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

Issue Date: September 16, 2020

Frost is on the way!

This year continues to speed by. Leaves are turning colors, and nights - and even days - have been turning cold. Be prepared to cover your gardens. They're talking possible frost on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but some spectacular days over the weekend. Wouldn't you know it, weather is supposed to be particularly fine on Sunday and Monday, when temps should climb again into the low 70s.

We need to enjoy it while we can. Winter is definitely coming, like it or not.

Woke to a Red Dawn Wednesday morning. Sky watchers say it's caused by haze from the terrible forest fires burning out west. Agree that a good part of the problem is caused by extremely hot, dry conditions, but the fires are certainly worse because those forests were not harvested when they should have been. Had aging trees been trees been cleared out before they fell, and brush chipped up to use for other purposes, the fires would not be nearly so bad. Not as much dry fuel to burn. Observers have noticed that privately owned, well managed forests have escaped with less damage than the neighboring national forest lands where harvests were halted for one reason or another.

Those who love forests should listen to foresters with boots on the ground, not book-smart "experts" who have probably never wielded an axe, and possibly never even walked in a forest.

Our foresters here in Marinette County have long preached the importance of wise forest crop management, and fortunately, members of the County Board have heeded their advice. As owners of 133,000 acres of County Forest Marinette County residents enjoy forest lands with natural reproduction, where more board feet are grown than harvested each year. Property owners benefit from profits that reduce their property tax bills, everyone gets to enjoy the multitude of recreational opportunities the forests offer, and we all get to breathe the fresh air that trees provide.

When it comes to forests, you can have your cake and eat it too, if you do it wisely!

RIDDLE ME THIS

Q. What do you use to mend a jack-o-lantern?

Q: What did the oak tree say when autumn came around?

See answers after Cookin' Time.

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?

Work now can hep prevent problems for your garden next year, according to Scott Reuss, Marinette County UWEX Agriculture/Horticulture Agent. Reuss said in the vegetable garden, the two most notable diseases to try to fight now are tomato and potato septoria leaf spot and early blight, and white mold, which is most commonly found on beans, but can infect many other vegetables.

Tomatoes and potatoes are actually cousins in the same plant family, so they can be afflicted by the same diseases. Reuss said septoria and early blight were particularly severe this year in the Marinette County area.  These fungal leaf spots affect leaves, stems, and occasionally fruit of tomato and potato, but also eggplants and peppers.  Very thorough removal of above ground material can help slow the diseases down next year, but gardeners should also rotate the location of these plants, use mulch to minimize leaf contact with the soil, go vertical with trellises where feasible, and watch for disease presence and consider strategies if found.

He says septoria and early blight can overwinter on any infected material left in the garden, so you should be sure to get that debris out of the garden before next spring.

Reuss also noted that conserving overwintering habitat for native insects is a focus of an article in the September, 2020 issue of the Northwoods Journal, which is available free on-line at the Marinette County Land Information Department website.

He invited anyone who wants to discuss garden and orchard management practices and get information on how they may impact either beneficial or deleterious insects, fungi, or other issues, to contact him via e-mail at or through the Marinette office of UW-Madison, Division of Extension, in the Marinette county Courthouse, at 715-732-7510. 

EXCITING DISCOVERY

Just read that some scientists have discovered evidence that there may be life on Venus, or at least in the sultry clouds that surround that hot second planet from the Sun. They say more studies are needed, and it probably isn't life as we know it, considering the heat and the atmosphere, but life is life.

Maybe Jesus wasn't speaking only of life in Heaven when he spoke of His Father as providing "a house of many mansions." Maybe He was actually talking about the Universe as well???

More and more, we come to know that there are far more wonders on Heaven and Earth than we can even imagine!

ON THE SOAP BOX - GOOD VIBES

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could go back to a good point on the road to improved race relations in this country - perhaps back to where we before Barrack Obama became president - and then go on from there until we eventually get to a point where everyone was color blind?

If relations between whites and blacks had not been getting significantly better than they had been during my growing up years, neither Obama nor any other black person could have ever been elected to the highest office in this land.

Other prejudices that existed over the years had been getting better as well, and most of them seem to be gone now.

I am old enough to recall when John Kennedy was elected. People wondered at that time if America was tolerant enough to elect a Catholic of Irish descent to the highest office in the land.

For those who have forgotten, black people were not the only ones targeted by the Ku Klux Klan. They also actively picked on Catholics, Chinese and, yes, Irishmen for a time. Over the years, those animosities pretty much disappeared, and people of all races, nationalities and creeds were becoming more and more accepted except by the most radical.

As John F. Kennedy had hoped, we did appear to be succeeding at becoming a kinder, gentler nation.

Temper tantrums, then and now, do not help, so what was making the difference? What was being done then, that perhaps we could start doing again now?

A friend very recently pointed out that you can't force anyone to like you"you must give them something to like. A young lady bringing a new boyfriend home to meet her parents would advise him to dress nicely and be on his best behavior.

