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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Superstitions...

Hi Folks!

Isn’t it great? The beautiful weather continues, more like Summer than Fall, except that it gets cool enough to sleep at night. There don’t seem to be quite as many bugs, either.

Always did think the ideal arrangement would be warm, sunny days, then a bit of rain after midnight, enough to keep the garden growing and the lawns green. Seems like this year we’ve had more than a few stretches of that sort of weather. Hope it keeps on.

FIRST FROST

Although the weather has been fine, frosts were reported last week in the northern reaches of Marinette County, in some cases killing frosts.

Back in our “live off the land” days when we planted really, really big gardens, we usually managed to protect the tender plants through the first hard frosts, and then we were generally pretty safe until the full moon of October.

Once the garden was killed off though, we almost heaved a sigh of relief. Getting everything picked, canned or frozen was such a never ending chore as the end of the season drew near.

It was wonderful to have the shelves and freezer full, but it was nice finally to be able to relax at the end of the day rather than collapse.

EXTEND THE HARVEST

That said, there are ways to extend the harvest, especially the tomato harvest.

Of course, when frost threatens you can pick any tomatoes that are turning pink, and pack them stem side down in paper nests, preferably no more than three layers deep in cardboard boxes.

We had great success pulling up tomato plants, roots and all, and then hanging them upside down from the beams in the basement. This worked particularly well with cherry tomatoes, and sometimes we were picking fresh tomatoes until Christmas.

SUPERSTITIONS

The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations that date from ancient times. Maybe in real life the worst misfortune they could bring would be to the student who meets either of them in a spelling bee.

“Paraskavedekatriaphobia” is fear of Friday the 13th. It seems their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year (there will be two such occurrences in 2013, exactly 13 weeks apart) portends more misfortune than some fearful folks can bear. A modern psychiatrist coined the new term “paraskavedekatriaphobia” to define it. Regular old fear of the number “13” is the simple word “Triskaidekaphobia” Accord-ing to some sources it’s the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t eat in restaurants; many wouldn’t think of setting a wedding on the date. My own grandmother needed surgery, but she absolutely refused to have it done on Friday the 13th. She also would not sit down to eat at the dining room table if there would be 13 people. She ate in the kitchen in that case.

There is a myth that the earliest reference to “13” being unlucky or evil is from the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, written in about 1780 BCE, where the thirteenth law is omitted, but actually the original Code of Hammurabi has no numeration.

According to some Christian traditions, at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table, but in fact the Bible itself says nothing about the order at which the Apostles sat. Also, the number 13 is not uniformly bad in the Judeo-Christian tradition. For example, the attributes of God, also called the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, are enumerated in the Torah and in Exodus 34:67. Some modern Christian churches also use 13 attributes of God in sermons.

Triskaidekaphobia may have also affected the Vikings: They believed that Loki was the 13th god in the Norse pantheon...more specifically, that he engineered the murder of Balder and was the 13th guest to arrive at the funeral, which is is perhaps related to the superstition that if 13 people gather, one of them will die in the following year. Another Norse tradition involves the myth of Norna-Gest: When the uninvited norns showed up at his birthday celebration (thus increasing the number of guests from ten to thirteen), they cursed the infant by magically binding his life span to that of a mystic candle they presented to him.

In Grimm’s version of Sleeping Beauty, the wicked fairy is the thirteenth fairy.

Ancient Persians believed the twelve constellations in the Zodiac controlled the months of the year, and each ruled the earth for a thousand years, at the end of which the sky and earth collapsed in chaos. Therefore, the number 13 is identified with chaos. Persians often leave their houses to avoid bad luck on the 13th day of their calendar.

So is it all nonsense?

Don’t know. Seems to be scientific proof that it is not.

A study conducted in England over a number of years in the 1990s discovered that in the region sampled, consistently fewer people drove their cars on Friday the 13th, but the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on “normal” Fridays. Their conclusion: “Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended.”

PESHTIGO RIVER TRAIL PADDLE

For a trip through time and history, join the Peshtigo River Trail Paddle on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 pm. Bring beverages and lunch. Canoes will be available, or bring your own. Meet other paddlers at the Peshtigo Boat Landing behind the Peshtigo City Garage on County Road B just off the Peshtigo River Bridge on the old Hwy. 41, which is now Maple Street.

This is not a trip for the pampered or faint of heart. You will be expected to paddle.

A guide will start the 11 mile trip that passes through hemlock stands, hardwood floodplains, oxbows and marshes. Paddlers will have the opportunity to explore the river, view wildlife, and stop at historical points along the river.

Much of Peshtigo River Trial passes through the Peshtigo Harbor State Wildlife Area. This state-owned nature preserve, located just southeast of Peshtigo, contains various types of forests, open fields and grasslands, a coastal estuary where the Peshtigo River meets the waters of Green Bay, a beach shoreline along the bay, and acres of wetlands.

Many different native plants and animals live there, some of which are becoming rare. Peshtigo Harbor is one of the most diverse and least disturbed wetland areas on Green Bay - possibly on all of Lake Michigan.

Despite the disastrous Peshtigo Fire of 1871, for the most part the Harbor area today is as it was for centuries when the native tribes were the only people to inhabit the banks of the river.

When the logging boom hit in the 1800s, the mouth of the river became an important lumber port. The mighty pines were cut for lumber to help build the midwest, and Peshtigo Harbor was a thriving lakeport community.

Today, some 90 years after the last log drive on the Peshtigo River, nature has reclaimed her own. Hardly a trace of the community remains. The area is again a natural refuge for fish and wildlife seeking food and shelter. Its rich natural and cultural history has sparked interest to also make it a refuge for people seeking solitude and a connection with the past. Call the Marinette County Land Information office at 715-732-7784 for more information.

