillsides of Marinette County.

Here and there individual trees are decorated by Nature in hues no ordinary artist’s palette could duplicate. Shades of green, tipped in pink and scarlet. Bronze with golden highlights. Pure golden coins quaking in the breeze. Flames dancing in the wind with no fire. And the peak of color is not quite here. Probably will be by next weekend though, and then the fall farewell decorations will begin to fade into the more somber hues of winter.

Would we tire of it, if the forests came in these fantastic colors all year round?

Probably. We humans are like that.

TAKE A RIDE

But these colors will not last. Their beauty is fleeting, so we should enjoy them while we can. This weekend promises to be sunny, and we don’t know what next weekend will bring.

So if time allows, take a ride on Old J north of C in the Town of Silver Cliff, or go north of C on Parkway Road toward Goodman and McClintock parks. Unfortunately, the powers that have seen fit to trim trees back from Parkway in the name of safety so the golden cathedral effect is gone, but that road still boasts some of the loveliest sights of Marinette County.

Drive some of the beautiful back roads east of Hwy. 141 in Middle Inlet and the Town of Wausaukee, where golden canopies still arch overhead. And do take County W from Marinette to get there.

Then make an autumn pilgrimage to the top of Thunder Mountain. On a clear day you can see the sparkling waters of Green Bay to the south and east.

If the weather is really fine, take the boat out on one of TIMESland’s many lakes and flowages.

And while you enjoy all the beauties of Nature, do take time to thank Him who made them all!

GROWIN’ THINGS

Spring flowering bulbs must be planted before the first hard frost, but the soil ideally should be down to 60 degrees, so now’s the time to get it done. Spring-flowering bulbs need time to develop a solid root system before winter sets in.

Look over your yard and decide where you want to see splashes of color in spring. Daffodils and tulips in particular spring to mind.

Once you have an idea what you would like to see added to your flower garden, you can buy bulbs at most garden centers, supermarkets, or at the mall. Often we’re lucky enough to get some from friends who are re-doing their plots and have too many.

Always select top quality bulbs. Size matters; the larger the bulb, the bigger the plant. Choose bulbs that are firm and have good color.

Many of the things we call bulbs really aren’t. They can be broken down into six types of storage structures, which include true bulbs, corms, tubers, tuberous roots, rhizomes, and fleshy roots such as those of day lilies and peonies. But it doesn’t really matter what you call them.

Keep all bulbs separate and labeled until planting time, especially if you want to cluster colors. They tend to look alike.

Choose a sunny location with rich, well-drained soil. If you’re making a border along a pathway or yard edge and don’t want straight lines, lay a garden hose in an arrangement that pleases you and use that to mark the edge of your planting area.

Dig up sod if necessary, then work the soil quite deeply, until it is loose. Add compost, humus or peat moss to the soil if the garden is not yet established. Do not add bone meal because it attracts pests and animals that may dig up the bulbs you so tenderly put there.

Be aware during storage and when planting that to the rodent world, bulbs seem to be gourmet treats. One spring my Mom gave me a bushel basket nearly filled with gladiolus bulbs or corms, whichever they are, that had been dug from her garden in fall and stored in her basement all winter. I put them in the garage, unprotected, waiting until I had time to plant. Our pet squirrel found them and feasted until they were all damaged. Sadly, once again our garden had no glads.

Anyway, on with the planting preparations!

If you’re willing to do the work, you can protect bulbs from rodents by lining the planting hole with small mesh wire or hardware cloth before dropping the bulb in. Here in the frozen north, bulbs should be planted an inch or two deeper than twice their length, especially in sand country. Better still, put the larger ones five to eight inches deep. They’ll find their way to the top.

Recently learned that for various blooming times and for mixed beds, bulbs can be planted in layers, with the larger bulbs at the bottom and soil between them.

The pointy end always has to be face up. If you can 't tell which end is the pointy one, place the bulb on its side and it will right itself. Put the bulb into its very own holes, cover lightly with soil and add a 2" layer of mulch or leaves. When you’re done with the entire bed water well, add another layer of mulch or leaves, and water again. Keep the soil moist all fall by watering thoroughly.

OF FOOTBALL

The officiating for Monday night’s Packer game was an outrage! But it’s history now, and life goes on.

Recently came across some of the prized utterances from the late great Green Bay Packer Coach Vince Lombardi. (Known in some circles as St. Vincent Lombardi, but we won’t go there, will we?)

In all truth though, those who knew Lombardi personally knew him as a good, pious man with a great respect and love for God and his fellow man.

Among his best known quotes is: Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing. Later he tried to soften that attitude, said he wished he’d never said it, what he meant was putting forth the effort, having a goal...I sure as hell didn’t mean for people to crush human values and morality!

There are three important things in life, he said. Family, religion, and the Green Bay Packers.

He recognized the importance of sports in high school and college too, and felt, A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.

Lombardi said football is a game of clichs, and he believed every one. He also created a few of his own:

A real executive goes around with a worried look on his assistants.

If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.

If you can’t accept losing, you can’t win.

And finally, keep trying, keep fighting, never give up. The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.

That philosophy applies to just about everything in life, not just football!

ON THE SOAP BOX

We’re hearing a lot this week about Mitt Romney’s income taxes, with a lot of slams about how he’s not paying his fair share.

Question is, what’s fair?

