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Country Cousin

Veterans...

Hi Folks!

We don’t even need a weatherman any more. Seems like every day we can just tell each other it will be cold, wet, windy and rainy. The sun might shine for a minute or two. Remember last fall? There was something said about a drought, and lakes, rivers and streams drying up.

It’s been so damp lately, whether it’s raining or not we needed the windshield wipers on just to wipe the sodden air off! When rain wasn’t falling, moisture was simply hanging there.

Anyway, should the skies clear up in the next week or so, if you’re not too cold, get outside and take a look at the sky. Nov. 5 through 12 is the best time to see the Taurid meteor shower, in which shooting stars can be quite spectacular. You might get to make a lot of wishes. Under clear, dark skies, some 10 to 15 Taurids may appear per hour. They are often yellowish-orange and, according to wunderground Weather, as meteors go, they appear to move rather slowly.

Their name comes from the way they seem to radiate from the constellation Taurus, the Bull, which sits low in the east a couple of hours after sundown and is almost directly overhead by around 1:30 a.m. Even on Nov. 12, the bright moon will depart the scene just as Taurus is reaching its highest point in the sky.

By the way, if it’s still raining, don’t bother!

SNOW TIME

Guess we can consider ourselves lucky. An early winter storm on Tuesday dumped over half a foot of snow on parts of Minnesota and South Dakota. At least a month ago some places in far northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula had significant snow cover.

VETERAN’S DAY

Much has been said about the valor of our fighting men (and women) going off to war. While it is all very true, and honorable, it’s pretty much a certainty that most of them had every intention of coming back. As General George Patton declared, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

It’s also a pretty safe bet that most of them who saw battle surprised even themselves. They looked death in the face and fought back. They did what they had to do, and did it well, and then most of them came home and and lived ordinary lives, and deny they were heroes.

But they were, and we who were not called upon to fight must never forget that.

As Emily Davis said, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

THANK A VET

How sad our nation’s veterans must be to see the freedoms for which they so valiantly fought being stripped from this nation one by one.

No matter how badly we as a nation have misused the freedoms they fought for, our Veterans deserve enduring thanks. Some gave their lives. Some gave their limbs. Some gave peace of mind as they live in memory of horrors they have seen overseas so that no American ever had to see them here.

Whether we honor those who died by attending a memorial service or placing flowers on their graves, or honor those who still live by thanking them for their services and sacrifices, we must not forget.

Today, so it gets there on time, send a card or gift to thank a forgotten veteran at the Veteran’s Hospitals in Iron Mountain or Milwaukee or the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at King, 2665 County Road QQ, King, WI 54946-0600. If you have time, offer to correspond. Some of these forgotten soldiers have no families to visit them, and so much time has passed that friends have passed on. We cannot ease their physical pains or take away the horrific memories, but we can send some kind words to bring at least a bit of sunshine to someone’s day. Caregivers at the hospitals should know which veterans need a card the most.

And then, at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, pause for a moment. Bow your head in prayer and spend a moment of contemplation of what life might have been here if it were not for the brave men and women who served on our behalf.

ON THE SOAP BOX

MAKING REPARATIONS


This year in particular, we need to let the Veterans know we care. Most of us stood by calmly while Obamacrats in Washington, during the very selective so-called government shut down, barred them from visiting the national monuments dedicated in their honor, and then a few days later allowed a demonstration in support of illegal immigrants.

American justice? Indeed!

Think some real justice needs to be applied in the right places, and hopefully that will be in the voting booths during the next national election.

MORE SOAP BOX

POOR PLACES


Received some information, part of which was based on United States Census data.

The 10 poorest cities in the nation, with the greatest percentage of people living below the poverty level, have one thing in common. Guess what that is?

1. Detroit, Mich., 32.5%, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1961.

2. Buffalo, N. Y., 29.9%, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1954.

3. Cincinnati, Ohio, 27.8%, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1984.

4. Cleveland, Ohio, 27%, hasn’t elected s Republican mayor since 1989.

5. Miami, Fla., 26.9%, has never had a Republican mayor.

6. St. Louis, MO., 26.8%, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1949.

7. El Paso, Tex., has never had a Republican mayor.

8. Milwaukee, Wis., 26.2%, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1908.

9. Philadelphia, PA, 25.2%, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1952.

10. Newark, N.J., 24.2%, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1907.

Coincidence???

HOME INVADER

A word of warning to pet owners considering installing a 2-way pet door. Don’t!

At least, don’t do it if you live out in the boonies. Take it from Yours Truly, those doors that let pets in and out also let wild critters in and out.

Came home the other day to find a half eaten apple by the door and another by the dining room table, obviously lifted from a box of apples that haven’t yet been turned into sauce or pies or the Cinnamon Red Hot slices I’ve come to love.

Never heard of such a thing before, but thought the cats had taken to eating apples. They’d been on their own for two days, after all.

Next night though, caught a strong scent of fresh apple while at the computer. There in the corner between the apples and the kitchen table was a ‘possum, happily munching. The cats simply ignored him. He looks pretty much like a rat, but he was as big as they are, so they obviously didn’t want to choose sides in that fight. They don’t eat apples anyway.

Have heard that those nocturnal critters can get ugly, so tiptoed back to the computer. Didn’t know what else to do. When I came back, he was gone.

