Country CousinIssue Date: April 5, 2018
Out Like A Lamb!...
March certainly went out like a lamb this year - a white, fluffy, snowy frozen lamb! Easter fell on April 1 - April Fools Day - but wish the Weatherman would decide there's been enough of this April Fool's prank and let Spring settle in!
Think the Easter bunny must have needed help from some Snowshoe Hares to deliver Easter Baskets this year, at least in TIMESland.
Snow never went away, but it started falling again on Good Friday (March 30) and continued all day Saturday and into Easter Sunday night. Stopped for a cold but sunny Easter, started again Monday evening and pretty much hasn't stopped since.
We're supposed to get a little break on Wednesday afternoon until Global Warming starts piling up again in big wind driven drifts on Thursday, with sharply falling temperatures besides!
Temps around here aren't expected to get above freezing for over a week, and then guess what? On Friday the 13th they're predicting precipitation again - rain or snow? That's anybody's guess, but the nighttime low is predicted at 37 degrees, so rain is the likely choice. Then things cool off again, probably just in time to turn a lot of that rain into ice!
Don't be expecting too much fine spring weather in the immediate future! Some weather forecasters predict another snowstorm on or about April 16!
There are some bright sides. Many families took advantage of the opportunity to build giant snow bunnies to decorate their yards on Easter. Spotted a very fine one Monday evening standing near a mail box on County B between Peshtigo and Coleman. Even the ears were still standing up.
GOOD SAP WEATHER
Another bright side is that this extended cold spell should also make a good season for maple syrup producers. Maple sap keeps running as long as daytime temperatures are above freezing and nighttime temperatures fall below. Wonder if the trees have enough sap to keep it up until June or so?
On the other hand, if it doesn't start warming up soon gardening will be pretty dismal this year.
Son who has become quite a bird watcher is feeling bad for the lone male robin who began visiting his bird feeder about a dozen days ago. Says that poor bird must be suffering from the cold, and feeling pretty foolish for having come north so early while the rest of his family stayed down in the Sunny South with the human snow birds who were smart enough not to return too early to their summer nesting places.
My Grandma Boivin used to insist that peas had to be planted on Good Friday if they were to grow well. She believed in a lot of legends and folklore, and had something of a phobia against the number ൕ," but she was an awesome woman who cared for a household and a dozen kids, plus chickens, ducks, geese, and pigs and raised a garden big enough to feed them all.
She might have been wrong about getting rid of a wart by rubbing it with a raw potato and then throwing it away over your left shoulder on the night of a full moon, but she was probably right about the best time to plant peas - provided you could get through the snow and drill a deep enough hole in the ground beneath it. Always thought I'd try that some day as a scientific test, but again this year it didn't get done.
And maybe there's some medical benefit to rubbing a wart with a raw potato. Fortunately, don't have a wart to try it on.
Just a reminder. Doesn't look like it, but the income tax filing deadline is fast approaching. Snow or no snow, April 17 will be here soon!
ON THE SOAP BOX
Members of Marinette County Board are often chided by Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison for using the masculine "he" when they're talking about a person who could be of either gender, particularly a person who may be hired to fill a specific position. That happened again recently when they were changing County Board operating procedures in preparation for the reorganization meeting on Tuesday, April 17. Said supervisors should follow the politically correct practice of saying "he or she," or "this person" or "this individual." when they are talking about a person whose gender is unknown.
Not sure all the supervisors understand that she is expressing her own personal preference on that issue, not issuing legal advice.
I maintain that when speaking of unknown individuals, the word "he" can in fact be generic, and trying to be too politically correct can be stultifying to the English language, or any other language for that matter, and for our thought processes as well.
When we're speaking in generic terms, not of an individual, use of the word "he" is grammatically correct, or at least it was before the women's rights people got together to take away privileges I used to enjoy as a woman, including the privilege of being a chairman instead of just a chair!
Why can't a female be an alderman, a chairman, or a telephone lineman just as well as a male? Female doctors are not called doctresses and male nurses are called nurses, just like their female counterparts! Those are all generic terms, without reference to gender at all.
We're all members of the huMAN race. To be politically correct, must we now say we're members of the huPERSON race? Do we share this planet with all of mankind, or with all of personkind?
Oops! There's a problem with perSON! Guess we'll have to say perSON/perDAUGHTER, and huSON/huDAUGHTER so as not to discriminate. Handling things with absolute political correctness can be downright confusing.
Let somebody else worry about it. If he/she/they doesn't/don't like it, he/she/they can lump it!
But back to the beginning. English is a Germanic language, and use of "he" as a generic term for either or both genders was acceptable for centuries.
In today's semantic sensitive society, many gramatic experts, according to web site information, are advising folks (now there's a good generic term) to use "they" even for an individual instead of "he" or "she" when the gender is unknown, or change the sentence entirely so they don't have to deal with the issue at all.
One website respondent, a "TrevorD," wrote in response to questions on use of "he" as a generic term: "Back in the 1970's (when political feminism was less prevalent), some quasi-legal documents included statements such as "Throughout this document, the singular includes the plural, and the male includes the female.'" He then suggested that to be technically correct, this should be worded: "the singular embraces the plural, and the male embraces the female." Sounds pretty friendly to me!
By the way, I believe "guy" also can be gender neutral. When my friends and I say "you guys," it's a generic term. We're not referring to males or females, just people. "What are you guys doing tonight?" is a question I would as readily ask my sisters as my brothers, and none of them would be offended.
But then, we are very close cousins to the real Yoopers across the river, and we love listening to Da Yoopers music on "You Guys" records.
So what do you guys think of all this?
PRAYER OR SILENCE?