On the face of it, he may have paid only 13 percent or so, but that percentage totaled more than $2 million.

How many of us contributed $2 million from our own pockets to support our country last year, or even in an entire lifetime.

What’s fair? Did the Romney family use more of the things our nation pays for us than those who paid less hefty taxes?

Don’t think so!

Should we be outraged because Romney was smart enough to earn that kind of money. He came by it honestly, by providing jobs and creating commerce, not by conning donors, robbing little old ladies, or cheating buyers.

Also, the liberal press can prate about the 13 percent tax rate, but much of that was paid on money for which the various corporations he invests in had already paid 35 percent corporate income taxes. By my math, that’s 48 percent, and when you get to that level, it’s not taxation, it’s confiscation!

Add to that some very meaningful charitable contributions to bring the taxable total down.

Let’s get real folks. Unless you follow the failed Communist/socialist philosophies, Romney has done more than his share to support the workings of this country. if we had more people earning the money he does, and paying the taxes he does, we probably could pay off our national debt, which incidentally was doubled by the present administration!

Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, a man who knows well how hard it is to live from paycheck to paycheck and count pennies to make sure the budget stretches where it’s needed, put it well when he called on people to remember that redistributing the wealth doesn 't work to grow the economy. Fighting over slices of a shrinking pie doesn 't work, he said. Growing the pie does."

And that’s what Mitt Romney does. He is a successful businessman who helps grow the American pie.

EXERCISE

Fellow I know says he really enjoys long walks. Especially when they’re taken by people who annoy him.

Says walking and healthy living can add years to your life. That enables folks, at age 90 or so, to spend an additional five months in a nursing home at $7,000 a month.

Claim his grandfather started walking five miles a day when he was 60. He’s 90 now, and they don’t know where he is.

He believes in clean living, too. Every time he says the dirty word, exercise, he washes his mouth out with chocolate.

On the sad side, though, he thinks it’s pretty sad that these days burglars still make house calls, but doctors do not.

HELP WANTED

Someone very dear to me, who lives many, many miles away, is undergoing some very tricky surgery on Friday of this week. Would greatly appreciate if you could say a small prayer for a successful outcome.

COOKIN’ TIME

This is the season when ovens can be enjoyed to the fullest. Not only is it wonderful to smell the meal cooking, the heat is often enough to keep the furnace from turning on. Some of us still have zucchini to enjoy, and things like pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are abundant.

STUFFED MEAT LOAF

Makes six to eight servings, with some left for sandwiches. Pop some nice scrubbed potatoes into the oven with this, and when the right amount of baking time is left, add a foil packet of vegetables, or perhaps some stuffed zucchini, and a loaf of crusty bread that you’ve treated to a light dousing of water to crispen the crust while it heats. Add a tossed salad and some sliced fresh tomatoes, and you have a feast fit for a king.

3 pounds ground beef chuck

1 medium small onion, diced

1 green pepper, finely diced

1/4 cup catsup or barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 cup of cracker crumbs or dry bread crumbs

2 eggs

2 tablespoons A-1 sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon granulated onion

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

6 ounces thinly sliced cooked ham

4 ounces coarsely shredded Swiss cheese

More catsup or barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix everything down to the black pepper. Put about two thirds of the mixture onto a foil lined baking sheet, and pat it out evenly into a rectangle about as big as you want the meat loaf to be. Avoiding the edges, put on the ham and cheese. Now add the rest of the meat loaf mixture, being sure to seal it all the way around so the filling stays where you put it. Push and pat into a nice meat loaf shape. With the side of your hand, push a slight dent down the middle, the long way. Bake about 40 minutes, then brush or spoon on some catsup or barbecue sauce and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until the topping starts to darken and caramelize.

STUFFED ZUCCHINI

Do these on the grill, or in the oven along with the meat loaf. If you don’t have the fresh herbs, use dried, but only a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon.

4 medium zucchini

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint or sweet basil

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Cut Zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp, leaving about a quarter inch of shell. Brush with two tablespoons of the olive oil and set aside. Chop the pulp. In a large skillet, saut the pulp and onion in the remaining oil. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Add the crumbs and stir another two minutes or until golden. Remove from heat, stir in the Mozzarella cheese, mint, salt and pepper. spoon into the prepared shells, and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Grill, covered, over medium heat, 8 to 10 minutes, or bake in 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, uncovered.

HO-HO CAKE

Normally don’t approve of shortening, but it’s what’s required here.

1 package devils food cake mix

Filling:

1 cup milk

5 tablespoons flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 stick Crisco or other plain white shortening

1 stick butter

Glaze:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

4 tablespoons boiling water

2 teaspoons butter

2 cups powdered sugar

Mix milk and flour, and cook until it gets thick and looks like paste. Let this cool. Mix cake according to package directions, with the ingredients the package calls for, and put into a well buttered 10X15-inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cake tests done. Let it cool. While the cake cools, beat together the Crisco, butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add the flour/milk mixture and beat in until the entire mixture becomes fluffy, something like whipped cream. Spread this evenly over the cooled cake. For the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter in the boiling water and stir in the powdered sugar. Mix well and drizzle over the cake. Chill until serving time.

Thought for the Week: Good friends and beloved relatives are like the stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there. Thank God for good friends and good family!

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee @yahoo.com.) COUNTRY COUSIN


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