TODAY WE REMEMBER

Today is Sept. 11, the day we Americans must always remember as the day our Muslim enemies tried to shake our foundations and shook us as a nation out of complacency and into an new era of patriotism.

Sad that for so many, the patriotism was so short-lived.

Disagree with his politics generally, but love what Iowa Senator Tom Harkin had to say right after the tragic murder of so many thousands in the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers and on some targets in Washington, D.C. as well: “And standing here in the heartland of America, we say in one voice: We will not give in to terrorists; We will not rest until they are found and defeated; We will win this struggle; not for glory, nor wealth, nor power, but for justice, for freedom, and for peace; so help us God.”

Does he remember what he said? Does he remember how he felt?

Even NATO’s North Atlantic Council, declared on Sept. 11, 2001 “At this critical moment, the United States can rely on its Allies in North America and Europe for assistance and support. NATO solidarity remains the essence of our Alliance. Our message to the people of the United States is that we are with you. Our message to those who perpetrated these unspeakable crimes is equally clear: you will not get away with it.”

Do they remember?

And President George (G. W.) Bush, who later was castigated by his political enemies for taking the war to the people who brought it to our shores had this to say on Nov. 11, 2001: “Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”

Ah, yes. That was then, this is now. How easily we Americans are distracted, how easily so many blamed our former president for doing what almost everyone felt had to be done at the time. Perhaps the problem was we did not go in with the intention of winning. Perhaps we were not willing to invest so much treasure, to risk so many lives. Perhaps we were too afraid of being once again termed “imperialists.” So we pretended that we had the problem solved, and then we quit for the most part and came home.

Now, today, we are once again on the brink of another war with enemies of the same ilk as those who instigated and financed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

ON THE SOAP BOX

Let us not forget again. This war has been going on for over 1,500 years, and it will probably go on for another 1,500 years if the world lasts that long. Their choice, not ours. There is no living peacefully, no trust possible when faced with an enemy whose directive from their god, Allah, is to kill all infidels if they cannot be converted. How can we be so naive???

GOOD WISHES

President Bush recently had heart surgery. There was an outpouring of get well wishes. Heard he even got a card from President Obama, who thanked him for always being there when he needed someone to blame.

Seriously, just read on “The White House” web site that President Barack Obama awarded George H.W. Bush the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his commitment to service and ability to inspire volunteerism throughout the country, and for encouraging citizens to be “a thousand points of light.”

The elder President Bush was identified on the White House site as one of 15 recipients of the award in 2010, and 33 since Obama has been in office.

COOKIN’ TIME

BUFFALO POTATO SKINS

This recipe comes courtesy of the WPS Farmnews publication. We’ve all feasted on Buffalo Chicken Wings, but here’s a new twist on that flavor favorite. Great for snacking during a Packer game, or to serve with burgers or brats if you’re not done with outdoor cooking yet. Do we ever really get done with that? Or serve with a green salad for a complete meal, with a nice slice of apple pie with ice cream for dessert. Anyway, here’s the recipe:

6 small to medium Wisconsin baking potatoes

2 tablespoons butter, softened

Sea salt

3 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup bottled ranch dressing

3 tablespoons bottled hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

Cheddar cheese, shredded

Cayenne pepper, ground

Garnish

Celery Sticks

Bleu cheese or ranch dressing

Scrub potatoes clean. Rub outsides with the softened butter and sprinkle with salt. Place potatoes on a shallow baking pan and bake in a 425 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool, then split potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving a scant quarter-inch shell. (Save the insides for American Fries or potato salad for another meal.) Brush the insides of each potato half with the melted butter and sprinkle each with salt to taste. Set aside. In a medium size mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, ranch dressing, hot pepper sauce and black pepper until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chicken. Fill each potato half with two tablespoons of the chicken mixture, heaping up if necessary. Put the filled shells on the baking sheet you cooked the potatoes on in the first place and put it back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and heated through. Remove pan from oven and top potatoes with the shredded cheese and sprinkle with cayenne pepper to taste. Bake another two to three minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese or ranch dressing.

PIROG - RUSSIAN APPLE PIE

4 small apples

3 eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 cup flour

1 dab butter

cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Peel & core apples, then cube into small pieces. Mix eggs, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Rub thin layer of butter inside round 8-inch pie pan. Place cubed apples into buttered pan. Sprinkle desired amount of cinnamon. Pour egg mixture over the apples. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is brown. When cool and firm, cut into slices. Great with vanilla ice cream or cold milk!

AMISH SOUR CREAM APPLE PIE

1 cup sour cream

1 large egg

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups apples, peeled, diced

1 (9 inch) pie shell, unbaked

CRUMB TOPPING:

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat sour cream and egg together; add sugar, flour, salt and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Stir in apples. Place mixture into pie shell and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile combine topping ingredients until crumbly. Remove pie from oven and sprinkle the crumb topping over the top. Bake 20 minutes longer until topping is golden brown.

Thought For The Week: This prayer was composed by a Navy chaplain in remembrance of the first anniversary of the Twin Towers attack. May we cherish the sentiments, and repeat them often: “Almighty God, the past year (dozen years) will be indelibly inscribed in our memories. We looked with horror on the terrorist attacks of last September 11th. But we looked with honor on acts of courage by ordinary people who sacrificed themselves to prevent further death and destruction. We shed our tears in a common bond of grief for those we loved and lost. We journeyed through a dark valley, but Your light has led us to a place of hope. You have turned our grief into determination. We are resolved to do what is good, and right, and just. Help us to remember what it means to be Americans a people endowed with abundant blessings. Help us to cherish the freedoms we enjoy and inspire us to stand with courage, united as one Nation in the midst of any adversity. Lord, hear this prayer for our Nation. Amen.”

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