Winter blew in over the weekend. Literally. They weren't kidding about the 40 mile per hour winds. Luckily, they were wrong about any amounts of snow, but understand up in the UP there was plenty. Anyway, it's cold now, and not likely to get a whole lot better until Spring or the January thaw, whichever comes first. Maybe we still have Indian Summer to look forward to?
Some historians claim the Pilgrims never held a Thanksgiving feast in Autumn, but they certainly had at least one after their first harvest in 1621, unless someone made up the first-hand account said to have been written by Edward Winslow, one of the Plymouth Rock Colony's leaders.
That feast would have been held in their first Autumn, on the North American continent, less than a year after they landed at Plymouth Rock on Dec. 21, 1620.
The Pilgrims were an extremely devout people, and it's hard to believe they would not have offered a special thanks after a harvest substantial enough for hope that the coming winter wouldn't be a repeat of the horrible first year of starvation in the New World. And I find it hard to believe that after all that starving they would celebrate by fasting, as some claim. That just wouldn't happen!
Winslow, quoted in "Mourt's Relation", said:
"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
From his account, we know they had plenty of food, and it sounds like they relaxed and had a bit of fun. According to other accounts, in addition to the venison provided by the Massasoit and his friends, there was enough wild fowl to supply the village for a week. The fowl included ducks, geese, turkeys and even swans. How wonderful for people who had been starving to death a few months earlier!
Maybe those Pilgrims weren't as dour as we're led to believe. Maybe that came later.
Since there were no large buildings in the colony it's reasonable to assume the feast was held outside. The exact date seems questionable, and considering the latitude, it seems likely it was earlier than November, probably sometime in October.
How beautiful it must have been. Forests ablaze with colored leaves, Pilgrims and their Indian friends rejoicing together, in a nearly untouched land, sunshine during the day and camp fires at night, probably Indian teepees all around. And two totally diverse peoples getting to know and appreciate one another.
Christmas will be here before we know it. Sometimes the best gifts are the homemade kind, especially if they're gifts to a grandparent from a youngster who's willing to put his or her heart and soul into doing the best possible job and then fills the rest of the package with love.
The gift giving day is only a month off, so if you want to make some homemade crafts, better get stated soon.
Some ideas use Play Clay, a concoction made from baking soda, cornstarch and water that dries into a very, very inexpensive keepsake gift.
Just mix 2 cups baking soda, one cup cornstarch and 1 1/4 cups cold water in a smallish saucepan. Mix the soda and cornstarch first, then stir in the water. Add food coloring to the water before cooking if you want to have colored clay. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes, until reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Turn out of the pan onto a plate and cover with a damp cloth. Keep the cloth over it while it cools.
When cool, either use it right away or put into a plastic container with a lid or a plastic zipper-type bag. Keeps in fridge for about a week, but bring it to room temperature before using.
Make whatever your heart desires or as near as you can get to it. Then place on a rack to dry overnight, or hurry things along by using the regular oven or the microwave.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then turn it off. Place finished objects on a cookie sheet and put into the heated oven. Leave the door shut until the oven is cold.
Place your creations on a piece of paper towel in the microwave. Bake at medium power for 30 seconds, then turn over and repeat for another 30 seconds. Keep doing this until the clay has dried.
Once done, paint or decorate as you wish.
A child's hand print makes a cute gift for grandma or grandpa. Form the clay into a nice flat, smooth disc. Press the little one's hand into the soft clay to leave an imprint. Trim into a nice smooth-edged circle, square or rectangle, and dry. Poke a hole or holes in the top to allow adding ribbon to hang the creation once it's done. Or skip that part and attach a picture hanger to the back when it's done. When dry, paint as desired and add the child's name and the date, front or back. Attach the picture hanger or ribbon, and it's good to go.
Christmas ornaments created by the kiddies add personality to any tree. Roll out the clay dough and use cookie cutters to form whatever shapes you want. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes for string. Dry the ornaments as in the directions above. When the ornaments are dry, spread out newspapers to make a work area, and provide paint, sequins and glitter glue. Let them decorate to their heart's content. Tie on ribbons or metallic string to serve as hangers and they're good to go. If the ornaments are meant as keepsakes, use permanent fine line marker to write child's name and year on the back side.
