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Country Cousin

Chickens...





Hi Folks!

According to the almanac, Summer arrived promptly at 1:16 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, right on schedule. Sadly, Summer apparently sneaked in under the radar of the weatherman. Unseasonably cold weather continues. Sunday night our furnace kicked in!

Anyway, at 1:16 p.m. on Tuesday the sun was as far north as it will get this year or any other year. Its rays were the most direct, and your shadow was shortest. In honor of the Summer Solstice, Old Sol rose at 5:03 a.m. up here, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, and settled behind the western horizon at 8:41 p.m., putting in his longest day of the year. We would have had nearly 16 hours of sunshine, if there had been any sunshine. Turns out we might get a little bit of sun starting on Friday. Sure do hope so!

At noon on Tuesday, the sun was shining straight down on the heads of everyone who happened to be standing on the Tropic of Cancer, the invisible line that circles the globe at the latitude of the northern Mexican border.

Temperatures here in the northern hemisphere will hopefully continue to climb during July and August, but days are already getting shorter.

Incidentally, the word “solstice” comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stop,” due to the fact that the Sun appears to stop in the sky right at the time of the solstice.

CITY CHICKENS

When Marinette City Council next meets, one of the suggestions they will consider is a change in zoning laws to once again allow chickens to live in the city. The proposal is a change in the zoning ordinance to allow families in single family homes to have up to four hens (no roosters), provided they keep them properly licensed and penned up.

Sounds like a plan to me, although four hens isn’t really enough to provide a reliable supply of good, organic eggs for a hungry family. Ten would be more like it, and not a problem if the yard is large enough. Something for the City Fathers to think about.

With the price of groceries today, every little bit helps, and home grown eggs are disease free and even are said to have higher nutritive values and lower cholesterol than eggs that come from force fed chickens in massive egg factories. Not to mention that the meat from gently raised chickens is vastly superior to anything the store has to offer.

The benefits don’t stop there! Feeding table scraps to the chickens would cut down on the amount of garbage hauled to the landfill, and then properly composted chicken waste could eventually be returned to vegetable and flower gardens as fertilizer.

Now why didn’t anybody think of that before?

When I was a kid growing up in Marinette, our neighbors raised chickens and certainly they never were a bother. The chicken house was a small lean-to attached to their garage, surrounded by a chicken wire fence.

DAIRY MONTH

Every year in honor of June Dairy Month, the agricultural folks of Marinette County get together to host the annual Breakfast on the Farm. It’s a fun way to enjoy some super fun and food, greet old friends and make new ones, and introduce the kiddies to a taste of life on the farm, usually complete with a chance to pet a calf, perhaps watch cows being milked or enjoy their dinner, and view the massive farm machinery up front and cozy.

This year’s Breakfast on the Farm event is being held on Sunday, June 26, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, on the Carlson Farm, N3615 Carlson Lane, Peshtigo. (To get there, take Co. W south of Hwy. 64 and watch for signs.

This year’s all-you-can-eat menu features pancakes, eggs, sausages, cheese curds, maple syrup, applesauce, milk, juice, coffee, and ice cream. There will be a petting zoo, face painting, balloons, a bouncy play area for kids, and ample opportunities for everyone to view barns and cattle. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for kids aged six through 10. No charge for children aged five and under.

Once you’ve had your fill of food and fun on the farm, take in some art at Great Lakes Memorial Marina Park on the waterfront in Menominee from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 50 artists from the Midwest region will have their art on display and for sale. 1st Street Academy of Dance will perform, Dynamic Duo will entertain, and there will be art activities for all ages. Food and refreshments will be provided by local non-profit organizations.

Then complete the day by enjoying “A Legacy of Song” starting at 5:30 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church, 350 Stephenson Avenue, Peshtigo. An old-fashioned hymn sing and an ice cream social will follow at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public, all ages invited and free of charge.

UN IN THE SUN

There’s so much to do during our brief months of summer here in the Northland. Summer is one third over, and it hasn’t really started yet. This coming weekend is the last one in June. The rain should be over by the weekend, so get out and enjoy. There are loads of choices.

