Recent balmy days notwithstanding, Autumn is here. The colors become increasingly beautiful with each passing day. Provided the sun continues to shine, this coming weekend would be perfect for a drive through the Great North Woods of TIMESland. For some breathtaking experiences, drive Parkway Road (now Marinette County I) north of County C, County C from Wausaukee into Forest County, and Old J to Silver Cliff. If the flamboyant reds, golds and fuschias arent at their peak, they should be close.
Other great views abound on highways and byways in Wisconsin and Michigan. We need to get out and enjoy them while we can. Winter is bound to happen, like it or not, and there will be plenty of time to stay at home with the TV for company.
Wausaukees Harvest Fest on Saturday, Oct. 5, would make a great stop on a Fall Color Tour day.
Its only a month until Halloween, which seems to be turning into our nations second most popular holiday. Decorating is so much fun!
Maybe part of the charm of Halloween is that there are so many fun and colorful decorations. Plus, it is a holiday that carries no obligations, no feelings of inadequacy or guilt, because it is what it is, a day for fun and foolishness, and gifts, special meals and holiday cleaning are not required!
Meanwhile, Columbus Day is coming up next Saturday. Strange that we name a holiday for the man who had the courage to sail across what was then the great unknown ocean, but other than that we pay him little heed at all.
Then comes Thanksgiving. Start now to prepare and freeze some of the treats for the big day and there wont be so much to do when it gets here.
Incidentally, in deference to the Thanksgiving turkey, recently read that Benjamin Franklin favored the Wild Turkey (the bird, not the drink), rather than the Bald Eagle as the symbol for America.
And finally, guess what? Today someone had the temerity to point out that Christmas is only 12 weeks away!
Speaking of Halloween decorations, read somewhere that if you carve your Jack-O-Lantern, dry off the cut surfaces and the inside as much as possible, and then spray the whole thing, inside and out, with hair spray, it will last longer before it starts to shrivel up. Plus Jacks complexion on the outside will have a nice, shiny glow.
Havent tried this myself yet, but it should work. Hair spray works to hold dried flower arrangements together longer.
Do be sure the hair spray is thoroughly dried and aired out before you put a candle in the Jack-O-Lantern. Hairspray fumes are extremely flammable!
Speaking of shriveling up, though, you and the older kids can create some pretty scary shrunken heads by carving peeled apples now. Just carve your best faces into peeled apples. Put in holes for eyes and mouths and leave bumps of your choice for ears, noses and chins.
Kept indoors, theyll dry up and shrink to wonderful gruesomeness by Halloween. Put them on sticks while theyre fresh and you can even stand them outside by the porch on trick or treat night. Maybe you can convince some gullible little ghouls that they once really were heads!
Autumn leaves arent the only colorful things in TIMESland. Over the years there have been some pretty colorful characters as well.
During a recent visit to the Peshtigo Times office, Mayor Al Krizenesky got to reminiscing about his old fishing buddy, the late George Bradway. Said Bradway had the first juke box in Wisconsin at his business place, the Bradway Cafe. There, Bradway sold ice cream and fountain treats, but he mainly made delicious candies that he sold there and at stores he also owned in Antigo and Shell Lake.
Bradway allegedly also supplemented his income by selling sugar to the notorious Al Capone and Baby Face Nelson for alcohol manufacturing purposes, but thats a whole story of its own, one that will probably never be told, since Bradway is dead now.
The famous Peshtigo jail break happened during the time Bradway was probably selling sugar for making prohibition booze, somehow some of Al Capones gang got locked up in the Peshtigo jail that was attached to City Hall which was next door to the Hammes building. The mobsters decided their fellows werent going to stay in such a small town jail. A couple of them hid out in Hammes building after sufficiently threatening Bill Hammes, and watched until the police officer left the jail unguarded. They then proceeded to break into the building and remove their friends. Dont know at this point what the mobsters had done to get put in jail, or what became of them after they got out, but its likely they went back to Chicago with their friends.
Eventually, Bradway gave up his cafe and went to work at Badger Paper Mills, where he stayed until he retired.
Krizenesky said he and Bradway were frequent fishing partners right up until the older man died when he was well into his 90s. Caught fish, too!
FIRE PREVENTION MONTH
In remembrance of the Peshtigo Fire and the Chicago Fire on the night of Oct. 8, 1871, October is designated as Fire Prevention month.
With leaves and grasses turning dry, its easy to see that wild fire can be a particular hazard this month, so please use particular care if youre burning leaves or other yard debris or even just enjoying a bonfire.
This is also a good time to think of protecting your home with smoke alarms. If you do, experts say you should buy a reliable brand that detects by both ionization and and photoelectric methods to catch both flames and smoldering fires while theyre still small enough to control. There should be one in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, in the kitchen but away from stove and oven, and at least one on every level of the house. Replace batteries every year, and replace alarms every 10 years.
THE PESHTIGO FIRE
Lest we forget:
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, on the night of Oct. 8-9, 1871, this fire destroyed in two hours a swath of forest 10 miles wide and 40 miles long and obliterated the towns of Peshtigo and Brussels, killing about 1,500 people.
In all, the fire burned more than 280,000 acres in Oconto, Marinette, Shawano, Brown, Kewaunee, Door, Manitowoc and Outagamie counties. The human toll was 1,152 known dead and another 350 believed dead. Another 1,500 were seriously injured and at least 3,000 made homeless. The property loss was estimated conservatively at $5,000,000 and this did not include 2,000,000 valuable trees and saplings and scores of animals.