Kids (or moms) can also make beads for necklaces or bracelets by forming little balls and then poking a hole through before drying. Decorate the beads with paint or whatever. Use stretchy string to connect them if it's to be a bracelet, ribbon or other string if it will be a necklace.
You can use an emery board to smooth off rough edges, and paint the finished objects with clear acrylic spray or clear nail polish when you're finished.
GRANDMA'S GOOD ADVICE
Coleman School District Administrator Doug Polomis the other day was discussing the value of hard work, and recalled some words from his grandmother, who was obviously very wise.
"Work hard and you may get blisters," Grandma said to him. "Blisters turn into calluses. Calluses turn into memories of what you've done to get to where you are."
She also admonished everyone to remember two four letter words hard work, put them together and you get wherever you need to go.
ON THE SOAP BOX
Congratulations to the Republican lawmakers and a few switch-over Democrats who prevented passage of another law that could have created a new set of headaches for employers. Seems to me the questionable sexual preference amendment already covers the issues this law apparently was intended to address.
By vote of 212 to 213, the United States House of Representatives blocked passage of an amendment to the appropriations bill that was intended to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination, but in doing so would have added to the headaches of employers.
The amendment, introduced by a Democrat from New York, would have barred businesses from getting federal government contracts if they discriminate against the LGBT community.
Angry supporters of the provision were said to be screaming "foul," and crying about discrimination being snatched out of the jaws of equality.
As usual, no one seemed too concerned about putting another barricade in the way of a private business trying to operate without interference from Big Brother.
A sexual preference rule causes all sorts of problems for employers, particularly for contractors who may have to send work crews far from their homes.
First, if there is an individual they do not want to hire for whatever reason, and that person happens to be in the "LGBT" category, they can scream discrimination and sue the would-be employer.
Secondly, there are good reasons an employer should not be required to hire anyone he or she does not want to hire, but particularly LGBT people.
Often workers on jobs far from home are required to share housing or hotel rooms.
Don't know about you, but I would find it just as offensive if an employer ordered me, as a woman who prefers men, to share a room with an admitted lesbian as it would be if they ordered me to share a room with a male I didn't particularly care for. I'm pretty sure the same would be true of men.
There are some things lawmakers should simply keep their noses out of, and that includes dictating to employers who they should and should not hire. Those rules increase headaches for employers massively and ultimately lead to higher contract prices because the probability of litigation goes up tremendously, and consequently the cost of liability insurance goes up too.
Anyone who did not get hired would have been able to sue on the claim they were discriminated against due to their sexual preference. If they were smart and decently discreet no one would even know their sexual preference.
That there would even be an issue over this is a clear message that political correctness in this country has gone absolutely too far!
WHERE EAGLES SOAR
We in Marinette County are fortunate to live where we get to see things like majestic eagles flying free. Or some of us are unfortunate enough to narrowly miss a rare chance to see one close up. So close up that the eagle could have quite easily ended up in my lap, or in my face.
Last week the grandson was driving south on Hwy. 141 south of Wausaukee. Yours Truly was with him in the passenger seat, eyes tightly shut against the sun's glare.
Suddenly grandson slammed on the brakes.
Managed to narrowly miss hitting a great bald eagle.
The giant bird had been feasting on road kill and decided to take off just as the grandson was slowing down for him. Flew directly toward the windshield, wing span as wide as the vehicle. He almost didn't fly high enough fast enough to avoid a collision.
Grandson's quick response gave the bird time to fly over the vehicle rather than into it. One eagle, one windshield and two humans were saved.
And Grandma, sitting right there, never saw a thing until it was all over!
Right after Thanksgiving, some folks are worried about leftovers, but I'm more inclined to give special thanks for them. There are so many good things to do with cooked turkey that it should never be a problem. Not to mention the wonderful nibbling opportunities if there happen to be pies and other goodies lurking about after everyone goes home.
