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

Greens...

Hi Folks!

Summer heat continues, perfect for splashing in the nearest swimming hole, but too hot even for sun bathing, which isn’t healthy anyway. Our air conditioner doesn’t begin to keep up, and the furnace blower motor kicks in because its little brain box tells it to scatter some of the hot air about. (Actually, some politicians do a pretty good job of that too, but only via the media.)

Hot muggy weather doesn’t seem to have discouraged mosquitoes. They just keep biting. One of the adult grandsons said the other day he actually prayed to make it home alive from the river. Said he’d forgotten the bug spray, and the little vampires covered his body like fur. Figured the little vampires would drain him completely before he reached safety.

On the bright side, the tick population seems to be off its feeding frenzy, at least for now.

MOSQUITO PREFERENCES

Speaking of mosquitoes, scientists studying the blood thirsty little suckershave found most mosquitoes prefer Type O blood, which is good for them because that’s what most of us have. They also learned mosquitoes seem to like beer with their blood - a different type of Bloody Mary if you will. Test subjects were bitten more often by mosquitoes after they drank a beer than before. Wonder if other types of alcohol have the same effect? And would they rather bite a man who drank one beer, or one who drank a six-pack? Can a mosquito get a buzz on? Ohhh! Bad pun!

Don’t forget the bug spray if you will be out during a full moon - which incidentally is coming up on Monday, July 22. According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), mosquitoes are 500 times more active when the moon is full. Overall, mosquitoes seem hungriest at dusk and dawn. Females of some species migrate up to 40 miles in pursuit of a meal. Male mosquitoes don’t bite.

Other research shows mosquitoes, like all vampires, prefer people in dark clothes. And they seem to like their dinner seasoned with perspiration and BO. Test subjects were bitten more frequently after they exercised and before they washed up. Ditto for feet. Mosquitoes like them smelly. Washing and putting deodorant on them drastically reduced the percentage of bites.

So to minimize mosquito bites, wear white, keep clean, deodorized and probably perfumed, be lazy, don’t drink alcohol, and stay inside if there’s a full moon and during the dusk and pre-dawn hours.

MORE ON BUG BITES

One of the adult grandsons and I are both finally recovering from some exceedingly nasty bug bites that happened about July 1. He was on crutches a few days with a grossly infected foot, and I hobbled about on a badly infected knee. We both required some heavy antibiotic treatment. Doctors didn’t identify the culprit critter except to guess it was a spider of some sort.

I have never had or even seen anything similar, and wonder if others had problems. Is there a new type of bug about that we need to be aware of?

ON THE SOAP BOX

PREJUDICE???


Am delighted that the jury in the Trayvon Martin case has found George Zimmerman not guilty. They have chosen to uphold the most basic of human rights - the right to defend yourself and the people you love.

That decision has brought some race riots - talk about prejudice! And some ridiculous statements from some public figures, including Attorney General Eric Holder, who said at a recent NAACP convention that our rights to self defense should extend only to situations in which running away is not an option.

Guess he thinks police should handle things, which is why some bad neighborhoods are so safe these days.

Face it. Police cannot be everywhere all the time, and often only get a chance to act after the fact. They can solve crimes, but not prevent them. Thugs will continue to be thugs if they know they can get away with it, which is the reason things like the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws are so vitally important. It’s a proven fact that crime rates go down where gun rights prevail, and rise where the good citizens are unarmed and unable to protect themselves.

Does Holder really want a society where bystanders will watch a crime in progress without attempting to help because they’re afraid of violating a law that says they have to run away instead?

WHY TRAYVON MARTIN?

Have been mystified since the liberal mainstream media chose to make Trayvon Martin a martyr as to why they chose him.

He was not an Eagle Scout. He was not an honor student. He seems never to have been honored for community service, and there is no evidence that he was in any way an outstanding citizen. He was self described on his own web site as a bad dude and his own girl friend testified to his reference to Zimmerman as a creepy ass cracka, which indicates he had some prejudices of his own.

