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

Frost Is On The Pumpkin...

Autumn is definitely here. Many areas of TIMESland already have had a killing frost. Colors are about at their peak and leaves are falling fast.

The DNR warns drivers to be particularly on the lookout for deer at this season, since bucks will be in full rut. As most of us who have driven any amount of miles in TIMESland know to our sorrow, the Whitetail Deer does not stop for traffic in any season, and certainly not at this time of year when the joy of the chase wipes out any sense they might have. Guess they really aren't suicidal, just don't understand just how fast cars can go.

HUNT FOR HAUNTING FUN

Halloween is coming fast, and lots of fun events are planned, including the annual Haunted Harmony event on Saturday, Oct. 15, and Colton's Haunted House at 149 North Wood Ave., in Peshtigo on Oct. 28 and 29.

Watch the web, watch the ads, and pick your spot for having some ghostly fun.

IN DISGUISE?

For some years, my hair has kept its original color with the help of bottled products. Friend a while back gave me a very attractive wig, but in the gray shade that my hair would probably be if left to its own devices. Maybe it was a hint?

Anyway, showed it to the grandkids recently, and asked if they thought I should go out for Halloween disguised as an old lady.

They didn't need to laugh THAT hard!!!

APPLE HARVEST

According to Old Farmer's Almanac, there are several clues to look out for when checking if apples are ready to harvest. The skin color will become deeper. Fruits at the sides and top of the tree will usually ripen first because they receive the most sunlight. Finding windfalls on the ground below the tree is a good sign that apples are ready to harvest. If in doubt, pick and taste one!

They say to never tug an apple from the tree. Instead, cup it in the palm of your hand, lift it up and twist it gently. A ripe apple will come away easily, complete with its stalk. Apples on the same tree will ripen at different rates, so harvest regularly. Handle apples carefully to avoid bruising them, and take care when using a ladder to pick apples from higher up on the tree.

Early season varieties don't store well, so eat them as soon as possible after picking. Mid-season varieties should keep for several weeks, and late season varieties will store for up to six months.

Apples with bruises or blemishes will not keep. Peel, cut and freeze the slices or make applesauce or something else out of them.

The apples to be stored should be wrapped in newspapers (after you've read them), and kept in a dark, well-ventilated, cool but frost-free place, such as a fruit cellar. Check stored apples regularly and remove any that show signs of damage or rotting.

HARVEST THE GOLD

When a pumpkin is ripe its skin turns a deep, solid color (usually orange). When you thump the pumpkin, the rind feels hard and it sounds hollow. If the skin resists puncture when you press your nail into it, it's ripe.

Cut the pumpkin off the vine carefully with a sharp knife or pruners; do not tear it. Leaving a good three to four inches of stem will increase the pumpkin's keeping time.

Cure harvested pumpkins in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin and then store in a cool, dry bedroom or cellar, anywhere around 55 degrees.

Save the seeds for future planting. They're said to last for 6 years.

Keep in mind for next year that some pumpkins come in different colors. For example, "Jarrahdale" has blue-green skin and makes for great decorations. "Pepitas Pumpkin" is orange and green, and "Super Moon" is a large white pumpkin.

Then there are the cute little ones that are marvelous for Autumn decorating. Some good ones are "Jack Be Little," which matures in 90 to 100 days, "We-B-Little," and "Munchkin." The mini pumpkins are very productive and easy to grow. They sometimes produce up to a dozen pumpkins per plant.

HUNTER'S MOON

October's full Moon rises mid-month on October 15 or 16 this year, depending on your time zone. By Halloween, the Moon will "disappear" from the night sky so it should be a dark, "spooky" night for trick-or-treaters.

Some Native American tribes referred to October's Moon as the Full Hunter's Moon as it was the time to go hunting in preparation for winter. This full Moon is also called the "Travel Moon" and the "Dying Grass Moon."

This is the first Full Moon following September's Harvest Moon. It rises just after sunset and sets around sunrise, so this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long.

AUTUMN LEAVES

There's a reason they call this season "Fall"...

Autumn leaves are beautiful on the trees, but once they land in your yard, that's another story. For lots of reasons, including fire safety, they need to be raked up, and once ranked, there's the problem of what to do with them.

In the old days, that was no problem. Leaf piles were for jumping in and playing in, and in the evening they were for burning. Lots of fond memories of those days, but in many communities leaf burning is no longer allowed.

But there are alternatives to bagging them and putting them out for the trash collection.

You can skip raking and mow over the dry leaves a few times if they aren't too thick. Then leave them in place (no play on words intended), to break down and add valuable organic matter and nutrients to the ground they came from.

Also, you can spread them as protective mulch to protect tender plants and bulbs until spring. Lay pine boughs or other cover on top to keep them in place.

Leaves also make a good insulating cover for tender perennials or root crops stored in the ground. A heavy leaf cover allows fall-planted garlic to root without sprouting, and prevents shallow-rooted strawberries from heaving during winter's freeze-thaw cycles.

Save them, covered, to use as a weed barrier for spring plantings. Chopped or left whole, leaves make excellent mulch for vegetable crops, blueberries (and other berries), and ornamental shrubs. They not only suppress weeds and help retain soil moisture, but because they contain no weed seeds themselves, they won't encourage the spread of new weeds.

Or make compost. Leaves are rich in carbon and pair well with nitrogen-rich grass clippings from raking the lawn. Layer three or four inches of old leaves with an inch of fresh grass clippings or other green leafy yard waste and when the piles are well rotted use them to enrich planting soil.

