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Country Cousin

Issue Date: July 18, 2019

Seventy days 'til fall



Summer is absolutely speeding by. Impossible as it seems, in less than 70 days, Autumn will officially be here! Just this week we had the Full Buck Moon. Strawberries are almost done, blueberries are ripening, and chipmunks are already picking raspberries - lots of them! Should be a bumper crop of raspberries and blackberries this year if we can fight off the furry little critters long enough for the berries to get ripe.

Summer may be going downhill, but the fun events in TIMESland keep happening.

The annual Coleman Fireman's Picnic and Parade will be on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20. Saturday is the big day. Parade with the theme, "Spirit of America," starts at 10:30 a.m. There will be music, food and fun all day, ending with fireworks at dusk.

The Porterfield Cruisin' Oldies Festival features lots of music, plus old time vehicles including cars, motorcycles and tractors from Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21. Shows this year include both imported and home grown talent.

The Caldron Falls Hog Wrestling Championship events start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, and end with fireworks after dark. Several animal rights groups have planned protest events, so there could be fireworks of another kind, too. Incidentally, cruelty to pigs is not part of the plan, and the human wrestlers in this event are injured a lot more often than the pigs are.

If you plan to attend the 41st annual Menekaunee Old timers Picnic at Red Arrow Park in Marinette on Saturday, July 27, save $5 by buying your $10 ticket before Monday, July 22. Phone Sharon at 715-735-5577 for more info.

The Menominee County Fair at Shakey Lakes Park in Stephenson, Mich. runs from Thursday, July 18 through Sunday, July 21. A new feature this year is the Jack Pine Lumberjack Show with three performances on Saturday, July 20. There also will be a craft beer and wine tasting tent that showcases locally made wines an craft beers. Fair planners say it proved to be very popular last year, and will be more impressive this year.

Music and movies are offered in many parks around TIMESland, including in Badger Park on Wednesday, July 24. Rummage sales, farmers' markets, flea markets and roadside stands with fresh produce are popping up everywhere.

ON THE SOAP BOX

FORGIVE STUDENT LOANS?

There's so much talk these days about forgiving student loans.

Let's think about that, and then decide not to do it.

If the government writes off those loans we would in effect be punishing the students who worked their way through college and paid off their loans, if any, after they graduated, by making them pay the bill for those who did not choose to work.

Is there any way that can be called fair???

HOW OLD IS GRANDMA???

Things really change in 100 years! The scary part is that much of what what this grandma remembers about the Good Old Days, I and my contemporaries also remember, and we aren't even of that generation.

This article was printed in this column in 1999, so in honor of that anniversary, am printing it again:

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

Grandma replied, "Well, I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Almost no one had a telephone, and many homes were without electricity and running water, especially out in the country where we lived.

"Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers, and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and man hadn't yet walked on the moon.

"Your Grandfather and I got married first-and then lived together. Unless something tragic happened, every family had a father and a mother.

"We thought you had to be married and have a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us "old and confused" and say there is a generation gap."

"Until I was 25, I called every man older than I, 'Sir'- and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, "Sir.'

"We were before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy. Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong, do our share of the work, and stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

"Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege.

"Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

"Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started.

"Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends - not purchasing condominiums.

"We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings.

"We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on our radios. And I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.

"If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan' on it, it was junk. That wasn't just prejudice, it was fact.

"The term "making out" referred to how you did on your school exam.

"Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 &10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards.

"You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.

"In my day, "grass" was mowed, "coke" was a cold drink, "pot" was something your mother cooked in, and "rock music" was your grandmother's lullaby". "Aids" were helpers in the Principal's office, "chip" meant a piece of wood, "hardware" was found in a hardware store, and "software" wasn't even a word."

How old do you think Grandma is? Read on to see -- pretty scary if you think about it and pretty sad at the same time.

This Woman would be 95 years old today, but many of her comparisons apply to us who are a couple of decades younger.

In my early years, one set of grandparents had no electricity in their home near Crivitz, and no running water. They were the last family in the area to use a horse and wagon for transportation. Running the electric wires had started before World War II but hadn't reached their home yet when the war began, and once it did all of America's resources and energies were put into the war effort, not into making things at home more convenient.

Electricity and the indoor plumbing that sometimes went with it didn't come to our part of rural Crivitz until the 1950s, and neither did telephone service. When there was telephone service, it was a party line, and that was the case even into the early 1970s! Cell phones were unheard of, and phones without wires were jokes in comedy movies and James Bond spoofs.

Many families in Marinette raised chickens in their back yards, and shared fresh eggs with their neighbors. There was a neighborhood bar and grocery store where everyone could get together.

We did without a lot of conveniences, but we had a lot of good things that kids today do not.

