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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: July 26, 2018

And the Rains Came Down...



It's been a hot and busy summer. We're in for some more moderate Wisconsin style weather in the coming week, including a mixed bag of sunshine and storms and showers. Like the man once said, if you don't like the weather in Wisconsin, wait ten minutes!

Hard to believe that school will be starting in about a month, and Autumn will arrive in less than 60 days!

So let's make hay while the sun shines, and enjoy summer while it's here!

GOOD IDEA

Recently read an idea in an advice column that's so good it needs to be shared. Too often, those of us approaching our twilight days are dismayed to find that a dear old friend or relative has passed away and we didn't know about it until it was too late to pay our final respects.

Called not long ago to find out how someone I cared a lot about was doing, and was told he died two years ago. Son in the city where they lived said he would have called, but his father had damaged his phone so no one could get the numbers out of it, and that was the only place he had stored contact information.

As the years pass, and lives get busier with younger friends and relatives (and we slow down) we tend to get out of touch with many folks who still mean a lot to us. When we finally try to reconnect we're often sad to find out they are dead and gone, and we didn't even know they were ill.

Family members frequently have no way of knowing who their ailing or departed loved one would like contacted, or how to contact them if they do know.

May seem morbid, but now, while we still can, we should all make a short list, complete with contact information, of people who would want to be informed. To help our families even more, we could include a simple list of final wishes, perhaps with songs we would like at the funeral, who we would like to conduct the services, and perhaps information for speakers who will be responsible for the eulogy. Put treasured photos in a place where they can be easily found.

If we happen to be watching from above, we will appreciate these things, and if we're too busy on the other side, at least we will have made life easier for those who are still waiting to go on that great final journey.

The eulogy, or a final message to our descendants, is a way for us to pass along to the next generations information about things that were important to us"things they might try to live up to" things about which they might proudly say to their children, "My grandma did this," or "My grandpa did that."

CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR

Thought society only recently went sue crazy, but it appears that's not so. Read about a case during a hot dry summer in the mid 1800s, when a disgruntled farmer sued a minister for successfully praying for rain.

Seems that Duncan McLeod, a minister in New York State, called people together to pray for the badly needed rain.

One farmer, Phineas Dodd, for whatever reason, did not attend. Three hours after the prayer meeting ended the drought also ended with storms that brought thunder and lightning along with the much needed rain.

One of the lightning bolts struck Dodd's barn and it burned to the ground. Dodd sued the minister. After all, it was his prayers that did it. McLeod's lawyer pointed out that his client and everyone else at the prayer meeting had prayed for rain, not thunder and lightning. Therefore, McLeod could not be held accountable for the lightning strike. Dodd's case was dismissed.

Kind of ironic that everybody got rain, but the lightning struck the barn owned by probably the only person in the neighborhood who was not at that prayer meeting.

Reminds me of a hot, dry summer many years ago - 20 of them at least, possibly 30 - when a priest in the Crivitz area held a special Mass on a hay wagon in a farm field to pray for some badly needed rain. Since the Mass was for a good cause, and it was a pretty novel event, a lot of people showed up.

Well, their prayers were answered. The rains came. And they didn't stop. After several days of downpour, people started wondering if they needed to have a followup meeting to ask the rain to stop.

CLOUDBURST

Then there was a Fourth of July celebration during a different time of drought in and around Crivitz. Our whole family was at the park for the fireworks, including a brother-in-law who owned a farm right outside the village limits.

Hadn't rained for weeks, but when the first firework rocket was fired into the sky it must have hit a cloud. The cloud burst and the rains came down. Fireworks were over for the evening before the first one even lit up the sky. Everyone scrambled for cars or other shelter.

Brother-in-law said at least the rain would save his crops.

Guess what?

When he got home he found that the rain had stopped at the village limits. His fields got nary a drop!

As I recall, he managed to save most of his harvest by watering the fields with a large portable sprinkler system. However, taking water out of the Peshtigo River for that purpose without waiting for the permit caused a confrontation with the DNR, but that's a whole different story for a different day. Had he waited for the permit it would have been too late for the watering to do any good.

