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Country Cousin

April Fool...

Hi Folks!

March went out like a very damp and cold lion, and so far April has been behaving pretty much like a lion too, but at least sometimes like a sunny one.

Even on Easter Sunday there was a brief attack of heavily swirling sleet, snow and rain, visibility zero. That didn’t last long here in TIMESland, but the rest of the day wasn’t all that nice anyway.

But Easter is Easter, and families gathered and blessings flowed and eggs were hidden - mostly indoors. That Bunny is no fool, you know. He doesn’t want to be out in the snow either.

Missed having little ones around this year. Our family is pretty much fresh out of toddlers except for the ones on an island in the far Atlantic. That takes a lot of the fun out of holidays. Can’t wait for them to come home.

Some of our grownups celebrated by eating candy for breakfast. Not, you understand, because they really wanted it, but because Easter, Christmas and St. Nicholas Day are the only three days of the year when candy before breakfast is socially acceptable.

SPRING THINGS

Snow still covers most of the ground, but there are a few hopeful signs of spring. Several robins have been spotted, wearing out their poor little beaks from trying to pry worms out of the frozen ground. Sandhill cranes have been seen and heard. Maybe they know something we do not. Maybe Spring will soon really be here. Forecasts for the later part of this week are for daytime temperatures into the mid and high 50s!

Walleyes and other legal denizens of the deep are biting in some area waters, and of course fishing must be done from shore now, not from perches on very unreliable ice.

Most of us are ready for some springtime fun. Gardens, cookouts, and campfire songs. Now, if the snow and ice would go away we could all go out to play!

GROWIN’ THINGS

It’s way too soon to really do anything outdoors in the garden, but isn’t too early to dream. Study the seed catalogs, draw charts, assemble garden tools, and if you have room, plant some early crop seeds in little peat pots to be set out in the garden when the soil finally does warm.

APRIL FOOL

Every year, most of us try to come up with an April Fool’s Day prank to top anything from the year before.

This year, our neighboring daily newspaper ran a story on April First about the Marinette County Historical Society’s trademark lumberjack sleigh and its load of logs being moved from Stephenson Island, and had the police looking for the perpetrators.

It was intended to be an April Fool’s joke, but turns out the joke was a little bit on the author, who was perhaps deliberately not informed that museum authorities were working with some local benefactors on plans to renovate the sleigh, its load of logs and the horses drawing them. The massive logs were rotting, and the whole thing was starting to tilt toward Menominee.

Dismantling of the display began on Tuesday, April 2, with the donated assistance of Plutchak Fab & Crane from Stephenson, Mich. The sleigh was picked up by Premiere Engineering of Marinette and will be refurbished, as will the horses and the lumberjack who drives them.

Historical Society spokesman Frank Lauerman notes that the original display was built by Harold Derusha, then owner of Marinette Marine, as a memorial to his son and a friend who were killed in an automobile accident. Jerry Derusha, owner of Premiere Engineering, is his stepson.

Incidentally, Lauerman says the Historical Society is hoping someone will donate enough massive logs to refill the lumberjack sleigh. The ones being replaced, donated by Marinette County Forestry Department about a decade ago, are in very bad shape. They measured 17 feet, six inches long, with two foot diameters. Not many logs of that size left, even in the tremendous Marinette County Forest. People are seeking ways to preserve the next batch of logs, hoping something that will work has been discovered in the decade since the last load was new.

Lauerman said the Historical Society never has much money of its own, and absolutely no tax money is involved. Their limited income is mainly from donations and sale of local memorabilia at the museum’s gift shop, so all contributions are very greatly appreciated.



















TAX TIME

Speaking of April Fool, the Income Tax filing deadline is less than two weeks away, so if you’re among the procrastinators, better get busy. Uncle Sam waits for no man - or woman. If he does have to wait, he may charge dearly for it.

Hard to believe that less than 100 years ago this nation survived with no income tax at all. Look at us now!

What’s that old saying? Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile? Sure is true when it comes to big government!

EASTER GIFTS

This may sound weird to non-redneck families, but the boys in our family used to get a BB gun of their own as soon as they could be trusted to handle one, and then got to at least take turns shooting the family .22 when they were deemed responsible enough. Most of the boys were pretty young. They all - even the grown up boys like Grandpa - loved to get outside and target practice, even on Easter Sunday.

So for many years small boxes of .22 shells were among the toys in Easter baskets at our house. Boxes of 100 shells cost 99 cents each.

Couldn’t do the .22 thing this year. First, the price has gone way, way over the moon. Understand they cost about $9 a box. Second, most of the time you can’t buy them around here for any price, and if you can they’re rationed, no more than two boxes per customer.

We’re told people are buying up ammo for all sorts of weapons as fast as it can be produced because they’re afraid it will be outlawed, licensed, or otherwise limited. So all the local stores seem to be always out.

Maybe. But this shortage has been going on for quite a while, and it seems that any good manufacturer would latch on to an opportunity to reap some profits. They would work overtime, add lines, do whatever it takes to start turning out more of their product, enough to meet the demand. But that doesn’t seem to be happening.