TURKEY CRESCENT SQUARES
Serves four. The friend who passed along this recipe suggests serving them with a green salad and glazed carrots. I'd also like sour cream green beans and leftover strawberry-banana Jell-O, or perhaps cranberry sauce as go-withs. Grand with leftover gravy poured over the top, but also perfectly good if you don't have any. You can make these with cooked chicken too when you have no cooked turkey on hand.
1 package cream cheese (3 ounces)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon diced pimento
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 package crescent rolls (8 ounces)
More melted butter
3/4 cup seasoned crumbs (crushed stuffing cubes also work)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first seven ingredients, preferably in food processor. Stir in the turkey. You can even add the turkey in the processor if you're careful not to process too much. Separate the crescent rolls into four rectangles. Press perforations in the middle to seal them. Put 1/2 cup turkey/cheese mixture on center of each square and pull up the corners to make a packet. Dab on a little water to get the edges to stick together. Brush the finished packets with melted butter and dip in the crumbs. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
TURKEY AND STUFFING CASSEROLE
This is such a basic and simple use of leftover turkey that we sort of tend to forget about it. If you've had enough turkey for the time being, make up a package of this and put in the freezer for emergency use.
2 cups diced leftover turkey
1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups leftover stuffing
Place the turkey in a greased casserole dish. Spread the soup over the turkey, and then top the casserole with the stuffing. (If you have leftover turkey skin, lay it over the top of the stuffing to keep it more moist. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with leftover gravy if you have some, a green vegetable and fruit salad or cranberry sauce. Almost better than the original meal.
CRUSTLESS MINI QUICHE
Perfect to serve for company breakfast, or to have on hand for busy mornings.
6 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup diced tomatoes and green chilies
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 slices smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper until the eggs are broken up. Stir in everything else. Grease a metal cupcake tin (or use buttery flavored cooking spray) and spoon or pour in the egg mixture, filling about 3/4 of the way. Be sure to distribute the solids and liquids equally. Bake for 17 minutes, or until a knife inserted just off center comes out clean. Eat now, or refrigerate for future breakfasts. Heats well in the microwave if you don't overdo it. By the way, they're very good if you heat the rest of the can of tomatoes and chilies (or another whole can) with salt, pepper and butter. Put a slice of buttered toast on a deep-sided saucer and place a mini quiche on top. Spoon on the tomatoes and chilies as a sauce.
You've heard of Shake "n' Bake? Well, these are just shake. No baking involved at all. I don't usually like pretzels unless they're coated with chocolate, but do love these. The recipe came from Coleman School Board Member Barb Krause-Klug years ago when she ran the school office, but she gave the credit to another district employee, Faye Tress, who was good enough to share the recipe with her. They last several weeks in zipper type plastic bags, so you can make a batch or two now and enjoy them during football games now and then all through the holiday season. They're so good and so easy that I simply had to include this recipe again, in case you forgot about them like I did. The recipe calls for straight pretzels, but you can make them with the small twisted ones too.
40 to 50 ounces thin straight salted pretzels
1 12 ounce bottle Orville Redenbacher buttery flavored popcorn oil
1 package ranch seasoning (salad dressing mix)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tsp dill weed
Put the pretzels in a large plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid. Mix together the oil and all the seasonings and pour this mixture over the pretzels. Put the cover on the bowl and shake. Turn upside down if the cover fits tightly enough. During the next hour shake four or five more times - maybe once every 10 to 15 minutes. They're done. Store however you want - even in the bowl you made them in. Or put into plastic bags to be stored in the cupboard and served as needed.
Thought for the week: Lord, we have so much to be thankful for. Most of us have never known true hunger. When we're faced with illness and sorrow, You comfort us. You ease the memory of pain, but preserve the radiance of joys remembered. You have given Man dominion over all the Earth, and You have given us this beautiful and bountiful land to live in. Help us use it wisely. You have given each of us talents. Help us use them wisely. Grant us the wisdom and the humility to follow gracefully in the great Dance of Life and let You do the leading. Happy Thanksgiving! God Bless!
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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