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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: May 12, 2021

Brisk Spring mornings...

Here we are at half-past May, and woke up this morning to find frost on the windshield - again. Let's get out those aerosol cans, fire up the coal furnace. We need to do everything we can to bring back Global Warming!!!



SPRING CLEANUP

It was a tradition for many years for homemakers to go slightly berserk about getting homes, yards and gardens cleaned up for spring, and that hasn't really changed much, except for the methods, and increasingly chronic lack of time do even get started on everything we want to get done.

That said, most TIMESLand communities are holding Spring Cleanup events again this year, and many have it scheduled for Saturday, May 15. Check the scheduled time and day for your area so you don't miss it.

Rummage sales are another sure sign of spring, and those signs are definitely popping up all over.



SPECIAL DAYS

Speaking of special days, they, like chores, are multiplying to the point where they seem to be a bit out of control.

May 15 - the third Saturday in May - is National Learn to Swim Day, National Nylon Stockings Day, National River Cleanup Day, Armed Forces Day, Astronomy Day, Bring Flowers to Someone Day, Culture Freedom Day, International Day of Families, National Whiskey Day, International Conscientious Objector Day, Plant a Lemon Tree Day, and Do Dah Day, a special day designated as time for a Salute to Silliness, not to mention that its the day when you're supposed to relive your past by listening to the first music you ever bought no matter what it was, No Excuses Day.

Just giving a moment of thought to each of those "Days" (and there are a whole bunch more) would take all day!

And we're just finishing up Armed Forces Week, from May 9 through 15, National Hospital Week, National Police Week, National Public Gardens Week, National Vegetarian Awareness Week, National Women's Health Week, Reading is Fun Week, and Universal Family Week.



ANNUAL BIRD FEST

Forgot at least one May 15 special event. If you're interested in seeing birds nearby or through binoculars, or helping you and your children to learn about the birds that come through this area every year, take advantage of the Chappee Rapids Audubon Society's 8th Annual Bird Fest on Saturday, May 15 at the observation deck on Pond Road. Field guides will be available to help with identification and birding tours will be available between 8 a.m. to noon.

The event is held in conjunction with Marinette's Bird City Wisconsin accreditation, and also celebrates International Migratory Bird Day which is observed across both north and south American continents...

To find the deck, take Shore Drive south from University Drive out of Marinette until it becomes County BB. Follow BB for about seven miles, then turn left onto Pond Road and go about half a mile to the deck. There will be a sign at Pond Road.



GROWIN' THINGS

It's time to divide and transplant your Daylillies if they need it. When you dig and divide a daylily, you are breaking up an overgrown clump into smaller plants, which not only creates more plants to increase your collection, it rejuvenates each plant to produce more blooms the following season.

Transplanting daylilies to a new location provides an opportunity to plant them in a spot with better sunlight or soil the original location was not ideal. You can move treasured varieties to another area of your garden or share them with a friend. It isn't unheard of to pay upwards of $20 dollars per plant for new or unusual daylily hybrids, so sharing plants to start a new flower bed is a good budget move.

Spring is recommended as the best time to transplant daylillies in all climates. The transplanting should be done when the shoots are just beginning to emerge. During this time, cooler temperatures and gentle spring rains help newly divided and transplanted plants to recover from transplant shock. Although exact timing isn't critical, transplanting earlier rather than later increases the chances that the plants will be able to recover enough to bloom later in the season.

Before you dig and divide your plants, choose and prepare the new planting site. Daylilies need at least six to eight hours of full sun daily to produce flowers. Some afternoon shade is desirable for red or purple varieties to avoid fading and scorching blooms.

Choose your spot and mix some compost into the soil, loosening it up to a depth of 12 inches.

Carefully dig around your established daylily clump and remove the plant from the ground, and then examine it to determine how many divisions to make.

Brush or tease away excess soil with your hands or with a hose until you can visualize the logical points at which to cut apart the daylily clump. Use a clean sharp garden knife to slice through the fleshy root system. You may need to slice a fleshy root in half, but that's okay. The plant will survive. Place your divisions in a shady spot and allow the knife wounds to air dry as you work.

Dig a hole slightly larger than the daylily division root ball. Make a mound of native soil mixed with compost in the center of the planting hole, and arrange the roots over this mound. The point where the leaves join the roots (the crown) should be at the same depth as the surrounding soil; do not plant too deep. Carefully fill in the hole with soil, pressing away any air pockets. Water the transplant thoroughly to get it off to a good start.



OTHER GARDEN CHORES

Start harvesting asparagus as soon as it's ready. Ditto for rhubarb. Cut asparagus at or slightly below soil level. Pull off leaf stalks from the rhubarb plant instead of cutting them. You may need to use a slight twisting motion.

Begin planting warm-season annuals and summer bulbs outdoors, such as dahlias and cannas.

Mulch around your newly-planted flowers, vegetables. Water when needed.

Mow your lawn when the grass is dry. To keep a healthy lawn, never cut more than one-third off the total grass height.



