Country CousinIssue Date: June 20, 2019
June has busted out all over! Leaves have furled and flowers are blooming. Lawns, fields and forests in TIMESland are so green it almost hurts the eyes to look at them. This past weekend we enjoyed balmy nights - relatively balmy anyway - with a bright Strawberry Moon shining its way across the sky, accompanied by the Wishing Star.
Remember old childhood plea - "Star light, star bright, bring me what I wish tonight"? You got to say it and then make your wish if you saw that bright star when it was very obviously the only bright object in the early evening sky besides the moon. Just like blowing out the birthday candles, you weren't allowed to tell anyone what you were wishing for or that wish wouldn't come true.
Personally wish nights like that would happen all year round, and that Summer wouldn't move along quite so swiftly when it finally gets here.
Summer - the longest day of the year - is due to arrive officially on Friday, June 21. Then, just a week later it's Fourth of July weekend and Summer is one third over. How can that happen?
Also hope all you Devoted Dads had a wonderful Father's Day, surrounded by the people you love most.
Wish my own Dad had been here so I could tell him how much I miss him. As the years go by I gain more and more appreciation for what he did for us, how hard he worked, how much he sacrificed for us.
When I was young Dad usually worked two and sometimes three jobs to provide us with everything we needed and most of what we wanted.
He never made us kids feel like we were nuisances, or in the way. We knew he loved us and Mom to no end.
He never hit us. Didn't have to. If there was spanking to be done Mom did it. Dad's loud voice was enough to make us do what he said. Later, we toed the mark because we wanted to make him proud of us. That's a good way to feel.
Thank you, Dad, for all you did, and for the legacy of hard work and integrity that hopefully has been passed on through the generations to your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and now great great grandchildren. Because of you my world is a better place than it would have been without you.
Summer fun times are underway. As kids, we wanted to do something special to celebrate the first day of summer, so we declared it to be Old Maids Day, which my two closest cousins and I had decided we would be when we grew up. Changed our minds about that as we grew up, but the significance of the day continues.
You can celebrate summer this Friday, June 21, by joining the fun at the monthly Country Gospel Jam from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Stephenson Town Hall on County X west of Crivitz. "Voices of Peace" will be joining other musicians and those who enjoy listening to music for an evening filled with faith, fun, friends, and food. Bring an instrument to play, a song to sing, food to share, if you want to, or just bring yourself. There's no charge, and refreshments are provided.
Porterfield Country Fest is in progress through Sunday, June 23.
Jack Gifford and Matt Kolb will be performing at a free community concert in Peshtigo's Badger Park starting at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.
On Wednesday, June 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. the free summer "Bands at Badger" program features Sunny & The Heat . Bring your own lawn chair. Concessions are available from about 5 p.m. The summer Bands at Badger concerts are sponsored by Peshtigo Womans Club.
Performances by the Crivitz Ski Cats at Lake Noquebay County Park and Twin Bridge Ski Team at the Town of Stephenson's Boat Landing 3 are starting for the season.
The Crivitz Ski Cats will perform at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 and again at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26 and most Wednesdays and a few Saturdays throughout the summer. They're planning a beach party at the park with food and games starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, followed by a 6 p.m. ski show. Check their web site. Bring your own blanket!
The Twin Bridge Ski Team has shows starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, Saturday, June 22, and most Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the summer, except o n July 18 and 20 and Aug. 3.
DAIRY MONTH COW FACTS
It's still June Dairy Month, so here are a few fun facts about cows and dairy farming:
As kids on grandpa's farm we avoided stepping in cow pies or deer apples on our treks through the pasture and into the woods. Today, have to chuckle every time I see a sign offering "Deer Apples" for sale. (Now the DNR has outlawed deer baiting, so those signs aren't as frequent, but whether the DNR likes it or not, deer still get together to eat wherever there is good food to share. Maybe they're a lot like humans that way.)
