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

Issue Date: September 26, 2019

Shirley Prudhomme

Pray Instead...

It just keeps raining. Maybe that's why the leaves aren't as brightly colored as they are by this time in normal years. Things apparently won't be getting better any time soon. Weather forecast through the end of the month calls for slightly cooler temperatures, but thunderstorms or showers are predicted for at least part of almost every day except for Saturday, Sept. 28. Sunshine must be scheduled for that date in honor of Peshtigo's Big Historical Day Celebration, which comes complete with parade at 10:30 in the morning, fireworks at night, and lots of fun in between.

We've had some nights chilly enough for furnaces to kick in, but so far no killing frost, and that's a plus. Maybe global warming is real. Or maybe this is just part of another weather cycle and we'll get over it. Median date of the first freeze in most of TIMESland is between Sept. 21 and Sept. 30, but in the parts closest to the Bay of Green Bay the first frost of Autumn generally comes a week or so later, so our current lack of frost isn't setting any records.

That is, no records in regard to temperatures. When it comes to rainfall, that's a bit different. We're getting close. According to the National Weather Service, so far this month we've had about 9 inches of rain which is about four inches above average. Didn't find to date records for September, but the official record for August was set in 1975 when 9.04 inches of rain fell. That was far, far above the .36 of an inch that fell in August of 1899. Average Peshtigo rainfall in August is 5.06 inches.

Am looking for anyone who has data on how many inches of rain we've had so far this year anywhere in TIMESland, and am somewhat afraid to think what that will translate to when it starts coming down as snow.

As to temperatures, the all-time August high was 100 degrees set on Aug. 24, 1948, and the low was 38 degrees, recorded on Aug. 22, 1967, Aug. 29, 1965, and Aug. 22, 1950.

FALL COLORS

The autumn colors may be a bit more muted than usual so far this year, but the forests are still beautiful. The weekend coming up is Fall Color Weekend in Gov. Thompson State Park, and the sunshine predicted for Saturday, Sept. 28 should help. Visitors are invited to take a self-guided hike on one of the many scenic trails in the park and enjoy refreshments provided by the Friends of Governor Thompson State Park. Park admission is required. A park sticker or daily pass can be purchased at the park office.

Crivitz Business Association is holding its annual Fall Harvest Fest craft sale and show with food and concessions from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Crivitz High School on Saturday, Sept. 28.

GARDEN CHORES

Winter is coming on fast. Whenever the rain lets up, take advantage of the opportunity to get some outdoor chores done. You can wait until after the first frost to harvest Brussels Sprouts and parsnips, but keep an eye on the weather so you either get other garden produce, especially tomatoes, picked before it freezes or covered so the frost doesn't settle.

Apples are falling. Be sure to clean up any fallen fruit to help keep unwanted pests out of your yard. On the other hand, deer like to eat them, and neglecting to rake up fallen apples isn't illegal, while deer baiting is.

At all seasons of the year, compost garden debris and kitchen scraps to nourish your soil for next planting season. Coffee grounds and vegetable peels are particularly good for that.

Save newspapers through the winter and so they'll be ready for you to use in the garden next spring in multiple layers to keep weeds down between the rows. Eventually they break down and add fiber and nutrients to the soil. In the short term they keep weeds down, keep moisture in, and help keep pests out.

Take root cuttings now from annuals like begonias, geraniums, and impatiens; plant them in containers and keep them in a sunny place indoors. You can enjoy their blossoms indoors all winter and plant them outside again in spring.

Save seeds from your favorite self-pollinating flowers. Dry them and store them in sealed containers for the winter to be ready for planting in spring. Dig gladiola and dahlia bulbs and store them in a cool dry place as well. Lots of folks are happily surprised to find out next planting season that their seeds and bulbs have evolved a bit to create colors they didn't have before.

ON THE SOAP BOX

STUDENT PROTESTS

Speaking of weather, students were busy this past week demonstrating against climate change. Considering the One who is ultimately responsible for our weather, if they're sincerely concerned they probably should be praying instead of demonstrating!

Wonder how many of those students would be willing to give up riding in cars and airplanes, wash their clothes on scrub boards and dry them on clotheslines, turn off their stereos, TVs and cell phones, shut off the lights and give up air conditioning and hot and cold running water to save the planet?

ON THE SOAP BOX

MORE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Need to wonder who stands to profit this time around from all the climate change hoopla. Recently heard a speaker say that a new save the planet craze comes around about every 9 to 12 years, and a little checking shows that he was pretty much right.

Remember?

In 1970, the new ice age was coming. In 1980 it was acid rain. In 1990 the ozone layer was depleted. In 2000 Global Warming was melting all the glaciers and the civilized world was going to be flooded out. Now, in 2019, it's climate change, whatever that is, that's going kill us all.

Guess what? They were wrong in 1970, they were wrong in 1980, and 990, and 2000, and they're wrong again. Wonder what the next environmentalist panic will be about? Also wonder who stands to profit from it?

Someone made a pretty profit when they outlawed my 100 watt light bulbs in favor of the new variety they say last longer, even though they cost more and don't give as much light.

RENEWABLE RESOURCES

Water power can produce a great deal of entirely renewable energy, but the environmentalists are somehow opposed to that, even though all forms of wildlife seem to thrive in the flowages created by hydro electric dams.

