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

Free Fishin' June 5 & 6...

It's June! Amazing how we wait so long for Spring, then it hardly gets here and guess what? It's Summer!

We were treated to an incredibly beautiful Memorial Day weekend this year. Hope it's a portent of what Summer holds in store for us.

The whirlwind of graduation parties is in full swing, school is all but done for this year, rummage sales and flea markets are blooming everywhere, roadside stands offer asparagus and before long there will be strawberries and then sweet corn.

Mother's Day is history, but in three short weeks, on Sunday, June 19, we'll be honoring Dad on Father's Day.

FREE DAY

Plan this coming weekend to visit a state park or forest, go fishing on Wisconsin waters if you usually don't, or ride your ATV/UTV on the public trails in Wisconsin.

It's all free on Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6 for Wisconsin residents and non-residents alike, as part of the annual Open House Weekend in Wisconsin.

Other free outdoor activities in Wisconsin that weekend include free entry to all state parks and forests, free fishing (no license required), free use of DNR trails, and free ATV/UTV riding on public trails open to such uses - no stickers required.

You still must pay for overnight camping at state campgrounds, but day visits are free. Invite your out-of-state relatives up for a weekend of fishing, camping and trail riding. They'll be glad you did!

TOO MUCH TO DO!

We all know that summertime in our area is filled with so many fun things to do that it's impossible to get them all in. Can't even try to list all of them here, but watch the ads and the bulletin board postings in your area.

Oconto County has a really, really big weekend coming up on the weekend of June 10 through 12.

The Mountain Fire Tower has been taken over by the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation, and after some successful fund raising has been refurbished. It's grand re-opening will be celebrated on Friday, June 10, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception.

The annual Copperfest celebration in the City of Oconto and Copper Culture State Park will run from June 10 through 12, with a parade starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 11.

Saturday, June 11 also is the annual picnic at the historic Stone Barn, located on the northeast corner of Oconto County Highway S and Schwartz Rd. in the Town of Chase. Events start at 3 p.m. and end with fireworks at dark. The Stone Barn, listed in the national historic register, was built in 1909. It was designed by original owner D.E. Krause and William Mensenkamp

It was built of fieldstone, but its walls are more thoroughly stonework than most stone barns. Its massive arch entrances are large enough to permit large hay wagons to pass through both ends.

According to Wikipoedia, as of 2010, it is one of two remaining barns in Wisconsin to be constructed from fieldstone.

JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH

We have to wait until Sunday, June 28, for the Marinette County Breakfast on the Farm (being held at the Fendryk Farm off County P this year) but the Oconto County farm breakfast is coming up Sunday, June 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the Riewe Farms at 6947 Old 15 Road, Oconto. Alice in Dairyland will be there, along with lots of other entertainment, not to mention wonderful Wisconsin food!

WHY JUNE DAIRY MONTH?

June Dairy Month started out as a way to get folks to use more milk during the warm months of summer. Remember, back then, most homes still had ice boxes instead of refrigerators, and in cities, milk was usually delivered daily by the milk man. You had to get to it fast in summer, so it wouldn't spoil.

Many homes had special little doors built in so he could slip the bottles inside and they wouldn't freeze in winter. If there was no delivery door, the milk would be placed on the porch near the door. At our house, the milk did often freeze in winter, and then Mom would spoon off some of the nice frozen cream from the top, add some sugar and a dash of vanilla and let me enjoy my "ice cream." If she got to the milk before it froze, I was disappointed.

Anyway, grocer organizations began sponsoring "National Milk Month," and by 1939, June became the official "dairy month."

Dairy foods offer nine essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin D and potassium, which according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are "nutrients of concern" for both children and adults. Updated USDA dietary guidelines recommend at least three servings daily of milk and/or cheese. (Heck - at our house we often eat that much for breakfast!)

In their newly revised version of diet guidelines, the USDA has even backed off from telling us not to eat real butter!

USDA experts say dairy's unique combination of nutrients plays key roles in preventing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, and we all know it's important for building strong bones and teeth.

