Country CousinIssue Date: April 19, 2018
What froze over???
Mother Nature and Old Man Winter joined forces to pull a belated April Fools joke that started on Friday the 13th in most of Wisconsin and lasted into the wee hours of Monday, April 16. Swear that during parts of the storm, in addition to listening to the wind howl and the windows rattle, heard thunder. A neighbor says she saw lightning, and am pretty sure we're both right.
Peshtigo was buried under nearly 30 inches of snow, an historic all time record for a single storm, according to Marinette County Emergency Government Director Eric Burmeister. Only 24 inches officially landed on Marinette, the second most snow on record for a single storm there. Marinette County, the State of Wisconsin, and probably Oconto County, are applying for federal disaster relief funds to help cover costs of coping with the storm. An told the blizzard was even worse in Oconto County than it was here. For once, northern Marinette County escaped the worst of it, and got less snowfall than points south.
Segments of many highways, including Hwy. 41/141, were closed to traffic for part of the storm, and in fact Wisconsin in general was somewhat closed.
Friends trying to come back from the southwest on Saturday were halted by troopers at the Wisconsin border and told to get a motel room for a night or two. No vehicles were being allowed to enter the state, at least not on that highway.
JULY WILL COME
Old Man Winter is not done with us yet. More snow and/or freezing rain are predicted for Wednesday, April 18.
After that then it's supposed to warm up. Maybe.
Not only unusual snow, but also unusual cold has marked recent days. Green Bay weather service reported the high on Sunday, April 15, was 28 degrees. It's been 83 years since the high was that low in mid-April.
One of our local business marquees has given up promising that Spring will come soon. Now they're saying July will be here by and by.
Not only unusual snow, but also unusual cold has marked recent days. The high on Sunday, April 15, in Green Bay was 28 degrees. It's been 83 years since the high was that low.
The National Weather Service in Green Bay has identified this historic blizzard as officially the second largest snowstorm in Wisconsin history. The last time the Green Bay area saw a storm of this magnitude was over 130 years ago, in 1888, when 29 inches of snow accumulated from a single storm. At least one community near Green Bay actually logged 30 inches over this three day storm weekend, but most had about "only" 23 to 27 inches.
Think we've got it bad this year? According to National Weather Service records, a blizzard from March 2 to March 4 in 1881 dumped two to four feet of snow in southern and central Wisconsin, with drifts to 20 feet. Between February 24 and March 20, 1881, Milwaukee received 63.7 inches of snow! They didn't mention how long it took to get roads cleared, but considering that they didn't have modern snow plows, it might have been a matter of waiting for the spring thaw. On the other hand, quite a few folks back then did have horse-drawn sleighs,, so most of them probably could still get around.
On May 10, 1990 an unusualWisconsin spring blizzard whipped nearly a foot of snow onto trees with leaves sprouting and orchards that were already in bloom. All that snow fell in a matter of several hours, and was pretty much gone the next day. Caused a horrendous amount of broken trees because the heavy wet snow clung not only to the bare branches but to the leaves and blooms as well. As I recall, our orchard had some broken branches, but the trees still had fruit that year.
An Internet quest for the latest snowfall ever reported in Wisconsin came back with May 30 as the date. However, have a childhood recollection of a favorite uncle, a non-church-goer, attending Mass with our family one summer Sunday on or about the Fourth of July. Snow started falling that afternoon. Didn't last long, but it did fall. That uncle swore he'd never go to church again. Declared that Hell had frozen over and he wasn't going to cause that kind of disaster again! And yes, he did swear. Can't use most of those words in a family publication!
On that same note, during our recent weekend blizzard, there were multiple cancellations and closings of churches, factories and other business places. A major retailer known for never closing locked its doors. Brother-in-law declared this might be a good time to die. He is absolutely certain if they were closed, Hell has frozen over, so no one's in danger of going there. Couldn't get in if you wanted to.
Considering the depth of the snow and the current weather forecast, outlook for gardening in the near future doesn't look good. Hopefully real Spring will arrive in time for us to enjoy some rhubarb, fresh home grown asparagus and vine ripened strawberries and tomatoes before Winter sets in again!