On Corporation Counsel's advice they also eliminated the moment of silent prayer that used to come at the start of each Marinette County Board meeting and replaced it with the more politically correct: "moment of silence." No mention of prayer. Heaven forbid!
The proposed change, along with numerous others, will take effect at the Board's April 17 reorganizational meeting.
Don't think prayer at the start of a government meeting is illegal, at least not yet. Oconto County Board still starts its meetings with an invocation offered aloud by one of the supervisors. If there are some who don't want to pray along, they are polite enough not to say so and remain silent while those who want to pray do.
MORE SOAP BOX
Speaking of County Board, must sympathize with supervisors who had to vote last week on the proposed $50 million loan to Marinette Marine. They had a hard choice.
On the one hand, it seems wrong to jeopardize taxpayer dollars to help finance a private, for profit venture.
On the other hand, we have been doing that for a long time, but on a considerably smaller scale in Marinette County, larger in the state and in the nation. UDAG loans are a case in point. So is Wisconsin's support for the FoxConn venture.
And still on the other hand, for Marinette Marine to not get the new contracts and make the river and launch improvements might not only forego the possibility of adding 400 local jobs, but could eventually lead to layoffs for the 1,500 people already employed there.
Marinette County budgets money each year for Marinette County Association for Business and Industry to promote economic growth, and for the Tourism Alliance to support and promote tourist-related businesses.
They say there is a housing shortage in Marinette County, and the board has allocated money for a study aimed at solving that problem.
Am told that new homes are not being built because young people today do not want to own homes, they want to rent apartments.
Could that be because they were raised in such economic hard times, with job terminations a constant threat, that they are afraid to make a long-time, lasting investment in anything, including a home and family?
REMEMBER BURMA SHAVE
Some of us are old enough to remember the good old Burma Shave signs we used to watch for along the road sides, eager to find out what the next sign would say. They were always clever. This was back in the time of 2-lane highways, before there were 4-lane interstates, and before all the hassle over posting signs along highways.
They were small red signs with white letters, and came in a series of five signs set about 100 feet apart in farmer's fields and wherever. Four lines each contained a line of a little verse, and the 5th always advertised Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream in the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Don't try passing
on a slope
unless you have
A man, a miss,
A car, a curve.
He kissed the miss,
And missed the curve
Drove too long
What happened next
Is not amusing
Good morning, nurse.
The midnight ride
Of Paul for beer
Led to a warmer
Car in ditch
Driver in tree
The moon was full
And so was he.
Passing school zone
Take it slow
Let our little
Always, the final, 5th sign of the series simply said "Burma Shave."
Friend Maggie reminded me that these signs not only amused motorists and their families, most of them included safety messages that may have saved a few lives over the years.
Leftovers aren't all bad, especially leftover ham. Make Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, Boiled Dinner, ham salad sandwiches, grilled ham and cheese, breakfast casseroles, and/or the excellent Ham and Bean Soup shown below. Complete a reheated ham slice meal with Maple Glazed Root Vegetables and a tossed salad and you have a real hit!
HAM AND BEAN SOUP
This is a delicious way to put leftover ham to good use. If you have a ham bone, add it, because it adds flavor and protein. If your ham didn't come with a bone, don't worry about it. The original recipe didn't call for one.
1 pound dried Great Northern beans, sorted and rinsed
4 cups water
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (bulb only), cut in half lengthwise
1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces
5 slices bacon
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 ham bone (if you have one)
Rinse and sort beans. Place them in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water. Let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse before using. Combine the soaked beans, 4 cups of water, celery, onion, bay leaves, cumin, garlic powder, and parsley into a slow cooker. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the leeks in the butter mixture until tender and the smaller pieces start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the leeks to the slow cooker. In the same pan, cook and stir the ham until the edges start to brown; stir into the soup. Place the bacon into the hot skillet, and pan-fry until the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces and stir into the soup. Pour the chicken stock into the hot skillet, and stir to dissolve any brown flavor bits from the skillet; pour the chicken stock into the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Put the ham bone in (if you have one) and push it down into the liquid. Set the cooker to Low cook the soup until the beans are very tender, 6 to 8 hours. Taste, and add salt if needed. Roughly mash about half the beans with a potato masher to thicken.
MAPLE GLAZED ROOT VEGETABLES
Dress up a ham rerun meal with these delicious vegetables as a side dish. You won't need to scold the kids into eating their vegetables, you might need to make them stop.
1 celery root, peeled
1 turnip, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
1 large potato, peeled
1 onion, peeled
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut all vegetables into roughly equal sized pieces and place in a kettle big enough to hold everything. Add butter, chicken stock, syrup, salt and pepper and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook over medium high heat for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Remove them with a slotted spoon and put into serving bowl. Boil down the sauce to a glaze. Pour over the vegetables and serve.
MAGIC PUDDING CAKE
This white cake with a custard-like middle. This batter for this truly magic cake goes into the cake pan in a single step, but comes out with cake on top and sauce on the bottom. You don't do another thing except take it out when it's done. The cake simply creates the sauce all by its self while it's baking.
4 eggs at room temperature, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups lukewarm milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch baking dish. In large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until they are stiff. In another large bowl combine egg yolks, white sugar and salt and beat with the same electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add butter and vanilla extract and beat again until smooth, about 2 minutes. Fold in flour. Beat in milk slowly. Put the mixer away and gently fold the stiffly beaten egg whites into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden, 45 to 70 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. Dust top with confectioners' sugar.
Thought for the week: Perhaps we can't all be rich, but as Dolly Parton said, "You can be rich in spirit, kindness, love and all those things that you can't put a dollar sign on."
(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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