All that, and at about 25 cents per 8-ounce glass, milk remains an incredibly economical beverage. If it wasn't so darn good for you, kids would be clamoring for milk instead of soda. Maybe if we started telling them "No, you can't have milk...have soda instead!"?

Just kidding. The kids in our family all love milk, plain, flavored, on cereal or from a glass, or as cheese, yogurt or sour cream. Often they will choose milk instead of soda. Maybe it's because they're Wisconsin bred, or maybe it's because they know a good thing when they taste it!

INFO GLITCH

Hate to admit this, but once in a while, newspapers get wrong information, and once in a while the gremlins get busy at press time and pop in some typographical errors.

Apparently it happens all around the world.

The following comes from a British humor web site, but is supposed to have really appeared as a genuine article in a genuine newspaper called "Public Opinion" :

"Due to incorrect information received from the Clerk of Courts Office, Dianne K. Merchant, 38, was incorrectly listed as being fined for prostitution in Wednesday's paper. The charge should have been failure to stop at a railroad crossing. The Public Opinion apologizes for the error."

Wonder if the poor lady has recovered yet?

Local police may not be too happy with the Derby Abbey Community News. They printed, "We apologize for the error in the last edition, in which we stated that "Mr. Fred Nicolme is a Defective in the Police Force'. This was a typographical error. We meant of course that Mr. Nicolme is a Detective in the Police Farce."

No, two wrongs do not make a right. Unless of course the article really was about a slapstick comedy performance.

The final observation here is from The Guardian Newspaper, and appears to be a real warning, with an unintended reverse humor all it's own: "Concerning a sign seen in a Police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand: Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case."

GRADUATION DETERMINATION

Most of us have helped a young adult we love celebrate their high school or college graduation last month, or will be doing it this month.

A graduation message worth noting is that regardless of intelligence or education, if you want to succeed in life or anything else, you need to work hard at it, and be determined to succeed.

"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again," is an adage our young adults need to take to heart.

Almost every society has its proverbs regarding the need to work hard if you want to succeed, and assuring the worker that there is no shame in failure, providing you have the gumption to try again, and enough determination to work hard at it.

American proverbs on work and grit include:

"Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets."

"Failure is the foundation of success; if one plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal."

According to a Yiddish proverb, "If there is no wind, row."

A Latin proverb says to succeed: "Fall seven times, stand up eight."

ON THE SOAP BOX

CAMPAIGN CALLS


Had a call last week from someone who wouldn't admit it, but whose questions and comments showed they were working for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

He was more than a little taken aback when I told him some of us may not be fully comfortable with Donald Trump, but are pleased with him because he is saying out loud, in public what many of us have been saying and thinking in our homes and at gatherings with friends.

He also couldn't understand why I, and most of my generation, who lived through the Cold War and the horrors that were going on in Russia during its hard-core Communist days, could never, ever support even a closet Socialist, much less one who openly admitted he wants to destroy our way of life?

I am equally mystified why that caller, or anyone else, could support Socialism when they have seen the economic havoc and widespread poverty it caused in every nation that tried it.

The only system that has been proven to work is Capitalism, in a free economy healthy enough to create so much demand for workers that employers compete to get the best ones.

That's the American system at its best, provided Government gets out of the way!

Government should never attempt to take care of us. It should keep its promises, protect us from invaders, whether in the form of an Army or illegal immigrants, and provide a framework in which we are free to take care of ourselves!

COOKIN' TIME

Summer bounty is just getting started. Let's enjoy the fresh treats while we can!

CREAMY BAKED ASPARAGUS

This elegant dish is almost laughably easy. Let everyone think you worked hard if you want to.

1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed

1/4 cup Peppercorn Ranch Dressing

2 tablespoons Shredded Parmesan Cheese

12 Ritz Crackers, coarsely crushed (about 1/2 cup)

Clean asparagus and cut into spears. Butter a shallow baking dish, preferably 9X9-inch size. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook asparagus in simmering water in large skillet 2 to 3 min. or until bright green, but still crisp. Drain. Place in prepared baking dish. Add dressing and toss to coat. Top with cheese and cracker crumbs. Bake 10 to 15 min. or until topping is lightly browned and asparagus is heated through.