Yet right at the get-go, tapes of Zimmerman’s 911 calls were altered to make it sound as though he singled Martin out because he was black. That was bad, but even worse was publishing photos taken when poor little Trayvon was a 12-year-old, when in fact he was 17 and looked like the stereotype street thug when he was shot a year ago .

So why Trayvon Martin? Why not target the death of Darius Simmons, a 13-year-old black youngster in Milwaukee who was allegedly shot by a 76-year-old white neighbor, Henry Spooner. Spooner suspected Simmons of stealing guns from his house during a break-in two days earlier. The shooting happened on a sidewalk outside both their homes, with Simmons’ mother watching. Spooner’s trial starts this week, but it didn’t make the front pages, and has barely been mentioned on national news.

Again, why Trayvon Martin? Or is the real question why Zimmerman was targeted? Was that part of a plan to put further constraints on our rights to self defense, and to frighten Neighborhood Watch people into stopping their volunteer protection?

Comments of Holder at the NAACP convention lend credence to that theory. He is quoted: .... it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods, and further, ... But we must examine laws that take this (the right of self defense) further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely.

FATHERLY ADVICE

The national news report also says that in his comments referencing the Zimmerman case, Holder offered a story from his own personal experience — describing how when he was a young black man his father had told him how to interact with the police, what to say and how to conduct himself if he was ever stopped or confronted in a way he thought was unwarranted.

I’m sure my father felt certain — at the time — that my parents’ generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children, Holder told the NAACP convention. Trayvon’s death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down.

We have news for you, Mr. Holder. Black people are not the only ones who sometimes get confronted by someone or stopped by police for questioning they feel is unwarranted. The talk he had with his son last spring is one every parent needs to have with their children.

Blacks are not the only ones who face prejudice. In some small communities there is prejudice against a particular family name. In the World War II years there was some very serious prejudice against Americans of German and Japanese descent. Earlier there was prejudice against Catholics and Chinese and Irish immigrants so strong that it led to neighborhood burnings and public attacks. Granted, some folks are still prejudiced against blacks, but some are also prejudiced against American Indians, Jews and others, maybe bleached blondes or people who wear cutoff jeans. Certainly there are black people prejudiced against white people.

We can make laws to regulate the way people act, but we cannot regulate how they think, and most certainly anything that pretends to be the government of a free nation has no right to even try. Eventually public opinion will sway most everyone in the right direction, and those who aren’t swayed are probably hopeless anyway.

ASK THE TIME

A friend who has been around a bit, and had occasion to walk the streets of some really bad neighborhoods says a bit of advice he received works.

If you’re being approached by someone you perceive as threatening, don’t just walk with eyes averted. Approach them directly, look at them and ask them for the time. He says he has done this and it works. Maybe because a would-be mugger figures if you don’t know the time you don’t have a watch and wouldn’t be worth the effort?

GREENS SCENE

Gardens are right now producing some of their must unappreciated treats, in the form of greens. Radish and beet thinnings are absolutely delicious, as of course are early lettuces and spinach, and the heavier greens like kale and chard.

Tamar Haspel, a food writer in Marstens Mills, Mass., says there are really only two types of greens - small and big.

Small greens are the tender, salady kind you can eat raw. Big greens are the tougher kinds that need to be cooked - kale, chard and collards are the most common, but there are many others. With the exception of collards, which need longer cooking times, you can treat them all the same way: Wash them, stem them, chop them, and then cook them until tender.

We all waste so much food. Even broccoli and cauliflower leaves make fine eating. Kohlrabi bulbs are good, but so are the leaves, which also have a mild cabbage flavor. Carrot tops are bitter alone, but give great accent flavor when added sparingly to mixed green salads, soups and stews. Celery leaves shouldn’t be thrown away, they should be added to soups, pasta sauces and other slow cooked dishes.

