Country CousinIssue Date: October 4, 2018
October is Fire Prevention Month...
Monday, Oct. 8 marks the anniversary of two of the most devastating fires in American history. Most Americans know that on that date in 1871 much of Chicago burned in the Chicago Fire. Most TIMESland residents know that on that same date - Oct. 8, 1871 - the deadliest wildfire in recorded American history swept through Peshtigo and much of Marinette County and crossed the Bay to burn parts of what today is Door County.
After an autumn of drought, strong winds that blew up during the night stoked smoldering scattered fires throughout the vast forests of the area, creating a firestorm with super-heated flames believed to have reached 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some describe that horrendous conflagration as a tornado of fire. Many of the scattered population in and around Peshtigo sought refuge in the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers, but many of those who made it to the water died anyway. Most of those who didn't make it were burned alive. All in all, between 1,500 and 2,000 humans perished in those flames.
Peshtigo was particularly vulnerable to fire because it was a lumbering town. Streets were made of sawdust and logs. Buildings were nearly all of wood. Sidewalks were in fact boardwalks, built of wooden planks. The vast and mighty forests pressed in on all sides, except where determined farmers had wrested land from the mighty trees that were there before them.
When the fire was gone only a few charred trees were left standing. Many of the victims are buried in what today is the Peshtigo Fire Cemetery, and it includes a mass grave for remains that were not identified.
There were no telephones in those days, and what telegraph service there was had been destroyed by the fire. The entire nation knew almost instantly about the Chicago Fire, but many days passed before the plight of Peshtigo was known to the outside world.
Like a Phoenix, what today is the City of Peshtigo rose from the ashes of that fire. Today Peshtigo is part of Tree City USA, and its streets are again lined with comfortable homes with trees in their yards. But for many years after the fire planting trees in the city was prohibited.
Often help comes in mysterious ways, and at least one of the stories told by Father Pernin in his recollections of surviving the fire, as retold in the special 1998 Fire Issue of the Peshtigo Times displays that fact.
Father Pernin, pastor of St. Mary parish, had made his way to the Peshtigo River with the tabernacle from the church altar.
He wrote: "Not far from me a woman was supporting herself in the water by means of a log. After a time a cow swam past. There were more than a dozen of these animals in the river, impelled thither by instinct, and they succeeded in saving their lives.
"The first mentioned one overturned in its passage the log to which the woman was clinging and she disappeared into the water. I thought her lost; but soon saw her emerge from it holding on with one hand to the horns of the cow and throwing water on her head with the other.
"How long she remained in this critical position I know not, but I was told later that the animal had swam safely to the shore bearing her human burden safely with her; and what threatened to bring destruction to the woman had proved the means of her salvation," that part of his report concluded.
It is only natural that the many stories of horrible deaths caused by the Peshtigo Fire there would bring rumors of hauntings and ghostly apparitions associated with it.
According to the web site ghostsandghouls.com, "Legend has it they (ghosts of the fire victims) haunt the area today. Locals tell stories of shadowy figures that drift across streets and roam across the lands that once made up Peshtigo. Other tales speak of glowing red lights in the cemetery where many charred victims were buried. At times, a thick blue fog also blankets the area. Paranormal investigation teams have collected several EVPs near the old cemetery. In one, an anguished voice seems to scream "It burns!'"
Truth is, the stories referred to on that website are rarely, if ever, heard in Peshtigo.
Years ago reporters from "Inquirer" magazine came to Peshtigo in quest of ghostly stories, but they left with nothing of substance to write about.
Oops! Forgot! Ghosts don't have much substance anyway!
Anyway, the Inquirer reporters were seeking people willing to talk about a ghostly mother and child that were said to be heard crying as they walked across the old railroad bridge behind Badger Paper Mill, which today is BPM, Inc. Left without finding anyone who would admit to having seen or heard them.
Whether ghosts were confirmed or not, Halloween is coming on Wednesday Oct. 31, and ghosts, ghouls of all sorts are popping up everywhere, along with the pumpkins that decorate the season.
