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Country Cousin

Wise...

Hi Folks!

Happy Halloween! It’s the night the witches, haunts and all such other ghosts, ghouls and goblins are allowed to be out and about, according to old tradition, so be careful when walking past cemeteries or down a dark street. You never know!

Old tradition was that on the eve of All Saints Day, anyone or anything that had died and was unhappy with where they ended up was allowed to come back to Earth until the “Witching Hour” of midnight on Nov. 1, which was when All Saints Day officially began. That’s why folks started carving out vegetables and setting them around their homes at night with lighted candles inside - to keep the creatures of darkness away. And being inside the vegetables, they could go to sleep without worrying about starting fires.

CHANGE THE CLOCKS

This weekend, Saturday night, is also the time we get back that hour of sleep we lost last spring when we set our clocks ahead. Just set your clock back before you go to bed Saturday night, Nov. 2, and when you awaken in the morning, you’ll find that everything’s right with the world.

You’ve gained an extra hour of precious sleep, and unless you’re an extremely early riser, you’ll find that the sun arose before you did. That is, in these days of frequent rain and gloom, if good old Sol isn’t hanging out up there with cloudy blankets over his head, trying to put off his rising time. He seems to do that a lot lately.

SAVE THAT LIGHT

Woke up the other morning to a ringing alarm clock and almost total darkness. Had the happy thought that it was still the middle of the night and I could safely go back to sleep. Not true. It was 7 a.m. and cloudy. Hadn’t realized how short the days have become already, even though, according to the calendar Winter is still six or seven weeks away.

Never mind the current frosts, icy blasts and even snow and ice falling from the sky, the calendar claims Winter will not arrive until Dec. 21.

Anyone who wants to can believe that, but my Winter coat is out of the back closet and ready to go.

WISE OLD BEN

Most of us are familiar with Benjamin Franklin, the witty sayings he recorded in Old Richard’s Almanac, and his work as a Founding Father whose wisdom was highly influential in the forming of our great nation.

He also was a philosopher, inventor and humorist. He had such a subtle, sly sense of humor that his compatriots wouldn’t let him write the Constitution for fear he’d embed some humor in it that they wouldn’t catch until after it ws published.

But, as you turn your clocks back Saturday evening, thank Ben Franklin. He actually dreamed up the idea of daylight savings time as a means of saving precious candles and the whale oil they used in lamps. It was a joke, but he presented plans to get folks out of bed earlier so they could enjoy the benefits of the sun when it was up. You see, in his day, especially during his time as Ambassador to France, the high and mighty government folks partied all night in candle lit rooms and seldom arose before noon.

At a party one night, he and friends were discussing ways to save the costs of lighting. Oil and candles were expensive, and Franklin had discovered electricity, but Thomas Edison hadn’t yet gotten round using it in a light bulb.

Anyway, Franklin said he went home to bed with those thoughts on his mind. He wrote: “Three or four hours after midnight, with my head full of the subject, an accidental sudden noise wakened me about six in the morning, when I was surprised to find my room filled with light; and I imagined at first, that a number of those lamps had been brought into it; but, rubbing my eyes, I perceived the light came in at the windows. I got up and looked out to see what might be the occasion of it, when I saw the sun just rising above the horizon, from whence he poured his rays plentifully into my chamber, my domestic having negligently omitted, the preceding evening, to close the shutters.

“I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that it was but six o’clock; and still thinking it something extraordinary that the sun should rise so early, I looked into the almanac, where I found it to be the hour given for his rising on that day. I looked forward, too, and found he was to rise still earlier every day till towards the end of June; and that at no time in the year he retarded his rising so long as till eight o’clock. Your readers, who with me have never seen any signs of sunshine before noon, and seldom regard the astronomical part of the almanac, will be as much astonished as I was, when they hear of his rising so early; and especially when I assure them that he gives light as soon as he rises. I am convinced of this

“Yet it so happens, that when I speak of this discovery to others, I can easily perceive by their countenances, though they forbear expressing it in words, that they do not quite believe me,” Franklin wrote. “One, indeed, who is a learned natural philosopher, has assured me that I must certainly be mistaken as to the circumstances of the light coming into my room; for it being well known, as he says, that there could be no light abroad at that hour, it follows that none could enter from without; and that of consequence, my windows being accidentally left open, instead of letting in the light, had only served to let out the darkness”

He went onto suggest that the populace could be encouraged to rise earlier and take advantage of the natural light by such things as ringing church bells, firing cannons, etc., and by taking advantage of an additional six hours of daylight they could save a total of about 64 million pounds of wax in Paris alone over a six month period starting in spring if people woke up when the sun came up.

ON THE SOAP BOX

REALLY SCARY


But back to Halloween. Most folks today aren’t scared any more by things like ghosts and goblins. Events in the real world are a whole lot scarier, like what’s happening with health care in this country, in the face of the failed Obamacare program, and how the mainstream media tries to sugar coat the bad news when it puts their idol in a bad light.

Nonetheless, some are actually starting to admit that somewhere along the line the politicians were not entirely truthful.

You think???

One article, reads, “...several media reports on Tuesday (Oct. 29) raised questions about whether the administration was completely truthful in selling the program to Americans four years ago, after Obama was first elected president.”

If you recall, and some of us do, when campaigning for his “Affordable Health Care” proposal that puts good old Papa Government in charge of our lives and our fortunes, President Barrack Obama promised:

“If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period!” They have him on tape, speaking at the American Medical Association in Chicago on June 15, 2009. He also promised “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” That also is proving to be not true, but he kept repeating those promises during his 2012 re-election campaign, when Republicans were warning that the law would force millions of Americans to lose their insurance.