A neighborhood was a real thing. Moms worked at home, not somewhere else. They borrowed cups of sugar or flour from each other, and helped out when someone was sick. We kids were allowed to play outdoors long after dark on hot summer nights, and yards of pretty much everyone on the block were fair game for hide and seek, tag, and One O'Clock and the Ghost Ain't here.

Not sure the Good Old Days were better in all ways, but am sure it would be nice to have some of them back again. Am more than willing, however, to keep things like dishwashers (automatic, not the two-legged kind) cell phones, TV, running water, computers and such. Some change is good!

GROWIN' THINGS

MUCH ON MULCH

Most of today's hype on recycling is about things that don't really matter a lot, and meanwhile most of us are busy making sure the most valuable nutrients end up in landfills instead of putting them back into the soil that they came from.

Used coffee grounds, including the filters, fruit and vegetable peelings and wastes, grass clippings and such should go into mulch heaps.

Grass clippings and shredded prunings can be used on the vegetable garden or spread around fruit trees and bushes. Shredded prunings and shredded bark also make excellent path surfaces between beds.

Straw, hay or old newspapers can be used to help keep fruits such strawberries, zucchinis and bush tomatoes dry and up off the ground. This protects the developing fruits from rotting, and if the layer is thick enough, prevents weeds from growing there.

Most mulches need to be spread a minimum of one to two inches deep. Some, like straw, can be laid much thicker than this, while grass clippings should be applied in thin layers at regular intervals to prevent them becoming smelly and slimy.

It's a great idea to mulch bare soil to protect it from harsh weather and to keep weeds in check. Lay sheets of thick cardboard so that the sheets overlap by at least a foot, and weigh them down using bricks or stones.

This is a good way to protect soil over winter. In fall or early winter, spread out a layer of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil before laying the cardboard on top.

If you're a late gardener like someone I know too well, paper mulches can be a great help. They suppress weeds, protect plants from the heat, and help to retain moisture. Just prepare the planting spot, and put on a thick layer of newspaper. Then cut a large cross shape in the paper. Open that a bit to dig the planting hole, pop the plant in, tamp the soil in around it and put the folded back newspaper layer back into place. Water it well and it will stay there. Then, as summer goes on, just water through the slot. By next spring the paper will pretty much have rotted away, but the nutrients it contained will still be there. This is especially beneficial for clay or sandy soils.

COOKIN TIME

Hot days, cool nights and fresh foods to enjoy. Isn't life grand?

SUMMER STEW

Recipe serves six to eight, and makes a nice broth of its own. Goes great with any meat cooked on the grill, reheats well, and is even good at room temperature or cold.

2 small eggplants, peeled and cubed

2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium-size onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 red or green bell peppers, seeds and stems removed, thinly sliced

4 medium-size tomatoes, diced

4 small zucchini or summer squash, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half-moons

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)

In a colander, toss eggplant with salt. Let sit 30 minutes; then rinse well and dry thoroughly. Heat oil in a very large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, eggplants, garlic, and peppers; cook, stirring often, until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Add zucchini (or squash) and cook until tender, about 10 minutes more. Stir in basil, parsley, and oregano; then taste and add more salt if you like.

CRANANA BLUEBERRY POPSICLES

Want to get some cool nutrition into the kids? Offer these instead of regular sugar laden popsicles. Blueberries provide all kinds of wonderful benefits for the eyes.

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 ripe bananas

1-3/4 cups cranberry juice cocktail, divided

Optional: 2 tablespoons honey

Combine blueberries, bananas, and cup cranberry juice in blender; blend 20 seconds. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with spatula, to remove blueberry skins, if desired. (Or skip this step and leave them in for fiber.) Rinse blender; pour strained liquid back into blender with remaining cranberry juice and honey (if using). Blend another 20 seconds. Pour into molds; freeze at least 4 hours.

RHUBARB DREAM BARS

Helen Thibodeau, mother of Jane Thibodeau Martin, who writes "Through The Kitchen Window," was kind enough to share this wonderful rhubarb recipe. She got it from her godchild, Connie Pelton, of Waunakee, Wi. Helen proudly noted that Connie's picture and one of hr recipes was featured in the latest issue of "Oprah" magazine. Should still be enough rhubarb to harvest this summer to make this time or two.

2 cups flour

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter, softened

3 cups whit sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

4 eggs, beaten

4 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

Clean and chop rhubarb. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix the 2 cups flour, powdered sugar and butter until it forms a dough. Press into a 9X12 pan. Bake 10 minutes. while that bakes, whisk together the eggs, white sugar, salt and half cup of flour in a large bowl. Stir in the rhubarb. When the 10 minutes' baking time is up put this mixture into the crust, spread it out evenly and return to oven. Bake for 35 minutes, then cool, cut and serve. (Leftovers should be refrigerated.)

The Country Cousin

Thought for the week: Lord, give me the strength and energy to do what I can to make the world a better place; enough restraint to not make things worse, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

(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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