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

Wishing On A Star...

Summer of 2016 is rapidly hurtling toward its end. Apples are already falling from their trees. School starts in just three short weeks! Football season has started. We're enjoying - or suffering - from hot, muggy days now, but before long we'll be donning sweaters and then parkas again. Let's enjoy the Summer sunshine while we can.

LOTS GOING ON

The Marinette County Fair is Aug. 25-28. Many summer events are over, but there's still a lot going on this weekend and throughout the entire busy and beautiful Summer and Fall days in TIMESland.

Flea markets are held weekly - every Thursday in Crivitz - and intermittently in other communities. Farmers' Markets abound.

The Middle Inlet Fireman's Picnic is Saturday, Aug. 13, with lots of fun events, contests and games for the entire family.

So is the 39th Annual Silver Cliff Fire & Rescue Auxiliary Picnic at Silver Cliff Memorial Park Picnic Grounds. There will be a parade at 10 a.m., and picnic events from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with food, drink, fun and games for the entire family. Their booyah is awesome!

The annual ACA Duck Run at the County V Park west of Amberg is also on Aug. 13, starting at 11 a.m., with paddle wheel, raffles, food and refreshments. Ducks are for sale at Mathis Hardware, Driftwood Sport & Fuel, Amberg Pub.

The Oconto County Fair is Aug. 18-21.

Don't miss the fun. Check the Peshtigo Times ads and local bulletin boards for events near you!

CATCH A FALLING STAR...

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the Perseid meteor shower hits its peak the night of Thursday, Aug. 11 and the following night. So if you want to wish on a falling star - or try to catch one - those are the best times to do it, provided the skies are clear. If you miss those nights, the shower continues for the next week or so, so keep watching.

You always see more meteors when the background sky is dark, so get away from street and yard lights. Start watching after the Moon sets, meaning after 1 a.m. Friday morning, or after 2 a.m. Saturday morning. Star gazers say this gives a double benefit, as the meteor shower is heavier during the predawn hours, and can be seen better after the Moon has gone to bed.

The Almanac star gazer says you should see about 15 meteors an hour before midnight, and about 60 each hour between midnight and dawn.

Spread out blankets or lounge chairs out in the open, away from overhanging trees, and enjoy. It's a cheap date, and a romantic one.

But bring the mosquito repellent. They've been pesky lately.

WHAT IS A METEOR?

According to astronomer Bob Berman, each of the shooting stars in this week's meteor shower is an icy fragment from the tail of the Comet Swift-Tuttlle, which that orbits the sun every 133 years. Most of those fragments are about the size of an apple seed and completely harmless.

That comet has a 15-mile nucleus, travels 80 times faster than a bullet, and is said to be the most hazardous object in the known universe. For example, in 4479 it will pass only a few times farther from us than the Moon. A near miss.

Once in a while a meteorite does land on earth, and when it cools it's a pock-marked rock. We used to own a small one - less than basketball size - that was found in a farm field near Crivitz. It went to school with one of the boys about 20 years ago and never came home. That rock sizzled when water was poured on it, no matter what the temperature was outside, and no matter if the sun was shining on it or not.

Berman says some day Swift-Tuttle will probably collide with Earth, and that will be devastating. But that isn't likely to happen soon - maybe in 4479, when it will pass only a few times farther from us than the Moon. That is, if the Earth and the Moon are both still here.

A DAY IN HISTORY

Besides being the birthday of at least two people very near and dear to me, Aug. 14 was quite a day in history.

On Aug. 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act establishing the system which guarantees pensions to those who retire at age 62 or 65 if they have earned wages in jobs covered by the system, and aids states in providing financial aid to dependent children, the blind and others, as well as administering a system of unemployment insurance.

