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Country Cousin

Lefties...

Hi Folks!

Remember the Dog Days of August? Remember when August heat was overwhelming? When did that end? This has been a beautiful August, but the chill makes it feel more like Autumn than summer. Wonder what Autumn will be like when it gets here? Or has it already arrived?

Maybe we’ll get some swimming weather back when the full moon arrives on Tuesday, Aug. 20!

Meanwhile, if you missed it the early part of the week, try getting outside for a look at the night sky between 10 p.m. and dawn anytime between now and the night of Aug. 24 for what could still be a shooting star spectacular. Peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower was Monday and Tuesday, but the moon is still fairly dark and we’re still in the path of the comet fallout, so lucky watchers may get a spectacular show.

When we were kids the whole family would often spread blankets on the east-sloping lawn on hot August nights. We were almost always rewarded by a few shooting stars to wish upon!

APOLOGIES TO LEFTIES!

Being a member of a family in which at least half of the males are left handed, am somewhat aware of the problems they face, and always take them into account when making arrangements at the dinner table.

But was not aware that Tuesday, Aug. 13 was International Left-Handers Day. To be honest, hadn’t known there was such a day, but guess it’s inevitable.

Anyway, apologies to everyone who struggles along using their left hands in a right-handed world.

Seems that back on the 13th of August in 1992 the International Left Handers Club launched International Left-Handers Day as an annual event for left-handers everywhere to celebrate their “sinistrality” and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed.

According to the club’s web-site, this event is now celebrated worldwide, “and in the United Kingdom (Great Britain) alone there have been more than 20 regional events to mark the day in recent years - including left-v-right sports matches, a left-handed tea party, pubs using left-handed corkscrews where patrons drank and played pub games with the left hand only, and nationwide “Lefty Zones” where left-handers creativity, adaptability and sporting prowess were celebrated, whilst right-handers were encouraged to try out everyday left-handed objects to see just how awkward it can feel using the wrong equipment!”

The club says since its inception it has encouraged a major manufacturer to modify some potentially dangerous hand-held power tools to make them safer for lefties. The club has produced a training video to show teachers and parents the best way to help left handed kids attain the basic skills of handwriting, cutting etc. without difficulty or discomfort.

Club members claim left handers just naturally excel at some things, particularly tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing. Five of the last seven U.S. presidents have been left handed. And they see better under water.

Conversely, left handers are more likely to stutter, especially if a misguided teacher or parent tried to force them to become right handed. And the majority of dyslexics are reputed to be left handed males of extremely high intelligence. Now there’s a left-handed compliment!

BIG BLACK EYE

Big fellow walked into a bar the other day sporting a big black eye and a miscellaneous assortment of bruises, bumps and abrasions.

Asked him what happened.

“Well,” he said, “It’s like this. Pulled into a parking lot a little too fast, and dinged this car’s bumper. Little guy jumped out of the car, hopping mad. He’s a dwarf. About up to my waist.

“‘Buddy,’ he shouts, fists up for action, ‘I am not Happy!’

“I looked down at him and laughed. Couldn’t help myself. ‘Which one are you then?’ I asked...

“And that’s when the fight started.”

HELP WANTED

Do any of you other “empty nesters” out there find it exceedingly difficult to bake a cake when there is no one around to lick the beaters?

ON THE SOAP BOX

ANCIENT GLACIERS


A recent Letter to the Editor in one of our big city papers refers to the ice caps covering Greenland and Antarctica as “ancient glaciers.” In the case of Antarctica, they probably are ancient, but in the case of Greenland, guess it depends on how you define “ancient”.

Had the writer studied history he would have known that Greenland, Vinland and Iceland were not ice-covered in the days of Eric the Red and his son, Leif Erickson, or at least not as ice covered as they are now. He and other global warming doomsayers would know about the “Little Ice Age” that started about 1250 and ended about 1850, and that global warming contributed to the advances made in Europe in Medieval days. Meanwhile, heat and drought from global warming led to the end of the great Mayan civilization in South America in the mid to late 800s, right about when the settlement of Iceland began. Incidentally, the settlement of Greenland started about 100 years later, and it wasn’t covered with an ice sheet at that time, it was covered with green and growing things, including grape vines.

We humans are so puny, but some folks insist on believing that we can save the world as we know it, or destroy it. They think God has nothing to do with it. Sincerely doubt that humans had anything to do with the ice ages or global warmings over the past eons, and don’t really believe we can affect the climate of the Earth now, except on a very limited local scale.

STILL ON THE SOAP BOX

As our national legislators again wrestle over the difficult problem of immigration reform, it’s too bad more of them don’t take a look at what the rest of the world is doing. The worst we seem to do right now with illegal immigrants is feed them and send them back where they came from.

How do other nations deal with those who enter their country without permission?

Well, if you cross the North Korean border illegally, you’re likely to get 12 years of hard labor.

If you cross into Afghanistan illegally, you will probably get shot.

We’re told that two Americans recently got eight years in prison for crossing the Iranian border.

Will admit that since folks aren’t generally eager to get into those countries in search of a better life there might be some merit in the possibility that those who were jailed and shot were there for some anti-government purpose, and not just over zealous tourists or people who simply could not take life in America any longer.

It is likely they entered for reasons not entirely appreciated by the host countries.

For the most part, if you cross the United States border illegally right now, not as some one seeking political asylum, but as someone seeking a job and a better life, you’ll probably find it, at the expense of those who obeyed the immigration laws and chose to wait their turn.

The illegal immigrant who manages to get into this great Land of Opportunity generally ends up with a job, a driver’s license, food stamps, housing, health care, child benefits (including citizenship for a child born here at U.S. taxpayer expense), education and a tax-free business for seven years. They either send their excess money home, or eventually retire and go home, taking their savings and pension, including Social Security, with them. Amnesty pretty much guarantees that will happen.

