Summer has come to an end. Kids are back in school. Leaves are turning color. Days are getting visibly shorter. In three short weeks comes the Autumn Equinox, at 9:22 p.m., Monday, Sept. 22, when the minutes between sunrise and sunset are the same as those between sunset and sunrise. But before then, on Monday, Sept. 8, comes the Harvest Moon, the full moon of September, when farmers in the old days were aided in their harvest by the light of the moon, provided it wasnt raining, of course. Today, tractors generally have headlights.
That said, according to the Old Farmers Almanac, the best days for harvesting above ground crops this September are Sept. 5 through 7, and below ground crops should be harvested Sept. 12 and 13. Fishing is supposed to be best Sept. 1 through 8 and 24 through 30. My favorite uncle, who always caught his limit when he went out for brook trout, swore that moon phases did affect his angling success.
LOSING A FRIEND
The Peshtigo Times lost another long-term employee last week when Richard Tessier succumbed after a long battle with heart problems. He had retired due to health reasons a few months ago.
Dick could have been an object lesson in perseverance and overcoming adversity.
As a young man he was stricken with polio. He was in an iron lung for a time. He recovered from the lung problems but suffered permanent damage to one arm.
Nevertheless, he went on to become a part-time professional guitar player, and a professional pressman and printer. While still a very young man he played with a number of bands, including the Citations. My brother was a drummer with that band while he was in high school, and they often held practice sessions at our home. We didnt really know each other well then, but ironically, a decade later, we were both working at the Peshtigo Times.
Dick was totally reliable, and a hard worker, sometimes working at two jobs to support his family. He was passionate about doing a good job at whatever he did.
We will all miss him, but pray that he is now enjoying a much deserved rest in the arms of his Creator. God bless you, Dick.
Like it or not, winter is coming on fast. There are things we can and should do now to make our yards and gardens more presentable in spring.
Get rid of the dead stuff. Give your flower beds a good once over. Are there any plants that should be cut down now to give the garden a neater appearance? Leave standing those plants with architectural seedheads or pods that provide fall and winter interest. While they may look a little scraggly now, you will love them when they are covered with snow. If it isnt too late, get rid of weed seeds before they scatter themselves about for next year. Take care of your lawn. Fall is a good time to make sure your lawn goes into winter healthy. You can safely overseed until about mid-September. Aerating is another good early fall project, as is getting after broadleaf weeds.
Keep on weeding. Garden gurus say one weed picked in fall is worth 10 in the spring.
Add something new. Grasses, asters, and shrubs with bright berries are all good additions for the fall garden and fall is a great time to plant.
Remake a pot. Use a pleasant September day to play outdoors. Dont like the way your containers look? Rip out the spent plants and replace them with mums, asters, sedum, or another fall-bloomer,or remake a pot using vegetables from your garden, such as squash or pumpkins, as accents. Look for bargains at the nursery and add that to your pot for a few weeks, then move it out to the garden.
Deadhead, please. An all-green plant looks better than one covered with wilting or dead blossoms, and its good for the plant, too. Use a shears to make the work go faster.
Pick your herbs, or transplant them into containers that can come inside for the winter. No one wants to think about frost, but its a possibility, so harvest a few of your precious herbs and dry or freeze them for winter use.
As a dedicated procrastinator, am finally getting around to the spring cleaning. there are advantages to this method. Clean now, and the house will most likely be ready for Thanksgiving guests and the Christmas holidays.
The last wonderful autumn air can be invited in through open windows, so fall is generally a good time for indoor painting, and in normal years conditions arent quite as damp as in spring, so if outdoor painting is needed, choose a spell when sunshine is predicted and have at it.
ON THE SOAP BOX
PROTECTING THE EMBASSY
Was heartened to read that our illustrious President Barrack Hussein Obama is actually sending another 350 U.S. troops to protect U.S. personnel at the our embassy in Baghdad, so maybe we wont have another Benghazi.
On the other hand, he made it clear the Army and Marine personnel are there in a defensive role, and are not intended to take offensive action against the Muslim extremists there.
This new deployment will bring the number of troops there to 405. The 55 brave soldiers who had been stationed in Baghdad are being removed to a location outside Iraq. They certainly deserve it. How frightening it must have been for them to be such a small number in such a hostile area. How heartless of our great leaders to put them in such a situation!
Meanwhile, the Islam State Muslims have brutally beheaded another United States journalist while our nation did nothing. And they are holding more United States citizens captive.
Under any prior administration, would have been amazed that those barbarians would think they could frighten our nation into giving in, but under this president, who knows? Maybe hell engineer another trade of known terrorists for another traitor who deserted his post.
Arent we proud???
STILL ON THE SOAP BOX
A RAISE FOR AMERICA
Am dismayed by the current campaign to increase the minimum wage in America, because if successful, it means that once the buying power of savings and pensions that retirees worked for will be reduced.
Maybe thats the plan to save Social Security. Let inflation escalate while keeping monthly Social Security checks the same. Could work, except that there will be a lot of hungry retirees, if theyre too proud to apply for Food Stamps.
As to that minimum wage issue. Raising the bar wont help anyone, because inflation will just keep up. What it will hurt is those most vulnerable, the marginal employees who probably wont have jobs at all, what with the doubly whammy of Obama Care and now play that exceeds the value produced.
Why do some folks think everyone has the right to start at the top?
As a person who started in the work force at the then-minimum wage of $1 per hour and worked up, certainly do understand that no one can live on that. But as a former business owner who risked everything to get ahead, also understand there must be entry level jobs. Thats not cruelty, thats reality.