Since it's probably too late this year to make the compost with lawn clippings, consider making leaf mold, a special kind of all-leaf compost much beloved by English gardeners. Good way to enrich your soil at no cost except the bags you keep the leaves in. Simply collect and store leaves, shredded or not, in plastic bags or wire bins. Keep them moist, and let the fungi take over. After two or three years, the leaves will have disintegrated into a dark, sweet-smelling, soil conditioner, high in essential minerals with exceptional water-retentive properties that make it an ideal amendment for loose, sandy soil.

ON THE SOAP BOX

DOUBLE STANDARDS


While he was President, and before, good ole; Bill Clinton had a few episodes with the ladies, including that well-known romp with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office, which was an insult to everyone, male and female, in this country.

The liberal press defended him. He was gust being a regular guy.

Yeah, sure.

Even before that, he was in trouble a number of times over women, including legal trouble, very serious legal trouble.

And guess who defended him?

Wife Hillary, who now is outraged because Donald Trump, her opponent for president, was caught on tape 11 years ago making lewd comments about a woman, or women in general, when he thought he was in a private situation.

And we're all supposed to be outraged.

Well guess what?

Most of us have heard locker room talk, and quite a few guys have participated. It isn't pretty, but hey - we're thinking about electing Donald Trump president, not nominating him for sainthood.

As long as he was only looking and talking and not forcing his attentions on anyone, he was not doing anything nearly as serious as Bill Clinton did. Keep in mind that if Hillary is elected president, her womanizing husband will represent this nation as "first man," and that she is the person who vigorously defended him in court and in the press.

Okay in her own husband, but reprehensible in anyone else?

Something of a double standard, don't you think?

COOKIN' TIME

Cool days and nights make the kitchen a lot more attractive, not to mention the good things the fall harvests bring us - like cabbage, carrots, squash, pumpkins, apples, sweet potatoes... and if you're lucky, wild game from the hunting seasons that are getting underway.

CHICKEN CROISSANTS

Serve these with a steaming bowl of vegetable soup for a great Autumn meal, or as snacks at the next football game. Great either way!

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed

3 tablespoons chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

6 ounces cream cheese

6 tablespoons butter

3 10-ounce cans refrigerated crescent roll dough

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, slowly cook and stir skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, onion and garlic. Cook until onions are tender and chicken is lightly browned. In a medium bowl, blend chicken mixture, cream cheese and butter until creamy. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Unroll croissants and divide in half to create 12 rectangles. Place approximately one tablespoon of the chicken mixture on each rectangle. Fold into balls. Arrange balls on a large baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

RUNZA

1/2 head cabbage

2 pounds hamburger

1 onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Shred cabbage. Chop onion, brown meat in skillet. Add the cabbage and onion and simmer until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

RUNZA DOUGH:

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups water or milk

1/2 cup melted shortening

1 package dry yeast

Salt

6 to 8 cups flour

Mix together. Let rise until double. Roll tennis ball size pieces of dough about 1/8 inch thick. Put cabbage mixture and cheese on one half of each circle. Fold over and pinch edges together to seal. Place seam side down on a buttered baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in 350 a degree oven. Brush with butter when removed from oven.

OVEN FRIED ZUCCHINI

With Yogurt Sauce

Great as a snack, or serve with a meal.

For the fries:

2 large zucchini

1 tablespoon flour

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 egg

2 tablespoon milk (or almond milk)

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/3 cup Parmesan

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon mixed herbs

Pinch of cayenne

For the dip:

1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1/2 clove garlic

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/2 teaspoon dried mint or dill weed, optional

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the zucchini and cut into sticks that are approximately 1/2 an inch in thickness. Place the zucchini sticks in a zipper type bag with the flour, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and shake well until all sides of the zucchini sticks are lightly coated in flour. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, herbs and spices. Working in batches of two sticks at a time, dip the zucchini in the egg and then dredge in the dry mixture so that all sides are well coated, then place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining zucchini sticks. Bake the zucchini in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping half way through to ensure they are evenly crisp and golden. Stir together all of the ingredient for the dipping sauce and serve alongside the warm zucchini fries.

FROSTED CARROT CHEESE CAKE

Sneaky way to get a few bites of carrot into the kids. Raisins and nuts are also good for you, and cream cheese is good also, as desserts go.

For the cake:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 c. canola oil

2 large beaten eggs

1 1/2 cup grated carrots

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

For the Cheesecake:

2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoon flour

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

4 tablespoon. softened butter

2 ounces softened cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chopped or ground pecans or walnuts, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" springform pan. To make the carrot cake combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Stir in oil, then add eggs and mix until combined. Add carrots, raisins, and nuts and mix until combined. Set aside. To make the cheesecake, preferably use an electric mixer. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then stir in salt and flour. Mix in vanilla and eggs, beating one minute between each addition, and then add sour cream. Pour two thirds of the carrot cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with spatula. Top with spoonfuls of another third of the cheesecake batter, then pour over the remaining carrot cake batter. Top with remaining cheesecake mixture and smooth top with a spatula. Bake about an hour, or until the center is only slightly jiggly. Let cool completely, then transfer to the fridge to cool at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Shortly before you're ready to serve, make the icing. Beat the powdered sugar, butter cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Frost the cheesecake, then garnish with chopped or ground pecans or walnuts and chill about half an hour before serving.

The Country Cousin

Thought for the week: Lord, help me remember, I cannot do everything, but I am obligated to do something if I can. To see evil and not speak out against it is to do evil. Help me have the courage to speak out when I must, the generosity to help out when I can, and the strength to do both often. Amen. P.S. Enough wisdom to know when to speak and when not to would be very helpful, if You would see fit.

Country Cousin

(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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