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

Enjoy Beautiful Autumn...

Rain and sun. Rain and sun. Add some magnificent night skies. Throw in cool nights and warm days, leaves that are beginning to turn colors, gardens that are rewarding our labors, and you have perfect Wisconsin Autumn weather, which is exactly what we've been having. Autumn officially arrives Thursday, Sept. 22.

All the rain is becoming a bit of a problem, though. A year or two ago we were being warned about impending doom because of dwindling groundwater and low levels in lakes, rivers and streams. Now everything is about overflowing, and in our typically sandy yard water isn't even soaking in any more in some spots.

If all the rain we've had this month had been snow we'd really be in trouble!

PORTENTS??

After a sudden downpour on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 19, a perfect rainbow formed low across the northeast sky. Looked like that brilliant band of colors arched from ground level at the Green Bay shoreline in the Town of Peshtigo to ground level that might have been somewhere in the the Town of Wagner. Perfect broad bands of purple, yellow, blue, green, and pink glowed in the sky, and above it was a less vibrant copy. The double rainbow was visible to us at the Peshtigo Times for only about five minutes at about 3:15 p.m., but what beautiful minutes they were!

Then the rainbows faced and the skies cleared.

Later in the afternoon, checked the few remaining clouds. There, in an otherwise bright blue sky, was a cloud formation in the shape of North and South America, from Alaska to the tip of the continents near the South Pole, with Mexico and Central America right in the middle where they belong, Panama Canal and all.

Perched across the entire North American continent was a cloud dragon that looked a lot like the helpful dog dragon in "Never Ending Story," breathing wispy cloud fire and sporting floppy ears. Flying away from the two continents and larger than the two combined was a magnificent cloud angel with wide spreading wings.

Was there a message in the sky?

Sure would be easy for a superstitious person to believe so!

SATURDAY IS HISTORICAL DAY

The summer season of festivals is coming to an end, but at least one really big one is coming this weekend. Peshtigo Historical Day on Saturday, Sept. 24, again promises to be a day filled with opportunities for fun, starting with a morning walk/run, continuing with a parade, then food drink, historical reenactments and more in Badger Park and finally fireworks at night.

Don't let the fun stop there. Enjoy the Fireman's Breakfast at Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center on Sunday morning. It's all you can eat for "low cost".

STARTING YOUNG

There were a couple hundred people at the Marinette Marine launch of the future USS Witchita on Saturday, Sept. 17, and many of them certainly enjoyed the music of the US Navy Band, but none so much as what has to be a budding young musician.

While others stood decorously, that youngster , probably three or four years old, vigorously copied the motions of the band director, and he did it right, too.

He was in time with the music, used his hands to bring one section in and silence the other, and at the end used his hands to cut the music off.

Loved the band, but must admit watching that little boy was even more fun!

HOMEMADE "ROOT CELLAR"

Back in the day when rural families seldom made trips to town, especially in winter, most of them had a root cellar in which they stored the fruits of their summer labors.

Things like potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, onions, beets, cabbages, winter squash, and even Brussels Sprouts were kept through the winter. Most of the root vegetables would last until the next crop came in if stored in a properly ventilated root cellar. It had to be deep enough and covered well enough to never get too hot or too cold.

Most of us don't have root cellars any more, and few of us have a place to put one.

Now am told that with a little labor, large plastic garbage cans can be made into suitable substitutes. Takes some digging, though. Haven't tried this, but it should work, provided you use enough thick cover. Try it with one can this year, and if it works for you, expand the containers next year.

Just buy a new garbage can, some mesh or burlap bags, and some light weight rope. Before the ground freezes, dig a hole to put the can in, about two inches shorter than the can. Deep enough to put in and clear an area around it, enough to put the cover on securely and keep water from leaking in when the snow melts.

Have at hand a bale or so of straw and/or enough pine branches to thickly cover the entire hole. Put the can into the hole. Put your produce into the bags and attach a long rope "handle" to each one, because you need to be able to get the produce out without going head first into that barrel.

Tie the ropes to one burlap bag, and put that bag into a second one that you fill with just enough straw to cover the contents of the barrel or can, that inside, and then put the lid on securely.

Cover thickly with whatever mulch you use, straw, hay, old quilts, old carpet, whatever. Just remember every time you open that "cellar" you need to remove the mulch covering and then put it back on.

EGOCENTRIC

Bernard Bailey noticed that lots of people are studying the universe. He figures when someone finally discovers the center of it, lots of other people will be disappointed to find they are not it.

Different comment, same subject: another philosopher said that in all that surrounds him, the egotist sees only the frame of his own portrait, and still another observed that we would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all.

Bertrand Russel said one of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.

BEAUTIFY

Feel a need to pamper your skin?

No money to splurge on a facial?

Make a marvelous deep cleaning facial mask.

You need:

1 egg

1/4 cup dry milk

1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy

Juice of one lemon

Put everything together in a blender and blend until everything is smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl or jar, and spread as much as you need over your face and neck. Some of your mixture will be left in the container. That's as it should be. Let the mixture stay on your face until it is good and dry. When you're ready to remove it, first use the leftover mixture to soften the dried on mixture, and then rinse the whole thing with warm water. Pat dry and follow with your usual moisturizer.

ON THE SOAP BOX

CONGRATS, SHERIFF CLARKE


Wisconsin has had some bad press over the years, and Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke has had some hassles with the union that represents his deputies, but recently he and the state got some good recognition on the national stage.