Incidentally, October 8 is also Columbus Day, the date on which Americans commemorate the first landing of Europeans on American soil, or at least on islands close to it, and is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.
BRAZEAU FIRE OPEN HOUSE
The Town of Brazeau Fire Department is hosting its annual open house on on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Station 1, which is located on the corner of County Z and Parkway Road. Events start at 6 p.m., with the main drawing at 8 p.m. As part of the National Fire Prevention Week the department will be doing a fire extinguisher demonstration, and Smokey the Bear will make an appearance. The evening's festivities, include a light dinner of hot dogs and cupcakes and prizes for everyone. Prizes include three bikes, first aid kits, smoke alarms, and a chance to ride in a fire truck. Brazeau Fire, Ambulance and Dive equipment will be available for all to view.
Harvest time is winding down, and many communities are celebrating a good harvest.
WAUSAUKEE FALL FESTIVAL
Wausaukee is hosting its 10th annual Fall Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6.
There will be a farmers market, bake sales, crafts and vendors, free horse dawn wagon rides, free face painting, lots of food and refreshments, booyah prepared by Pastor Fred's Food Pantry.
Daze2Nights will entertain from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Mid County Library in downtown Wausaukee Christie Fisher, one of the volunteers who spent weeks this summer searching Greenland glaciers for the remains of three American servicemen who lost their lives there in a 1942 plane crash. One of those sought is Loren "Lolly" Howarth, a Wausaukee native and graduate of Wausaukee High School before he enlisted to fight in World War II.
LENA TASTE OF FALL
Lena's third annual "Taste of Fall" is also set for Saturday, Oct. 6. One of the main events is an amateur three category barbecue cook-off hosted by the Wooden Shoe, featuring chicken, ribs and pork butt. There will also be contests for the "Best Potato Salad", "Salsa" and "Pie Eating." Anyone interested in competing should contact the Wooden Shoe.
Rounding out the event will be a large craft/vendor market, Mad Dog and Merrill, Lena Fire Department's famous Chicken Booyah, music, games and more.
WHISKEY JACK'S DEER CAMP
Looking for something really different to do? Enjoy a bawdy knee-slapping adults-only musical comedy, "Whiskey Jack's Deer Camp," at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 6 in the Townsend Town Hall, presented by the Holt & Balcom Logging Camp Museum. Doors open an hour in advance. Cost is $8 per ticket. Pre-arranged seating is available for those with disabilities by calling 715-276-6515.
ON THE SOAP BOX
Am getting more and more sickened by the ridiculous attacks on Supreme Court Judge Nominee Brett Kavanaugh for things he - or even his school mates - may or may not have done as teenagers 35 or so years ago.
However, it may all work out. A friend who sometimes seemed to lean toward the left is just as disgusted as Yours Truly, and that disgust seems to have swung her opinions a bit to the right of center.
She says it's too bad President Donald Trump didn't nominate Hillary Clinton for the Supreme Court position. Then, if the Republicans fought as vehemently as the Democrats are against Kavanaugh, we'd finally be getting the FBI to investigate her, which it should have done years ago in any case.
Fact is that the leftist liberals don't really give a tinker's darn about what she or any of the pro-abortion, anti personal freedom leftists did now or in their prior lives. All they want is to be sure that a good person who really will uphold the United States Constitution doesn't get seated on the Supreme Court, and they will sink to any tactics, tell any lies they can think of, to further that goal.
Hope their tactics backfire, and America finally wakes up to what they're all about.
If any of our Wisconsin delegation - Republican or Democrat - votes against Kavanaugh they too should be ousted the next time their names get on the ballot. If they betray their constituents on this they'll betray them on anything.
As to that woman - I will not call her a lady - who claims she was almost raped by Kavanaugh at a party decades ago when they were both teenagers and both drinking ....
If in fact any of it happened she either must be pretty stupid herself or think we are. Am betting it's the latter. That's the egotism of the far left. They're lots smarter than the average bear. (Anyone who disagrees with them, of course, is that average bear.)
If anything like what she describes did happen, just what outcome did she expect when she went willingly into a bedroom with a boy at an unchaperoned teenage drinking party where bedrooms were available? Surely she knew they weren't going to compare shades of lipstick?
