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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: July 29, 2009

Coyotes...

Hi Folks!

Remember yesterday, when it was Memorial Day and we were looking forward to summer? Now it’s two thirds over, and somehow it feels like we’re still waiting. Maybe that’s what happens when you get older.

Feels like we’re always running to catch up. How does that old saying go: The hurrier I go the behinder I get.

Not good English, but it sure tells the tale!

Anyway, we’ve had a bit of rain, and that should help crops and lawns, and now it seems we have summer again, for at least a little while. There have been so few summer days this year that we need to cherish the ones we do get.

Balmy summer nights have been even more scarce. Hope we get a few more before summer slips into fall and Winter is sitting on the doorstep again.

COYOTES HOWL

Our neighborhood is going to the dogs! Literally.

Well, not really dogs, but coyotes.

Nightly in recent weeks, our sleep has been disturbed by extremely unwelcome coyote serenades. The session stars with a piercing screech, which seems to be their choir master’s call to order. That’s followed by a series of quick yips, after which they all join in, and continue yowling for hours.

If we made that much noise at a yard party we’d all be hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace, and rightly so.

And we live not a mile from the Crivitz village limits as the crow flies.

One recent night the bark of yowling beasts seemed to be directly in front of my open bedroom window. Finally got so mad I went to that window and screamed out of it for them to shut up and go away.

And guess what?

They did.

Amazing!

Didn’t hear them for maybe two weeks, but last night there they were again, sending their chorus to the moon - where I wish I could send them. They’re too far away this time for scolding to have any effect.

Is there a bounty?

In all the nights I spent in our little corner of the woods, there never was evidence of coyotes until recently.

Wonder where they came from, and if possibly we could send them back?

BEAUTY TIPS

If your complexion is feeling the drying effect of the summer sun but your budget won’t allow purchase of pricey beauty concoctions, there are remedies in your kitchen cabinet.

To counteract too much sun, mix olive oil with an equal quantity of vinegar and apply the mixture an hour before you take your bath.

For dry, dry skin, soak a muslin cloth in warm olive oil and cover your face with it after making holes for the eyes and nose. Let it remain for half an hour and then wipe the face with a soft cloth and then just go to bed. (You might want to put an extra case on the pillow to soak up any oily residue.) Next morning, wash with warm water followed by a splash of cold.

Don’t have any old muslin lying about? Go ahead and use wash cloths, or material from an old T-shirt or a worn out cotton bed sheet.

(By the way, never toss old T-shirts. Jersey rags are so very handy for any number of cleaning projects, and they’re cheaper than paper towels.)

To make an extremely effective anti wrinkle cream, beat together a teaspoon of olive oil and an egg. Smooth this over the face and neck with it and let it remain until it dries. Then, remove it with a cotton ball dipped in hot water to which a teaspoon of baking soda has been added.

HEALTH CARE

Whatever are we thinking?

We all know what a wonderful job the federal government has done taking care of the economy, the banking industry, the housing market, the energy problem and other items of major national importance.

And now some of us want to put those same people in charge of our health care?

No one wants Americans to die because they can’t afford to pay the doctor bill.

But do we want anyone to die because some panel of bureaucrats says saving a life isn’t worth the investment?

That’s what at least one of the proposals for federal health insurance would accomplish.

Kind of scary that Congress is considering passage - and President Obama is pushing hard for it - of a health care program that most of us would be forced to buy into while they themselves are exempt.

Think about that. Then call or write your representatives in Washington. Time may be running out!

On the bright side, there are signs now that the new national health care program may not have enough votes to pass, at least for now. Let’s hope so. And let’s do our best to make sure it is not approved.

REST IN PEACE

Peshtigo recently laid a hero to rest. Steven Drees died too young, and he died for us, after volunteering for the Army because he wanted to protect the American way of life. He had been deployed to Afghanistan on his 19th birthday, and was fatally wounded just a month later.

