Happy Valentine's Day...
Remember the great song, "Great Balls O' Fire," that Jerry Lee Lewis recorded in 1957?
Well, if you were up and about and outdoors about 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning, you could have seen one, provided the night wasn't cloudy, foggy or snowing, as seems to usually be the case up here this winter. And if you did see a great ball of fire it wasn't an unidentified flying object. It was real, and has been identified by National Weather Service and NASA people as a meteorite that entered the Earth's atmosphere over Wisconsin and was seen in several states. The sonic boom was recorded 600 miles into Canada.
Hundreds of people saw and photographed the giant meteorite as it flew through the sky from west to east before it broke up about 21 miles above the earth. The remnants fell into Lake Michigan near Frankfort. They estimated the size at 600 pounds, with about a two foot diameter. By the time it landed in Lake Michigan the remnants were estimated to be about the size of baseballs. Unfortunately, they will probably never be seen again, because they are buried in silt at the bottom of the lake.
NOT SO STAR STRUCK
On a more mundane note, that old groundhog saw his shadow last week. Legend tells us that means we'll have six more weeks of winter, but we probably would have anyway, so it was worth it to see the sun for a change.
OUT AND ABOUT
We in TIMESland don't let nasty weather keep us from having fun or going to work, unless it gets really, really nasty, which it has several times already in this young year, first with arctic winds and temperatures to match, and more recently with icy conditions that made even walking outdoors hazardous, not to mention driving.
Hats off to the hard working highway crews that are out at all hours in the worst kinds of weather and on the worst kinds of roads so the rest of us can drive safely!
Life is all about making the best of what you have, and we in the north do generally have plenty of cold, ice and snow in winter, and it lasts a while. So we've learned to enjoy it. We invented ice skating, ice fishing, snow shoeing, skiing (cross country and downhill), snowmobiles and ATVs. We also invented things like Yooper Plunges, outhouse races, ice boat races, and all sort of fun winter festivals.
Bring the youngsters to Harper Park in Peshtigo from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 for a Skate With Frosty party sponsored by Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce.
Or take the whole family to the High Falls Fish-O-Rama, Radar Run, & Winterfest, also on Saturday, Feb. 11 on High Falls Flowage west of Crivitz. Cash prizes will be awarded to the largest fish in each species. Fish entry tickets can be purchased for $5 at Popp's Resort, Tall Oaks, T & B One Stop, and at the Fish-o-Rama. Fish registration ends at 3:30 p.m. There will be an ice fishing shanty decorating contest. Concessions will be available.
Coming up on Saturday, Feb. 18, there will be a Candlelight Ski and Hike event at Gov. Thompson State Park, also in the Twin Bridge area west of Crivitz, starting at 3 p.m. This will include bonfires, hot cocoa, and lots of fun for those who love to be out and about in the snow.
For those in a more serious frame of mind, there will be a peaceful protest beginning at 11:30 am on Saturday, Feb. 11 on Stephenson Island and extending over to Menominee for those who oppose the proposed Back Forty Mine project on the Menominee River in Stephenson, Mich. Members of the Menominee Nation, along with their drummers and combined opposition groups will be in attendance at the protest.
With all the ice we've been dealing with this winter, merchants all over TIMESland are running out of Ice Melt salt, and the folks who buy it are somewhat running out of money.
Just learned we can save a lot by buying salt packaged for use in water softeners rather than that packaged for use on driveways, stairs, streets and sidewalks.
The county, towns, villages and cities buy their salt in bulk, and either use it straight or mix it with sand for use. Some towns allow residents to pick up buckets of their salt/sand mixture at the town sheds at no cost to use for de-icing on their private properties. You might want to contact a town official to find out if yours is one of them, and if so, when and where you can get it.
Back in the day we would have been celebrating Abraham Lincoln's Birthday on Sunday, Feb. 12, and George Washington's on Monday, Feb. 20, and they would have been holidays. But a few years ago our wise great leaders took away the days honoring our two greatest American presidents and put it into one day to honor all presidents, great or evil.