While we're waiting, we can do some planning.
Lay out the garden, plan landscape improvements. Order seeds and bulbs. Get tools cleaned and sharpened if necessary. Get the lawn mower fixed. If it didn't work last fall, it won't work this spring either, unless you've done something about it! (That's a family joke, but it isn't very funny.)
Buy or make a gardening apron with deep pockets to hold "things" and save a lot of unnecessary steps.
Paint plant names on row stakes for the garden, and maybe apply some cute identifying photos of what you hope to harvest.
Clean the barbecue grill. Find some new recipes. Buy some special wood chips for smoking. (The grill and the food on it, not you!)
If you live in the Peshtigo area and have no room for a garden, from now through Tuesday, May 15 you can reserve space in the Field of Faith Community Garden located north of the Peshtigo City Ball fields behind Faith Baptist Church at 350 N. Stephenson Ave. in Peshtigo. There's no charge. Garden membership is free and open to all area residents, and includes access to some basic garden tools. Help from a master Gardener is available for starting gardeners from a master gardener. The tilled plots are 20' by 30.' and have access to water. You supply the seeds, plants and labor. Field of Faith Community Garden does the rest. Pick up an application in the Faith Baptist Church church office or by e-mail request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIRDS AND BUNNIES
The Northern Poultry, Pigeon, and Rabbit Club (NPPRC) Spring 2018 Feather and Fur Swap season started on Saturday, March 31, 8 a.m. to noon, at Marinette Farm and Garden in Marinette. Next will be Saturday, April 21, at Stephenson Marketing Coop, Stephenson, Mich.; Saturday, May 12, Tractor Supply Company, Marinette, and Saturday, June 2, Peshtigo Feed Mill in Peshtigo. All swaps run from 8 am to noon, rain or shine. The public is invited to buy, sell, or trade all types of birds, rabbits, small animals, pets, livestock, and equipment. No admission fee for buyers or sellers.
Swap participants must comply with all state and local rules and regulations regarding transportation and sale of animals, and must supply their own cages and supplies.
The NPPRC has members from all over the central U.P. and northeastern Wisconsin, interested in poultry, pigeons, and/or rabbits as a hobby. There are monthly meetings and several social events throughout the year. For more info call: Joe or Sharon (715) 596-0284, Sandi (715) 735-7120; Mary or Doug (906) 753-4153.
ON THE SOAP BOX
END TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
Richard Pan, a far left California State Senator, has introduced a bill, SB1424, that should be absolutely terrifying to anyone who believes in truth, freedom and the American way. Passage of this law could be the beginning of the end to America as we know it and the Freedom of Speech that keeps ours the best nation in the world. If it gets enacted in California it's only a matter of time before national politicians start pushing for a similar law nationwide!
Pan's bill, in brief, would require any person who operates a social media, (Internet Web site) with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, "a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, utilization of "fact-checkers' (government approved) to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information."
According to an article posted by "thegatewaypundit.com," the bill states:
"(a) Any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with physical presence in California shall develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Internet Web site.
"(b) The strategic plan shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
"(1) A plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories.
"(2) The utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories.
(3) Providing outreach to social media users regarding news stories containing false information.
"(4) Placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
"(c) As used in this section, "social media" means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations."
Right now, target is social media. Are newspapers, radio and TV news to become the next target?
Back in the days of Stalin and the Cold War there was no Internet, but there were "government fact checkers." People were sent to Siberia for writing and publishing stories the Party elite did not approve of. Am told Communist nations of today still severely punish anyone who dares to publish facts that disagree with their propaganda.
On a visit to Crivitz, Germany, which is in East Germany, the part that was controlled by the Russians after World War II up until after the Berlin Wall fell, friends who live there told us that their Communists overlords forbade them to learn English. Afraid they would read free news or listen to news of the free world on a contraband radio station.
Hitler's Germany was much the same.
Whatever is this Pan person thinking? Is he another liberal politician who hates America? Who does he think would keep the "fact checkers" honest? If this gets approved, the next logical step would surely be requiring that "government fact checkers" vet articles in newspapers, on radios and TV before publication to be sure they were true!
