Country CousinIssue Date: July 31, 2014
Driving northwest one evening last week was astounded to see what appeared to be a bright orange Pac Man in the sky. Realized very quickly it had to be the Sun - but shining through a cloud cover, with a thicker, perfectly straight cloud creating a perfectly straight slice just above the middle. Weird!
Maybe it didnt look like a Pac Man. It was more like one of those Canadians we see on South Park sometimes, but bright orange, like a lighted Jack O Lantern!
AUGUST WEATHER LORE
August, the eighth month of the year, is right around the corner. Arrives on Friday. and the sixth month of the Roman calendar. The Romans thought it was the sixth month of the year, but what did they know?
They called it Sextilis, which means sixth. Then, before Jesus was born, they changed its month to Augustus in honor of the Emperor Augustus Caesar, because many of the important events in his life happened around that time of year. That left us free to decide it was the eighth month a century or five later.
Wikipedia says the Anglo-Saxons called August Weod monath, which means Weed Month, because it is the month when weeds and other plants grow most rapidly. Dont know about that one. Always seemed to me weeds grow fastest in June. Maybe thats because by the time August rolls in Ive given up fighting them!
There are some weather legends about August. The Old Farmers Almanac says to watch on which day in August the first heavy fog occurs and expect a hard frost on the same day in October.
They also say if corn blades twist up, it will rain, and if the first week in August is unusually warm, the winter will be white and long.
Personal prediction: The first week in August wont be warm. Summer is already over. But Winter will still be long and white. Just hope it isnt as long and white as last winter!
This seems to be the year for Centennials in Marinette County. The City of Niagara and the Village of Pound each celebrated their 100th anniversary earlier this month, and this weekend, Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3, Pembine is celebrating with picnic, parade, fireworks, special displays, live music and a whole lot more.
The town officially got started in 1913 and 1914, when it separated from Amberg, but settlement there started a whole lot earlier. Indians who lived there in 1947 called it Pembine for the Pemme Bon Won (Pemene) River that runs through it, and the first land patents there were recorded in 1850, nearly 30 years before Marinette County existed.
Just discovered another new holiday! August 1 is Lammas Day, formerly celebrated in northern England, Scotland, etc. A bit of research shows the holiday - sort of like our Thanksgiving in some ways - originated in pagan times, and continued to have pagan connotations in some circles even after Christianity arrived, but it also was adopted by the early Christians in northern Europe.
On this feast - originally called loaf mass, loaves of bread baked from the first-ripened grain were brought to the churches to be consecrated.
There are also suggestions that the term referred to Lamb Mass, and that the first ripened grain was brought to the churches to be made into Holy Communion bread.
Lammas is recognized in Scottish law as a quarter day, one of the four divisions of the legal year, historically used as the days when contracts and leases would begin and end, servants would be hired or dismissed, and rent, interest on loans, and ministers stipends would become due. The Term Days are Whitsunday (May) and Martinmas (November), Candlemas (February) and Lammas (August). They constitute the Quarter Days. Although they originally occurred on holy days, corresponding roughly to the old Celtic quarter days, but were fixed by the Term and Quarter Days in the Scotland Act 1990 as falling on the 28th day of each corresponding month.
According to The Old Farmers Almanac, after Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day.
In any case, Lammas apparently was cause for major celebrations in many parts of Medieval Europe, where villeins peasants in a state of serfdom - subject to a lord and required to perform work for the lord of the manor. This day meant an end to the hunger they likely suffered before the harvest was ready, and issued in a season of plenty. There would be hard work but lots of company in the fields, reaping the harvest.
Lammas also marked the end of the hay harvest that had started after Midsummer. It was a time to celebrate. At the end of that season, historians say a sheep or lamb would be released among workers in the meadow, and he that caught it could keep it.
Historian William Hone speaks in The Every-Day Book, written in 1838, of a later Lammas day sport common among Scottish farmers near Edinburgh. He says they built towers of peat, leaving a hole for a flagpole in the center so that they may raise their colors. When the flags over the many peat-constructed towers were raised, farmers would go to others towers and attempt to level them to the ground. A successful attempt would bring great praise. However, people were allowed to defend their towers, and so everyone was provided with a tooting-horn to alert nearby country folk of the impending attack and the battle would turn into a brawl.
Must have been a dangerous sport. According to Hone, more than four people had died at this festival and many more were injured. At the days end, races were held, with prizes given to the townspeople.
Wikipedia says Lammas Day used to be a time for foretelling marriages and trying out partners. Two young people would agree to a trial marriage lasting the period of the fair (usually 11 days) to see whether they were really suited for wedlock. At the end of the fair, if they didnt get on, the couple could part.
Lammas was also the time for farmers to give their farm workers a present of a pair of gloves. In Exeter, a large white glove was put on the end of a long pole which was decorated with flowers and held on high to let people know that the merriment of Lammas Fair was beginning.
To bring good luck, farmers would let bread made of the first ripe corn of the season go stale and then crumble it over the corners of their barns for luck in the coming year. This apparently dates back to Pagan customs.
Strange that we do so little to celebrate Christopher Columbus. He set out in his first voyage of discovery on Aug. 3, 1492, and ended up in the Canary Islands, off the coast of South America,
On Aug. 4, 1914, exactly 100 years ago, the First World War - the War to End All Wars, began. It ended four years later, in November of 1918.
Also in August, the Sixth Earl of Sandwich discovered the sandwich, when he ordered a slice of meat placed between two slices of bread for convenience, because he didnt want to interrupt a gambling game to eat. Have heard the game was pool, but certainly have no verification of that.
Just missed the anniversary of the cease fire that ended active fighting in Korea, back on July 27, 1953. Technically, that war ...oops, United Nations police action has never officially ended. We still have troops in the demilitarized zone.