PLANT SALES

Students at Lena High School and members of FFA have once again started a nice batch of plants to be sold to gardeners who stop in to buy them. The Lena School Green House opened on Friday, May 7 and is to be open through Saturday, May 29 - 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.



SAVE YOUR VISION

There are visions of the future, and there is real vision, of the sort that can hopefully be corrected by regular glasses, not of the rose-colored variety.

A large study recently found that some people with dry Macular Degeneration could slow the disease by taking supplements of vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper. Bilberry is also good.

Ask your doctor whether these supplements would help you, or go ahead and try them anyway if you're suffering from tired old eyes.

My Mom's eye doctor years ago suggested she should take those very same supplements for her macular degeneration.

Wonder why it took the researchers so long to come to that same conclusion?

Used these supplements myself after some eye problems and when I returned to the ophthalmologist he found that my vision had actually improved.



SORT OF SOAP BOX

Often wonder why the majority of medical "experts" refuse to suggest using products that don't require prescriptions, and more recently am appalled that our so-called medical "experts" at the CDC could only advise wearing masks and hiding out to prevent COVID, and didn't even try offering advice on how to keep ourselves healthy.

Speaking of vision, recently was warned: "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."

Good advice.

Never underestimate the power of greedy people in positions of power, either!



TATER TOTS, ANYONE?

There is apparently no end to mass idiocracy.

Not only are we now urged to let boys be girls if they want to, and vice versa, am told that in today's world of gender-neutrality, toy manufacturers are refusing to continue creating "Mr. Potato Head" as a male, and therefore must assume "Mrs. Potato Head" will no longer be allowed to identify as a female.

Does that mean there will be no more Tater Tots?



COOKIN' TIME

TATER TOT CASSEROLE


1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 onion, diced

1 (8 ounce) can cream of chicken and/or cream of mushroom soup

1 (16 ounce) can green beans or baby peas

1 (28 ounce) package frozen Tater Tots

1 or 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9"X12" glass, stainless steel or ceramic baking dish with nonstick spray. Scatter the onions in the bottom of the dish. Spread the ground beef over them. Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. go very easy on salt, somewhat heavy on pepper. Spread the top evenly with soup. (If you're using two kinds of soup you'll want to mix them together before spreading over the casserole. If you do that, skip the salt and add a tablespoon of A-1 to the soups.) Layer the vegetables over the soup, and then arrange the Tater Tots nicely in rows over top. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for an hour and a half. If you're using the cheese, after one and a quarter hours uncover and spread the cheese on top, and then bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is hot and bubbly.



TATER TOT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

You can make this ahead and refrigerate overnight, or up to 12 hours unbaked.  After baking, it's good in the Fridge for up to three days, if it lasts that long. If you want to freeze this casserole, you will want to bake it first, cover tightly in foil then, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.

1 30-32 ounce Bag Frozen Tater Tots

1 pound Diced Ham or Spam (or pre-cooked bacon or sausage, diced or crumbled)

1 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

8 large eggs

1 1/2 cup milk

1 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place the Tater Tots, diced ham, 1 Cup of cheddar, and 1 cup of mozzarella into the baking dish. Toss with your hands to combine. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, seasonings, and hot sauce if using. Once the eggs are fully mixed in, pour it over contents of the baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Top with remaining Cup of cheese and return to oven for 5 more minutes until melted.



BACON BUNDLED ASPARAGUS

Who doesn't love bacon? It adds its own smokey flavor to asparagus in this easy recipe. Plan to have these when you're baking something else, or cook on a covered grill.

1 pound thick asparagus, stalks trimmed

4 slices bacon, not thick cut

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or heat the grill to quite hot. Divide the asparagus stalks into 4 bundles. Tightly wrap one slice of bacon around each bundle. Try to get nearly all the asparagus covered. In a small bowl mix together the butter, garlic powder, brown sugar and pepper. Arrange the asparagus bundles on a baking sheet and drizzle the butter mixture over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crispy. You could also cook these on a baking sheet in a covered outdoor grill. Then if the bacon doesn't get crisp enough for you, finish it right on the grid, but be careful not to set the bacon on fire.



OZARK PIE

This incredibly easy dessert is equally good with rhubarb or sour apples, preferably somewhat green ones, so it spans the dessert season with ease. It's very nearly free, too, if you don't need to buy the rhubarb. I'm looking for a very similar recipe my grandmother used to make that included melted butter, possibly poured over the top. If anyone has this, would sure appreciate if you'd pass it along. Also looking for any new rhubarb recipes. See contact info at the end of the column.

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped apples or rhubarb

Mix all together, put into well greased pie tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Slice like pie. Serve warm or cold, with or without ice cream or whipped cream.

The Country Cousin

Thought for the week: Lord, it's almost impossible to look out at the marvelous world coming to life in Spring without being in awe of how You managed to create it all. Thank You For everything.

P.S. For all my friends - I need a special favor. Please, take a moment to offer up a prayer asking God to grant my request.

(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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