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Country Cousin

Hi Folks!

Ah, summer! We wait all winter for it to get here, then complain like crazy because it’s hot. Nonetheless, we’ve had a lot to complain about in the last week or three here in TIMESland, what with some days - like the Fourth of July - breaking all time records for our area.

Ironically, called my brother in Arizona on Wisconsin’s sweltering, sticky sunny July 3, and was told they were enjoying an extremely rare rainy day, and their temperature was lower than ours. Go figure!

But to be fair, we who couldn’t sleep because of the heat during the first few days and nights of July were treated to an incredibly beautiful full moon, particularly those of us lucky enough to view it framed in the towering pines of the north woods.

We’ve had rains that Wisconsinites to the south did not have, and now the weather has moderated to the most glorious days and nights that Wisconsin has to offer.

FUN, FUN, FUN!

The Fourth of July may be over, but summer fun in Times-land is not!

The City of Marinette first-ever Logging and Heritage Fest, intended to become an annual event, starts Friday, July 13, with a “Puss In Boots” movie for kids on Stephenson Island, and then blossoms into a full blown festival starting with a 10 a.m. parade on Saturday and ending with fireworks after dusk on Sunday, July 15. Events include live music, clowns, bike and car show, carriage rides, and performances of the TimberWorks Lumberjack Show.

Most of the activities are centered on Stephenson Island, where the Logging Museum will also be open to remind everyone that this area’s roots extend deep into the forests of northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Incidentally, the once cutover lands left by the lumber barons of a prior century have mostly been regrown and despite regular harvests there are more trees in Marinette County today than there were 100 years ago.

There are concerts in the park coming up in Wausaukee, Peshtigo and Marinette, ski team performances at Twin Bridge and Lake Noquebay, and river rafting and tubing adventures for folks of all ages and skill levels, not to mention flea markets, farmers’ markets, and even a garden walk in Marinette on Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14.

Get out and have some fun. The days may be long, but the season is short!

BAKING SODA

Ever wonder where that lowly, inexpensive substance known as baking soda comes from...other than that orange and black box on the pantry shelf, or in the refrigerator doing one of the many jobs we assign to it?

Discovered recently that baking soda, otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, can be made through a couple of chemical processes involving heat and common table salt, but most of it today comes from refining trona ore. Trona ore is a hard, crystalline material found mainly along a 600-square-mile deposit in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Despite the many uses of baking soda, the supply of ore there is said to be large enough to meet the entire world’s needs for thousands of years.

MULTIPLE USES

The uses of inexpensive Baking Soda are indeed amazing. Use it to leaven baking soda biscuits, and then to clean your teeth after eating them, or stir a pinch into a glass of water to settle your stomach if you’ve eaten too many.

PERSONAL GROOMING

For an inexpensive facial scrub mix baking soda with oatmeal, lemon juice, orange juice or honey for a home made face mask to cleanse and/or moisturize. Mixed with honey the mask moisturizes, and mixed with it is a mild exfoliant.

For a stronger exfoliant, mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Spread on your body wherever you would like to exfoliate. After 10 minutes or so, rinse it off. Better yet, run a warm bath and rinse off in the tub so your entire body benefits from the soothing and skin softening effects of the baking soda.

A paste of baking soda and water dabbed onto acne spots helps dry them up so they go away. Ditto for bee stings and bug bites.

To calm itchy or burning skin, make a paste of baking soda and water, then apply to the affected area. Allow to sit for five to 15 minutes, depending on your skin’s sensitivity, then wipe away with a damp cloth, or as above, rinse off in a tepid bath and enjoy the full effects of a baking soda bath.

Sprinkle baking soda onto your toothbrush and then brush normally for whiter teeth and fresh breath. For an inexpensive mouthwash, mix two teaspoons of baking soda with one cup of water.

Skip the expense and chemicals of store-bought shampoo by making your own. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda for every eight ounces of water, and put in a bottle of your choice. Shake until thoroughly mixed, then use in place of your regular shampoo.

Sprinkle some soda onto the carpet and scatter it around before vacuuming to banish the odors that sometimes form there on hot, muggy days. Or use the powder on a damp cloth to scour the sink.

If you could have only one cleansing and beautifying product in your household, it should be baking soda.

And of course, don’t forget that baking soda is the leavening ingredient in baking soda biscuits, Toll House cookies, and many cake and pancake recipes. It’s also the main ingredient in baking powder, but go ahead and buy that instead of trying to make your own.

ON THE SOAP BOX

BAD MEDICINE


Must agree with the sentiments of U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek of Crystal Falls, Mich., that Obama Care may have been declared constitutional by the United States Supreme Court, but it still is bad medicine. And he, being a surgeon by profession, should know.

Also was ready to pummel Chief Justice John Roberts for what has been perceived as a betrayal of the conservative cause when he cast his vote with the majority decision finding the controversial law constitutional. Then read a letter supposedly written by Richard Bolen, a South Carolina attorney, who found powerful reasons to praise Roberts’ vote and the decision he wrote to go with it.

The Supreme Court also ruled, 7 to 2, that states cannot be punished for not expanding Medicare as required in Obama Care.

The decision included a 9 to 0 finding that Obama Care is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, and also under the “necessary and proper” clause, but is Constitutional as a “tax,” a term Obama and friends had studiously avoided using. Now they have to admit that mandatory purchase of insurance, with a penalty for failure to comply, is indeed a tax, no matter how they try to sugar coat it. That means, as a tax, if the Republicans gain a mere majority in the Senate they can vote to repeal Obama Care entirely.