And if they get caught right now, unless they’ve been breaking some other laws and accumulating ill-begotten gains, the worst that happens is they get sent home. Probably with the possessions and savings they accumulated while here. Pretty severe penalty, isn’t it?

No wonder our country is in debt!

Look at this hard, legislators, and listen to the folks from the border states, especially the law enforcement people. They know their home territory a whole lot better than you!

COOKIN’ TIME

Fresh tomatoes! Fresh cucumbers! Radishes! Leaf lettuce! Need we say more?

ZUCCHINI GRATIN

This close relative to lasagna is a mouth-watering way to use the marvelous zucchini and summer squash that hopefully your garden is producing. Sadly, mine isn’t. I think I buried my seeds this spring instead of planting them. Anyhow, the weeds took off, but hardly anything else did. Was my own fault. How were those seeds supposed to know I loved them and wanted them to grow if I didn’t spend any time with them? But I will be eating these summertime favorites however they’re acquired. You’ve heard of midnight corn runs?? Probably won’t be necessary. Most everybody who plants them and puts even minimum effort into it gets more than they can use. Be sure to use plain artichoke hearts, not pickled ones!

3 medium zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices

1 yellow squash, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon dried sage or basil

1 tablespoon flour

1 3/4 teaspoons salt (divided)

3/4 teaspoon black pepper (divided)

1 can (8.5 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained

3 green onions or 1 scallion, trimmed and sliced, green and

white parts

1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

3/4 cup light cream

1 pound ground turkey

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Mix turkey with 1/2 teaspoon salt and one quarter teaspoon pepper and the parsley and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole or rectangular glass baking dish with buttery flavored cooking spray. In a large bowl mix the zucchini, yellow squash, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, sage, flour, one teaspoon of the salt, and pepper. In blender or food processor puree the artichoke heats, green onions or shallot, 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, 1/4 cup cream, and the remaining salt and pepper. Spread one third of the squash slices in the bottom of the baking dish. On top of them spread half of the artichoke mixture. Top with half the turkey in dabs. Repeat layers and end with a third layer of turkey. Toss together the remaining cup of Swiss cheese, the remaining bread crumbs and the Parmesan. Sprinkle evenly over the dish. Drizzle with the remaining half cup of light cream. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until squash is tender and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

RHUBARB CUSTARD BARS

This recipe is for Barb, and anyone else who still has a bit of rhubarb that can be harvested, or has a bunch laid by in her freezer. Rich and utterly delicious, but I think next time I’ll use more rhubarb, maybe 7 cups. Made mine in a pan larger than the 9”X13” the original recipe calls for, and didn’t even add the topping. It was rich enough already. Probably in a smaller pan the 5 cups would be right. If you’re going to add the topping, you need to make this a day ahead.

Crust:

2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup cold butter

1 tablespoon cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and sugar in food processor. Slice cold butter into maybe tablespoon thick pieces and drop in, then process until crumbly. With the processor running add the water and run until it looks like it can be formed into a crust. Pour into pan and press all over the bottom and just a bit up the sides. Bake at 360 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.

Filling:

2 cups sugar

7 tablespoons flour

1 cup whipping cream (I used half and half)

3 eggs, beaten

5 cups rhubarb pieces

Combine sugar and flour. Beat in cream and eggs and then stir in rhubarb. Pour over cooled crust and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until custard is set. Cool.

Topping:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Blend cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Fold in whipped cream. Spread over custard and refrigerate overnight. This is also great served warm, with ice cream and without the topping. Either way, refrigerate any leftovers.

RASPBERRY CAKE

If your raspberries are done, I see no reason this wouldn’t be just as good with blackberries. Or use frozen berries like the original recipe calls for.

1 package white cake mix

1 package (3 ounces) raspberry or lemon gelatin dessert

mix (like Jell-O)

1 package frozen sweetened raspberries, undrained (or 2

cups fresh berries, slightly crushed)

4 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup hot water

1 package raspberry flavored Danish Junket dessert mix

Frosting:

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 package (10 ounces) frozen sweetened raspberries, thawed, undrained (or 2 cups fresh berries, crushed, lightly sweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine the dry cake mix and gelatin dessert powder. Beat in eggs, juice, eggs and oil. Add berries with their juice and hot water and beat again. Pour into a greased 13”x9”x2” baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. While the cake cooks, prepare the Junket dessert mix according to the package directions for pie. Let that cool a bit too, but on the cupboard. Don’t let it get really thick. When both cake and junket are cool, poke the cake all over with the tines of a fork like you were making a Jell-O cake and pour on the junket. Most of it will soak in, but if some of it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Now refrigerate until it is quite cool, possibly overnight. For the finishing touch, stir the berries into the whipped topping and use this to frost the cake. Refrigerate another two hours or longer. Store leftover cake in the fridge.

Thought for the Week: How often do we do too much for someone (generally our kids) and then end up resenting them because they don’t appreciate us or what we’ve done? Ever think maybe they didn’t want us to do it? Read somewhere there are three rules to live by: The Golden Rule, The Silver Rule and The Iron Rule. The Golden Rule is quite immutable: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Silver Rule is “Do at least as much for yourself.” The Iron Rule has three parts: Don’t do anything for anyone unless 1) he or she can’t do it for themselves, 2) you really really want to do it, and/or 3) he or she asks you to do it. Of course, there are exceptions, for example gift giving time and happy surprises, but by and large these rules are pretty good ones. And if you made those chocolate chip cookies because you were hungry for them, don’t bother pretending you made them for the kids!

(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.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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