It's funny thing. Farming experts are now promoting the notion of pasturing cows on grazing land to give them the benefit of fresh food, and give the pastures the benefit of fresh fertilizer, with no human intervention required. Strange new idea? That's the way my grandpas farmed nearly a century ago, and their forefathers before them. The notion of penning up cows and bringing food to them is a relatively new notion, and turns out to be not that good an idea after all!
Cows reportedly have a good sense of smell, and can smell something up to six miles away!
Cows that are allowed to graze freely in open pastures generally come in on their own when it's time for them to be milked. Am told that they get uncomfortable when their milk bags get too heavy and show up voluntarily for milking duty.
Once my kid sister lost her Timex watch in an alfalfa field while making hay on their farm. The next summer the watch was found, still running, in a bale of hay they were preparing to feed to their cows.
ON THE SOAP BOX
On his website, Charlie Kirk points out that during former President Barrack Obama's first four years in the White House, America had:
*Record high food stamp enrollment
*ISIS was on the rise
*The National debt was up by $5.3 Trillion!
After 4 years of President Donald Trump we have:
*6 million new jobs
*2 million Americans off food stamps
*ISIS is completely obliterated
Kirk notes that there were 150,000 requests for tickets to the kick-off rally for President Trump's re-election campaign, but only 25,000 people were actually able to attend.
He declares that President Donald Trump has indeed been making America great again, and says the Democrats are worried, and rightly so.
In another segment Kirk predicts that Donald Trump will go down as the most honest President in US history, and that he has kept - or tried to keep - every campaign promise.
He notes that under Trump's watch ISIS has been obliterated, the United States Embassy in Israel has been moved to Jerusalem where it belongs, the wall is being built, trade deals have been renegotiated, wage-earners in our nation have enjoyed the largest ever tax cuts in our nation's history, and we are all continuing to benefit from the roaring economy.
Why would anyone want to change that?
ON THE SOAP BOX
KEEP WISCONSIN GREAT!
After Gov. Scott Walker, a conservative Republican, took office in January of 2011 Wisconsin's economy began to bloom and it has continued to do so for eight years. There are higher wages and lower unemployment rates than at any prior time in this state's history!
Let's hope Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, does nothing to change that!
One of Walker's crowning achievements was the passing of Act 10, which ended the stranglehold unions had on our public institutions.
As a reporter and as former elected official I personally watched for years as unions forced school boards and county government to accept contracts that were a disservice both to the public and to the employees the unions were supposed to represent.
Act 10 did not take away the rights of public employees - it restored their right to decide for themselves whether they did or did not want to pay dues to a particular union, and restored the right of elected officials to run the schools and government department in the best interest of taxpayers, not the best interests of union bosses.
Have used this example before, and will use it again, but recall some years ago a school district in Marinette County was sued by the teachers' union for terminating the services of a teacher. Thank goodness they lost!
At the time the suit was filed the former employee was serving time in prison after being convicted of sexual activities involving a student that happened in school, during school hours, while he was a teacher. His position was eliminated by the School Board before he was charged and convicted, and that's why the Teachers' Union filed to collect back wages on his behalf. The school board had to eliminate the entire program in order to discharge the teacher, by the way. At the time they did not have enough evidence to convict him. That came later.
If I were a teacher forced to pay dues to that union (which that school's teachers were at the time), I would be livid!
Teachers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves whether they do or do not want to support a union, and we as a state ought to give them credit for that. Act 10 did not outlaw unions for public employees. It did limit the unions' bargaining "rights" and restored the right of public employees to decide for themselves whether to pay - or not pay - dues to an organization they might abhor.
For the good of Wisconsin, and for the good of the public employees who work for us, including the teachers, let's hope the Wisconsin Legislature does not obliterate all the good that Act 10 has done!