Nearly all the big greens are delicious sauted with bacon and onions. To expand on this idea, add a can of white or black beans and simmer down until thick. Serve with chicken or pork.

The less cabbagey greens, like kale, chard and spinach, are excellent chopped and then fried lightly with garlic and olive oil as an addition to spaghetti sauce, homemade or from a jar.

Or cook any of them just enough to suit to your taste with a stir fry dish.

Try roasting a chicken in a covered pot on a bed of collard greens (other greens will turn to mush), surrounded by cut-up root vegetables.

Add cooked greens to egg dishes like quiches, frittatas and omelets.

* Add raw chopped greens to soup and simmer until the greens are cooked (usually about 10 minutes). This even brings canned soups to a new level.

Beet greens can be used in place of spinach in almost any recipe, and the larger leaves can even be filled, rolled and baked like stuffed cabbage rolls, as can broccoli and cauliflower leaves.

Cauliflower leaves are also excellent roasted in a high heat oven until the edges are crispy. Spray them first with a buttery-flavored cooking oil.

CONTEST TIME

If you’ve invented a great egg recipe and want a chance to win $5,000 and a year’s supply of Eggland’s Best (EB) eggs, you have until Wednesday, July 31 to enter the contest at www.egglandsbest.com/chief eggofficer. The NAPS people say EB eggs contain 10 times more Vitamin E and twice the amount of omega-3s and Vitamin D of ordinary eggs.

COOKIN ‘ TIME

Veggies roasted on the grill are all the rage this year, and especially welcome during the current long hot spell. If you haven’t enjoyed any yet, get with the program.

GRILLED VEGETABLE MARINADE

There are other varieties and flavors, but this is a great one for general use. Leave out the sesame oil if you don’t want to spend the money. The vegetables will still be good, but maybe not quite as good. Incidentally, adding even a little alcohol to a marinade helps tenderize meats, but also unmasks flavors that otherwise might go unnoticed.

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vodka)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon each dried basil, thyme, oregano and black

pepper

1/8 teaspoon dried chili peppers, optional

Shake well together in a gallon-size plastic bag. Add vegetables of your choice sliced, diced or chunked as necessary. Seal bag and massage a bit to distribute the marinade. Marinate at least 30 minutes, but overnight is just fine too. Shortly before eating time place vegetables directly on grill, possibly in a cooking basket, or seal up in foil if you like.

BEST BURGER

Redeye Spice Mixture:

3 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon instant espresso, or finely ground coffee

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Kosher salt

Pepper

3 3/4 pound(s) (85-percent lean) ground beef

Oil, for the grill

12 hamburger buns

Worcestershire-Glazed Onions

Cheese, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes, for serving

Pickle and Parsley Relish, for serving

Heat grill to medium-high. In a bowl, combine the paprika, sugar, espresso, oregano, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Gently form the beef into 12 balls. (Don’t overwork the meat - this can result in a tough, dry burger.) Flatten each ball into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Using your thumb, make a shallow 1 1/2-inch-wide indent in the top of each patty. Sprinkle the patties with the redeye spice mixture. Lightly oil the grill. Place the patties on the grill, indent-side facing up, and cook until the burgers release easily from the grill, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook 3 to 4 minutes more for medium. If desired, butter the buns and grill until lightly toasted. Serve the burgers on the buns with the Worcestershire-glazed onions and other toppings, as desired.

PICKLE AND PARSLEY RELISH

6 half-sour pickles, chopped

1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh

Mix everything together and let sit for an hour or so.

For a Perfect Cheeseburger: Add a slice of cheese to each patty one minute before the burger is done; cover and cook until melted.

Thought for the Week: Lord, in this land of bounty, let us remember to thank You for the beauties of the season, the vegetables and the flowers, the wealth You have provided for our bodies and our souls. Let us never lose the awe when we view the majesty of the heavens on a dark Summer night, and hold fast to the knowledge that without You they would not be there and Your beauty far surpasses the stars in ways our human brains cannot comprehend.

(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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