But he came back the next night. Enough is enough! Shouted and stomped, and out he scampered, through the cat door, exactly the way he’d come in.

Figured that was the last we’d see of him. Not true.

The fourth night he was back again, and this time noise didn’t make him run. Threw a shoe at him and missed. He didn’t move. Not having a more violent weapon at hand, grabbed a spray bottle of Awesome. Sprayed it right in his face, making sure to leave his path to the door clear. He (or she) just went on eating. Got some Windex, figuring the ammonia it contains would have more impact. Sprayed him again, more than a little bit. He had dragged over a plastic bag from somewhere, and instead of heading out the door pulled that bag over himself and lay still, playing ‘possum, just like the nature books tell you they do.

Hated to go to bed with that critter in the house, but it was too late to call on anybody for help, and certainly wouldn’t go near him. Finally shut the bedroom door and crashed for the night. Didn’t sleep well. Kept having nightmares that he had managed to get into the bedroom. Finally got up and found out he was gone, or at least he wasn’t where he had been. Barricaded the cat door and went back to bed. And then couldn’t sleep for fear he had simply gone somewhere else in the house and I’d barricaded him in rather than out.

Next morning called on my son, the trapping expert, to take care of the problem, so hopefully the ‘possum will be gone. And so will the cat door. Guess a litter box will have to do.

HALLOWEEN CANDY

Halloween has come and gone, but some of the candy that came home with little monsters is still hanging around. One mom says she confiscates part of the excess candy to use later for Advent calendars. Have the kids create calendars if you don’t have ready made ones available. At the appropriate time, when Advent begins 26 days before Christmas, have them tape a piece of candy to each of the days. They then get to eat each day’s candy to watch time pass until Christmas.

COOKIN’ TIME

BEEFY BEER STEW

This man-pleaser takes 10 hours to cook in a slo cooker, but requires very little effort on your part. Serve with warm crusty bread and a dark beer or ale. Great take-along for deer camp. Great for at home, too. The original recipe called for 1/3 cup golden raisins in addition to everything else listed, but I never hd the courage to do that, and it tastes perfectly fine. You may want to try it for yourself, though. Will try adding rutabaga some day.

1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, tied

Salt

Pepper

2 medium onions, sliced

2 pounds carrots, sliced

2 tablespoons water

1 bottles (12-ounce) dark beer (such as a brown ale)

1/3 cup white (distilled) vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Green beans, for serving (if desired)

Rub one beef chuck roast with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium-high until very hot. Brown roast on all sides. Transfer to 6- to 7-quart slow cooker bowl. To skillet, add onions, carrots, water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook on medium-high 2 to 4 minutes or until slightly softened, stirring. Add beer and vinegar. Simmer 4 minutes, stirring. Transfer vegetables and liquids to slow cooker along with ketchup, raisins (if you’re using them), and brown sugar. Cover and cook 10 hours on Low or until tender. Skim and discard fat from cooking liquid. Slice meat; serve with over buttered noodles or mashed potatoes and green beans, if desired. Drizzle with cooking liquid.

HOMEMADE MAC ‘N’ CHEESE

Almost as easy as the pre-packaged kind. You make it all in one pan. Use chunk cheese and grate it yourself for the best results. The pre-packaged grated cheeses contain cornstarch to keep shreds from sticking together.

4 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flour

3 1/2 cups half and half

8 ounces (about 3 cups) dry macaroni, you can also use

fusilli or penne pasta

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated or cut into thin slices

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the oregano, salt and flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add the half and half and stir until it boils and becomes smooth. Add pasta and bring to a boil again. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked through. Add the cheese and stir until it melts and is mixed through. Serve immediately.

GREEK KOULOURAKIAS (COOKIES)

Prepare for Deer Camp or get a head start on Christmas baking with these delicious cookies. They keep for a long, long time if tightly sealed. Recipe makes about 6 dozen. They’re even fairly nourishing as cookies go. You’ll need to put the egg whites to some other purpose, like an angel food cake or a meringue torte.

1 pound butter, softened

12 egg yolks

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla, whiskey, brandy or anise

5 teaspoons baking powder

10 cups (about) flour

1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water (optional)

Sesame seeds colored sugar sprinkles (optional)

Beat butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until blended; fold by hand into whipped butter. Stir baking soda into orange juice (it will foam up, so use a large cup), and beat into butter mixture along with flavoring of your choice. (The mixture will look slightly curdled). Whisk baking powder into 5 cups of the flour and beat into the butter mixture. Continue adding flour until the dough has enough body to be shaped. (You may or may not need the entire 10 cups. Just as with pie crust, even the outside humidity makes a difference.) Chill for 30 minutes or longer. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off a heaping teaspoon of dough at a time and roll lightly into a pencil-thin strip about 6 inches long. Form strip into circle, pinching ends together. (Or fold strip in half and give it a couple of twists.) Place on ungreased cookie sheets and brush with egg wash. If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until light brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on wire racks, and store in tightly covered container. Cookies keep for a long time and improve with age.

Thought for the Week: Treat our veterans with reverence and respect, and be a watchdog to be sure our government honors its commitments to them. This is not only just, it is self serving and may protect our nation in the future. As George Washington advised when the United States of America was new: “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

(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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