Country CousinIssue Date: January 16, 2019
Good News Gazette...
Contending with icy walks, driveways and parking lots has made life more than a bit difficult this winter. One of the grandsons came up with a really great gift this Christmas - a set of slip on cleats to make walking outdoors a little less treacherous. The ones he chose for me have rounded wires on the bottom so they grip the ice, but won't damage floors if I forget to take them off when I enter a building. They work too. Have found I can even drive with them on!
That said, in addition to the ice, I have personally always found winter's many hours of darkness a bit depressing. Want to thank the folks - and the communities - who left their Christmas lights on for these first two weeks of January. Really appreciate looking at them when driving home in the dark and it's barely 5 p.m.
DAYS ARE GETTING LONGER
On the bright side, Winter officially is now nearly a month old, and days are gradually getting longer. Hibernation season will be over before long.
Sunrise today comes at 7:24 a.m., and sunset is at 4:30 p.m., with the sun in the sky a total of 9 hours and 14 minutes. That's 33 minutes longer than a month ago, on Dec. 21, shortest day of the the year.
By the end of January we will gain another 41 minutes of daylight. Sunrise on Thursday, Jan. 31 is 7:12 a.m. and sunset won't be until 4:59 p.m.
Seems kind of weird that the times of the latest sunrise and earliest sunset don't coincide with the winter solstice, and that times of sunrise and sunset do not change in an even daily pattern, and instead sort of jump. Has to do with latitude and longitude and the tilt of the Earth's axis. Earliest sunset this winter was at 4:12 p.m. from Dec. 3 through 15, and the latest sunrise was 7:28 a.m. on Jan. 3, according to the "timeanddate" website. Incidentally, that site says skies have been cloudy on Jan. 16 in Wisconsin 83 percent of the time since 2000.
Watch the sky the night of Sunday, Jan. 20 to Monday, Jan. 21. Clouds permitting, we in TIMESland should get to see a full lunar eclipse, a Blood Moon, starting at about 8:36 p.m. on Jan. 20, becoming a total eclipse at 10:41 p.m., and reaching its reddest at 11:12 p.m. The moon will be partly or fully dark for nearly 5 1/4 hours, and won't return completely to normal until about 1:48 a.m. on Monday.
Incidentally, during a lunar eclipse, the shadow of the Earth falls across the face of the moon, which causes it to darken and show in the sky as what is known as a "Blood Moon."
GOOD NEWS GAZETTE
Long ago this column included a weekly feature called "Good News Gazette." Would like to do that again, with your help.
If you catch someone doing an extra unexpected act of kindness, doing an exceptional job, or otherwise being especially generous or doing something that deserves a bit of praise, pass it along. We'd all love to share it and give credit where credit is due.
If the person doing the good deed says they don't want to be identified by name, we'll keep it a secret. It's still great to be able to spread the news about the wonderful people who live here in TIMESland. Doesn't need to be something spectacular. A toddler offering to comfort a fallen friend by sharing a bit of candy is a big deal for that toddler and deserves to be recognized.
Would also like to hear about good natured (and true) bits of humor that pop up here and there. Life is precious. Let's enjoy it, and share the fun!
To pass along your bit of good news or local humor, call the Country Cousin at 715-291-9002. Leave a call back message if there's no answer. Or write to the Country Cousin, Peshtigo Times, 841 Maple Street, Peshtigo, 54157, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lots of great winter events are coming up in TIMESland for folks who enjoy spending time in the frigid outdoors. Watch the ads and check community bulletin boards and calendars.
Free Fishing Weekend on Wisconsin lakes and streams is coming up on Saturday, Jan. 19 and Sunday, Jan. 20, with no licenses required. Check the DNR website for free fishing clinics that are being offered at many state parks and other locations for all ages. Since bag limits and size restrictions apply, and other restrictions may apply, particularly in regard to taking trout and other species on some waters, the DNR advises checking their website for whatever special rules may apply.
NEVER GIVE UP
Ever feel discouraged, like life has passed you by, and you're too old for things to get better?
To cheer up, consider the story of Colonel Harland Sanders - the now famous (and rich) founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Life wasn't always easy for him.
Sanders was fired from a variety of jobs throughout his career before he first started cooking chicken in his roadside Shell Service Station in 1930. He was 40 years old, and the nation, indeed the world, was in the midst of The Great Depression.