Drop in at Nestegg Marine, 300 Wells Street in Marinette to enjoy the waterfront and view some wonderful old boats at the Thompson Antique and Classic Boat Rally from Friday, June 24 through Sunday, June 26. Boat show hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 25. The show is free and open to the public.

If you’re feeling energetic, join the Menominee River Century Bike Ride on Sunday, June 26. Registration is at Marinette High School on Pierce Avenue, Marinette from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 25 and from 7 to 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 26. Routes are 15km, 40 km, 80 km, 120 km and 160 km (special 30th anniversary century mile route) All leave from the grounds of Marinette High School. The ride is sponsored by Bay Area Medical Center of Marinette. More information or registration forms can be obtained from Marinette Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce at 715-735-6681.

ON THE SOAP BOX

FREUDIAN SLIP?


Have long been critical of the major national networks for their ultra liberal slant on what gets passed off as straight news. (If they admit what they’re doing is an opinion piece, that’s their privilege, just as this is an opinion piece.)

The political preferences of mainline media are often all too obvious. In recent years they have openly backed ongoing attempts to remove God from our national history and our moral and political values.

In a Sunday, June 19 NBC broadcast of opening ceremonies for the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Washington, D.C., three very important words were “edited out” of a patriotic montage of school children reciting what was supposed to be the “Pledge of Allegiance” to our nation’s flag, with a backdrop of national monuments and other scenes intended to impress patriotic Americans.

The words omitted? “Under God” and “indivisible”!

If that wasn’t bad enough, later the “pledge,” NBC-style, was repeated, this time with the words “one nation” left out as well, leaving only, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, with liberty and justice for all.”

Could have been considered a simple error except for the Liberal campaign of recent years to get the words, “under God,” removed from the pledge, or failing that, to prohibit the pledge from being recited in schools because of the reference to God. (Guess it’s okay, though, to accept salaries and/or campaign donations of cash bearing the slogan, “In God we trust.” More on that another time!)

Anyway, after the flawed broadcast, listeners all over the country began expressing shock and outrage, via telephone and e-mail. NBC was quick to react. Before the broadcast ended, announcer Dan Hicks told viewers, “Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone, and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”

Note that Hicks didn’t say it was not done intentionally. Said it was not done to offend anyone. Big difference. Guess you could call that an error in judgment!

Lots of viewers were still not satisfied. On Monday, NBC issued another statement: “We are aware of the distress this has caused many of our viewers and are taking the issue very seriously. Unfortunately, when producing the piece - which was intended to capitalize on the patriotism of having the championship played in our nation’s capital - a decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was a bad decision.”

The network also said if disciplinary action is taken, it will be handled internally and not be made public.

Bad decision?

It’s terrifying that individuals in a position to so strongly influence public opinion would deliberately choose to alter our national Pledge!

A suitable punishment for this nearly treasonous “error” might be to order NBC to begin and end every newscast henceforth, for maybe the next month or two, with a suitable prayer. “Dear God, Thank You for giving us the Bible, on which our nation’s Constitution and Bill of Rights are based, and particularly thank You for the Ten Commandments, which forms the foundation for all of the just and justifiable laws of the Western world. Amen.”

IMPROVEMENTS

There’s so much to do in summer, both work and play, that it seems nothing ever gets accomplished as I’d like it to be. Perfection is so hard to come by!

Came across a fine solution to at least some of life’s frustrations, a bit of doggrel that fits my lifestyle perfectly:

“The face in the mirror

Isn’t wrinkled or drawn.

My house isn’t dirty.

The cobwebs are gone.

My garden looks lovely,

And so does my lawn.

I think I may never

Put my glasses back on....”

As Grandma used to say, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Never could understand why she or anyone else wanted to skin a cat anyway. Normally she liked them.

And speaking of that saying, do kids on monkey bars still do the move that we called skinning a cat, which meant sort of doing a flip through our own arms while hanging from a bar?

