Country CousinIssue Date: September 27, 2018
Decked in green and gold...
Isn't it wonderful how even some species of trees here in TIMESland deck themselves out in green and gold finery for the Packer Season? Roadsides too are decorated with shades of Packer green and gold! The team's founders really knew what they were doing when they selected their colors way back then!
We've had the rain we were needing, along with some incredibly fine autumn weather in the past week - never mind that we maybe are now getting more rain than we might like.
The full moon peeked through the clouds only fleetingly Monday night, but on Saturday, Sept. 22 it was fantastic....the kind of moon they write poems about!
FUN IN TIMESLAND
Halloween decorations are popping up all over and roadside stands and harvest fests are showing off the abundance of the season. In addition to Packer parties and high school homecomings, lots of fun events are still coming up, so many that it's impossible to get them all in, so pick the ones that suit your fancy and enjoy!
PESHTIGO HISTORICAL DAY
On Saturday, Sept. 29, Peshtigo hosts its major event of the year, the Peshtigo Historical Day celebration. On this day everybody celebrates the city's recovery after being destroyed in the great Peshtigo Fire on October 8th, 1871.
The day starts with a run/walk, followed by a parade at 10:30 a.m., starting at Lee's Family Foods to the stop lights, then left to to Badger Park where historical re-enactors have set up their encampments. Most of the festivities begin at noon, with historical re-enactors, arts and crafts sale, music, bouncy houses, face painting, balloons, tons of food and beverages and a car show starting at 1 p.m.
CRIVITZ HARVEST FEST
From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, shop the dozens of vendors for handmade crafts and works of art at the annual Crivitz Harvest Fest held each year at Crivitz High School. Price of admission is a canned good item to be donated to the Crivitz Food Pantry.
FALL COLOR WEEKEND
Spend an afternoon or the entire weekend of Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30 at Gov.Thompson State Park west of Crivitz enjoying the fall colors during their annual Fall Color Weekend event. Stroll along walking trails marked for the best color vistas, and enjoy refreshments provided by Friends of Gov. Thompson State Park.
RIDE A TRAIN
Also on Saturday, Sept. 29, the 1916 Vulcan Lumberjack Steam Train will be leaving the depot on Laona's west side for Camp 5 every 45 minutes from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. They say an attack by train robbers along the way is likely. To reserve a seat on the train, call 715-674-3414.
If your passion is enjoying forest trails on the back of an ATV or UTV, share in the 11th Annual Fall Color Weekend sponsored by Dunbar's Dun-Good Riders on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30. Open house events begin at 11 a.m. at the clubhouse at W11568 Hwy. 8 in Dunbar, with food, beverages, raffles & fun all day long! Proceeds help maintain grooming equipment and the club's year "round trail system. Come by car or by trail. Ample parking available.
ON THE SOAP BOX
Am sickened by the accusations thrown by those attempting to block the approval of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. By all accounts, he has a quite spotless career, and an unblemished record as an adult.
But the liberals (Democrats) who want to bar his approval so they can get a liberal judge seated on the nation's top court apparently will stop at nothing to get their way.
They're dredging up accusers from his high school and early college days to level charges of sexual assault against him.
Now mind you, Kavanaugh is 53 years old, so those women are suddenly remembering misbehavior from about 35 years ago. Show me a man (or woman) who has never, ever done something stupid, and I'll show you someone who is either brain dead or eligible for sainthood.
One of Kavanaugh's accusers who alleged "sexual assault" claims he tried to rip her clothes off when they were both intoxicated teenagers.
This pattern of dredging up accusers from the distant past has worked well recently to destroy other good Conservative men, so it's being used more and more frequently. Sometimes one wonders how much these accusers were been paid to wake up their memories!
In this country we're supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. There is a statute of limitations for most crimes. People are expected to mature as they grow older, and no longer do the sorts of things they would have done when they were young and foolish.
Anyway, here's a proposal that may put an end to this practice of destroying lives with decades old accusations:
Anyone who makes these charges publicly should be held to the rule of law. If what they allege is not provable in a court of law, they should be charged with defamation of character, convicted, and forced to pay damages out of their own pockets to the person they have attempted to destroy.
Or maybe paying money isn't enough. Maybe instead, they should be jailed. Stealing is stealing, whether you steal man's material goods, or a man's good reputation.
(For those concerned about political correctness, am using "man" here in its gender-free context, so the comments apply equally to stealing the reputation of a good woman.)