And that’s a good idea. As more than a few intelligent individuals have stated, simply because a law has been found to not violate the Constitution doesn’t make it a good law.

POLKA TIME

Remember the days when Wausaukee polka king Whoopee Norm Edlebeck and his Dairyland Dutchmen band were regularly featured at night spots and on radio shows in TIMESland and other parts of Wisconsin?

He’s now retired and living in Minnesota, but will be in the area this weekend for the 55th reunion of his Wausaukee High School graduating class on Sunday, July 15.

Says his music is still available on CD and is played five times a day on WRJOradio.com.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Energizer Bunny has been arrested for battery.

A pessimist’s blood type is always B-negative.

A shotgun wedding is a case of wife or death.

The fellow fired his masseuse because she rubbed him the wrong way.

A man’s home is his castle - in a manor of speaking.

COOKIN’ TIME

Summer and harvest times are moving along so quickly it’s hard to keep up. Asparagus time is done. The local strawberry harvest has come and gone. Raspberries are now ready, and blackberries won’t be far behind. Cabbage, onions, beets, zucchini and peppers are ready for picking in many gardens. Let’s reap the bounty while we can. Oops. Didn’t intend that pun, but indeed it is time to start canning.

RASPBERRY SALSA

Absolutely great with pork, chicken or turkey cooked on the grill! Maybe freeze or can some to serve with the Thanks-giving or Christmas turkey instead of cranberry sauce.

2 cups fresh raspberries

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno chili peppers

1 clove minced garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon white sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

In a medium bowl, mix together raspberries, sweet onion, jalapeno chile peppers, garlic, cilantro, white sugar and lime juice. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving. This also can be frozen quite successfully. Quite certain it could be canned too, but haven’t tried that. Recipe makes 2 1/2 cups.

ZUCCHINI RELISH

This sweet relish has a flavor similar to Bread and Butter pickles, and the method for making it is quite similar too.

10 cups zucchini, unpeeled and shredded

4 cups onions, shredded

5 tablespoons canning salt

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

5 cups sugar

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons celery seed

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

Shred zucchini, onions and peppers. Place in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Mix well and let stand overnight. Rinse vegetables three or four times and drain very well. Place the drained vegetables in a large pot and add all other ingredients. Boil for 30 minutes, stirring often. Pour into hot sterile jars, cap and place in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

BOUNTIFUL BURGER RELISH

3 cups ground onions

4 cups ground green tomatoes

6 ground sweet red peppers

4 cups green cabbage

12 ground green peppers

1/2 cup canning salt

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

4 cups cider vinegar

6 cups sugar

2 tablespoons mustard seed

2 cups water

Using your food processor grind up all the vegetables somewhat coarsely. In a large mixing bowl, combine and mix all the vegetables. Sprinkle with the canning salt and let stand overnight. Rinse several times and drain thoroughly. In a large pot, combine vegetables and all other ingredients. Heat to boiling point and simmer 5 minutes. Seal in hot sterilized jars, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

POTATO PACKET AU GRATIN

Grilling season continues, and we’re always seeking new treats to try. This is a great go-with for anything you cook on the grill, and so good you’ll probably make them in the oven when the winter winds blow.

4 medium red potatoes, sliced

2 medium onions, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh chives

1/3 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

Healthy sprinkles of pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Butter the center of an 18-inch piece of heavy duty foil, and on it put the potato and onion slices. Top with everything else, ending with the butter. Pull the foil up and around the packet and seal with a “drug store fold”, which means a double or triple fold the long way, and then at least a double fold at each end. Place packet, seam side up, on grill five inches over medium heat, or in center of grill with coals circled around the outside. Cook 35 minutes, turning several times.

3, 2, 1 CAKE

Was recently lucky enough to be a guest of Reena White of Neopit and her brother, Gordy Jacobs of Crivitz for the Independence Day celebration at their family spot on Legend Lake near Keshena. She and her wonderful family prove there really never was a “Last of the Mohicans,” and hopefully there never will be.

Anyway, lots of folks who live alone never make themselves treats because all recipes make too much, and of course they’d eat it all anyway. Reena shared this incredibly easy cake recipe, so simple that even I can whip it up in about two minutes, start to finish, and it makes just one cupcake size cake at a time. Even the kids could make themselves a cake whenever they want it without destroying the kitchen. Far cheaper than the packaged varieties.

1 box angel food cake mix

1 box regular cake mix, any flavor

Dump the two kinds of cake mixes together in a gallon-size zipper type bag, seal securely and shake well to mix. Then, whenever you want a mini cake, spray a microwave safe dish with cooking spray, preferably the buttery flavored kind, and in it put 3 tablespoons of the mixed cake mixes. Add 2 tablespoons water and stir with a fork. Put into microwave and nuke for 1 minute, or just a little more, depending on your microwave. Doubted that this would work, but tried it and found the results very good indeed. Turn the little cake out onto a saucer and frost with canned frosting if you wish. Or you might want to mix up the batter and bake it in a cupcake paper to make it more readily portable.

Thought for the Week: “A government strong enough to give its people everything they need is also strong enough to take away everything they have.” Said first by Thomas Jefferson, not a current Tea party member.

(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. The former Shirley Boivin, Prudhomme has Marinette County roots five generations deep. She grew up in the City of Marinette, attended Merryman Elementary School, graduated from Marinette Catholic Central High School, and has lived most of her life in Marinette County. She has more than 35 years experience reporting local political events, was an elected Marinette County Supervisor for 16 years, and remains a member of Marinette County Tourism Alliance. She may be contacted by phone at 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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