Everyone in the community knew about Steven’s sacrifice. Everyone in the state knew about it.

And that’s a good thing. Steven and other heroes like him deserve all the honor we can give them.

HERO WORSHIP

But in America as a whole, who do we honor?

Michael Jackson had a bigger sendoff than the world’s greatest statesmen, the most decorated heroes, the most brilliant inventors.

Was he a great humanitarian? No!

Did he risk his life to save the lives of strangers? No!

Was he responsible for a great discovery that will improve life for all of us, as Thomas Edison was? No.

Did he share pearls of wisdom that made the world a better place? No!

He was an entertainer.

Some of us liked his performances. Some of us did not.

He may have been something far worse.

If we are to believe the news stories, his life style should have earned him neither accolades nor acclaim.

But he got both, when perhaps he should have been shunned, his performances boycotted.

He set no fine examples as a human being.

Finally he has been laid to rest. The rest of us get some respite from seeing his face plastered on every magazine cover in the supermarket. Thank goodness!

FORGOTTEN, BUT NOT GONE

In sharp contrast, in August of 2008, Vietnam hero Ed Freeman, better known to his friends and admirers as Too Tall Freeman, died in Boise, Idaho. He was 80 years old. Hardly anyone seemed to notice, at least not on a national level.

And his death too needs to be noticed.

His life should have been celebrated, and it was, to some extent.

In July of 2001 President George W. Bush awarded him the Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery on Nov. 14, 1965. His character was played by Mark McCracken in the Mel Gibson movie, We Were Soldiers. After his death, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution renaming post office in his home town of McClain, Miss. in his honor.

Freeman, who fought not only in Vietnam, but also in Korea and World War II, was a true national hero.

On Nov. 14, 1965, in the la Drang Valley of Vietnam, a US battalion was surrounded by the enemy. When all hope seemed lost, an unarmed helicopter, flown by Freeman, came to their aid. Under heavy enemy fire, Freeman repeatedly flew in with water, much needed supplies and ammunition, and out with wounded soldiers who would otherwise probably have died there. Survivors say more than 70 soldiers were flown to safety that day by Captain Freeman.

Freeman was decorated shortly afterward with the distinguished Flying Cross for his acts of bravery, but possibly because of the political unpopularity of the Vietnam War, it took 36 years for his heroism to be fully recognized. It was not until July 16, 2001, that President George W. Bush presented him with the Medal of Honor. Fortunately, he lived long enough to receive it.

ASHAMED

As one who came of age in the Vietnam era, I am ashamed to admit I do not recall hearing about the exploits of Freeman and other heroes like him. The news media of the day (and entertainers) were too busy portraying our fighting forces as monsters who preyed on the women and children of Vietnam, and buying into the Better Red Than Dead philosophy.

Guess we had no heroes except the Green Bay Packers! (They were winning in those days.)

Let us not repeat those mistakes. Let us hope our heroes of today are not neglected because of the national news media’s antipathy toward the war against terrorism. The men and women who fight and die for us deserve all the honor and recognition we can give them, and the young people of our nation very greatly need role models of the right sort.

Whether or not we believe in the war against terror (and I do), we need to salute the personal valor of those who fight it. We need heroes!

COOKIN’ TIME

Those of us who were smart enough to plant gardens this spring are reaping the benefits. Radishes, green onions and leaf lettuce have been ready for some time. Sweet corn is appearing at corner markets. Zucchini and summer squash are ready for eating. Green beans are ready for picking. Tomatoes are ripening. On the wild scene, black raspberries fill the bushes, and blueberries and raspberries are ready to pick.

LAKE NOQUEBAY CHOWDER

This summer treat gets its richness from boiled corn cobs, so it can only be made when sweet corn is in season, unless you freeze yours cob and all. In fact, the soup is so good it’s worth freezing some corn on the cob just so you can make it during ice fishing season. Did you know a syrup can be made by boiling corn cobs? Go ahead and use pan fish caught from smaller lakes, the flowage or the Bay also. They don’t have to be from Lake Noquebay. For less than successful fishermen, those caught at the supermarket will also work. Most any kind of boneless fillet will do. This recipe makes only enough for four generous servings. You may want to double it.

