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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: March 5, 2020

Shirley Prudhomme

Spring forward Saturday night...

Yes, Virginia, there is a Spring!

Lent is here, Easter is five weeks away, and on the night of Saturday, March 7 we turn our clocks ahead an hour as Daylight Savings Time starts again. Mornings will be a bit later and dusk will last a bit longer each day, until Friday, March 20 when Spring officially begins with equal hours of daylight and darkness.

There are no snowstorms predicted in the next two weeks or so, and temperatures are predicted to be mostly above freezing during the day, with lows hovering right around the freezing mark at night. Let's hope a long, slow thaw averts some of this year's flooding threats.

STILL SNOW IN THE FORESTS

Despite the warmth of recent days, snowmobile trails in the northern and western reaches of the county remain open and in fairly good condition, but some trails in the more southern areas are already closed. Better check the websites for current information before making plans. Clubs are warning riders to use care when traveling through active logging areas.

CORONA VIRUS

With all the recent Coronavirus concerns, got to worrying about the risks that might be involved with using articles imported from China and other nations.

Learned, according to an article on Yahoo news that originally appeared in the New York Times, that the virus itself is relatively fragile. It probably would not live in transport here from China, so that concern is somewhat taken care of.

Scientists say a "naked" coronavirus can't go anywhere unless it's hitching a ride with a droplet of mucus or saliva. These mucus and saliva droplets are ejected from the mouth or nose as we cough, sneeze, laugh, sing, breathe and talk. If they don't hit something along the way, they typically land on the floor or ground.

To get access to your cells, the viral droplets must enter through the eyes, nose or mouth. They do not enter through the skin, but they could linger on skin until you touch them and then use your contaminated hands to rub your eyes, touch your lips, or put food in your mouth. Some experts believe that sneezing and coughing are likely the primary forms of transmission.

Kin-on Kwok, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, said talking face to face or sharing a meal with someone could pose a risk. Julian Tang, a virologist and professor at the University of Leicester in England who is researching coronavirus with Kwok,agreed. He said if you can smell what someone had for lunch " garlic, curry, etc. " you are too close, and are inhaling what they are breathing out, including any virus in their breath.

One key is to stay about three feet away from the faces of others, and wash your hands frequently, with soap, for about 30 seconds before rinsing.

For most of those who do get sick, symptoms are as mild as a cold or the flu, and some who are infected with Coronavirus never get ill at all, so it can be hard to tell who is capable of spreading Coronavirus. In a growing number of cases, people without symptoms have infected others.

Coronaviruses are named for the spikes that protrude from their surfaces, which resemble a crown or the sun's corona. A study of other Coronaviruses found they remained on metal, glass and plastic for two hours to nine days.

Whether a surface looks dirty or clean is irrelevant. If an infected person sneezed and a droplet landed on a surface, a person who then touches that surface could pick it up. How much is required to infect a person is unclear.

Coronaviruses are relatively easy to destroy. Using a simple disinfectant on a surface is nearly guaranteed to break the delicate envelope that surrounds the tiny microbe, rendering it harmless.

As long as you wash your hands before touching your face, you should be OK, because viral droplets don't pass through skin.

Experts say if you are concerned about getting sick from someone who might have sneezed onto a product you've ordered that's made in China, don't worry. In the time it takes to get from China to you, you should be safe.

Meanwhile, to slow the spread here, and reduce danger to yourself and your family, wash, wash, wash those hands, and get out of habits that involve touching your face.

They didn't say so, but youngsters who bite their nails would likely have a greater risk than those who do not. They also did not mention if other body membranes can absorb the virus. It likely would be good to avoid using toilet seats or touching faucets and handles in public restrooms without sanitizing them first.

ON THE SOAP BOX

Was delighted that self-avowed Socialist Bernie Sanders has not been doing well recently in his very strong bid to become the Democrat party's nominee for president in November. As a person who grew up during the Cold War years am still unable to wrap my mind around the notion that this nation, which thanks to our capitalist system enjoys the highest standard of living the world has ever known, would seriously consider turning Socialist. Especially when anyone who has studied Socialism knows that it doesn't work, and that it is a first cousin to Communism and its evil impacts.

Am mystified that the person beating Sanders is former Vice President Joe Biden, the person who should have been impeached instead of President Donald Trump for using American taxpayer dollars to influence Ukraine. Oops.Right. President Trump was investigated and acquitted. Now Biden should be thoroughly investigated. The former vice president actually admitted - in public and on the record - that he threatened to have aid to Ukraine held up unless that government halted an investigation into the company that had given his son Hunter a very lucrative job for which he was thoroughly untrained.

STILL ON THAT SOAP BOX

TEACH THE TRUTH!!!

Feel the current swing to Socialism by some factions in this country, mainly students who have no life experience and are just coming to voting age, can and should be blamed on the elitist members of the higher echelon educational community.

They and their ilk are unquestionably smarter than the average bear (in their own minds, at least), so they should be the ones deciding who gets the mansions and swimming pools and who gets a 3-room apartment to share with a few other families. Don't forget, that's how it was in Russia, at least until they started moving back in the capitalist direction.

That said, the growing move here toward Socialism and "correct" political thinking can be blamed on some teachers (and textbook authors) who distort history to suit their own political beliefs. School boards need to be aware of what students in their schools are being taught. Their job is to be sure community standards are met, and sadly that responsibility has too often been abdicated in favor of state-dictated rules!

History is greatly a case in point.

Costumes were a huge part of the recent Grammy Awards, and in an entertainment world veers sharply to the left, singer Joy Villa had the courage to show up in a red, white and blue outfit , which referred to President Donald Trump and on the back read, "Impeached & Re-elected." Kudos to her for being willing to take the flak she surely has faced, and will continue to face, for being brave enough to stand up for something she believes in. More of us need to do that.