Many years ago, another totally renewable resource - human excrement - was turned into what was called City Gas at a plant in Menominee. That gas was used to heat homes and cook meals in Marinette and Menominee when I was a girl, and I am sure the same technology was used in a lot of other cities around the world. For whatever reason, that production of methane gas was stopped.

Have been told that was because of the inherent dangers of methane, but natural gas and propane are pretty dangerous too if leaks occur. Technology must have changed a bit since the 1950s when the Menominee City Gas plant closed.

Am quite sure with today's technologies methane gas could again be sold as a viable energy source, and that it could be used to produce electricity as well. Am also sure that animal wastes - manure - could do the same. There we'd be solving problems of what to do with the wastes as well as producing totally renewable energy.

Now, if we could just find a way to capture all the hot air in the Washington Swamp and convert it into usable energy we'd be accomplishing something!

COOKIN' TIME

Have recently been enjoying Lions Mane and Chicken of the Woods mushrooms, treats that are new to our family and have been discovered growing bountifully in our woods this damp autumn. Am told by a UWEX advisor that he knows of no poisonous "shelf" mushrooms, but some are tastier than others.



AMAZING MUFFIN CUPS

Want a handy, healthy breakfast that you can fix ahead and enjoy on the run? Try these! Take only minutes to make, and keep nicely, including in the freezer.

3 cups frozen hash browns, thawed

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 package breakfast sausage links

6 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded cheese (maybe Mexican blend)

1/4 chopped red or green bell pepper

Chopped fresh chives or green onions

buttery flavored non-stick spray

Spray 12 muffin cups with buttery flavored non-stick spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl combine the hash browns, salt and pepper. Press this mixture into the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, cook the sausages according to package instructions and cut into half-inch pieces. Beat the eggs, milk and pepper in the same bowl. After the potato cups are lightly browned, take muffin cups out of the oven. Into each muffin cup put equal amounts of sausage pieces, chopped bell peppers, and the cheese, in that order. Spoon the egg mixture over them. Sprinkle on the chives and bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until set. Makes 12 muffins, which generally will feed six people. To make giant muffins, double the regular recipe and divide as above between 12 jumbo muffin cups. Bake crusts for 12 minutes, then add the other ingredients as above and bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until set.



SUPER SUPPER CHOWDERS

Here's a base for a variety of chowders that you can vary to your heart's content. Your family will love you for it!

Basic Chowder:

3 strips bacon

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups chicken broth (or 2 chicken bouillon cubes and 2 cups water)

4 cups cubed potatoes

Veggies from the chowder of your choice

4 cups milk

6 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or black)

Dice the bacon strips and fry until crisp in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Add the chopped onion and sauté until tender. Add the chicken broth or bouillon cubes and water, potatoes, and vegetables from the recipe you have selected. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, flour, salt and pepper. When the vegetables are tender, stir this mixture into the kettle and boil gently for about three minutes or until thickened slightly. Add the stir-ins and head through again.



CHEESE AND VEGGIE CHOWDER

Basic chowder recipe

Vegetables:

1 cup diced carrots

15-ounce can corn, drained

1 box frozen chopped kale

Stir ins:

6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese 1 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup sliced scallions or chopped chives



SALMON AND DILL CHOWDER

Be sure to get all the skin and bones out of the salmon. And if you have a cat, give these to your pet as a treat, along with the juice you drain from the salmon. (Actually, I like to eat the bones myself, but don't tell anybody, especially not the cat.).

Vegetables:

2 cups frozen baby green peas

1 cup shredded carrots

Stir ins:

1 can pink salmon, cleaned, drained and broken up

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

CORN AND CLAM:

Vegetables:

15 ounce can corn, drained

3/4 cup chopped celery

Stir ins:

2 cans (6.5 ounces each) minced clams

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Use your imagination to come up with other ideas. For example, 1 cup diced kohlrabi could be a vegetable along with a cup of shredded carrots, and for that a diced can of Spam could be the add-in. Serve with crackers or crusty whole wheat rolls and enjoy. Happy eating!



SALTED APPLE CARAMEL CHEESECAKE BARS

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup salted caramel topping

Streusel Topping:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

Instructions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 13x9 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust bakes, prepare the streusel topping. Then peel, core and chop the apples and mix them in a small bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar plus the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla. Stir to combine.

When the crust is done baking take it out of the oven and pour the egg mixture over the hot crust. Spread the apple mixture over this, and then sprinkle evenly evenly with Streusel topping (recipe below).

Bake 28-30 minutes or until filling is set. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to set and make them easier to cut. Drizzle with caramel topping before serving.



Thought for the week: Have mentioned before that we seem to be able to have either time or money, but never both at the same time? Mostly, when there's a choice, we choose money. Maybe we ought to give more thought to time. Time waits for no man. We can never go back to tomorrow. We can save time, but we cannot put it away for the future. We use it today, or lose it! Savor today, because as the old adage says, "Tomorrow never comes." Using our precious time for the important things in life and using our energies to fight for things that are worth fighting for are the keys to long-term happiness, and hopefully a contented old age.

Country Cousin



(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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