One account says of the fire: Suddenly all hell rode into town on the back of a wind.
There have been conjectures that the blaze was caused by a comet, a shower of hot meteorites, a tornado, a wind storm stirring up hundreds of smoldering fires in the mighty forests of that day, or that it came as a punishment for the many sins of the lumberjacks who celebrated in Peshtigo when they had the opportunity, and the businesses that aided this sort of revelry.
As to this last theory, the fire was no respector of religion. It took the churches as well as the saloons. But almost miraculously, Father Pernin, parish priest, managed to get the tabernacle from the Catholic Church to the river and save it. That holy relic had disappeared from the city for many years but was relocated about two decades ago and returned to the city of its origin.
In the entire thriving little metropolis that was basically what is now the city of Peshtigo, only two buildings stood after the fire. Newspapers of the day wondered how some persons came through the disaster while others were burned to ashes within 10 feet of them, or how the heavy iron fire engine could be melted while paint on wood two feet away was not scorched.
MORE SOAP BOX
HOLD THE LINE
Keep reading in the mainstream press that the Republicans are being unreasonable in keeping their campaign promises and sticking to their efforts to stop ObamaCare. Many articles say they should be chastised for shutting down the federal government instead of compromising, which in Democratic party parlance would mean caving in on ObamaCare, which the public clearly does not want.
Strange it doesnt occur to anyone in the liberal press that all the Democrats would have to do to keep the government functioning is postpone the balance of ObamaCare for individuals as they did for businesses.
Simple answer, and no hidden costs.
Saw a copy of that bill. Sincerely doubt if anybody, in or out of Congress, has ever read the whole thing, and that includes President Obama, who is responsible for that 2-foot thick monstrosity. Maybe in a year they could read it?
Hang in there fellas. Hold the line! Thats what you were sent to Washington for!
The frosts have pretty much put an end to readily available homegrown local produce, but a few things still abound - like pumpkins, winter squash, cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower and apples. The more summery vegetables like tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and snap beans are still available in supermarkets. they just came from gardens and fields farther south or west. Enjoy all the home grown goodness while you can. Cardboard vegetable season is coming on fast.
BROCCOLI CAULIFLOWER GRATIN
This wonderful dish from Kraft foods could be a poster child for Wisconsin in June Dairy Month. It can be prepared in 20 minutes, start to finish, if you dont count the time it takes to wash the vegetables, separate the florets and cut away any bad or tough stems. Also if your microwave can stand up to the heat of larger batch cooking and not blink out like mine does when you try to get it to do too much at one time. The original recipe is fairly rich, but you can cut down on fat, if you must, by using reduced fat everything in place of the real thing. You could also cook the vegetables on top of the stove and just nuke the sauce. If youre cooking something in the oven, pop the casserole in for a quick crisping after adding the cracker/Parmesan topping.
5 cups large broccoli florets
4 cups large cauliflower florets
1/2 cup water
4 ounces (half of an 8-ounce package) cream cheese,
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10 Ritz or other snack crackers, crushed (about 1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cut the vegetables into similar-size pieces and place in a 2-quart microwaveable casserole. Add water; cover with lid or plastic wrap, slightly vented. Microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender; drain. Microwave cream cheese and milk in a 2-cup microwaveable measuring cup or medium bowl for one minute or until cream cheese is melted and mixture blends well when stirred. Stir in sour cream; pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheddar; microwave 2 minutes or until melted. Mix cracker crumbs and Parmesan; sprinkle over vegetables.
WONDERFUL PUMPKIN BARS
Friend Deanie had some canned pumpkin pie filling instead of plain canned pumpkin, so she came up with this recipe. Makes an absolutely marvelous cross between a pumpkin bar and a pumpkin pie.
1 package pumpkin bread mix (she used Krusteaz)
1 package pumpkin pie filling (the kind with sugar and spices in it) or follow your own recipe for pumpkin pie filling
Ingredients as listed on each package of mix
Grease a 9x13 baking pan and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix up the pumpkin bread batter according to directions on the box and the pie filling according to directions on the can (or make your own pumpkin pie filling). Then mix the two batters together and pour into prepared pan. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Comes out something like pumpkin pie bars only better. Serve plain or with whipped cream.
Enjoyed the Loomis Historical Societys Loomis Days pot luck on Saturday, and one of the treats was a dish of spiced apples prepared by friend Mary. This is way too easy, and you end up with a flavor like the spiced apple rings you can buy in a jar. By making them yourself you know exactly what youre eating, and they taste even better. You could make this a batch at a time, or make several jars and can them, water bath method, to preserve good eating throughout the winter. Recipe below makes about one quart, depending on how much the apples cook down. The candies are those little heart-shaped ones.
5 to 6 cups diced apples
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup cinnamon red hot candies
Peel, core and dice the apples and put into kettle with the water. Let this come slowly to a simmer, add the candies and cook until the candies melt into the apples and the apples are as tender as you want them. Refrigerate until serving time, or funnel the hot mixture into prepared jars and can by the usual water bath method by simmering for 10 minutes with the water at least two inches over the tops of the jars.
Thought for the Week: An unknown author once commented, Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at. Christopher Columbus was indeed laughed at because he believed the world was round. Then he was jailed for that belief. But he persisted. Imagine if he had not had enough faith to keep sailing toward land. He maybe didnt really discover America, because after all, it was not lost. But he did discover how to get here.
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