THE SWEETEST FRUIT
Strawberries are a favorite fruit of almost everyone, and they're either starting to ripen in this area, or will be starting soon. If you don't have a strawberry patch of your own, call your own favorite pick your own strawberry farm or check the web to find out. Once the sweet local berries ripen they'll start being offered at roadside stands and farmer's markets too, so prepare to enjoy! The difference between vine ripened, locally grown strawberries and the versions trucked in from other states is almost as great as the difference between locally grown, vine ripened tomatoes and the cardboard varieties we too often end up buying.
As noted, this is still June Dairy Month, and strawberries are in season. Whoever designated June as Dairy Month really knew what they were doing. What better combination could there be than strawberries and cream, or even plain milk?
When I was visiting Crivitz, Germany, my host picked fresh strawberries from his garden. His lovely wife served them to us sliced and lightly sugared, with just plain milk poured over them, and they were delicious!
My mother-in-law introduced me to the concept of serving sliced strawberries and bananas mixed together, with nothing added except sometimes orange chunks, as a salad to go with dinner. This is exceptional with chicken or ham meals.
TATER TOTS POTATO CRAB MELT
New take on a traditional Tater Tot Casserole. Features milk and two kinds of cheese, so it's good for June Dairy Month too. Easy to make, and serves 12 people, unless some of them are really, really hungry.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise (the real thing)
1 cup milk
3 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet red peppers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 cans crabmeat, 6 ounces each, drained and flaked, or a pound of imitation crab meat, flaked
32-ounce package of Tater Tots
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Paprika for garnish
Buttery flavored cooking spray
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X12 casserole dish with cooking spray. Mix cream cheese, mayo and milk in a medium bowl until well blended. Add onions, red peppers, parsley lemon juice, black pepper, seasoned salt and hot sauce and mix well. Stir in the grated Swiss cheese and flaked crab meat. Put into the prepared casserole dish. Arrange Tater Tots in a single layer on top. Spray on a little more cooking spray and sprinkle on enough paprika to make it look pretty. Bake 35 minutes or until the Tater Tots brown and the casserole is heated through.
STRAWERRY CHEESECAKE PIE
12 graham crackers, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 packages (8 ounces each) Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1 cup heavy cream, whipped and lightly sweetened with sugar and vanilla
Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar and press into a 13X9 inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling. Beat Neufchatel or cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the remaining sugar with a mixer until creamy and well blended. Add preserves and beat again until well blended. Mash strawberries with remaining sugar, and then fold in the whipped cheese mixture. Fold in the whipped cream and spread over the crust. Refrigerate four hours or until firm. Serve with additional whipped cream if desired.
This cake calls for a lot of special ingredients, but it's meant as a treat for those on gluten free diets. Actually, it's a treat or anybody .
Makes one 8-inch cake
1 cup full-fat coconut milk (canned)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup superfine brown rice flour
3/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar or brown sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
3 small eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
3 ounces diced rhubarb
3 ounces sliced strawberries
3 ounces raspberries
1/2 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Stir the coconut milk and lemon juice together and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the superfine brown rice, millet, quinoa, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and ground ginger. In a medium bowl, rub 1/2 cup of the sugar together with the lemon zest until it becomes very fragrant. Add the eggs, coconut milk mixture, and olive oil and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and fold to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and top with rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar and ground pink peppercorns. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes before serving. Store wrapped in the refrigerator.
Thought for the week: A Sunday school lesson says life is a lot like a pencil. There is lead inside the pencil. In the Bible (1 Samuel 16:7) there is a text that states that where people look at outward appearance, God looks at the core, the heart. He knows that our real purpose and talent lies on the inside, just like a pencil. When we make a mistake and do things we regret, we can ask God to forgive us and he will erase all our sins. Another part of the lesson says just as a pencil, we only are able to create the most beautiful things when directed by someone's hand, Gods hand. Thankfully, God wants nothing more but to hold us and lead us. If we lay our lives in Gods hand, our life will leave an incredible trace, and through us, God can create the most beautiful picture of himself.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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