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

Rich...

Hi Folks!

What an incredibly glorious Fall we’ve been experiencing! Cool, crisp weather, still warm enough for shirt sleeves most of the time, and sweaters at night. Forests and roadsides blazing with the most fantastic colors! Would we still enjoy those colors as much if they decked the landscape all season long, instead of just during the all too brief Fall season?

Leaves are falling fast now, and all too soon it will be over for another season. If it were possible, I’d hitch up the motor home and head south with the season, to Arkansas or Tennessee for another Fall there.

PESHTIGO FIRE ANNIVERSARY

October for many years has been designated Fire Prevention Month. We’re called on to think of ways to keep our properties and our families safe in case of fire and to keep fires from happening in the first place. This is appropriate for several reasons, not the least of which are the anniversaries of the Peshtigo and Chicago fires, both on Oct. 8, 1871.

The Peshtigo Fire was not the worst in terms of property damage because most of the untold thousands of acres it charred were still untouched forest in the wilderness that was Marinette County. In 1871 Marinette County timber was cheap and plentiful, with little cash value until it was cut and hauled to market. (In 1911 timber land was valued at $3 an acre.) If those vast acres of primeval forest were valued at today’s prices the dollar loss would have been incalculable - probably in the billions. As it was, Chicago - in the famous fire allegedly started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow on the same day - suffered greater financial losses.

But the Peshtigo Fire took an estimated 1,200 lives in a frontier community where that represented over half the residents, and that tragic record stands today.

An early census puts the population at 1,750, but the numbers vary depending on whether historians are talking the community of Peshtigo itself or the vast area hit by the tornado of fire that even managed to jump the Bay and burn in parts of southern Door County.

Hardly a family in Peshtigo came through unscathed. The impact was shattering. But the survivors were just that - survivors. They rebuilt and the city today continues the proud tradition of carrying on in the face of whatever adversities occur.

RICH DO CONTRIBUTE

We’ve been hearing an awful lot lately from folks who seem to want to start up some class wars in this country between the “haves” and the “have nots,” without recognizing that in most cases, those who “have” either worked hard and made some astute business decisions, or at least did not squander their money.

Now, there are criticisms that these people do not pay their fair share of taxes. This may be true in terms of percentage, but in terms of dollars, the super rich almost always pay in far more than most of us will ever earn.

But what they generally also do is choose to contribute their money to causes they believe in, rather than let some bureaucratic Nanny Government program decide which of the less fortunate (or less productive) citizens should benefit from it.

Henry Ford, the pioneer automobile manufacturer, whose industry provided so many fine jobs for so many workers since his small beginning as a pioneering entrepreneur, was well known for his generosity once his work earned him a place in the ranks of the wealthy.

There is a story that once while he was vacationing in Ireland a delegation from an orphanage came to his hotel room to ask for a contribution for a new building. Ford immediately wrote out a check for $5,000. Next morning, on the front page of a Dublin newspaper, was the headline: “Ford Gives $50,000 for Irish Orphanage.”

Later that morning the orphanage director returned to Ford’s suite to apologize. He offered to phone the editor of the paper with a correction. Instead, Ford wrote out a check for $45,000, making the headline true. However, he put a restriction on the contribution: When the new building opened, Ford reportedly said, “I want this inscription on it: ‘I Was a Stranger, and You took Me In.’”

Before we get too busy criticizing the wealthy for not paying more taxes, maybe we should do a little looking at what else they do with their money. Nearly all of them, presidential candidate Mitt Romney included, support charities that do more good than some of our less productive government gimme programs.

GROWIN’ THINGS

Want to have some beautiful Amaryllis blooming for Christmas? Start them soon, somewhere between Oct., 20 and 25.

Buy some ready to force bulbs at the shopping center or a garden supply store, and potting soil if necessary. Prepare some 6 to 8 inch pots. Scrub well and sanitize to destroy mold spores if they are pots you’re re-using.

When planting time comes, fill the pot part way with soil and set in a bulb, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed. Soak the soil well and set in a warm spot that gets bright but indirect sunlight.

Once the bulb sprouts, which should happen between November 1 and November 10, check the pots often and water whenever the top of the soil feels dry.

As the plant grows, give the pots a turn every other day or so to keep the stems growing straight.

Somewhere between December 15 to December 20 the blossoms should begin opening At this point place them in a sunnier window to encourage the brightest color flowers.

By Christmas they should be at their peak, ready to serve as seasonal decorations, or be presented to others as Christmas gifts. The blossoms generally last two to three weeks.

VINDICATED

Remember years ago, when we were warned that drinking coffee would surely bring us to an early demise?

If not that, it would surely destroy our digestions, or turn us into sleepless nervous wrecks.

Guess what?

Scientists have now discovered that drinking at least three cups of coffee a day may prevent us from developing Alzheimer’s. They say caffeine, combined with other ingredients in coffee, halts the buildup of amyloid beta, a protein that triggers Alzheimer’s.

So, like chocolate, coffee has been rehabilitated and is once again on the “good for you” list.

Once again, Sister Mary Angelo’s contention that anything the human race has perceived as beneficial over generations probably is has been proven right.

