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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin - Find Those Pokémon!...

This beautiful summer continues. Days have been somewhat hot, but not unbearable, and nights are comfortably cool. Not too many mosquitoes. Other parts of the state have had problems with flooding, but we have been spared. Maybe God really does spend His vacations in beautiful TIMESland!

IS THERE A PROBLEM?

It's wonderful to not be plagued by swarms of mosquitoes despite the adequate rainfall this year, but have noticed there also is a lack of butterflies, and there were few fireflies this year. Add that to concerns over the demise of honey bees, and we could come up with a shortage of pollinators.

That would be a serious problem.

On the other hand, there are still plenty of flies, moths, wasps and hornets, so all is not lost!

THAT POKEMON HUNT!

Realize my housekeeping isn't always what it should be, and our cats don't always do their jobs. But was a little surprised the other day when a grandson found two of those Pokemon hiding in my kitchen! Captured them too. Good thing. Wouldn't have known how to deal with them myself.

That said, the new video game that's all the craze is good in some ways. It gets gaming kids off the couch and on their feet.

But it's also bad, because sometimes they venture into dangerous territory while seeking the elusive little Pokémon. They need to be warned, and warned again, not to go into bad neighborhoods after dark, not to go into electric power distribution stations, graveyards after dark, active construction sites and the like, and to look both ways before crossing the street, Pokémon or not.

Sadly learned that a young lady so interested in her Pokémon that she forgot herself recently fell off the edge of the Grand Canyon and got killed. That was not supposed to be part of the game, but things do happen in real life.

CONGRATULATIONS!

In this day and age, when some marriages don't even last until the honeymoon ends, it's heartwarming to find couples who stay together for a long, long time.

Understand that congratulations are in order for Joe and Dorothy Zylkowski of Crivitz, who have achieved an incredible 75 years together.

Joe has had some health problems and is in New Care now, but Dorothy still gets out and does yard work around their home and sees to it that their place is suitably decorated for every holiday, decorations that give a great deal of enjoyment to their neighbors who get to view it from the outside every time they go in and out of their driveway without having to do any of the work.

Thanks, Dorothy!

ON THE SOAP BOX

Things get curioser and curioser as we head for this fall's Presidential election. The investigation of Hillary Clinton revealed enough evidence to put any other mortal human in prison, but no charges are being brought against her.

Many in the national news media are so upset with the Republican Party for following the wishes of the electorate - as expressed at the polls (the ones where you vote, not the ones where interviewers go around asking selected people leading questions) that they are more and more resorting to headlines that in no way reflect what actually happened.

Socialism is the goal of left wing Democrats, and Hillary is their darling, now that Bernie is out of the race. They'll do pretty much anything to keep people from thinking too much about who she really is, what she has done, and some of the absolutely heartless things she has said.

For example, in the wake of the totally unnecessary deaths at Benghazi: "What difference does it make now?"

The difference, Mrs. Clinton, is that you and you alone are responsible for that tragedy. You could have stopped it, and you did not, and you have never yet showed one iota of regret or remorse.

It may be old history now, but the families of those who died are still grieving.

Do we really want someone that heartless for president?

And mishandling the e-mails. We either must believe that she was too dumb to know better, or that her personal motives for using her private server were strong enough to justify endangering our national security.

If we believe she was too stupid to know better, do we want her for president?

And if we believe she is very smart, but thought she could get away with breaking the rules of national security, do we want her for president?

As it turns out, she will not only get off scott free, she might be "punished" by being elected president.

Any ordinary government employee would be on his or her way to jail for what Hillary has done. If we're not careful, she may be on her way to the White House instead.

How's that for justice?

PLACING BLAME

Our society seems to get more and more violent. Blacks are shooting whites. Whites are shooting blacks. Everybody seems to be shooting police officers, black and white. Kids are shooting each other. Or their parents. Or their siblings. Or their teachers.

Even without terrorists, which are a whole other issue, violence seems to be more and more the order - or disorder - of the day.

Guns keep getting blamed, but they don't do the shooting. The Boston Bomber used a pressure cooker. Others have made bombs out of fertilizer.

Perhaps we need to look at the root of the evil that is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Our kids are too sheltered. Too many have no assigned chores. We protect them from teasing. We protect them from getting poor grades. We protect the younger ones from losing at games. If nobody keeps score, they can't lose, right?

Wrong!

We forget that by protecting them from being losers, we're also "protecting" them from being winners.

We deny that there's a right and a wrong.

If kids are too fat, it can't be their fault for eating too much. It's somebody else's fault for offering them the wrong foods.

Sad fact is, most of them are given an opportunity to make the right choices. They simply make the bad ones. Don't eat the carrot sticks. Candy bars are lots better.

Drive too fast. Get a ticket. It's the officer's fault. He's picking on you.

Cheat at a game on the playground. Buddy punches you in the nose. Not your fault. He's a bully!

Bad grades? Couldn't be that you weren't paying attention, or didn't do your homework. Teacher did a bad job. Couldn't teach at your level.

Kid robs a liquor store. Not his fault. Bad parents.

Then they meet a situation they can't manipulate. Got to be somebody else's fault. So they find a gun, a pressure cooker, a knife, or a brick. And they kill someone. Or a lot of someones.

Never mind. Wasn't their fault. This is a bad society. Somebody picked on them. They had bad parents. Bad teachers. Bad friends. Bad luck.