On Aug. 14, 1941, after three days of secret meetings aboard warships off the coast of Newfoundland, the Atlantic Charter was issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Charter, a foundation stone for the later establishment of the United Nations, set forth eight goals for the nations of the world, including; the renunciation of all aggression, right to self-government, access to raw materials, freedom from want and fear, freedom of the seas, and disarmament of aggressor nations. By September, 15 anti-Axis nations signed the Charter. (Nazi Germany and its allies were known as Axis nations.)

On Aug. 14, 1945, delegates of Emperor Hirohito accepted Allied surrender terms that had originally issued at Potsdam on July 26, 1945, with the exception that the Japanese Emperor's sovereignty would be maintained. Japanese Emperor Hirohito, who had never spoken on radio, then recorded an announcement admitting Japan's surrender, without actually using the word. The announcement was broadcast via radio to the Japanese people at noon the next day. The formal surrender ceremony occurred later, on Sept. 2, 1945, on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

The Aug. 14, 1945 announcement came after following American planes had dropped two bombs on Japan.

Aug. 14, 1945 is observed as V-J Day, commemorating President Harry S. Truman's announcement that Japan had surrendered to the Allies.

BERLIN WALL

We've been hearing that the notion of building a wall at the Mexican border to stop the influx of illegal immigrants to this country is an impossible idea.

A wall wasn't impossible for the Russian Communists back in 1961. The difference is they built a wall to keep people in, and some of us here in America want a wall to keep people out.

For those who don't remember, when World War II ended control over Germany was divided between the western world and the Russian Communists, the free world getting the western half and the Communists getting what became known as East Germany. Berlin itself, capitol Germany, was also divided between East and West.

Too many Germans living in East Germany were desperate to get out, and kept trying to cross the border to escape from their Communist overlords. They frequently tried to do this in busy Berlin.

So on Aug. 13, 1961 the Russians closed the border and built the Berlin Wall. It started as barbed wire that later was replaced by a 12 foot-high concrete wall extending 103 miles around the perimeter of West Berlin. The wall included electrified fences, fortifications, and guard posts.

That wall became a notorious symbol of the Cold War. Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan made notable appearances at the wall accompanied by speeches denouncing Communism.

President Reagan made the historic demand, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

The wall was finally opened by an East German governmental decree in November 1989 and was torn down by the end of 1990.

Later the two halves of Germany were reunited and the country again is one nation.

Incidentally, we call it Germany, but the Germans themselves refer to it as "Deutschland."

MONEY ONLY

A British newspaper not long ago reportedly carried a story about a local parish church that had set out a bowl labeled, "For the sick."

A couple of weeks later a story was posted in the parish bulletin and a new sign was added above the bowl:

"Would the Congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the Church labeled "For The Sick' , is for monetary donations only."

PET CONTROL

Enjoying the fun of a kitten, or the adult version of one, but need to stop damage to carpets and upholstery?

Our little furry friends like to sharpen their claws and stretch their muscles on fabrics, sometimes with shredding effects.

To discourage this habit, mix a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper into a cup of water in a spray bottle and lightly spray areas that get scratched the most. The scent is said to keep the pet away.

And then buy or build them a scratching post.

STING RELIEF

Honey bees are scarce this year, but wasps and hornets seem to be thriving. They can sting multiple times in the blink of an eye.

To ease the pain, use a finger nail, the edge of a credit card or the dull side of a table knife to scrape out the stinger, and then dab on a bit of non-jell type toothpaste. The toothpaste is said to dry out the venom and accelerate healing. A dab of moistened baking soda also helps ease the sting.

The toothpaste or baking soda trick also eases the itch of mosquito bites.

SKIN SOFTENER

Baking soda has lots of uses besides cooking. Most of us know we can use it in water to clean the fridge or microwave and leave them sweet smelling.

That trick also works on our own bodies.

Put some pre-moistened baking soda on a wet wash cloth and wipe down sweaty body areas like under arms, feet, etc., and let it sit for a minute or so, then rinse. Wicks away moisture and kills odor causing bacteria.

