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

Issue Date: October 4, 2017

Sky For A Canvas...

It's amazing what God can do with the sky for a canvas and clouds for His artistic medium. Early last Wednesday morning clouds low on the northern horizon formed a perfect mountain range stretching from east to west, complete with one awe inspiring snow caped peak standing above the rest. Just below them, looking like it was nearly at the Peshtigo city limits, shimmered a lovely blue lake with the mountains beyond it. All of it was beautiful, and none of it is really there! How does He do that?

DULL FALL COLORS

There has been some beautiful weather since Autumn officially arrived last week. There was an early start to some beautiful Autumn leaves, and most of us were eagerly looking forward to enjoying some spectacular foliage if the frost continued to hold off.

There has been no frost, but the colors seem to have stopped developing. There are no scarlet and gold hillsides blazing for our viewing pleasure. Leaves have been drying up and falling off after turning a dull brown, or not turning color at all.

Disappointing!

Was always told early frost would dull the colors, and that may be true. But other factors, such as drought, which we definitely did not have in TIMESland, and excess moisture can also have a spoiling effect.

Those who look upon these things scientifically say that as the sun beams with less intensity and the nights become longer and cooler in fall, leaves stop producing chlorophyll, the ingredient that makes them green. This gradually unmasks pigments that were there all along but overpowered by the more dominant green.

Apparently Wisconsin can't win this year when it comes to leaf colors.

"In a lot of parts of Wisconsin trees are under stress from all the rainfall that we've had this year, especially the northern part of the state, and those trees if they're under stress they tend to turn color and drop their leaves earlier than they normally do," said Jim Knickelbine, Executive Director of Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve.

When roots are inundated with water, trees have trouble getting as much oxygen as they're used to from soil, which puts stress onto them. The moisture also promotes fungal growth and gives trees in northeast Wisconsin diseases.

"That's always something that's always present in the environment, this year it's been heightened because of the moisture, probably won't hurt the trees in the long run but it would make them look not quite as nice this time of year," said Knickelbine

Healthy trees turn yellow, orange and red for the fall season, but diseased trees skip that altogether and turn brown immediately before their leaves fall off.

Knickelbine is quoted as saying peak coloring usually happens close to the first weekend in October, and being confident that one bad year isn't likely to turn into two.

"If it happens to be wet one year as long as that's not a long standing condition they'll recover from that- just like drought, they react to drought by being stressed and if that's not long term the trees will recover," added Knickelbine.

Meanwhile, southern parts of Wisconsin reportedly had a drought this summer, which caused dull leaf colors there.

Can't win!

FIRE PREVENTION WEEK

Each year the second week of October is observed as National Fire Prevention Week. Many fire departments have special events in honor of the occasion, and firefighters often do programs and demonstrations for local schools and service organizations.

Volunteer firefighters do such a great job, and give so freely of their time that they deserve to be recognized. Maybe in addition to Fire Prevention Week we should have something like a National Firefighters Day to honor those wonderful volunteers.

PESHTIGO FIRE

Timing of Fire Prevention Week is based on the inclusion of October 8, anniversary date of the Peshtigo and Chicago fires of 1871.

As nearly everyone in TIMESland knows, what today is the city of Peshtigo was built on the ashes of the Peshtigo Fire that destroyed the city of Peshtigo and nearly everything and everyone in and around it on the night of Oct. 8, 1871. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, that fire burned an area 10 miles wide and 40 miles long across portions of six northeastern Wisconsin counties, obliterating the towns of Peshtigo and Brussels, which lies on the other side of the Bay of Green Bay, and killing 1,000-1,500 people.

The book by Alice Judy Behrend titled, "Burning Bush" tells the stories of many area families that lived in Peshtigo before and after the fire. The book includes a brief report on several makeshift hospitals in Marinette where fire survivors were cared for, complete with listings of patient names and the extent of injuries for some of them.

The Dunlap House Hospital on Dunlap Square in Marinette list Dr. Jacob May of Fond du Lac as director. Lorenzo Race was among those listed as a patient, and Harley Race as a male nurse. Apparently the nation was responding to Peshtigo's needs. According to the book, pay for nurses was $1.50 per day, "provided by relief funds pouring in from all over the country."

Many of the patients survived the effects of their exterior burns, but died from "acute bronchitis" brought on by inhalation of smoke and super heated air.

There was also Merryman Hospital, in the A. C. Merryman Boarding House, and a hospital was set up at the Kirby House Hotel in Menominee. Farm homes of Phillip Fetterly and Abram Place and others close to the perimeter of the fire took in all the hurt and homeless they could care for.

Doctors came from Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Milwaukee to help care for the ill and injured. A building behind the Presbyterian Church in Marinette became home to 65 of the many children who were injured physically and emotionally while being orphaned by the fire.

In a country with few roads and fewer wagons after many were destroyed by the fire, as many patients as possible were transported for care in unburned areas of Oconto and Brown counties and beyond.

A few of the survivors left Peshtigo and Marinette County after the fire but many stayed, found new spouses, forged new families, lived with their physical and emotional scars, and resumed their efforts to tame the land.

The result is the tree lined city and countryside that exists today, living proof that people and fields and forests will survive, and carry on life as best they can.

ON THE SOAP BOX

GUNS AND OUTLAWS


Remember the billboards: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!"? True then, and still true today.

Guns by themselves have never committed a crime. It's the people who use them that do, and that is true of Stephen Paddock, the apparently crazed lone gunman who fired on a crowd at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas on Sunday, Oct. 1, and took the lives of 58 people before turning the weapon on himself before police broke his hotel room door down. In addition to the 58 dead, the over 11 minutes of shooting left at least 525 people injured.