Fortunately for him, laws allowed more freedom in those days. His gas station didn't actually have a restaurant, so he served diners in his attached personal living quarters.
Over the next 10 years, he perfected his "Secret Recipe" and pressure fryer cooking method for his famous fried chicken and moved onto bigger locations. His chicken was even praised in the media by food critic Duncan Hines (yes, that Duncan Hines).
However, when the new Interstate Highway came through the Kentucky town where the Colonel's restaurant was located in the 1950s, it took away important road traffic, and the Colonel was forced to close his business and retire, essentially broke. By then, he was 60 years old.
Worried about how he was going to survive off his meager $105 monthly pension check, he set out to find restaurants who would franchise his secret recipe"he wanted a nickel for each piece of chicken sold. He drove around, sleeping in his car, and was rejected more than 1,000 times before finally finding his first partner.
Well, we all know what happened after that. There's hardly anybody in America today who hasn't eaten and enjoyed Colonel Sanders' Famous Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Now! If there's something you really want to do, take a lesson from the Colonel. Hitch up your boot straps, and get to work making your dreams come true!
ON THE SOAP BOX
The new United States Congress has hailed two new Muslim House members, made accommodations for religious headwear on the House floor, allowed newly elected persons to take their oath of office on the Koran instead of the Bible, and celebrated record numbers of minorities in their freshman class.
This tolerance for diversity might be commendable if the same politicians who are so eager to embrace non-Christians weren't so blatantly bigoted against the Christian faith and Christian morals that our nation was built on.
Hostile questions from liberal Democratic Senators to appointees proposed by President Donald Trump for U. S. Court positions in the last few years have come close to creating religious test for public office. Seems that adherence to the Christian faith and belief in Christian values instead of the Liberal agenda is a serious enough flaw to make some candidates fail the test.
Most recently, membership in the highly respected Catholic Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic civic organization, has been cited by some legislators as a reason for rejecting the appointment of Trump nominee Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.
Shades of the Ku Klux Klan!
Back in the 1920s, the Klan painted the Knights of Columbus as a Catholic conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution and install the pope in its place. It also waged a campaign to abolish increasingly popular Columbus Day celebrations, which it considered another dastardly Catholic attempt to normalize their religious beliefs.
These liberals appear ready to go back to Klan-type bigotry. Liberal? They are not that at all, in the true sense of the word. They as narrow minded and bigoted as anyone can be, but they are bigoted against anyone who holds with traditional morals, rather than the new non-morality that they promote.
In their eyes, only "liberals" have a right to their beliefs, and anyone who dares to disagree with them is subversive!
It seems obvious that none of the legislators questioning Buescher's religious beliefs have read the Constitution and Bill of Rights that they have sworn to uphold. Those documents guarantee of freedom of religion, which would seem to also guarantee that that there will not be discrimination against anyone who adheres to the morals of their religion.
Anti-Catholic questioners got so blatant recently that liberal Democrat Representative Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii called them to task. She was rigorously criticized for her remarks, of course.
In a published op-ed, Gabbard wrote: "While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher's Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus. If Buescher is "unqualified' because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then President John F. Kennedy, and the "liberal lion of the Senate' Ted Kennedy would have been "unqualified' for the same reasons."
Amen to that!
Our nation has allowed this anti-Christian, anti-Catholic bigotry go on too long. In 2017 Amy Coney Barret, as a candidate for a U.S. Appeals Court post, was questioned on account of her "dogma, and one Senator asked her directly whether she considered herself "an orthodox Catholic." Talk about grounds for impeachment!
Now, in the Bueschler dispute, some Senators referred to the Knights of Columbus' "extreme positions" on same-sex marriage and abortion. It should come as no surprise that the Knights of Columbus oppose both, as does the Catholic Church.
It should also come as no surprise to them that the majority of Americans agree with the Catholic Church on those two issues, even though the Supreme Court does not.
Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the only pro-life Democrats left in the House, also was concerned about the anti-Catholic bias.
"I would never, ever have expected that membership in the Knights of Columbus would be something that would be viewed with suspicion and maybe even worse. It's terrible to see membership in the Knights of Columbus questioned like that, but at the core this gets back to the question of religious freedom, and it's something that we have to continue to speak out about because we, our country, can't afford to lose that freedom that we're guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution."