CREAMY ASPARAGUS SOUP

This is not my normal Cream of Asparagus soup, but it sounds luscious and plan to try it before the week is out. Simply had to pass it along now, because asparagus season won't last much longer if the heat continues. Should go very well with BLT sandwiches or any sandwich for that matter.

1 tablespoon oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, chopped

2-1/2 cups vegetable broth

8 ounces Cream Cheese, cubed, softened

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onions; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add asparagus and broth; stir. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 15 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Blend asparagus mixture, in batches, in blender until smooth. Return to saucepan. Add remaining ingredients; cook and stir on medium heat 2 to 3 minutes or until cream cheese is completely melted, and soup is well blended and heated through.

RHUBARB CHEESE PIE

Made in four steps, but they're really, really easy.

********

10-inch prepared graham cracker crust

********

3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 to 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

********

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

*******

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine rhubarb, half cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour in a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium high heat until sugar melts. Keep stirring. Don't let it burn. Pour into bottom of prepared pie crust. Set aside. Beat together the cream cheese, half cup sour cream and half cup sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and the tablespoon of vanilla until well mixed. Pour over the rhubarb layer. Bake for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden. While it bakes, combine one cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and one teaspoon vanilla. Spread this mixture over the hot pie when it comes from the oven. Set on rack to cool a bit, then cover and refrigerate until serving time, which should be at least an hour, to be sure it's well chilled before serving.

GRAHAM CRACKER ECLAIR TORTE

This super easy recipe is perfect for shower, reunion, or pot luck, because it must be made at least 24 hours ahead and is easily portable. You can make the filling with thawed frozen whipped topping if you must, but to my taste that made it too sweet. Real whipped cream, without extra sugar added, was much better. Serves 10 or so, depending on how you slice it. Always thought I'd like to slice a couple of bananas onto the middle layer, but never have gotten around to trying that.

2 boxes French vanilla instant pudding (3 1/2 ounces)

3 cups cold whole milk

1 box graham crackers (14 ounces)

8 ounces whipping cream (or frozen whipped topping if you must)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing:

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whip cream. Add vanilla, but do not add sugar. Using a separate bowl but the same beaters, beat pudding mix with milk until thickened. Use a rotary mixer if possible, or a wire whip and a very strong arm. Gently fold in whipped cream. Layer a 9x13" baking pan with one layer of the graham crackers. Don't break them up, just arrange them to cover the entire bottom of the pan, and break pieces to fill in holes if you need to. Spread half of the pudding mixture evenly over the crackers. Repeat with another layer of graham crackers and another layer of pudding, then top with a final layer of graham crackers. For the icing, place the cocoa and confectioner's sugar in a small saucepan and stir with fork to break up any lumps. Stir in the remaining icing ingredients. Cook and stir over moderate heat until everything is dissolved and butter is melted. Add the chocolate chips and stir until they melt and are mixed in evenly. Pour over the final graham cracker layer and spread to the sides to cover completely. Let cool a bit, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. During the 24 hours the filling will soak into the graham crackers and soften them, making the whole thing easy to cut and serve, and wonderful to eat.

Thought for the week: Dear Lord, Please bless this year's crop of graduates as they venture out from lives of learning into the real world of work and worry. The world at this stage of history gives them plenty to worry about, You know. Please give them the intelligence to question some of the "facts" they have been taught that were not true, the understanding that they have the right to the fruits of their own labors, not those earned by the sweat of someone else's brow, and the wisdom to respect the rights of others to think and speak of what they believe in, even when they disagree. Amen.

P.S. Lord, do you sometimes chuckle and then shake Your head sadly over the tendency of Your people to be more than willing to share what they believe, and at the same time are unwilling to listen to the thoughts of others on the same subject?

(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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