A GOOD OUTCOME

Many thanks to all of you who offered prayers as requested last week. Can report now that my brother Dan is recovering at home from a very successful brain surgery, and has experienced no ill effects.

We tease him that maybe the doctors should have put some smarts in, but really that wasn’t necessary. He had them already. All his motor functions are fine, as are his mental functions.

Again, Thank You, God, and thank you to everyone whose prayers surely helped guide the surgeon’s hands! God bless!

COOKIN’ TIME

During this wonderful season we can still enjoy fresh locally grown produce, and we can enjoy turning on our ovens to cook sometimes. Appetites are whetted by work and play in the beautiful outdoors, so we’re ready to enjoy casseroles and other treats that have been happily doing their thing in ovens and slo cookers while we’re out doing our own things. Pumpkins are in season, and there are two fine new recipes below that use this versatile and healthy vegetable that kept our Pilgrim fathers and mothers alive during their first year on American soil.

BASIC STUFFING BAKES

This set of recipes was developed by the folks at Kraft Foods, who have a reputation for doing cooking right. The casseroles can be assembled the night before, then cooked in the morning while we shower, shave, go to church, or just watch the morning news. The bakes can be refrigerated for as much as 24 hours before cooking, so they’re also handy to pop into the oven after you come home from work or other errands.

You need:

2 cups KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1 meat choice

2 cups vegetable choice

1 box Stove Top Stuffing Mix

Mix and match the possibilities. Choices suggested are:

2 cups drained cooked ground beef with 2 cups mixed corn, chopped onion and chopped tomatoes Northern Style with Long Grain & Wild Rice stuffing mix

2 cups chopped ham and 2 cups broccoli florets with cornbread stuffing mix

2 cups drained cooked Italian sausage with a total of 2 cups of mixed sliced mushrooms, chopped bell peppers and chopped onions and Stuffing Mix for Pork

3 cans (6 oz. each) tuna, drained and flaked, with 2 cups peas and Stuffing Mix for Chicken

Once you choose ingredients, mix the meat, 2 cups vegetables, the Stuffing Mix and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in a buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Beat together the 4 eggs and 2 cups of milk with a wire whisk until well blended and pour over meat mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or even overnight. About an hour before eating time, pop the casserole into the oven, set at 375 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for one hour or until the center is set. Just before it’s done cooking, top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and continue baking until the cheese is melted. Serve with a salad the compliments the flavors you have chosen, and your meal is complete, be it breakfast, lunch or supper.

GREEN ‘N’ GOLD STUFFING BRUNCH

Great brunch or supper treat on a Packer game day.

1 teaspoon butter

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

6 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

1 package (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken

1 tomato, peeled and thinly sliced

1 green onion, sliced

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Fresh parsley, for garnish

Additional green onion tops, for garnish

This meatless casserole is sort of another version of a Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in medium skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 4 min. or until tender, stirring occasionally. Beat eggs, milk and mayo in large bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in stuffing mix. Spoon into greased 9-inch square baking dish; top with mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. Bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake another 15 minutes or until center is set and cheese is melted. Sprinkle on a ring of minced fresh parsley and chopped green onion tops. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

FAT FREE CREAM OF PUMPKIN SOUP

This guilt free soup is incredibly good! If you have no need for the fat free version, go ahead and use a bit of butter when pre-cooking the onion, use whole milk instead of skim, and add half and half as the finishing touch instead of evaporated skim milk.

1 cup chopped white onion (about 1 medium onion)

3 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup 99% Fat-Free Chicken Stock

1 1/2 cups skim milk

1/2 cup evaporated skim milk

Snipped fresh chives, for garnish

Put the onion and water in a fairly large saucepan over low heat. Cook for about 12 minutes, until all the water has evaporated and the onion is tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the seasonings, mixing until the onion is coated. Add the pumpkin puree (canned or home made) and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the stock and skim milk until blended. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the evaporated milk and cook for another 4 minutes. Ladle into 4 small soup bowls, garnish with chives, and serve.

PUMPKIN PIE CAKE

Bake or boil your own pumpkin for this treat that actually comes to us from India, or go ahead and use the pumpkin puree that comes to us from the supermarket shelves. Do not use pumpkin pie filling, however.

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin

1/4 cup half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a casserole dish. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until it forms a batter the consistency of pancake batter. Add more flour or water if necessary. (We like a full teaspoon of cinnamon.) Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 50 minutes or until it tests done. Cool slightly and sprinkle on a bit of powdered sugar. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Thought for the Week: Long ago, on an anniversary we celebrate next week, Christopher Columbus sailed to this new land. Long after that, settlers from England came to America and established a whole new world, with a whole new outlook on work and rewards. The novelty of the society they established, probably without planning it that way, was that each individual profited from his or her own industry and abilities. As a result, the world as a whole progressed in ways that had never been seen before.

Our nation’s founding fathers recognized some things our society seems to be forgetting today, namely, that you cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealth out of prosperity, you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it, and finally, when half of the people get the idea that they do not need to work because the other half will take care of them, and then the other half decides it does no good to work because somebody else will get what they worked for, that is the beginning of the end for any nation.

(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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