In view of the fact that Lincoln's birthday is coming up, and in view of the shameful and disgusting rioting going on in Berkley, Calif. among students who should know better (and some of their professors), some of Honest Abe's wise comments are worth remembering. This includes:
"There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law."
Also, "Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it," and
"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles."
God rest you, Mr. Lincoln!
Valentine's Day will be here before we know it. Came across an idea the other day to create a multi-colored bouquet from plain white flowers like daisies and carnations, so it is possible to gift your sweetie with flowers in his or her favorite hues. Or perhaps a love bouquet that matches your decor.
This plan comes from the Makerspace web site. Buy your flowers, trim off any unsightly leaves, and cut the stems to the length needed for your container. The shorter the stem the faster the color change will be. Cut a slit in the bottom of the stem to split it pretty much in half part of the way up. Cut each of these two sections in half the other way if you want the flower to have more than one color. Set up a container for each color you want to use, add water to the proper depth to cover the slits, and add food colorings of your choice. They recommend 20 to 30 drops, but that depends on the size of the container and how much water you use. If there's a bouquet freshener packet with your flowers divide that among the cups too. Prop the containers and the flowers up sturdily so the whole mess doesn't tip over. Put the flowers in each container, and if the flower willbe more than one color put each section of stem in the proper color container.
Then wait. Colors should show in a few hours, but it takes 24 hours to get the full effect.
This same method can be used when it's time to force pussy willows, but that time isn't here yet.
ON THE SOAP BOX
There is a great hue and cry over efforts to stop terrorists, drug runners and other undesirables from entering America, and the courts will decide in the next few days if President Donald Trump's orders to halt entry from certain Muslim countries will be allowed to stand until our leaders in Washington sort things out and find a better way of making sure we let the immigrants we want to help come in and keep the dangerous ones out.
Immigration is what built this country, but do have a huge problem with people who would come here to take advantage of all the good things this land has to offer and then insult our flag and everything it stands for; stage riots, destroy property, and pretend they are doing it in the name of freedom. Whose freedom? Theirs? Those out of control spoiled brat students in California aren't demonstrating in favor of anything good. Bad actions rarely support good causes.
That said, our true immigrants need to become Americans if they want to be in America.
Back when, America was rightly known as the melting pot of the world. Sure, there were insults and instances of ethnic discrimination, not only against blacks, but also against the Irish, Italians, Polish, Chinese and others, but the newcomers quickly learned the language, adapted to American ways and eventually most of them blended right in.
The problem is with the Muslims, or anyone else, who refuses to blend into the community. Here in America and in Europe, they instead set up their own enclaves, where they apparently want to continue to enjoy the hate filled and oppressive societies they have enjoyed for centuries, complete with Sharia Law.
Think of the world as a stew, where each ingredient remains distance, separate, and identifiable.
Then think of America as a fondue, where all the ingredients, especially the cheeses, blend together to make the whole far more savory than each individual part.
What kind of disgusting fondue would we have if each cheese in the melting pot stubbornly refused to melt, refused to blend with the rest?
Incidents like the recent nasty demonstrations in California and in Washington, DC help prove the need to have a population with similar values and a national language - English. We need to insist that everyone learn English and use if they intend to stay within our borders. They also need to learn the values on which our Constitution is based, follow our moral and social codes, and live like their new neighbors in America. If they cannot or will not learn, if they will not give up their "identity", they don't belong here. Make them stay away. Make them go back wherever they came from and quit being lumps in our fondue!
That said, we as Americans also need to get back to following our traditional moral and social codes or our whole fondue will sour anyway!
Winter is the time for long-simmered soups, but quick and easy is always good too. Anyway, eat hearty, and enjoy!
This recipe came a few years ago from a friend who said it is a family favorite handed down from her grandmother. She says they were able to catch only small fish the year she told me about it, so she dug up Grandma's old recipe and discovered again how much they love it. If bones are a problem she recommends using fillets, but says otherwise almost any nice fish will do.