As expected, the anti-gun people are taking advantage of the horrendous shooting to promote their anti-gun political agendas.

Among them once again is Hillary Clinton, who was notably silent when our embassy in Benghazi was being attacked by armed terrorist militants.

In response to the Las Vegas shooting, she tweeted, "Our grief isn't enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again."

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin held a different viewpoint. "To all those political opportunists who are seizing on the tragedy in Las Vegas to call for more gun regs...You can't regulate evil..." Bevin said Monday morning on his official government Twitter account. "What happened in Las Vegas was the handiwork of unadulterated evil in its vilest, most despicable form," he said in that statement, which did not mention gun regulations like his tweet earlier that day had. "We will not allow fear to rule our hearts " evil will not triumph against us."

"For those who think that gun control would have prevented this, we already have laws against murder," he said. "For an evil person who intends to perpetrate evil on others, there is nothing that can be done to stop that."

Gun control proponents have suggested that Bevin then should get rid of laws against illegal immigration, abortion, and murder, since "you can't regulate evil."

For the record, guns are not the only things that kill. Those who are determined to commit multiple murders will find a way.

Remember that the Boston Bomber used a pressure cooker to create his weapon of mass destruction. Other killers have used other means, including automobiles driven into a crowd, as happened on the French Riviera a few months ago.

Investigators have found that Paddock may also have been considering alternate methods of killing. In addition to 42 weapons found in his home and hotel room they found ingredients used in making explosive devices, including homemade bombs. Investigators so far appear to have no clue as to why Paddock wanted to kill, but he was obviously prepared.

No amount of gun control legislation would have prevented that.

To repeat, "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns! "

GROWIN' THINGS

For a beautiful yard next year, we are advised to water trees, shrubs, and evergreens until the ground freezes. We also should apply a layer of mulch around these plants to help reduce winter injury. As long as your grass continues to grow, you can keep mowing it. Finish seeding new lawns by the middle of the month. Experts say this is also the best time to fertilize your lawn if you only do so once a year.

Transplant trees and rosebushes, and plant spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinth, and snow drops. To prevent certain critters from enjoying winter feasts, consider covering the newly planted bulbs with chicken wire.

Garlic and horseradish should also be planted now.

Cut perennials to the ground and prune ever-bearing raspberries, but do not prune spring-flowering shrubs if you want flowers on them next spring.

START DECORATING

Halloween is coming on fast, and decorations for the season are busting out all over. If we do it right, we can decorate for Halloween now, and then need just a few minor changes to be already decorated for Thanksgiving. And keep in mind when you use pumpkins for decorating that you can put them to a good second use for pies and goodies later, when you're done looking at them. Even jack-O-Lanterns can be carved up and cooked. Just cut away the dried out parts.

COOKIN' TIME

Recently gained access to some wonderful old cookbooks including "The Dairy Cookbook" published by Consolidated Book Publishers, Inc., in 1941. It has some wonderful old forgotten recipes, and a few of them are included below.

SUPER SPECIALS

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup stock drained from peas

2 cups flaked cooked or canned salmon

2 1/4 cups cooked (or canned) peas

1 cup crushed potato chips

Melt butter and blend in flour, salt and pepper Add milk and pea stock. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Flake salmon and add to half the sauce. Place in buttered custard cups. Add peas to remaining sauce and fill custard cups with the mixture. Cover with potato chips. Bake in moderate oven of 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Unmold if desired, or serve in the custard cups. Serves six.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND CELERY

This would be good for Thanksgiving dinner. It's delicious and different, and can be made ahead and baked in the oven right along with the dinner rolls and whatever else is in there at the last minute.

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups scalded milk

2 cups cooked Brussels sprouts

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

Cook celery in 3 tablespoons butter for two minutes. Blend in flour, add milk gradually and heat to boiling. (Stir constantly while doing this.) Add sprouts, salt and pepper. Pour into buttered baking dish, cover with bread crumbs and bake in hot oven (400 degrees) about 20 minutes. Serves 8.

APPLE CUSTARD PIE

If you don't want to make the butter pastry, just use a purchased single crust pie crust.

1/2 recipe butter pastry

4 tablespoons flour 1 cup sugar

2 or 3 apples, pared, cored and cut into halves

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line pie pan with pastry. Mix 2 tablespoons flour and 1/4 cup sugar thoroughly and sprinkle over bottom. Arrange apples cut side up in the pastry shell. combine milk and egg and pour over the apples. Combine remaining flour and sugar with spices and sprinkle over the top Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn heat down to 325 degrees and continue baking 30 minutes longer, or until custard is firm.

BUTTER PASTRY

Exact amount of water needed in pastry depends on many things, including the humidity in the kitchen on any given day.

2 cups sifted flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

5/8 cup butter

About 1/2 cup ice water, sift flour and salt together. Cut in butter with two knives or pastry blender until mixture has the consistency of corn meal. Add water gradually until just moist enough to hold together. Chill and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. This recipe makes enough for a double-crust pie.

If you want to bake it as an empty shell and add filling later, roll out two sheets of pastry and lay each over the outside of pie dishes, which you have turned upside down. Trim edges and crimp as you like. Prick all over with a fork and bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Thought for the week: Don't know who defined this philosophy for life first, but it's a sentiment that came attached to an e-mail from Menominee County Sheriff Kenny Marks: "The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity, choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity"These are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing."

This would truly be a wonderful world if we all would live by those rules!

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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