Country CousinIssue Date: October 10, 2019
Golden Autumn Days.....
The beautiful golden days of Autumn are finally here. The Sun delivered them! Trees are putting on their Fall attire, decking themselves mostly in gold this year. Scarlet seems to be lagging behind, but perhaps that too will come. Lots of trees that haven't already stripped down for the winter still have plenty of green leaves that could still be transformed into wonderful fall foliage. Hope so.
Can't wait to take a ride through the county forest and its wonderful golden cathedral roads - mainly County I north of C, which used to be part of Parkway Road and still should be. It leads to McClintock and Goodman Parks, after all! Predictors said this coming weekend - Oct. 12 and 13 - would be the peak of this year's fall color season, and by all appearances, they were right. On the other hand, wouldn't be grand if those colors would just keep getting prettier and prettier?
Another great drive to enjoy fall colors if the weather is clear would be to the county overlook area on top of Thunder Mountain west of Crivitz. Standing there on a clear day you can see all the way to the waters of Green Bay, and a wonderful view it is!
Enjoying fall colors is just one of the multitude of things to do in TIMESland. Some of the Fall hunting seasons are open, and we've had the visitors to prove it...a few bear, flocks of turnkeys, and lots of deer. Saw over 17 deer grazing in a neighbor's soybean field one day last week. Felt sorry for the neighbors, but happy for the hunters who will be dining on some well-nourished game. Hopefully, we'll be among them.
The summer rush of festivals is pretty much over, but there still lots of events to enjoy. If you just look around a bit, and watch the ads, there's no excuse to ever be bored in TIMESland.
Marinette Civic Center on Pierce Ave. in Marinette will be the site of a "Blues, Brews, BBQ n Hockey event from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. Music will be by Sons of Memphis and Feed the Dog.
Lots of Halloween related festivities in the next few weeks - haunted houses, haunted hayrides, corn field mazes - and Halloween crafts to enjoy and costumes to assemble. In only three weeks or so and witches, ghosts, ghouls and the like will be gone for another year!
The nice part about some Halloween decorations is that with a bit of imagination and ingenuity you can turn them quickly into Thanksgiving decorations. The color schemes are the same and pumpkins and cornstalks go with both. Just turn the Jack O' Lantern faces backwards!
Harmony Arboretum is holding its Family Fall Fun Fest from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. No charge for admission, but non perishable food items for distribution to local food pantries are appreciated.
The event will be held rain or shine, as there will be plenty of space under roofs and tents at Harmony Gardens.
There's to be a costume parade at 4 p.m., with prizes for the best. Since the day is geared to younger families, there will be only slightly spooky scare stations. There's also pumpkin decorating, scavenger hunt, other games, crafts, and livestock experiences and displays. Kountry Kids 4-H will offer concessions, and Jandt Farms has donated the pumpkins.
Other sponsors are Marinette County Extension and Land Information offices, Northern Lights Master Gardeners, Marinette County Dairy Producers and Merry Go-Getters 4-H.
It's sort of too soon to carve your pumpkin if you want fine looking jack O' Lantern for Halloween. Pumpkins are really a fruit, and they last only three days to a week after carving. Less than that, if you've placed a burning candle inside. Will have more pumpkin carving ideas next week, but for now, just this one tip. Once your pumpkin is carved, spray it all over with Armor All and rub it in. Gives a nice shiny finish and slows decay just a little. More ideas for carving next week.
ON THE SOAP BOX
IMPEACHMENT FOR WHAT???
After several failed attempts, the same Democrats who have been screaming "No Trump" since before he was elected have finally latched on to what they pretend is an actual impeachable offense and a way to thumb their noses at those of us who voted for him.
Guess in today's political world, anyone who wants to get away with accepting bribes or payoffs from a foreign government should first announce that they're running for President.
That way, they become a political rival, so if the president tries to investigate them, or asks anyone else to investigate them, it's an impeachable offense.
Brilliant plan that bodes badly for the future of this country. But of course, those same rules won't apply to anyone except President Donald Trump, so why worry?
Based on the little evidence that has been made public, looks strongly like the names of Joe Biden and his son should be added to the list of those who seriously need to be investigated, along with Hillary, and now Pelosi and Sauros and a few others we probably don't know about yet.
Why are they above the law, while President Donald Trump is not?