Recently read some thoughts about religious persecution that included the conclusion that those of us who fail to publicly speak up for what we strongly believe are right or wrong are in fact yielding to persecution.

The persecution Christians are currently enduring in this country is surely of a gentler type than was in previous centuries and and other nations, but it is nevertheless real.

We are not being beaten, beheaded, shot or imprisoned, but we are being beaten down.

Say aloud and in public that you believe abortion is murder. Your name becomes mud in many highly placed circles. Career paths start closing.

Say you believe "alternative life styles" are morally wrong. Verbal brickbats start flying.

Even in this column, which allows considerable freedom of expression, I have become hesitant to use many of the words that say what I really mean. People writing the books from which our children learn about history are prevented from presenting a true picture.

How have we right-wing Conservatives, present party included, allowed ourselves to be so cowed by the bullies on the far left?

How sad that our nation, in fact the entire world, is rapidly becoming one in which freedom of expression is no longer a reality.

How can we debate the issues if we cannot use the words we need to do it with?

The likelihood that things will improve without some drastic changes is slim. Because of the way history is taught to the students of today, there is little chance they will come to adulthood with unbiased views.

History books that paint a true picture of how things were, of how people of that era thought, are not allowed in most of today's classrooms. Even many of the words used by early explorers, fur traders and settlers are not allowed in polite company today, or even for the most part in impolite company.

Politics of the early days of the white man on the American continents were not always pretty by today's standards, but for the most part they were acceptable by the standards of that day and history teachers should not blacken the names of the people who carved this nation from the wilderness because their methods and motives do not match today's standards. They lived in their slot in history, and should be judged by those standards, not ours.

COOKIN' TIME

Lent to lots of folks means a time to eat more fish and seafood, which is something we should probably do more of anyway. For the dedicated fisherman, giving up meat for Lent might not be much of a sacrifice. By the way, can we still say "fisherman", or must we now say "fisherperson"?

SLO COOKER FISH CHOWDER

Combinations of whatever your family's fisherperson (or supermarket shopper) caught can be used in this delicious chowder, provided they are skinned and boned well - cod, northern, walleye, halibut, flounder, ocean perch, pike, rainbow trout, or haddock included. Double the recipe for a 5-quart slow cooker.

1 1/2 pounds fish fillets, cubed

16 ounce can diced, peeled tomatoes, mashed

8 ounce bottle clam juice

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (or summer savory)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper (black or white)

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup half and half cream

In slow cooker stir together everything except the flour, butter, pepper and cream. Cover and cook together 7 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high. About an hour before serving time, melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the pepper, and when it sizzles add the flour. Shut off heat and stir in the cream until smooth. Stir into the slow cooker contents and cook on high until the mixture is thickened, perhaps another half hour or so.

CABBAGE AND BEEF SOUP

Here's another good soup for the chilly days we're still having. Double the recipe to make enough for future meals, because it freezes well.

1 pound hamburger, browned

4 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in water

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 onion, diced

1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans, not drained

1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes

1 tomato can hot water

1/2 medium head cabbage, chopped

Mix everything in soup kettle and bring to a boi. Reduce heat and simmer one hour. Freezes well.

CHEESY POTATOES

Make this wonderful and wonderfully easy casserole when you're using the oven for something else, perhaps salmon loaf or meat loaf. Sample it now, and you may like it enough to feature it as a side dish with your Easter ham.Think about it. The potatoes, ham and asparagus, Brussels Sprouts or broccoli and pickled beets would make a marvelous menu - glorious to the eye and to the taste buds.

2 pound bag frozen hash brown potatoes

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of potato coup

1 cup sour cream

1 small onion, diced

1 small green pepper, diced

shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients except cheese and place in greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered 1-1/2 hours. Sprinkle top with cheese and allow to melt.

WATERGATE CAKE

Remember this wonderful cake? Had to reprint the recipe, because it's perfect for this time of year when our taste buds scream for spring, but the ground is still covered with snow. Also perfect for St. Patrick's Day, which is coming up on March 17. this is a great offering for springtime showers and pot luck events.

Cake:

1 white cake mix

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 egg whites

1 cup 7-Up

1 package pistachio instant pudding mix (sm.)

1 cup pecans

1/2 cup coconut

Icing:

2 envelopes Dream Whip

1-1/2 cup cold milk

1 package instant pistachio pudding mix (sm.)

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup coconut

Mix together cake mix, oil, egg whites, 7-Up and instant pudding mix till moist (will be lumpy). After ingredients mix together, add nuts and coconut. Grease and flour a 9 by 15 inch pan, pour batter in and cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Icing: Mix Dream Whip, milk and pudding till thick, put on top of cook cake, spread out, then sprinkle coconut and pecans on top. Keep in refrigerator after cutting.

DOCTOR BIRD CAKE

Here's another cake with tropical, springy flavors. It's made from scratch, and so easy you won't even miss the cake mix!

3 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cup oil

1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple with juice

1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

2 cups diced ripe bananas

Pour into greased, nine-inch tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if you like.

The Country Cousin

Thought for the week: A perfect penance for Lent is for us to forgive our selves, and forgive our enemies. A time to give some thought to learning from the past, but move on without dwelling on it. As a dear friend once pointed out, as soon as a forest fire is over, the ashes remain, and regrowth begins.This is something for which Ash Wednesday can serve as a reminder. Use those ashes as reminder to get on with your life, make whatever amends you can for your own actions, and let God handle the rest.

(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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