Clarke, a frequent guest on Fox news, was chosen by the New York City Patrolman's Benevolent Association (PBA), the largest municipal police union in the country, as its 2016 Person of the Year, and served as keynote speaker at their convention early this month.

PBA President Pat Lynch said of his union's Person of the Year choice: "Sheriff Clarke is a passionate and vocal defender of police officers at a time when our job is far more difficult than ever before." He added that is what the PBA does for New York officers, "so it was encouraging to hear Sheriff Clarke make the same case on a national stage."

Clarke, Lynch and PBA members also have shared in criticism of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. New York officers turned their backs on de Blasio when he entered a hospital to pay respect to two murdered police officers. During a Fox interview, Clarke lambasted de Blasio for "irresponsible rhetoric" in connection with Eric Gardner. a New York man who died as a result of a police choke hold.

Clarke, who is black himself, has been criticized in the a mainstream daily newspaper for his criticism of the "Black Lives Matter," protest group, which he has often dubbed, "Black Lies Matter." Clarke, who has been reelected four times as Milwaukee County Sheriff, also has been criticized in the liberal mainstream press for supporting Republican candidate Donald Trump for president.

When black protesters rioted in a Milwaukee park Clarke imposed a curfew to halt questionable activities and protect public safety. That curfew was later lifted by a court order issued by what apparently is a very liberal judge.

Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article reporting the honors bestowed on Clarke by the New York City Police Union was written by Daniel Bice, who has been a very vocal Clarke detractor. The news article included reference to verbal battles between Clarke and Bice, the man who wrote it.

Go figure! Clarke is honored in New York City and criticized by his hometown press.

However, Clarke got in his licks, and Bice was man enough to quote: "If I was anti-gun, pro-criminal and a race demagogue, Bice and his employer would hail my achievements!"

COOKIN' TIME

Harvest time is winding down, but gardens and farmer's markets are still yielding their bounty. Cook, eat, enjoy!

GREEN BEAN ZUCCHINI SALAD

This recipe hails from Greece. Flavors like this doubtless inspired many a Greek poet!

1 pound zucchini, trimmed

1⁄2 lb. green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1⁄4 cup scallions, finely chopped

1 cup white mushrooms, sliced

1⁄3 cup white wine vinegar

1⁄3 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Using a mandoline or a knife, julienne zucchini. Halve green beans lengthwise and again horizontally. (Zucchini and beans should be about the same size.) Blanch vegetables, drain, and transfer to a bowl.

Add dill, scallions, and mushrooms. Toss with vinegar and oil, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least a hour before serving. Overnight or longer is fine. Not sure, but do believe you could also freeze this, and then cook it before serving when the time comes.

PORK "N' VEGGIE SOUP OLE

Make this with fresh produce, or for convenience, use their frozen counterparts. Slow cooker does the work while you play, or maybe watch the game. Makes nine servings.

2 pounds boneless pork, cubed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups water

4 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups peeled diced tomatoes or one 14-ounce can

1 1/2 cups corn

1 1/2 cups cut green beans

1 large onion, chopped

1 jar (8 ounces) salsa

1 chopped jalapeno pepper (or 4-ounce canned chopped green chilies)

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons beef bouillon

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

In large skillet brown pork in oil over medium heat. Transfer to a slow cooker and stir in the remaining ingredients. (Use water to get the good browned drippings out of the pork browning pan and into the slow cooker.) Cover and cook on low or seven to eight hours or until meat is done and vegetables are tender.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Luscious rich creamy Autumn Soup. If you don't have a whole half hour to roast the squash, 15 minutes is okay too. Roasting the squash a bit before peeling adds a rich flavor and makes peeling a whole lot easier.

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/2 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic

2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)

1 butternut squash, about four pounds

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup half and half

1 cube chicken bouillon

1 pinch ground nutmeg

Dash or two cayenne pepper

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Sour cream, optional

Chopped chives, optional

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the squash, cut it in half, remove seeds, and put cut sides down onto a lightly buttered baking sheet. Bake about half an hour, then let it get cool enough to handle. Then peel squash and cut roughly into cubes. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat; cook the onion, garlic, and thyme in the hot butter until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and fry for about five minutes, stirring. Add the chicken stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the squash and onions are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Crumble the bouillon into the soup; season with nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. Using a blender, food processor on a stick blender, process the soup in batches until smooth. Stir in the half and half and return to a simmer but don't let it boil. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped chives if you wish, but it really isn't necessary,

(Note: The original recipe called for allspice and cumin instead of the nutmeg and cayenne, but I like it much better this way. To use blender with less hassle, pour the slightly cooled soup into the blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway. Hold the lid of the blender in place with a kitchen towel and carefully start the machine, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a serving bowl. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup in the pot.)

SWEET POTATO APPLE BAKE

You could probably pass this off as dessert. Yes, it is that good!

6 medium tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

1/2 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Butter a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish. In it mix the apples and sweet potatoes. Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples and potatoes are tender.

Country Cousin

Thought for the Week: We need to give our children responsibilities, assign meaningful chores with visible results. The same applies to oldsters. As Joseph Whitney said, "When there is no feeling of accomplishment, children fail to develop properly and old people rapidly decline."



(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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841 Maple St
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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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