Columbus Day is officially observed this year on Monday, Oct. 14. Christopher Columbus is too often villainized today because the outcome of his successful voyages of discovery led to the destruction of some primitive civilizations in South America. He himself did not do that.
He did spend a lot of time in jail for daring to think outside the box, to dispute the facts that government and church authorities in his day believed were true. He was a brave man who was willing risk his life and liberty to follow his dreams.
In 1492, after overcoming a lot of obstacles and getting the funding needed for his venture, Christopher Columbus led a fleet of three sailing ships across the Atlantic Ocean. He expected to land in India or some other part of the orient, but instead landed on an island off the cost of South America.
That feat was not an easy one. It started with Columbus' conviction that the world was round, not flat. Those dreams were of sailing west to find the riches of India in the east. to get funding for his voyage that brought him and his expedition to the shores of a continent that had previously been unknown in Europe, he had to argue his case before judges and kings and queens. But he prevailed, he got funding from Queen Isabella, and he landed - not in the Indies but on offshore America. He did not set out to capture slaves or destroy the Inca and Aztec civilizations - he set out to find an easier way to bring the spices of the Orient back to Europe. He failed at that, but succeeded in opening up America to civilization. Today he is being villainized for the acts of the Conquistadores who came after him.
Think about it. Would the Native Americans today be better off if Columbus had not landed, if human sacrifices were still being offered in South America, and if the leaders of the Aztec and Inca nations were still practicing slavery in their own opulent courts? Not saying the Europeans had a right to destroy the civilization and steal their wealth, but theirs was by no means a perfect society either.
Someone from Europe would probably have eventually landed on the shores of America, and the results would probably have been the same - the plundering of gold and the changing of a way of life for the people who already lived there. Sort of turned out the same way for the Aborigines in Australia after Captain Cook landed there - also by accident, when he was looking for Terra Incognita..
Christopher Columbus should be honored and celebrated because he who had the imagination to look up at the stars, and the courage to sail beyond the far horizons, to reach a destination he didn't expect because he was brave enough to risk all, and to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. That courage is what we should celebrate on Columbus Day.
SAVE THE SEEDS
If you have some particularly delicious tomatoes or other vegetables and want to save the seeds for next year, you can do it. A word of warning, if the plants are from hybrids, the seeds will not reproduce properly. Save seeds only from open pollinated heirloom varieties.
Melon, winter squash, pumpkin and gourd seeds can simply be removed, rinsed clean under running water until all the stringy material is gone and hen put on a paper plate or screen to dry. Once dry, put in a container until spring. The melon seeds should be put into a container of water for a while. The good seeds will sink to the bottom. The bad ones will not. Remove seeds from the top, rinse the good seeds with fresh water, and then dry them on a plate or screen.
For peas and beans of all sorts, pick the brown pods from the plants and remove the peas or beans. Put them aside to dry for several weeks, probably in a loosely woven basket, and give them a stir every day. If frost threatens when your pea or bean pods are not quite ripe, pull up the entire vine by the roots and hang the plants upside down in a warm area. The seeds will continue drawing energy from the plants, which improves seed viability. When dry, shell the peas or beans and dry as with those that ripened in the garden.
Saving seeds from peppers is easy. Simply cut the peppers open, brush the seeds off onto a plate or screen and put them aside to dry.
For dill seeds, simply dry the seed heads, then brush off into a container and use for seasoning all winter and plant what's left in spring.
Tomato and cucumber seeds come coated with a gel that has to be removed if the seeds are to last until next year. This can be done by fermentation, which can smell bad, so try not to do it in an enclosed room in the house.
Squeeze or spoon the seed mass from cucumbers or tomatoes into a waterproof container. This can be a glass jar or even a deli container.
Add water equal to the volume of the seed mass, and put the container into a warm spot out of direct sunlight.
Stir the contents at least once a day. In a few days the good seeds will sink to the bottom and the bad ones will rise to the top, along with the other debris and white mold. Wait five days for all the good seeds to drop, then rinse away the junk at the top and wash the good seeds in several changes of water. Once clean, lay them out in a single layer on a glass or plastic plate or screen. Put the plate in a warm place to dry. This can take several weeks, so don't put them where they'll be in your way.