4 large ears sweet corn

2 quarts cold water

1 onion

2 carrots

2 stalks celery, leaves and all

1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or more)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 pound bacon

2 potatoes, cut into half-inch cubes

1 1/2 pounds pan fish fillets, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 cup whipping cream or evaporated milk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut kernels from the cobs of corn, being careful so you don’t get any of the tough cob material. What’s left on the cobs won’t be wasted in any case. Set the corn kernels aside. Coarsely chop the onion, carrots and celery and saute them in the butter over somewhat slow heat in the bottom of a large soup kettle until the onion turns translucent. This should take about eight minutes. The vegetables should not really get brown at all. Add the two quarts of cold water, then snap the corn cobs in half and drop them in. Simmer this mixture over low heat for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in another large cooking pot, brown the bacon. Remove the slices and cut into cubes. When the corn cob broth is done, strain it into the cooking pot with the bacon drippings. Add the potatoes, along with generous amounts of salt and pepper. After about 10 minutes, add the corn. About five minutes later add the fish and the cubed bacon. Cover and cook slowly for five minutes or less. It should not boil hard, just simmer. Carefully pour cream around edges of the pot and mix very gently in order not to break up the fish. Taste to adjust the seasonings, and sprinkle on the chopped parsley just before serving.

GHEE

Ghee is used much in Mid-Eastern cooking, and is also very good over fresh vegetables from any culture.

To make Ghee, simmer unsalted butter (it has to be the real thing) until its water has boiled off and the proteins settle to the bottom and start browning. Spoon or pour off the clarified butter, taking care not to disturb the brown sediment in the bottom of the pan. This method gives ghee a somewhat nutty flavor and aroma that Western clarified butter does not have.

PEELING TOMATOES

This is the easy way to peel a large batch of fresh tomatoes: Wash the tomatoes, then cut shallow X through the skin at bottom of each one. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with cold water and place it on work surface near pot. Working in batches, slip tomatoes into the boiling water for 30 seconds to blanch. Using slotted spoon, transfer each tomato to cold water to cool quickly. Then, with the aid of a small paring knife, cut out the core and pull off the skin, starting from the X on the bottom. Leave whole, slice or dice as you prefer.

EASY CAKE

This recipe comes from Ruth Ann Harmon, whose daughter, Sara Harmon, owns and manages the Platter Restaurant between Crivitz and Middle Inlet. She has generously shared recipes before, and they have always been excellent. Haven’t tried this one yet, but will do so ASAP. She says the cake varieties are endless, and incredibly easy.

CAKE:

1 box packaged cake mix (any flavor except milk chocolate)

1 cup flavored sparkling water (any complimentary flavor)

Mix together the cake mix and sparkling water or soda, put into prepared cake pan and bake according to package directions. (Do not add eggs or anything else the box may call for.)

FROSTING:

1 container yogurt, 6 ounces, any complimentary flavor

1 container frozen whipped topping, 8 ounces

Mix together the yogurt and whipped topping and frost the cooled cake. Chill any leftovers.

Ruth Ann says the resulting cakes are cool, refreshing and delicious. Said she made a Black Forest Cake with chocolate cake mix, cherry water, and cherry yogurt. Another time she used a yellow cake mix (lemon would probably be good too) and Sunspot soda, and then filled it with lemon curd before frosting with lemon yogurt mixed with whipped topping. Thanks loads, Ruth Ann. I’m sure we’ll all have fun experimenting with flavor combinations. Yum! Peach, maybe?

Thought for the week: Speak gently when dealing with children, even grown ones. Treat their feelings with respect. We all have more need for role models than for critics. Even with adults, praise often is heard, while criticism falls on deaf ears.

COUNTRY COUSIN


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