Is something else going on that we’re not aware of? Has the source of raw materials dried up? Is the threat of government-imposed production limits stopping manufacturers from investing in new equipment?

The right to bear arms is vital to the long-term survival of freedom in this or any other nation. That right isn’t much good with the right to buy ammunition for the guns our Constitution protects - which incidentally, is all of them. We need to start asking our legislators, the ammo manufacturers, sporting goods merchants - whoever we can think of:

“Where has all the ammo gone?”

Until we get some satisfactory answers, we have every reason to be very much afraid!

ERRORS

Sometimes everything goes right when preparing a holiday meal, and sometimes not. Last week ran a recipe for Frog Eye Salad, which is absolutely nothing like its name except maybe for looks. I had eaten it, but never made it before, and decided it would go well with our Easter Dinner.

Followed the recipe as printed, but not quite. Overconfi-dent. When it came to the final step on Easter morning discovered that the basic mixture of little cooked macaronis and fruit sauce, marinated overnight as directed, had solidified into a dried up compact mass. Tried stirring in the final touch of fruit and whipped topping just like the recipe said, but no luck. The clumps just wouldn’t mix.

Was the recipe wrong? Were folks who tried the recipe going to be eating - or not eating - their Easter fruit salad because of an error I had made?

Checked the published recipe. Recipe as printed was right. Yours Truly had followed it wrong. Needed 8 ounces of Acini de Pepe macaroni. Assumed without looking that the package was eight ounces. Not true. Was a full pound, and I had used it all. Double batch of macaroni, single batch of everything else.

Too late to get more crushed pineapple or mandarin oranges and go forward with an entire double batch, and no time to cook more sauce anyway.

Panic time. What to do?

Extreme repair methods were called for. Put cleaned and sanitized hands to work, using the good old squish and squeeze method. Added probably three cups of lemonade and more whipped topping and finally got all the lumps out. It sort of lacked flavor so mixed in a package of dry apricot flavored gelatin dessert mix. Would have been better with more pineapple and oranges, but the end product, while not quite the salad that was intended ended up being very good anyway.

Incidentally, Acini de Pepe are not rice shaped, they’re little bitty short macaroni rounds with a hole in the middle. The package is small because they are small and compact.

Ended up with a LOT of salad. Everybody in the family got a take home dish and there’s still an army’s supply left.

Some readers had questions on the original directions, and the answers are, yes, you do cook the pasta first. Then drain it, rinse with cool water and then mix in the cooked sauce. At that point, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning add the fruit and the whipped topping. Easy when you do it right. Tasty even when you do it wrong.

Fish eye salad, anyone?

COOKIN’ TIME

Easter is gone, but perhaps the Easter Ham is not. Found a couple of new recipes to use up ham, good enough and different enough that the family will say, “Oh boy!” and not, “Oh no! Leftovers again!”

GOLDEN GLAZED HAM LOAF

Your food processor works wonderfully for grinding the ham, crumbling the bread and chopping the onions. Create a unique ham and egg dish by tucking a row of shelled hard boiled eggs down the center of the loaf before baking if you have a bumper crop of leftover Easter eggs.

1 pound lean ground ham

1 pound ground pork

1 cup soft bread crumbs (2 slices)

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon prepared salad mustard

Salt to taste if the ham was not very salty

Glaze:

1 cup orange marmalade

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine everything except the glaze ingredients. Mix well, then shape into a loaf. If you’re adding the hard boiled eggs, put half the ham mixture into loaf pan or on baking sheet, lay the eggs where you want them, and pat on the rest of the loaf ingredients. Bake for one and a half hours. Mix the marmalade, lemon juice and mustard and use about half a cup to glaze the loaf, brushing it on two or three times on during the final half hour of baking. Heat the remaining glaze and serve with the sliced ham loaf.

HOT HAM SALAD

This is a good one-dish meal for a simple supper, with perhaps a green salad on the side and a slice of fruit pie for dessert.

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

2 cups diced cooked ham

1 tablespoon butter or bacon grease

3 cups potatoes, boiled and diced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 pound sharp processed American cheese

Cook green pepper and meat in butter or bacon grease, stirring occasionally until meat is lightly browned. Add the green onions and cook another minute or so. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Heat, mixing lightly. Stir in cheese and heat until it just begins to melt. Serve garnished with more green onions if you like.

HAM & SWISS QUICHE

1 refrigerated deep dish pie shell

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup finely diced ham

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and

squeezed dry

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/4 teaspoon each salt, pepper and paprika

4 tablespoons sour cream

Have everything sliced, diced, shredded, drained and ready to go. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake the pie shell for eight minutes and let it cool a bit while you mix up the filling. Reduce oven heat to 350. In a small skillet, cook the ham, onion and red pepper until vegetables are tender. Stir in the spinach. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of the Swiss cheese, seasonings, sour cream and the spinach mixture. Pour into the pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes and sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup Swiss cheese. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. (Total of 40 to 45 minutes should do it.) stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with extra sour cream if you like.



Thought for the week: Dear Lord, Easter is over, but hopefully the Easter message of resurrection, recompense and forgiveness will stay with us. Amen.

(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 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

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