GROWS ON TREES
The giant white oak in our yard has been dropping giant acorns by the bushel, and news has it that other varieties of oaks all over the state are having bumper acorn crops.
According to German tradition, the acorn is a symbol of life and luck. If that legend is true, we should have plenty of both this year. Hope they're right!
Some folklore says if the winter will be harsh, with lots of snow, the acorns will be plentiful to help the animals get through. Nature experts say that is not true, and argue that the acorn production is affected by stress from weather conditions this year or last, not weather that is still to come.
Nevertheless, the acorns collecting in heaps and piles in our yard got me to wondering if there is a human use for them, besides making autumn decorations and producing baby oak trees - which we certainly badly need. Turns out there is. Acorns can be made edible, and then can be used as nuts, ground into gluten-free highly nutritious flour, or even turned into a coffee substitute.
Old Farmers Almanac and other web sites say that properly prepared acorns are highly nutritious and quite delicious.
Looked up directions, and found some recipes, which are in Check Cookin' time below. Here's how to dry prepare them for use in crafts or food:
Harvest acorns from red and white oak trees as soon as possible after they fall off the trees. The longer they're on the ground, the greater chance they'll be invaded by insects and affected by rot. White oaks reportedly produce the best tasting, least bitter acorns.
You should really only use the ripe acorns for human food. Am told the green ones will ripen - or turn brown - on their own eventually, and then they are okay, but if still green and not properly blanched they contain a lot of tannin and can cause nausea and constipation.
Rinse the acorns through several changes of water, scrubbing with a brush if necessary. Any that float should be discarded. Some crafts use only the caps, some use the whole acorn. With the right additions the caps make awesome eyes for pine cone owls, caps for tiny pine cone people, or even Christmas tree decorations.
Acorns should be roasted to kill any lurking bugs if you plan to use them for crafts. To do this, lay clean acorns on a dry towel on a cookie tin with edges so they don't roll off and let them dry for at least an hour. Longer is okay. When it's roasting time, preheat your oven to 175 degrees, dump the acorns off the towel and directly onto the pan, and slip it into the oven. Leave the oven door cracked slightly open to let the moisture out. Roast for about two hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so to keep them drying evenly. Let cool for about an hour and they're ready for whatever you want to turn them into.
Paint the nut part with bright orange paint, let the kiddies add faces with a sharpie marking pen, and pouf! Adorable little bitty Jack O Lanterns! Spray with gold paint and add to pinecone wreaths or centerpieces. Possibilities are endless!
If you plan to make flour or otherwise eat the roasted acorns, they need to be treated to remove the bitter tannins. Do it within the first month or so after roasting. They're said to lose their freshness after roasting, but last almost indefinitely if unroasted. Anyway, to prepare acorn nuts for eating, pop off the caps, maybe using a using a butter knife, and crack the outer hull to get at the nut inside.
Save the best of the popped-off caps to make tiny hats for marble ornaments or pine cone critters if you want to.
Then shell the acorns (maybe using a nutcracker) and pop each nut immediately into fresh water. Soaking the acorns in water for an hour or so after roasting and before shelling reportedly makes the nuts come out easier.
Get two large kettles of water boiling. When you have enough acorn nuts in the kettle you're shelling them into, drain and pour into the first kettle of boiling water. Boil for 15 minutes or so, drain and pour into the second pan without letting them get cool in between. Repeat until the water no longer turns brown.
An alternate method is to place one tablespoon baking soda per quart of water and let the acorn nuts soak for a dozen or more hours, drain and rinse, and keep rinsing and draining until the water runs clear, not brown.
An old Native American method reportedly was to put the shelled acorns in a tied sack, hang it in a stream of clean running water and let it stay there until the water drains out clear and not brown.
The people at Wiki-How say adding the prepared acorns to soups or stews brings a nutty, slightly sweet taste and adds a lovely depth.They're also said to be good additions to salads and baked goods, like any other nuts.
To use them for coffee, roast slowly in a 175-degree oven oven until they turn brown, but are not burned. Then grind in a food processor and brew like other coffees. If you need your caffeine, mix half and half with real coffee grounds.
To make into flour, let the nuts dry thoroughly, then process in a food processor until the meal reaches the texture you want.
Some Korean recipes feature acorn starch, and some favorite Korean noodles and jellies are made from it, so many Asian grocery markets reportedly offer it for sale.