Come to think of it, right now, the mainstream press actually could use someone to keep their stories honest. That hasn't been happening lately, not since their pet Hillary lost the election to President Donald Trump.
Question is, who would keep the fact checkers honest? Can't happen!
Here's a message to all the liberal politicians: We the people may not be as smart as you think you are, but we seem to eventually figure out for ourselves what is true and what is false, provided we're allowed access to all the information we need and do-gooders like you don't try to stop us.
Always has been a mystery to me why liberal elitists (people my mother-in-law used to call educated idiots) seem to feel that the general public has no sense at all, when that same public was smart enough to elect them.
Come to think of it, maybe they're right about the "no sense" thing, at least in regard to those who were dumb enough to vote them into office!
We can't have fresh home grown asparagus or rhubarb yet, but we can enjoy maple syrup, and that's always a treat. Should be a good year for it, with the long run of freezing nights and usually above-freezing days. Snow makes it a bit hard to collect the sap, though.
MAPLE GLAZED CARROTS
Organic carrots are said to be sweetest for this recipe. This is not dessert, but the kids might think it is. The flavor of carrots benefits greatly from being cooked without added water. Carrot slices cook wonderfully in our heavy old waterless saucepan with nothing added except salt, pepper and a generous dab of butter. For that to work, though, you need a really heavy kettle to keep the heat in, and a tight fitting cover to keep the steam in. You cook about 10 minutes and then shut it off. Let the retained heat and the steam do the rest.
1 pound carrots (peeled and cut on the diagonal into same size pieces)
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and choose an oven-proof frying pan that's large enough to hold all the carrots in a single layer. Peel carrots, then cut off the thinner tips and cut the thicker ends in half lengthwise. Cut carrot pieces on the diagonal, making them close to the same size and shape. Add olive oil or butter to the frying pan and heat to medium hot (the oil should look shimmery, but not be smoking when you add the carrots.) Add the carrots (you should hear a slight sizzling sound.) Sauté three to four minutes, or until their surface looks slightly blistered and starting to color.Turn down heat to low, add maple syrup, and stir to coat carrots. Season well with salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Put frying pan into the hot oven and roast carrots for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are done to your liking and slightly browned. Stir after about 10 minutes and then keep roasting if they aren't quite tender. Serve hot.
You can't pick asparagus right now, but it isn't a bad price at the supermarket. The instructions are long, but not complicated, just detailed. Top this hash with a poached egg or two and serve with V8 or Orange Juice for a wonderfully complete springtime breakfast or brunch. Use Yukon gold, russet, baby reds, or whatever kind of potatoes you have. The original recipe calls for pancetta, (which is unsmoked Italian bacon), but meaty thick sliced bacon, salt pork, or proscuito also work. If you're using bacon, but don't want as much of the smoky flavor, rinse the bacon slices or soak them briefly in hot water before dicing. Makes four servings.
1/4 pound pancetta, lean ham or meaty thick sliced bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound potatoes
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
1/2 pound asparagus
Salt and pepper to taste
Serving ideas: Top with poached eggs, dabs of goat cheese, slivers of green onions
Clean asparagus and cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2 to 1/4-inch dice. Peel and dice the onion. Cut bacon or pancetta into 1/4-inch dice. In a 12-inch cast iron frying pan over medium heat fry the pancetta or bacon, turning frequently so that it browns and crisps on all sides, which should take about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. Add the 2 tablespoons or so of butter. If the bacon was very fatty, use less. Add the potatoes. Fry for a couple minutes, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Once they've gotten a little brown underneath, begin flipping and turning to get them evenly browned. After about 15 minutes add the onion. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until onion and potatoes are tender and lightly browned. Add the asparagus, give everything a stir or two, cover the pan and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the asparagus is crisply tender. Remove lid, return bacon or pancetta to the pan, stir in, and let fry for another minute or so to reheat. Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed. Serve immediately.
Thought for the week: Think freedom of speech and freedom of the press aren't important? Here are a few who would disagree!
Mark Twain: "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them."
Gloria Steinem: "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."
Ronald Reagan: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
George Washington: "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."
Voltaire: "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
The 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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