CLEAN THE WICKER

Hot, dry summer days are perfect or cleaning wicker furniture.

According to Old Farmers' Almanac, any spills on wicker should be wiped up quickly, before they have a chance to seep into the crevices. Vacuum wicker regularly with the small brush on your vacuum cleaner to pull away dirt and grime. Wicker has a lot of creases, cracks and crevasses for dirt to collect in.

For a major cleaning, the trick is to get it washed, but keep it wet for the shortest possible time. Choose a hot, dry day with a good breeze, or set up a fan. Take the piece outdoors for a quick hose-down with a pressure nozzle. For more stubborn dirt, you may want to brush it first with a mild solution of soap, water and a large pinch of salt. Brush it on with a somewhat soft scrub brush to get into creases and crevices. Then give it a hose-down with the pressure nozzle. Repeat quickly if necessary. Rinse well, wipe down with a soft cloth, and let it dry completely. For a finishing shine, wipe on furniture oil with a soft flannel cloth after it's completely dry. And then be sure the oil is completely dry before anyone sits on it.

ON THE SOAP BOX

KEEP CELEBRATING!


On Independence Day we celebrated something very special - not just the birth of a nation, but the birth of a whole new idea that spread throughout the world, at least the lucky parts of it. We need to keep celebrating the American idea and ideals!

By unleashing the energy of personal liberty and profit through personal endeavors our forefathers brought about advances humankind had not seen in thousands of years of civilization. We're still making those advances, and will continue to do that unless the Socialists manage to take over our government. Be aware! Elections are coming, and it could happen. When discussions come up, speak up. And when election time comes, get there and vote! And nag your family and friends to do the same.

We need to continue the growth of prosperity that's finally happening again in this country.

Capitalism - individual reward for individual investment and endeavor - has brought our nation and the entire world to a state of prosperity and progress that could not even have been imagined before America was created.

In its simplest terms, and when allowed to function without undue government interference, capitalism is a system by which individuals are allowed to prosper based on the amount of time, energy, innovation, intelligence and financial resources they are willing and/or able to invest. It means Abe Lincoln could grow up to be President - and so could Barack Hussein Obama - and so could Jack Kennedy. Rich or poor really doesn't matter, except of course as Danielle Steele observed in one of her books, Rich is Better.



COOKIN' TIME

Summer plenty is upon us. Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, zucchini, corn" seems like everything is ripening all at once! We need to eat as much as we can of the good stuff while it's here!

MACARONI TUNA SALAD

This is good old fashioned tuna salad like Grandma used to make, except that she put finely diced dill pickles in it instead of the dill weed. We prefer the dill weed, but the pickles, or dill relish, do work. I like this with shell macaroni because the shells make little cups to hold the salad while it travels from plate to mouth.

8 ounces small shell macaroni, or other bite-size pasta

1 cup frozen peas (or freshly shelled ones)

7 ounces canned albacore white tuna, packed in water , drained

2 celery ribs, sliced thinly

1/4 cup diced onion

1 small or medium cucumber, scrubbed and cut into bite

size chunks

1 cup cherry tomatoes

2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, chunked

1 cup real mayonnaise (not salad dressing)

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding peas for the last two minutes. Drain. While the pasta cooks, mix together the mayonnaise, yogurt, dill and a bit of salt and pepper. (Some people like to also add about a teaspoon of prepared mustard, yellow or Dijon.) Stir about half a cup of the mayonnaise mixture into the pasta while it's still pretty warm, then set aside to cool. In the fridge is good. While it cools, wash, slice, dice and otherwise prepare the vegetables and put them in a large serving bowl. Add the drained tuna and the cut up boiled eggs. Stir in about half a cup of the mayonnaise mixture. When the macaroni is cool enough not to cook the vegetables stir it in gently. You don't want to break things up too much. Add more of the mayonnaise mixture if necessary, and save the rest of it. Chill the salad. Just before serving time, stir the salad and add more of the mayonnaise mixture if necessary. It will probably need more because the macaroni soaks up the dressing as it stands. If you keep it overnight, it will almost certainly need more dressing in the morning. Keeps for two or three days in the fridge, but don't let it sit out in the heat for more than an hour or so. Better to put the serving dish into a larger dish filled with ice, and keep the salad refrigerated until just before it's to be served.