You may not actually do any of this now, or you may want to try it for curiosity sake, but if the time ever comes when you need to live off the land in Wisconsin's forests, this bit of knowledge might help. Call it the survivalist mentality, but no one can ever know too much!
Pancakes are taking on a new importance on the breakfast table, or even for the evening meal. Mix up a batch, fry all of it, and refrigerate the ones that don't get eaten. Then heat briefly in the microwave for an evening snack or a quick and easy breakfast.
Once you have prepared your acorn flour (see instructions above), try it in this recipe adapted from Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension.
1 teaspoon salad oil
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1/4 cup leached and ground acorn meal
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat or white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
Break egg into bowl and add all ingredients, beating to create a batter. If batter is too thick, thin with additional milk. Pour batter onto hot, greased griddle and cook slowly until brown, like any other pancake. Flip to brown opposite side. Serve with butter and syrup, jam or applesauce.
EASY CORN PANCAKES
1 small box or pouch cornmeal muffin mix (6 1/2 to 8 ounces)
1/2 cup milk or half and half, more or less
Break the eggs into the bowl, beat in some milk or half and half, and stir in the muffin mix. Add more milk until it reaches the thickness you want and cook as you would any other pancake, until the bubbles start popping up on top, then flip and cook the other side until nicely brown.
Sneak some vegetables into breakfast this way and your kids won't complain a bit!
1 small zucchini
1 small box or pouch cornmeal muffin mix or cornbread mix (6 1/2 to 8 ounces)
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
Wash the zucchini, then shred it or chop somewhat coarsely in the food processor. Put in a small dish and microwave, covered, on medium high, for about two minutes. Drain. When the zucchini has cooled a bit, mix the corn bread mix, zucchini, egg and milk and let stand five minutes. Heat a bit of butter or oil in a pan and drop in the batter by heaping tablespoons full. The oil should be hot enough to slightly crisp the edges. Cook until bubbles pop up through the pancakes, then flip and cook the other side until brown. This should take one and a half to two minutes. Makes about 14 pancakes. (I have also made this without pre-cooking the zucchini, and without draining it.)
GRILLED GARLIC PARMESAN ZUCCHINI
It's still cookout time, and zucchini plants are still producing. Take advantage of it. These are really good served with burgers or other grilled goodies, especially if the meal also offers roasted potatoes.
3 medium zucchini or summer squash
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate. Cut each zucchini in half crosswise, then slice each half into 3 fat slabs lengthwise, making 6 slabs per zucchini. Mix the butter, garlic, and parsley in a bowl, and spread the mixture on both sides of each zucchini slice. Sprinkle one side of each slice with Parmesan cheese, and place the slices, cheese sides up, crosswise on the preheated grill to keep them from falling through. (If you're worried about them falling through anyway, put a sheet of heavy duty foil on the grill, poke holes in it with a fork or knife to let the charcoal flavors get through, and put the prepared slices on that.) Grill the zucchini until the cheese has melted and the slices are cooked through and show grill marks or are starting to brown just a bit on the bottom, about 8 minutes.
NO BAKE CHEESECAKE BITES
From friend Lynette comes this easy, easy treat. Great for tailgate parties or treats on a tray in front of the TV. Take about 15 minutes to mix up, start to finish, except for chilling and dipping time. No cooking involved, except for melting the chocolate. Suggestion: You could use white chocolate, tint orange with food coloring, paint on faces, and create little Jack O' Lantern bites for Halloween!
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
4 cups powdered sugar
10 ounces chocolate chips
In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and butter together until combined. Add the graham cracker crumbs and mix well. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until it is all mixed in. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and remove batter from the fridge. Scoop into balls and roll in between palms if necessary. Place on wax paper. Place in fridge for 10-20 minutes to chill again. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds. Should take about 1 minute for the chocolate to completely melt. Dip balls one by one into the chocolate, covering completely. Place back on wax paper and let cool until chocolate has hardened. Store in the fridge for the best taste.
Thought for the week: For about a decade, but even more so since some factions became furious that Donald Trump was elected president, this country has become increasingly more like a Third World nation where dissidents try to settle disputes by rioting, looting, burning, character assassination, and hateful and hate-filled rhetoric instead of letting us remain a successful Republic, where we can agree to disagree, debate issues but remain civil to one another; do our arguing with truth and logic instead of emotion and falsehoods, and let the Republic go on even if we did lose the election. It would be wonderful if we could heed the words of Voltaire: "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too."
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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