For those who do not know, the Knights of Columbus mostly focus on charity work for the poor, disabled, and orphaned, while raising money to educate underprivileged students who come from all religious affiliations.
They have also been working to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East and all over the world.
The Knights of Columbus have been described by non-members as: "essentially, a Catholic version of the Rotary Club." The depth of their giving has been described as, "impressive, to say the least."
Another commentator declared, "The only thing extreme about them (the Knights of Columbus) is their generosity." And she is not even a member of the all-male organization.
Thank you, Knights of Columbus! May your membership increase, and your good works continue!
Winter is a great time for healthy, hearty soups, which experts now find can actually help you shed pounds, as well as stay healthy in many other ways. Making your own bone broth is a good way to start a great soup. Far more nutritious and delicious than the store bought broths many recipes call for.
BEEF BONE BROTH
Here's another Beef Bone Broth recipe. The nutrients in this broth are said to help reduce joint pain and inflammation as well as curb hunger and warm up your insides. Use it as a starter for any number of great soups and stews. use a cooking bag in the slow cooker to save some cleanup time.
3 pounds beef bones, or more to taste
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
cold water to cover
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt to taste
Get beef marrow bones if possible, and preferably have other bones cracked. On the other hand, short rib bones are just fine too. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spread beef bones out on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven until browned, probably 25 to 30 minutes. Put carrots, celery, onion, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves in the slow cooker. Place the roasted bones on top of them and pour in enough cold water to cover the bones. Add apple cider vinegar and kosher salt. Set cooker to Low and cook for about 8 hours. More time is okay. When done, pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or kettle and discard the solids. By then, all the good is cooked out of them anyway. Refrigerate or use the broth right away, as you prefer. If you chill before using the fat will rise to the top and you can peel it off easily to make a fat free broth.
CHICKEN BONE BROTH
4 pounds chicken necks/back/wings
Any bones or giblets you have left over from roast or
take-home rotisserie chicken
3 carrots, unpeeled, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium onions, peel on, sliced in half lengthwise and
4 garlic cloves, peel on and smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
5 to 6 sprigs parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
18 to 20 cups cold water
No need to peel the vegetables. Just wash them well, and take advantage of all the nutrients and the color. Place all ingredients except water in a 10-quart slow cooker. Use a cooking bag for easy cleanup if you like. Add enough water to cover everything. Start on low, and leave on low to simmer for 24 to 48 hours. Skim fat occasionally if you want to. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Strain through a colander into a bowl or another kettle. Discard the solids. Let the stock cool to room temperature, cover and chill. Fat will rise to the top once it's cold, and the broth should gel. Use within a week or freeze up to three months.
MY CLEAN THE FRIDGE SOUP
This comes out different every time, depending on what leftovers are on hand. If I have no leftover stewed tomatoes, I use an entire 28-ounce can, the kind with onions and green peppers included.
1 pound hamburger, about
Leftover meatballs in spaghetti sauce
1 package onion soup mix
Several stalks of celery, cleaned and thinly sliced
Half an onion, diced rather fine
Half of a green pepper, diced
2 or 3 carrots, sliced
Remains of a large can of stewed tomatoes, about a cup
Remains of a can of V-8 juice
Half a package of frozen cut green beans
1/2 a package of frozen corn
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup raw pearled barley
Water as needed
Leftover roast beef, if I have some
Minced parsley, dried or fresh
Brown the hamburger in a large heavy bottomed soup kettle. Cut up the meatballs or hamburger patties if you have them, and add to the kettle. Add everything else, and then put in enough water so the liquid is at least two inches above the meats and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed to keep soup the thickness you want it to be. Add parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. If you have leftover roast beef or steak, cut it up quite small and only simmer about 10 minutes after you add it, so it doesn't get tough.
Thought for the week: "Isn't it wonderful to wake up in the morning realizing that God has given you another day to live?" Let's offer a little prayer of thanks every morning for His daily gift of the present! And let's not waste that precious gift. Every day we should try to learn something new, challenge ourselves. Learn a new game or craft. Find a new hobby. Visit an old friend. Make a new friend. Make every day an adventure. Do a good deed. Make life count.
(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.)
Recent stories, opinions and photos