CRAZY CRUST APPLE PIE

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

2/3 cup shortening

1 egg

1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well, then add water, shortening, and egg. Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined, then beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Spread into pie pan. In a medium bowl mix together pie filling, lemon juice, and apple pie spice. Spread over crust; do not stir. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until crust is browned.

HOBO PIES

These are like a grilled pie sandwich. Crazy as it sounds, try making them with apple pie filling and add a slice of processed American cheese, or cheddar cheese. It's really good! Recipe is for one sandwich, but if the kids are small, you might serve each of them just half a piewich. The pie irons (or Hobo Toasters) can be purchased at sporting goods stores. They're a folding contraption with long handles for holding over a campfire, and hinged flat pieces at the far end to hold the sandwiches together.

2(1 ounce) slices white bread

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 can prepared pie filling

Spray a hobo pie toaster with nonstick cooking spray. Evenly spread one side of each slice of bread with softened butter. Lay a slice of bread, butter side down, into the toaster. Spoon on pie filling, and top with second slice of bread, butter side up. Close up toaster firmly, to seal edges of the bread together. Cook over a hot campfire, turning occasionally, until the pie is hot and golden brown, about 4 minutes. If the bread is too large for the toaster plates, just trim off the excess on the outside or let it burn off in the campfire.

CAMPFIRE CAKES

Tired of S'mores for campfire treats? These cakes are a wonderful change of pace, even they're not quite as much fun for kids as duels with flaming marshmallows. Toss foil packets onto the tamed-down embers of a campfire, cook on the grill, or in desperation, cook them indoors, in the oven. Delicious and easy any way you toast them.

6 sheets heavy duty aluminum foil (10x12-inch)

1 (12 ounce) package prepared sponge cake shells

Buttery flavored cooking spray

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved

2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided

1/3 cup chopped pecans, divided

18 maraschino cherries

Spray the aluminum sheets with cooking spray, and place a sponge cake shell in the center of each sheet. Spoon the crushed pineapple into the cakes, dividing it equally, and sprinkle each cake with about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and about 2 teaspoons of nuts. Top each cake with 3 maraschino cherries, and drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of the pineapple juice over each cake. Wrap the cakes in the foil, leaving some room at the top for air circulation. Place the foil packs onto the embers of a campfire until the cakes are hot and bubbling, about 10 minutes.

BANANA BOATS

Cooked bananas are not as crazy as they sound. To go really overboard on these, pop the cooked stuffed banana into an old-fashioned banana split dish and top with one scoop each of vanilla and chocolate ice cream and a spoon of strawberry preserves.

2 bananas

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup miniature marshmallows

Slit each banana lengthwise through the peel, making sure not to cut all the way through to the other side. Spread it open a bit and stuff with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap each banana in aluminum foil and cook over a fire, on the barbecue, or in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes, or until chocolate is melted. Eat with a spoon.

BANANAS FOSTER

These can be made easily in a heavy skillet on the grill or over a campfire.

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons rum

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise and crosswise

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Pint vanilla ice cream

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in sugar, rum, vanilla and cinnamon. When mixture begins to bubble, place bananas and walnuts in pan. Cook until bananas are hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve at once over vanilla ice cream.



Thought for the week: Ethics is something we all probably should focus on more than we do, and which kids should be taught in school right along with the good old three R's: reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic. Maybe teachers preparing curriculums for the coming year should think about that. As Potter Stewart defined it: "Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do." A major problem this nation, in fact this whole world, faces today is that politicians and pressure groups try - too often successfully - to deprive us of the legal right to do and say what our religious beliefs and deep personal convictions tell us is morally and ethically right to do and say.



(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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