1/4 pound salt pork
1 medium onion, or more, peeled and sliced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 pounds small pan fish or fish filets
5 cups milk
Parsley, fresh or dried, chopped
Clean and scale the fish and salt lightly. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the soup. Cut the salt pork into 1/2 inch squares and fry in Dutch oven or large heavy soup kettle. While it cooks peel and slice the onion and potatoes. Once the pork is golden outside and a generous amount of the fat is cooked out remove the pork and put the sliced onions in. She says some folks do like more onion. Simmer onions in the pork fat until tender. Stir once in a while. Then arrange the sliced potatoes over the onions, sprinkle on the salt and pepper, and add the boiling water. Cover the pan, turn heat down, and simmer about 15 minutes. Gently lay the fish on top, and cook another 10 minutes, or until the fish are done. Depends on size. Pour milk into the kettle. Heat to simmering but DO NOT let it boil again. Before serving, lift the fish out gently and put them on a serving plate. Into each soup bowl put some salt pork cubes, a sprinkle of parsley and a generous lump of butter. Then ladle in the soup. Serve each person a small plate on which they can put their fish so they can clean them and either eat the meat as is or add it to their soup. If each person bones there own fish they have nobody but themselves to blame if they miss one.
This cross between an old world favorite and today's "neuveau cuisine" is made easy because Pierogies, that old-time favorite imported from Poland, are now available in the freezer case. Takes about 15 minutes to prepare and is perfect with any grilled or gravy-less meat. Takes only one skillet, so cleanup is a snap. Make it a vegetarian side dish, or add chicken breast strips for a complete meal.
1 (16.9-ounce) box potato & cheddar pierogies
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 cup frozen peas, thawed slightly
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté pierogies in heavy 12-inch skillet as box directs. Remove from skillet. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add asparagus, carrots and red onion. Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in pierogies; add salt and pepper to taste. Heat through. Makes 4 servings. If desired, stir in 1 (16-ounce) package cooked chicken breast strips, or add a little oil and stir fry a pound or so of fresh chicken breast strips in the skillet for about 5 minutes after you brown the Pierogi. Then remove them to the dish with the waiting Pierogi while you cook the vegetables and add them back all together.
FUSS FREE SWISS STEAK
This delicious Swiss steak is designed to be made in a cooking bag so clean-up is a breeze. However, if you don't have a cooking bag, just use the crock pot.
1 cooking bag
2 tablespoons flour
2 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 or 2 carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 small onion, chopped, or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1 to 1 1/2 pounds round steak, 1/2-inch thick, cut in serving-size pieces
Measure flour into cooking bag. Add tomatoes, celery seed, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Squeeze bag (carefully hold the top to keep it from spilling) to mix all ingredients. Add vegetables and steak.
Secure top of bag with tie; place in crockpot. Cut several small vents in the top to allow steam to escape. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours, then pour into a serving bowl. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans. Serves 4 to 6.
Makes four servings, one breast half each. Serve with French style green beans lightly touched with olive oil and cauliflower with a squeeze of lemon for a pretty, satisfying and totally diet friendly plate.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Combine all the ingredients in a large resealable plastic storage bag; mix well. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Heat a grill pan over medium heat until hot. Place the chicken on the pan, discarding excess marinade, and cook for 6 to 10 minutes per side, or until no pink remains and the juices run clear. Each serving equals as Diabetic Exchanges, 5 very lean meats and half a fat serving. Calories: 199; Saturated fat: 2 grams; Carbohydrate: 2 grams.
MUGGLES RED VELVET CAKE
Just the two of you? Make this dessert for Valentine's Day. Top each mug with shipped cream and a cherry.
3/4 cup biscuit mix
3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Red food color, as needed
Cream cheese frosting or sweetened whipped cream, if desired
In medium bowl, beat all ingredients except frosting until well combined. Spray insides of 2 large coffee mugs with cooking spray. Divide batter equally into mugs. One at a time, microwave each mug uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool with frosting or whipped cream.
The Country Cousin
Thought for the week: Let us thank God for having given us men like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, and let us ask Him humbly to provide us with another cast in the same mold at this, our time of need, and ask Him also for the wisdom to recognize that person, whoever he or she is. Amen.
(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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