COOKIN TIME

June is all about the best foods Wisconsin has to offer - dandelion greens, rhubarb, fresh asparagus, garden spinach, strawberries, blueberries, beer brats, and then of course the June Dairy Month treats! Wisconsin in June makes a land of plain old milk and honey sound like a starvation diet!

POP’S PUFFS CASSEROLE

Is there a gathering of the clan in your family’s future? This breakfast/brunch casserole serves 12. Takes about 20 minutes to put together, and then needs to bake for three quarters of an hour, but while it’s baking you and yours can be doing other things, even go to church if your oven has an automatic timer. Haven’t tried it, but think you could nicely substitute sliced cooked asparagus for the spinach in this recipe.

1 package (17.3 oz.) frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed

6 eggs, beaten

1 cup Ricotta Cheese

Dash hot pepper sauce

2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed,

well drained, or equivalent lightly cooked fresh spinach (or

asparagus??)

1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 cup chopped red or green bell peppers

Unfold pastry sheets. Roll out 1 sheet to an 11-inch square. Roll out remaining sheet to a 12-inch square; use to line bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan sprayed with cooking spray. Reserve one tablespoon of the eggs, and mix the rest with ricotta, pepper sauce and spinach. Layer half each of the bacon, Cheddar, ricotta mixture and peppers in crust. Repeat layers. Cover with remaining pastry sheet; fold under edges of pastry, then tuck inside pan. Brush pastry with the reserved egg. Cut slits in top crust. Bake 45 to 55 min. or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run a small knife around edge of pan to loosen crust before removing rim.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SALAD

3 cups rhubarb, diced

3 small packages strawberry Jell-O

1 cup sugar

3 cups boiling water

2 (10-oz.) packages thawed strawberries, or equivalent

sliced fresh strawberries

1 (3 -oz.) package cream cheese

1 container frozen whipped topping or real whipped cream

Cook rhubarb and sugar until it becomes sauce. Fix gelatin according to package directions, using a total of 3 c. water. Add rhubarb mixture and strawberries to gelatin mixture and put in a 9x13” pan (glass is best). Chill until firm. Beat the whipped topping into the softened cream cheese and spread mixture over the gelatin. Cut into slices to serve.

MOLDED RHUBARB SALAD

1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar

Small pinch of salt

1 (3 Oz.) package strawberry gelatin

1 cup cold water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup diced celery

Combine rhubarb, sugar and salt. Place over very low heat. Cover and let come to a boil. Don’t stir or add any water. When rhubarb has simmered until tender, remove from heat and stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Add cold water and lemon juice. Cool. Chill until it starts to thicken, then fold in celery. Pour into individual molds (or one large one) and chill until firm. Un-mold on lettuce and garnish with mayonnaise.

ELSIE DASSOW’S CHEESECAKE

Elsie Dassow, mother of Peshtigo Mayor Al Krizenesky, passed on to her eternal reward on Friday, June 10. She raised a large family, and must have been a wonderful woman to merit the praises offered by her son. Mayor Krizenesky said his mother was a marvelous cook. He was kind enough to share a booklet of her most popular sweet treats, and said he hopes we all enjoy them. The cheesecake recipe offered here is perfect for June Dairy Month, full of pure Wisconsin goodness. Easy to prepare, and even easier to eat. You’ll be seeing more of Elsie’s recipes as the weeks go by.

Crust:

2 packages graham crackers

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

Mix all the ingredients in a pan. Keep one cup aside for later,

and press the rest into a crust.

Filling:

2 pounds cottage cheese

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon flour

Pinch of salt

Beat all together. Pour into the crust-lined pan and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Elsie’s cookbooklet didn’t mention it, but this cheesecake can nicely be served with a topping of canned cherry or blueberry pie filling, or lightly sweetened fresh strawberries.

Thought for the week: Have said this before, and will say it again from time to time. This thought by Edward Everett Hale is worth repeating, and is worth becoming the creed for a useful and successful life: “I am the only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do and what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.”



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