For all the seeds, once thoroughly dry, put them into dry secure containers and keep in a cool, dry area - for example a closet shelf, not a damp basement. Once thoroughly dry, the seeds can also be put into covered containers and frozen in a zero-degree freezer. Properly dried and frozen seeds have been known to last 40 years.
How long seeds will last without being frozen varies. Tomato seeds may last five years, other types not quite so long. There have been reports of wheat seeds lasting thousands of years in the pyramids, but since most of us don't have access to a storage pyramid in the desert, its best not to count on that.
Do hope, though, that somewhere old heirloom seeds are being preserved for the future, when there may not be any of those varieties left.
There still have been no widespread killing frosts, and garden produce is still available for cooking, canning and freezing. Take advantage and put some treats by for the winter months ahead.
HOT PICKLED GREEN TOMATOES.
If serious frost threatens, pick enough green tomatoes to make this spicy condiment. Like it milder? Omit the hot peppers, or use less of them.
3 pounds green tomatoes
3 medium onions, sliced
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup seeded jalapleno pepper, finely chopped
4 1/2 cups vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups mustard seeds
5 teaspoons whole peppercorns
2 teaspoons celery seeds
Have six pint canning jars, lids and rings clean, sterilized and kept hot in a simmering water bath kettle. Wash tomatoes. Core and cut them into 1/4 inch slices. Mix 12 cups of these slices with the other vegetables. In a stainless steel or other non-reactive kettle (not aluminum) put the vinegar, sugar and spices and heat to boiling. Let simmer over low heat while you pack the raw tomato mixture into hot sterilized pint canning jars, stopping at least half an inch below the jar rim. Pour on the boiling spice/vinegar mixture, again stopping at least half an inch below the jar rim. Wipe jar rims, apply lids and rings, and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Start timing when water begins to boil. Remove to cool on wire racks.
Have a bumper basil crop? Make this pesto to go on hot cooked pasta. Takes 2 tablespoons per cup of pasta.
3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves (3 ounces)
2/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Put everything into a food processor. Cover and process or blend until nearly smooth, stopping to scrape sides as necessary. Put into a storage container. Cover surface with plastic wrap and then cover the container. Chill for a day or two. Then either use or freeze. To freeze, place two tablespoons pesto in each slot of a standard ice cube tray. Cover tightly and freeze until solid. Pop the cubes out and put into a plastic freezer bag or other container to freeze for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature. In a pinch, you can put the frozen cubes over hot pasta and toss over low heat until thawed. You don't want to cook the pesto though, just get it melt so you can stir it through the pasta.
15 pounds firm ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced sweet green or red bell peppers
1 1/2 cups fresh or canned mushrooms, optional
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed (optional)
2 teaspoons dried crushed basil, or 3 tablespoons fresh minced basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano, or 2 tablespoons fresh minced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Wash tomatoes, remove cores and quarter. Place them into a large heavy stainless steel or enamel kettle, not aluminum. cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then press through a food mill and return to kettle. Discard seeds and pulp. While the tomatoes cook, combine water, onion, sweet pepper and if desired, mushrooms, in a medium saucepan and simmer until the onion and peppers are soft. When the tomatoes are ready, add this mixture to them and stir in the seasonings. Simmer, uncovered, about two hours or until reduced by half, stirring frequently. Keep out some to use right away, and then can or freeze the remainder as directed below.
To pressure can: Ladle sauce into hot, sterilized quart or pint canning jars, leaving a 1-inch head space. Wipe jar t=rims, adjust lids, and process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 25 minutes for quarts or 20 minutes for pints. Let pressure come down naturally, then release canner lid and remove jars to cool.
To freeze: Place kettle in a sink filled with cold water to cool.Ladle sauce into wide-top freezer containers, leaving at least an inch of head space for expansion, cover securely and freeze until needed.
To use: Heat sauce and and serve over cooked pasta, or use as base for lasagne. To convert into a meat sauce, brown hamburger and/or Italian sausage in a frying pan, add a jar of sauce, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste before serving. Either way, provide Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on as desired.
Thought for the week: This Columbus Day, celebrate the fact that some of our forefathers - among them Christopher Columbus - had the courage to do as Stephen Hawking advised: "Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious."
So everybody, quit telling kids Columbus was evil. Tell them to be brave like he was, brave enough to sail off for uncharted horizons, to follow their dreams go through the work and risk it takes to achieve them!
(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 email@example.com.)
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