Not saying that anyone should put on a show. There are plenty of real things to like about everyone, and as my friend repeated, "If you want somebody to like something, you give them something to like."

He is certain "Black Lives Matter" would be doing a lot more than they are doing to improve the lives of everyone, of every skin color, if they would put together data on how many great and generous things good Black people have done over the years, the advancements they have made, and how much they continue to do instead of focusing on grievances from the past.

He suggests taking a survey to find out how many are working, how many are better educated, and living better, than their parents and grandparents were. Take a look at how many give of their time and talents to help others and then publicize the results.

Incidentally, this friend is a member of one of the minority races. He was a child living in Milwaukee during the days of Father Groppi and suffered from the nightly shootings in his neighborhood during those riots. He and his family were not fans of the demonstrators then, and they are not fans today. They did, and do, care about their own safety, and the safety of their friends.

And that brings up his feelings on demands to defund the police. He says the rioters give everyone the best possible proof that police departments must continue to have the manpower and materials they need to defend us or nobody will be safe.

He asks if anyone really wants to be at the mercy of a mob that howls, "We hope they die!" while trying to prevent an ambulance from delivering two mortally wounded police officers - fellow human beings - to a hospital emergency room?

Incidentally, you might not expect this man to be defending the police. He is currently enjoying Marinette County hospitality as a resident of its jail! His own arrest (for a non-violent, non-criminal type offense) hasn't changed his opinion that police protection is essential, and that the vast majority of police officers should be respected as good people trying to serve their communities in a difficult and dangerous role!

WINE CUBES

Often a recipe calls for half a cup of some alcoholic beverage, but you need to open a whole can or bottle to get it. To avoid waste, you could drink the leftovers, but doing that could be hazardous to your dinner party. Instead, pour the remains into an ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer. Next morning, either wrap the entire tray of frozen cubes in plastic wrap, or if they're solidly frozen pop them out of the ice cube tray and into a plastic bag. That will depend on the alcohol content. Next time you make that recipe pop out a couple of frozen cubes and add them straight to your pot. It'll be just as good as when you first opened it. If you want to be totally accurate, measure water into the ice cube tray first to calculate just how much liquid each cube contains.

COOKIN' TIME

Frost is threatening, so this is the time to enjoy what may be the last of this season's bounty.

LOW-COOK CHICKEN & MUSHROOM STEW

1 can cream of mushroom & roasted garlic soup

5 or 6 fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper to taste

1 package (8 oz.) medium white mushrooms

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup fresh baby green beans

1 celery ribs, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths

In slow cooker, stir together soup and 1/2 can of water. Cut chicken into 2-inch chunks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put chicken into cooker. Add mushrooms, carrots and celery. Stir gently to mix. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is done.

GREEN TOMATO DILL PICKLES

Save this recipe for the end of the season when frost threatens the tomatoes left on the vine. Another great treat for winter tables.

5 pounds small firm green tomatoes

fresh dill heads or dillseed

garlic cloves

whole cloves

4 cups vinegar

1/3 cup salt

Wash tomatoes; slice 1/4 inch thick. Pack tomatoes loosely into hot quart jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. To each quart add 3 to 4 heads dill or 2 tablespoons dillseed, 1 clove garlic, and 1 whole clove. In saucepan combine vinegar, salt and 4 cups water. Bring to boiling.

Pour boiling pickling liquid over tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath (quarts) 20 minutes. Makes 5 quarts.

ZUCCHINI BARS

1/2 cups butter

1/2 cup oil

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups grated zucchini, drained

Chocolate bits & chopped walnuts for topping

Cream butter, oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Blend in vanilla and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients slowly to creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini by hand. Spread in greased 11"x16" jelly roll pan. Sprinkle chocolate bits and walnuts over top and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn oven off. If more cooking is needed, leave in oven 5 minutes more. Cut into 2" or 4" squares as desired.

APPLE PANCAKES WITH SPICY APPLE SYRUP

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

2 eggs, separated, whites stiffly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped apple

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

To make the pancakes: Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir in the milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Fold in the apple, pecans, and beaten egg whites. Using a 1/4 cup measure, drop onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or skillet. Turn when bubbles form on the surface and the edges are golden brown. Serve with apple spice syrup.

APPLE SPICE SYRUP

This is also good on ice cream, bread pudding and French toast.

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups apple juice or cider

To make the syrup: Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and spices in a saucepan and mix well. Add the juice and stir over moderate heat until the syrup boils and is slightly thickened. Cool slightly before serving. Makes 2 cups.

RIDDLE ANSWERS

A: A pumpkin patch.

A: Leaf me alone.

Thought for the week: We need to learn to forgive ourselves, and also to forgive our enemies. As Jesus once said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." And God promised elsewhere in the Bible that even the worst sinner, if he sincerely repents before he draws his final breath, will be forgiven and be allowed eventually to live in Heaven.

(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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