Maybe she's been secretly angry all these years because it didn't happen! You know - the rejected woman syndrome!
A SPECIAL LADY
Ran into Barbara Johnston the other day at NewCare Health Center in Crivitz. Barbara, who lived on a 160 acre farm just off Hwy. 64 in Pound or Grover, was for many decades a 4-H leader in Marinette County.
She's 103 years old now, and still beautiful. Her longevity secret of eating a dill pickle a day must be effective.
Anyway, she told me that in early September or late August, shortly after County Fair time, she had received letters from four men who thanked her for the work she had done with them in 4-H and for the impact she had on their lives.
She was thrilled that they remembered her, and no end of pleased that the work she had done with 4-H did in fact make a difference. Since these men had not been part of the 4-H clubs she worked with regularly, she believes they were youngsters she had met while working with all the 4-H youngsters at the Marinette County Fair.
She was particularly touched that they were all now living in different parts of the country, had apparently been in 4-H at different times and did not know each other at all. It was purely coincidence that their letters all arrived within the span of a week or so.
With the onset of chilly Autumn winds and rains, this truly is cookin time. When good things are simmering on the stove or baking in the oven, the furnace doesn't need to run as often to keep us warm, so we benefit both ways.
CREAMY CRAB DIP
Tis the season for lovely snacks while watching football games on TV. This recipe comes from my favorite daughter-in-law, who has become a really great cook in addition to being a good and generous person.
4 large, ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons line juice, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crab meat (imitation is okay)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (the real thing)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
1 jalapeño (red or green) finely chopped
In a large bowl, mash avocados to a chunky consistency. Add sour cream, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice and chives. Mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture into a clear glass serving bowl forming an even layer. Set aside. Gently squeeze crab meat to remove excess liquid. In a small bowl, mix crab meat, mayonnaise, basil, jalapeño and remaining tablespoon lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon crab mixture over avocado mixture. Serve with baked tortilla chips.
STUFFED GREEK ZUCCHINI
Pop some potatoes into the oven to cook while these bake, and dessert is all you'll need to add. This recipe serves four.
1 extra large zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound ground lamb (or ground venison)
coarse salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup mint leaves
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Use a melon baller to separate and remove seeds and pulp separately from the zucchini, carving out each half and leaving about a half-inch shell. Chop zucchini pulp into pieces about 1/4 inch in diameter. Discard seeds. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in hot oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground meat; continue to cook and stir until meat is lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir chopped zucchini into the meat mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the zucchini is hot, about 3 minutes. Drain excess grease, if any. Season meat mixture with coarse salt and black pepper. (I like about a half teaspoon of black pepper.) Remove skillet from heat. Stir tomato sauce, tomatoes, feta cheese, pine nuts, and 1/4 cup mint leaves through the meat mixture; spoon into the zucchini halves. Put stuffed zucchini halves into a large baking dish. Pour water into the baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Mix bread crumbs and mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup mint leaves over the zucchini and top with the bread crumb mixture. Continue baking until the tops are crusty and browned, about 10 minutes more.
EASY APPLE FRITTERS
2 cups all-purpose baking mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup chopped peeled Granny Smith apples
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup oil, divided
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Mix baking mix, water and sour cream in medium bowl just until blended. Stir in apples and cinnamon. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Place 1/4 cup batter at a time in skillet to make a total of 4 fritters. Flatten each to a 4-inch round with the back of a spatula; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to an ovenproof plate; place in oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining oil and batter until the batter is all used. Sift powdered sugar over warm fritters. Serve warm or at room temperature for dessert, a snack, or even for Sunday breakfast.
Thought for the week: As age advances, many of us begin to fear approaching death. It may help to remember what philosopher Manley Hall said of death, and of life: "There are many levels of life which we cannot see and know, yet which certainly exist. There is a larger world, vast enough to include immortality.... Our spiritual natures belong to this larger world ... If death is apparently an outward fact, immortality is an inner certainty."
(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 email@example.com.)
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