Not that all those working for minimum wages did this, but why should those who did not bother to further their educations, did not graduate, did not study while in school think they deserve as much starting pay as those who did. Most workers, depending on their level of education, need to start at the bottom and work up. Thats the American way. All we need is for government to get out of the way so that can happen.
As to increasing that minimum wage, back when it was $1 per hour, gas was 23 cents a gallon. Our house payment, with taxes, was $60 a month. Before we bought the house, rent for a two bedroom upper, with heat, was also $60 a month. A really decent used car could be purchased for $200 to $300. Breast of veal could be bought for 29 cents a pound. Bread was 10 cents a loaf on a bad day. Hamburger was often 25 cents a pound.
The list goes on.
Where have we gained?
Not sure who was more excited about the first day of school, Mom or the kids, but certainly not all kids found their first day great.
Heard that little Johnny went off for his first day of kindergarten. When he got home he informed Mom and Dad that he wasnt going back.
He found the school all right, because it was exactly where they let him off the bus, but he was disgruntled. I still cant read, I cant write and they wont let me talk, so whats the use?
A well known nutrition doctor compiled a list of super foods we should all be eating regularly to maintain good health.
They include salmon or other fatty fish, which reduce risk of heart disease and stroke; Blueberries or other brightly colored berries, which aid vision and fight off many diseases; eggs, which have so many health benefits theyre almost beyond counting; Greek yogurt, which provides high protein and lots of calcium and Vitamin D; dried beans, with protein, fiber and many beneficial minerals; walnuts, perhaps the most beneficial of nuts, with the good for us kinds of fat and a talent for reducing inflammations; oatmeal, for its cholesterol-reducing fiber; olive oil, another healthy fat that reduces blood clotting and helps control blood sugar; Quinoa, an ancient gluten-free seed that is high in protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals; dark chocolate, which helps control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, and all sorts of tea, which if consumed every day is said to help lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia.
Pass the tea, please!
Garden goodies are still coming in. Those who were clever enough to put in some late crops are probably enjoying fresh spinach and leaf lettuce to go with the tomatoes that are finally ripening.
SALAD IN A JAR
Make yourself or the kids a salad to go. Great for a take-along lunch as long as you dont add things that are too perishable. Salad ingredients are layered inside a large canning jar (or other tall thin plastic container - possibly a clean cottage cheese container) in such a way that the greens stay crisp and fresh. Liquids are the bottom. Greens at the top. With this framework in place, you can make a number of jarred salads on the weekend to enjoy throughout the week. Make ahead, leave some head room for mixing, and either give it a few shakes or turn out into a salad bowl for eating.
For each salad, put whatever dressing you want into the bottom of the container. Any liquid ingredients must stay at the bottom of the jar to keep the greens fresh. Be sure to keep your salad in a jar upright while transporting to avoid a premature toss. On top of that, put diced hard vegetables, like onion, diced cucumber, fennel, bell pepper, carrot, and celery. These can all sit in the salad dressing for several days and still retain a pleasant texture. Next add a layer of cooked beans, corn or grains. Cooked beans add energy-boosting protein and nutrients while grains like brown rice, barley, and quinoa provide substance and other valuable nutrients. Then comes a layer of proteins. Cheese and cured meats like salami and chorizo can sit in the jar for several days. Proteins like diced chicken, canned tuna, and hard-boiled eggs should be added the day you plan on eating the salad, and the salad should be kept refrigerated until eating time. (If you cant keep the salad cool enough, bring along the boiled egg in its shell and peel and chop into the salad just before eating.) Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, toss in some nuts and seeds. Chopped almonds, walnuts, and pistachios add nice crunch. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are easy lower-calorie additions. Toss in some whole cherry tomatoes if you like. Finally add greens and herbs, which need to be layered away from liquids and oils to maintain a desirable texture. Other add-ins: Croutons and softer fruit and vegetables, like avocado, sliced olives, cut up tomatoes, strawberries, and grated cheeses are best left out of the jar, and added right before eating the salad.
DUTCH APPLE PIE JAM
This jam is soft-set, and is best served cold. Make up some lovely jars now when apples are plentiful, and have ready for Christmas giving. Recipe makes about 5 (1-cup) jars or 80 servings. If you dont like raisins, do believe this would work out quite nicely without them. Havent tried that, though.
6 1/2 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2-1/2 lb. Granny Smith
or other tart green apples)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 box pectin
1/4 teaspoon butter or margarine
4 cups granulated sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water and drain well. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
Peel and core apples; finely chop or grind fruit. Measure 6-1/2 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Stir in water, raisins, lemon juice, cinnamon and allspice. Stir pectin into prepared fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesnt stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugars. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. Quickly fill a boiling-water canner half full with water and bring to a simmer. Ladle the hot fruit mixture immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with the lids and screw the bands on tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add more boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
EASY ESPRESSO ICE CREAM
The liquor is necessary to keep the ice cream from freezing too solidly, and besides, it adds marvelously to the flavor. Bet this would be great with other flavors of liquor as well. Not good for a kiddies birthday party, but great for a bridal shower, for example.
1 1/4 cup heavy or double cream, well-chilled
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons espresso liqueur
Whip the cream. Stir together the other three ingredients and fold into the whipped cream, just until the whisk leaves trails of soft peaks in the bowl, and you have a gorgeous, caffe-latte-colored airy mixture. Fill a 1-pint airtight container and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Serve straight from the freezer.
Thought for the Week: Wrote a few weeks ago about how often God sends a miracle, and we call it luck. That brought a call from a lovely lady in Menominee who kindly shared her Sunday School definition of LUCK. Said its an acronym for Living Under Christs Kindness. Shes right. Thank You, God, for the luck we share on each new day!
(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 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)
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