Winter in our corner of Wisconsin isnt over yet, but the end is in sight. Snow piles are smaller and dirtier. Instead of ice in some places we now have mud, at least most of the time. But if youve been warned by your local utility to leave the water running, dont shut it off until they tell you to. That frost is still deep in the ground.
Things like bushes and yard ornaments are starting to reappear, including a cooler that was inadvertently left out all winter. But at least until Monday nights rain, the snow still had plenty of depth. Stepped over a snow bank the other day, went through the crust, and ended up hip deep in the snow. Getting out was interesting indeed! Think swimming!
On a happy note, the Wisconsin DNR reminds us that in only 30 days fishing season starts for the year. Countdown is on to the May 3 opening day of the regular inland fishing season. Fishing fanatics can get the latest information on likely fishing conditions, fish populations, and changes in regulations with the DNRs online chat starting at noon on Thursday, April 3. Fish biologists are supposed to be ready and waiting to answer questions. For the answers, visit dnr.wi.gov, and look for the box on the right to enter the chat, or search the phrase ask the experts. Fish biologist forecasts and fish population results are also available in the DNRs 2014 Wisconsin Fishing Report.
LONG, HARD WINTER
On the other hand, winter isnt really over yet. Some years back a blizzard struck full blast on May 16, so dont be too quick to put the snow blower away, no matter what the global warming enthusiasts say.
Some of us are still reeling from what happened to the propane supply in Wisconsin.
On the one hand, were told that this nation has an ample supply of the fuel that so many of us in rural areas use, but on the other hand, it wasnt available here for a few weeks. Near as a non-expert like Yours Truly can tell from news releases and the like, the supply problem was largely caused somehow by government regulations.
That said, its nice to know that at least a few folks in government are trying to fix it. Gov. Scott Walker has called on the regulators in Washington to change some of their rules for deliveries into Wisconsin. And Rep. Reid Ribble tells us he helped introduce legislation in our nations capitol to make that happen. Says hes proud that his legislation passed the House on a strong bipartisan vote.
Thats wonderful. But a big question remains. Why did rules exist in the first place that made it hard to get the needed fuel here?
ON THE SOAP BOX
Yes, Virginia, there is Global Warming. Scientists who work for the UN say so, so of course we must all believe. About as much as we have to believe in the Tooth Fairy!
After a winter like weve just suffered, a batch of UN scientists dare to claim that global warming - caused by humans - is a proven scientific fact that no one can dispute. The headlines are quoting their warnings of dire consequences if governments dont belly up to the bar and consume the regulations they are busy prescribing.
They dont disclose that other scientists, just as respected, probably more, disagree.
But consider the source of those headlines. They come from the UN, which is a political body, not a scientific body. If they bothered to look at real data instead of reading thermometers posted in bright sunshine on blacktop parking lots, they might discover the truth. If they wanted to know about Global Warming they should have come to Wisconsin in January. Or February. Or December. Or March.
On the other hand, they dont want to know. And they dont want anyone else to know either. Admitting that Global Warming was and is a flawed theory wont serve their political agendas, so that isnt likely to happen.
RULES FOR RULE MAKERS
Economic experts in this country and abroad are already warning that the United States of America is fast becoming a Third World Country. Failing energy systems will most certainly speed up the process. Our end as a great and prosperous nation will come very soon unless there is some heavy investing in facilities that produce energy.
But the facilities that work have some powerful enemies. The green folks dont like coal. They dont like oil. They dont like nuclear energy. They dont like power dams. They dont even like windmills.
Does it sound like we should pull the plug on their computers, electric cars and air conditioners so they can feel the pain of living without electricity?
The sad fact is that folks with money to invest in energy arent likely to do it with the danger of a government hammer hanging constantly over their heads. We desperately need to make a national promise that unless there are violations of existing environmental laws, facilities built today will remain able to legally operate tomorrow.
Our legislators can make that happen if they really want to, and anyone who claims to love America and the American Way should get busy insisting that they have to.
Read the saddest story the other day. It seems a somewhat spoiled young man preparing to graduate from college. For months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealers showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study, told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and how much he loved him. He handed him a beautifully wrapped gift box.
Curious, but a bit disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with his name embossed in gold.
Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, With all your money you give me a Bible? He stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible behind.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but finally realized his father was very old. He thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. But before he could make arrangements, he received word that his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to him. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.
When he arrived at his fathers house, sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his fathers important documents and saw the Bible, new, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11, And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?
As the young man read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealers name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words... PAID IN FULL.
How many times do we miss Gods blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? How often do we reject His gifts because we think they are not what we wanted?
How often do we refuse the greatest gift of all, the salvation purchased for us by the life and death of His son, Jesus?
Remember when the back bar of almost every tavern in Wisconsin had a glass gallon jar of pickled eggs? Used to love eating them, but dont see them any more. But we can make our own, and have some fun doing it.
When we think of Easter Eggs we think mostly of coloring them with the shells on, or of coloring the shells with the eggs out.
How about coloring the naked eggs, shells off?
To add some taste and color to your Easter table, consider making pickled eggs dyed with food colors or naturally in things like pickled beet juice?
Did that last year, and made some into deviled eggs. The results were both delicious and beautiful, and everyone said they want that treat again this year. If you dont want to pickle the eggs, consider dying some anyway for lovely ordinary deviled eggs. Just boil, peel and soak for a day or so in water dosed with food coloring.