“No one will take it away, no matter what,” Obama pledged.

Now, hundreds of thousands of America are being notified that their insurance is being canceled. And even those who want to sign up for the touted ObamaCare can’t because of cronyism in awarding the contract to set up the on-line program for enrollment. All signs are that those notices will keep coming.

Now the the Obama Administration is admitting they knew it all along, and were just lying to us, because we’re too stupid to look out for ourselves! Isn’t that nice of them.

Obama apologists are saying that Obama meant you can keep the insurance you like and can afford if it meets certain federal standards. That might be what he meant, but it most certainly was not what he said. The Tea Party was right.

Washington apologists think we’re so dumb as a nation that we’ll accept the lies. And maybe we are. After all, we re-elected the man!

You know what I’d like to say here, but can’t. Not politically correct. And ladies don’t use the other words that come to mind!

The news article, which starts off sounding kind of balanced goes on to say, “Republican critics pounced on the White House’s defense, saying that Obama had misrepresented the healthcare law for years. They also chided the administration for saying Obama had been surprised by the depth of the glitches on HealthCare.gov, the federal government’s online insurance exchange.”

Obama Care isn’t the only problem that either Obama failed to recognize, tried to hide or chose to ignore.

Some media pundits are now recognizing that their favorite president goes out of his way to not take responsibility for anything bad that happens. Maybe his staff really doesn’t keep him informed, but if that’s a fact, there’s still a big problem. It’s his job to know where the Ship of State is headed. He’s the captain!

On Capitol Hill Monday, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated Obama apparently had not known that communications of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a key friend of the United States, had been collected by US agencies since 2002. At least she admitted that was a problem.

Administration people claim ignorance in other sensitive matters, including the fatal attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, last year and “the flap” over the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups.

We need a president who is aware of the world around him, not one whose main defense to nearly every crisis seems to be that he didn’t know. Or does he?

HAUNTING FUN

Enough on really scary things. Let’s get back to Halloween. Presenting for your Halloween pleasure (and to get our minds off the world’s woes) some very phunny riddles. Not to exhibit prejudice for one type of haunt over another, we’ve tried to annoy them all.

What kind of street do ghosts like best?

A dead end.

What did papa ghost say to baby ghost?

Fasten your sheet belt.

How do ghosts fly from one place to another?

By scareplane.

What kind of ghost haunts a hen house?

Poultry-geists.

Why do ghosts go to baseball games?

They like to boo the umpire.

What do you call a ghost in a torn sheet

A holey terror.

What’s a monster’s favorite sundae topping

Whipped Scream.

Why did the game warden arrest the ghost?

He didn’t have a haunting license.

What is a witch with poison ivy called?

An itchy witchy. (No! Don’t you dare add that next word!)

COOKIN’ TIME

Chilly days bring on a renewed interest in cooking for some of us. The deer hunters are preparing for annual treks to favorite hunting grounds, and many homes in TIMESland are where they gather, so we need food prepared ahead to either send along or to feed our orange clad guests. Hunters get really hungry after a day in the cold, cold woods!

CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SOUP

Hot and hearty, this is a great healthy treat. Keep in fridge for whenever its needed.

6 chicken thighs

2 1/2 cups egg noodles

2 onions, chopped

5 carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced into half moons

5 celery stalks, washed, and sliced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced (preferably porcini)

1/2 cup kale, washed and chopped

8 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon, or more, salt (preferably iodized sea salt)

1 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, heat it briefly, and add the chicken thighs. Cook for 4 minutes, and then flip. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saut for another 4 minutes. Add 3 quarts of water, stir, and bring ingredients to a boil. Add the kale and mushrooms, check salt levels and add more if needed. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the egg noodles and simmer until noodles are cooked, another 20 minutes. Before serving, check salt levels and add more if needed.

PUMPKIN PIE SPICE

Some recipes call for Pumpkin Pie Spice, but who wants to buy some when the ingredients are already in the cupboard. Here’s how its made:

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

Mix ingredients well. Makes 1 teaspoon. Use in any recipe calling for pumpkin pie spice. Better yet make up a larger batch by multiplying ingredients and save it in a jar so you don’t need to fuss next time.

OATMEAL CARAMEL APPLE COOKIES

These are healthy as cookies go, and they travel well.

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 cups old fashioned oats

6 oz Kraft caramel baking bits

1 1/2 cups honey crisp apples peeled and chopped

In a bowl combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Place the butter and sugars in a stand mixer and beat 2 to 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs and mix for 2 to 3 minutes more. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula. Pour in the flour mixture and beat on slow until combined. Then add the oats and mix just until blended. Mix in the apples and caramel baking bits with a wooden spoon. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or butter it well. Scoop dough onto the baking sheet leaving 1 1/2 inches between dough as the cookies will spread. Bake until golden brown 12-15 minutes. Place on a rack to cool.

Thought for the Week: Many thanks to those of you who offered prayers on behalf of my loved ones recently. Their outcomes are all good, and we are all busy thanking God.

On a lighter note, one reason there are couples in this world is so that each half can help the other become the best person that he or she can be. That’s why “behind every successful man you’ll find a woman pushing and rolling her eyes,” as Jim Carry said in “Bruce Almighty.”

(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 to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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