And if your skin suffers from too much sun and water, treat it to a soaky bath in a tub laced with half a cup of baking soda. The soda creates bubbles, balances the skin's pH level to relieve dryness, and the lingering effects provide a very mild deodorizing action for the entire body.

COOKIN' TIME

Summer goodies are there for the picking, or beg your neighbors for some. Half green apples are lying on the ground. Get them before the deer do. Raspberries are nearly done, and blackberries are ripening fast. Enjoy!

GRILLED SALMON PACKETS

Put some potatoes on the grill to bake before you start making up the packets, and once they and the fish are done you'll have a full balanced meal with no mess at all.

1 skin-on salmon fillet (about a pound)

Lemon pepper to taste

2 small red peppers, cut into short thin strips

3 cups tiny fresh green beans, sugar snap peas, or sliced summer squash

4 tablespoons Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Prepare four large sheets of aluminum foil by spreading a dab of butter in the center of each and spray with cooking spray. Cut fish into 4 pieces; place 1 piece, skin side down, onto center of each sheet. Spoon vegetables over fish. Fold to make packet. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork and vegetables are crisp-tender. (To use oven, heat to 350 degrees. Assemble packets as directed, then place in a single layer in 15x10x1-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.) Cut slits in foil to release steam before opening packets. Drizzle with dressing.

BAKED BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST

Company coming for the weekend? Mix this breakfast treat up the night before, then dress for the day and enjoy coffee with everybody in the morning while breakfast takes care of itself. Make with low fat ingredients and egg substitute if you want the low-fat version. Take out of the fridge half an hour before baking in the morning.

24 slices day-old French bread, half an inch thick

1 package cream cheese, cubed

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

2 cups beaten eggs or egg substitute

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Powdered sugar

Spray a 13-inchX9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place 12 of the bread slices in it. In a food processor or blender mix everything else except the blueberries, remaining bread and powdered sugar. Process until smooth. Pour half of this over the bread slices, add the blueberries and then the remaining bread, and finally the remaining egg mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or over night. In the morning, take out of the fridge and let sit for half an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for about half an hour, then remove cover and bake another 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. (Instead of the powdered sugar, I like to mix up some cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle this on top just after taking the cover off.) Makes 12 servings.

Note: If made with low fat or no fat milk, cream cheese, yogurt, sour cream and fake eggs, two slices have 228 calories, 5 grams fat, 14 mgs cholesterol, 11 grams protein and 33 grams carbohydrates, and on the diabetic exchange equals one starch, one fat free milk and half a fruit. Quite a bargain!

LEMON OR LIME BARS

Want to jump the gun on Packer parties? This is the season for refreshing citrus flavors, so make a batch of lemon bars, tinted with extra yellow coloring and a batch of lime bars, tinted green, and serve on mixed-color platters.

Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

Filling:

4 eggs

1/3 cup lime or lemon juice

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

2 teaspoons grated lime or lemon peel, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 drop green or yellow food coloring, or as desired (optional)

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lime or lemon peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X12-inch baking dish. To make crust put 2 cups flour, half cup confectioners' sugar, and salt in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry cutter until crust mixture resembles crumbs. Pat crust evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. While it bakes, whisk the eggs, 1/3 cup lime or lemon juice, 1/4 cup flour, white sugar, 2 teaspoons lime or lemon peel, baking powder, and food coloring in a bowl; pour over the crust. Return baking dish to oven; bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool thoroughly. Whisk 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon grated lime peel to make a smooth glaze; spread evenly over cooled lime bars. Let glaze set before serving.

Thought for the Week: It is human nature to fear change, to cling to the known and avoid the unknown, in politics as in everything else in life. We'd for the most part rather stay with failed attempts and known unsuccessful methods than try out new solutions. As Arthur Schopenhauer said back in the 1800s, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." In politics as with everything else in life, we fear candidates who do not behave or speak in the normally accepted manner. Yes, Mr. Columbus, you were right. The world really is round! You no longer would be jailed for saying that.

(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.)

Country Cousin


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