I used leftover pickled beet juice for pink eggs, dill pickle juice with green food coloring for dilled eggs, and ordinary old-fashioned pickled egg solution (2 cups white vinegar, 2 cups water, 3 tablespoons salt, some sliced onion and peppercorns) with blue dye for blue eggs. The yolks remained yellow, so it made a most attractive display. Use your imagination. Flavor some of the simple pickle eggs with garlic cloves, hot peppers and peppercorns, for example. Maybe color them yellow. Or add a few drops of red as well and theyll be orange. Wont that bunny be surprised?
Now find there are other suggested pickling recipes for even more variety.
If you prefer to dye a lot of shells-on eggs, but hate the idea that they wont all get eaten before they go bad, keep in mind that ordinary pickled eggs last several weeks if theyre kept cold. The Georgia Egg Commission says theyll last three to four months if packed into sterilized jars and kept cold and covered. So go ahead and dye as many shells-on eggs as you need for the Easter Egg hunt, and shell and pickle them later. Just dont wait too long.
If you want colored pickled eggs in time for Easter, you probably should do them soon. Some types take two weeks or more to fully cure, although theyre still very good only partly cured.
BOIL THE EGGS
If you have trouble shelling hard boiled eggs, here a are a couple of tips from the National Center for food preparation:
According to the Georgia Egg Commission, the following method of hard-cooking facilitates peeling of ultra fresh eggs. But its still best to boil eggs that have been out of the chicken for several days.
Anyway, the Egg Commission says you should make a pinhole in the large end of each egg, place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, and cover with cold water to an inch above the layer of eggs. Place a lid on the pan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan of eggs from the burner, leaving the cover in place, and allow to sit for 15-18 minutes, adjusting time up or down 3 minutes for larger or smaller eggs.
Peel one of the cooked eggs and eat it, to be sure it is completely done. If it is, immediately use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from the pan of hot water and drop into a bowl of ice water for one minute. Put the hot water back on to boil. After the eggs have spent a minute in the ice water drop them back into the simmering water for 10 seconds. This is said to be important because the 10 second interval allows the shell to expand without expanding the rest of the egg. Dump into sink and peel immediately by cracking the shells all over. Roll each egg gently between hands to loosen the shell. Peel, starting at the large end. You can do this under cold running water to help wash the shell off the egg and to minimize chances of breaking into the white.
All that said, I personally have had great success very easily by putting as many store bought eggs as were going to want into a kettle with a tablespoon or so of vinegar and enough cold water to cover. Bring them to a boil, then simmer gently for 20 minutes and theyre done. A few of the eggs may crack and break, or be stubborn about peeling, so go ahead and use them for egg salad sandwiches. If youve boiled several dozen youll have saved a lot of work and still have plenty left for pickling.
The container used for pickling eggs should be one that can be closed or sealed tightly; glass canning jars work well. Plastic containers with sealable lids work well also, but the container will most likely get dyed in the process. The eggs need to be completely covered with the pickling solution during storage. They claim a quart-size canning jar will hold about one dozen medium sized eggs, but Ill need to see that to believe it. Might be true, but you dont want to pack them too tightly.
Wash the jars thoroughly and rinse with boiling water. Drain well.
The following recipes come from the Georgia Egg Commissions Peter Piper Picked A Peck of Pickled Eggs. Each uses a dozen peeled hard boiled eggs. For each, bring all ingredients except the eggs to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Pack no more than a dozen eggs into a warm, pre-sterilized jar (never, ever use a container with metal on it or in it, except a canning lid.) There needs to be ample room for the pickling solution to fully cover the eggs. Put sliced fresh onions into some of the jars if you like. (Generally I prefer a one to one ratio for vinegar and water or juice, but these are their recipes.)
Pour the hot pickling solution over the eggs, cover the jar and refrigerate immediately. Be careful not to set hot jars on cold glass refrigerator shelves!
RED BEET EGGS
Add some sliced raw onions to these, and put some peppercorns in the pickling solution while you simmer it.
1 cup red beet juice, from canned beets
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar 1 teaspoon brown sugar
A few canned whole tiny red beets, or several beet slices
Follow general directions above.
1 1/2 cups apple cider or apple juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
6 thin slices onion
4 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon whole pickling spice
1 peeled garlic clove
Follow general directions above.
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon onion juice or minced onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic or 1 peeled, sliced garlic clove
Follow general directions above.
PINEAPPLE PICKLED EGGS
1 can unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole pickling spice
If you must use sweetened pineapple juice, omit the sugar. Follow general directions above.
Just think! All this from someone who always thought pickled eggs came from stewed hens!
ACORN SQUASH WITH SPICY MAPLE SYRUP
Its maple sap time in Marinette County, and anyone who has never tried the real thing is missing genuine Wisconsin treat. If you have maple trees, just boil down the sap until it tastes right, but it takes a lot of sap to get a pint of syrup. Better to buy from a local producer. this recipe serves six.
2 acorn squash, cut into thirds
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Split the squash into thirds and remove seeds. Cut a slice off the bottom of each piece so that it sits evenly, skin-side down, in a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. In the hollow of each piece, place 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Bake in the heated oven until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Great as a side with roast pork, or that Easter ham.
Thought for the week: What if you got an e-mail one day, and it read: My name is God. You hardly have time for me. I love you and always bless you. I am always with you. I need you to spend 30 minutes of your time with Me today. Dont pray. Just praise. I give much, and I ask little, but I ask this. Love, God. What would you do? Would you decide God doesnt send messages by e-mail and disregard the hoax? Or would you think, What if? and give God the half hour He asked for. Why not do it anyway? It is Lent, after all!
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 e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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