Maybe if we went back to teaching kids to deal with disappointment, scolding them for getting bad grades, making them practice harder if they lose a game, restrict sweets if they gain pounds, it would be better for everyone. Perhaps if they learned to take some teasing and give it back, to live by the good old playground rules, and confess and own up to it if they commit a serious sin, they would be better equipped to deal with life.

Growing up should provide kids with experience with minor failures so they know how to deal with the big ones when they come along, as they almost surely will. They need to accept responsibility for doing chores, and accept punishment if they fail to do them. They need to know how to try and fail, and then, when they fail, learn how to pick themselves up to try again.

In real life, it usually isn't luck, it's pluck, that determines if you succeed or fail.

LUCK?

Speaking of luck, found a quarter heads up in a filling station parking lot the other day.

Time was, finding a penny heads up meant good luck. Found a few in recent months, but never did get the luck that was supposed to follow.

Got to thinking. With inflation, maybe pennies aren't enough to buy luck any more. Hope that quarter will do the trick.

COOKIN' TIME

Gardens are yielding their bounty. Those with successful gardens can eat some, can some, freeze some, give some away. This has been a great year for gardens. We're forced to choose between feasting on sweet corn, green beans, summer squash, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, baby beets, kohlrabi, cucumbers, or fresh tomatoes, and some veggies we haven't even thought of here. Raspberries and blueberries still can be picked in some spots, and blackberries aren't far behind. Apples, cherries and plums are coming right long, and the fresh peach truck was in the area once already this year.

CUCUMBER CREAM SALAD

This great old salad comes from a vintage "Joys of Jell-O" cookbook put out by General Foods Corporation when Grandma was a girl.

1 package lemon-lime Jell-O

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon grated onion

Dash pepper

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 cups drained shredded cucumbers

Shred cucumbers and stir a small pinch of the salt into them. Put into a strainer to drain while you prepare the rest of the salad. In the fridge is fine. Dissolve the Jell-O and salt in the boiling water. Add the vinegar, onion and pepper. Chill until very thick. Stir in the sour cream and mayo, and then fold in the cucumbers. Spoon into individual molds or the serving dish and chill until firm. Makes about four cups, or eight side salads.

PERFECTION SALAD

The original Perfection Salad recipe came out in 1905, and was made with Knox gelatin instead of Jell-O, which makes life a lot easier. We tend to forget about this, but it really is good. Very pretty if you make the salad in a ring mold and put the sauce in a small dish in the center.

2 packages (6 ounces each) lime or lemon Jell-O

4 cups boiling water

3 cups cold water

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 cup finely shredded carrot

1/4 cup thinly sliced celery

1 cup crushed pineapple, well drained

OPTIONAL DRESSING:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 to 2 tablespoons milk, (more or less to your preference)

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, (more or less to taste)

Combine the 2 packages of lime Jell-O with 4 cups of hot water in a large bowl, stirring until dissolved. Stir in cold water. Immediately add vegetables and well drained pineapple. Pour mixture into a mold or serving dish. Refrigerate until mixture has set (about 2 or 3 hours). Refrigerate the salad for several hours more or overnight. Unmold by dipping into hot water for 10 seconds. If you like, serve with the optional sauce made by thinning a cup of Mayo with a tablespoon or two of milk, sweetened with a tablespoon or two of sugar.

ROASTED VEGGIE PLATTER

Put a collection of garden or farmer's market goodies to good use in this easy dish that can be cooked either in the oven or on top of a covered grill. This is such a treat that the family might even pass up the steak! Cut back on the oil in the pan and use fat free dressing if you're avoiding fats.

3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

1 medium sweet red pepper, seeded, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into half inch slices

1/2 pound whole fresh mushrooms

1/4 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed

6 medium new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered, optional

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, or covered grill to fairly hot. Put oil in pan. Prepare veggies and put them into the pan. Pour on the dressing and sprinkle on the herbs and the pepper. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender and the other veggies are done enough for you. Give a stir about half way through the baking time if you think of it.

GRILLED BANANA BOATS

Marvelous remake of S'mores. Sounds weird, but you need to try these to understand just how good they really are. Want to guild the lilly? Add small scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice cream atop the packet contents just before eating,or serve with a little dish of ice cream on the side.

4 bananas, unpeeled

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

4 graham crackers, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallows

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Make deep lengthwise cut along inside curve of each banana, being careful to not cut through to opposite side of banana. Place bananas on centers of 4 large sheets heavy-duty foil. Open bananas gently; spread with peanut butter. Top with remaining ingredients. Fold foil to make 4 packets. Grill, filled sides up, 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Cut slits in foil to release steam before carefully opening packets. Serves four.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI PRALINE BUNDT CAKE

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup oil

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped

Bread crumbs, enough to coat pan

TOPPING

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter, oil and sugar. Beat in eggs and set aside. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture. Add zucchini and vanilla. Slowly mix in apple. Grease a bundt cake pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Pour cake batter into prepared bundt cake pan. Mix topping ingredients and spread evenly on the cake batter. Bake for 55 minutes.

Thought for the week: With all the shootings of recent weeks, the liberals are once again calling for more stringent gun laws. Like the bad guys are going to say, "Oh, gee, I'm a felon. For me to have a gun is against the law, so I guess I'd better not steal this one." If you buy that, better think again. As Florida Gov. Rick Scott said after shootings at a teen gathering in Orlando, "Gun laws are not to blame. The Second Amendment has never shot anybody. The evil did this."

Please, when we say The Lord's Prayer, let us put special emphasis on the line, "Deliver us from evil." If we ever needed deliverance, we need it now!

(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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