MEATLESS STUFFED ZUCCHINI
At this time of year, anyone with a garden, and most anyone with friends who garden, is looking for new ways to use zucchini. This is a great meatless recipe, ideal as an appetizer, light lunch, or go-with for meats cooked on the grill. Lovely to look at, too. Everyone will think you really slaved away, but its quite, quite easy. If you dont want to turn the oven on, use one of those disposable aluminum pans, seal tightly with foil, and cook on the grill, preferably over indirect heat. Aluminum pans will melt if you get them too hot!
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup dried orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup toasted almonds, rough chopped
4 fresh mint leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnish
Nonstick cooking spray
Feta cheese, for garnish (optional)
Use a paring knife and a small spoon to scoop out the seeds and flesh from the zucchini halves. You want to do this carefully so you have zucchini shells with about 1/4 inch of flesh remaining. If you like, keep the scooped-out zucchini flesh for another recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Prepare the orzo according to the package directions, and then drain. While the orzo cooks, add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook for about 3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the tomatoes, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to release their juice and soften. Add the garlic to the mixture, and toss to combine. Transfer the tomato mixture to a bowl. Toss in the orzo, almonds and mint. Mix to combine. Place the zucchini shells in the baking dish. Use a spoon to fill the zucchini shells, mounding them as you go. Bake for about 10 minutes or until heated through and the zucchini are done as you like them. Remove from oven, sprinkle with feta cheese if you like, and then garnish with extra mint. Serve warm.
GREENS N TATERS FRITATA
Put a few garden greens to good use while theyre still with us! If you dont have any other greens available, spinach will do. Even radish or dandelion greens are good, but you probably want to use them in a mixture. Makes a great breakfast or lunch, or a good snack for any time. Even travels well in a cooler.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small white potatoes, skin on and finely diced
(no larger than 1/4-inch; 1 1/2 cups total)
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1 to 2 bunches turnip or beet greens, stems discarded and leaves sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (you should have 4 cups loosely packed sliced greens)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes and cook over medium high heat until browned on the edges and soft in the center. Add the garlic and season with salt after the potatoes have been cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in the turnip greens and cook until wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the pan, sprinkle with the cheese and transfer to the oven. Bake until the fritata is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
ZUCCHINI FUDGE BROWNIES
Heres another delicious way to get the kids to eat their veggies, but must admit the zucchini content isnt very high! This is a wheat-free variety of Brownie that should be acceptable for folks on gluten free, egg-free diets, and with the artificial sweetener, for folks on low carb diets too.
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons flax meal
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar or substitute (maybe Xylitol)
1/16 teaspoon pure Stevia or another 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
In large mixing bowl combine the first six ingredients. Set this aside for at least five minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray and line it with waxed paper or parchment and spray again. In a separate bowl, mix everything else and stir well. Stir the wet ingredients into dry and stir until evenly mixed. Batter will be very thick. Pour into prepared baking dish and using a fresh sheet of waxed paper, press down firmly until the batter evenly covers the bottom of the baking pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Take out of oven and again press down firmly with a pancake turner or another pan. Let sit about five minutes. Frost with the healthy frosting below, then use a plastic knife to cut into squares. Makes about 20 if you cut them small enough.
HEALTHIER FUDGE FROSTING
Healthy recipe from chocolatecoveredkate.com.
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
Mix frosting ingredients together to form a sauce. Spread sauce over the zucchini brownies, then chill in fridge or freeze 10-20 minutes. The sauce magically transforms into fudgey chocolate frosting! Kate says the brownies taste much richer the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to intensify. Due to the melty nature of the frosting, frosted brownies are best stored in the fridge or freezer (they thaw well).
CHERRY RHUBARB FREEZER JAM
Had a request for a reprint of this freezer jam recipe. Not sure if they wanted the regular or sugar-free versions, so included both. See no reason this couldnt be made with strawberry pie filling and gelatin dessert mix as well, but then leave the almond extract out.
8 cups fresh chopped rhubarb
4 cups sugar
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
1 (5 ounce) package cherry gelatin dessert mix
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Place the diced rhubarb in a large bowl; pour 4 cups sugar over it and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In a separate bowl, mix the cherry pie filling and gelatin dessert mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next day, place the rhubarb mixture in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the fruit is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the pie filling and gelatin mixture. Bring to a medium boil, stirring until no gelatin granules remain and the mixture is completely combined. Stir in almond extract (if using). Refrigerate until completely cooled, then put into plastic containers or glass jars. Store in refrigerator of freeze.
LOWER CARB CHERRY RHUBARB JAM
1 3/4-ounce package Sure-Jell pectin labeled For less or
no sugar needed recipes
3 cups sugar, divided
5 cups coarsely chopped Bing cherries (from about 2
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 1/2 cups unsweetened cherry juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon butter (to prevent foaming)
Combine pectin and 1/2 cup sugar in a large pot. Stir in cherries and rhubarb, then cherry and lemon juices and butter. Bring mixture to a brisk boil over high heat, stirring often. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar. Return jam to a brisk boil, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Ladle jam into sterilized heatproof jars and close with lids. Let cool to room temperature, inverting jars occasionally to distribute fruit. Keeps, chilled, up to 1 month, or indefinitely in freezer. Makes eight one cup jars.
Thought for the week: Lord, help us to be willing to accept Your answer to our prayers, whether or not it is the answer that we thought we wanted. You know that we have trouble with acceptance sometimes, God, so there are times when You will need to help us to be willing to be willing. - Marinette Mayor Denise Ruleau, in Menekaunee Old Timers Picnic invocation.
(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 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)
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