Country CousinIssue Date: March 18, 2020
Spring is almost sprung!
Rejoice! Despite the gloom and doom of the coronavirus, which now is officially termed a pandemic, Spring is just around the corner. Official arrival date is Friday, March 20.
It may be hard to celebrate, since bars and restaurants are closed, and large gatherings anywhere are banned, or at least severely frowned upon. We're supposed to stay a minimum of six feet away from one another, so no group hugs until further notice, except in the immediate family.
There have been no confirmed cases reported yet in TiMESland, but precautions are being put into effect everywhere.
Schools are all closed until at least April 6, and maybe longer. Some parents still need to go to work, so day care centers are allowed to stay open. That's understandable, and perhaps unavoidable. This is a good time for families, friends and neighbors to pull together, to step in and help wherever we can, and babysitting may be part of that help.
Bars and restaurants are closed, large gatherings are banned, and everyone is urged to stay at least six feet away from others when we do have to go out in public. Sometimes your nose can be your guide. Have read that if you're close enough to notice that someone has bad breath, you're close enough to breathe in their germs and viruses, so step back. Usually that's an automatic anyway.
Meanwhile, we're asked to stay home as much as we can. Our fathers and grandfathers gave up everything to go off to war to protect this nation. We are being told to stay home and give up some good times to help protect others. We can do this.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, chest congestion is a problem. There are reportedly very few deaths for those aged zero to 29, but for older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and even death.
The vast majority of people (some say 97 percent) recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while recovery for those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks.
Antibiotics don't cure viruses in the human body, so getting a shot won't work at this point, but scientists are working on it.
ON THE SOAP BOX - SILVER LINING
Recovery from the economic impact of coronavirus may be more difficult, especially for the hardest hit segments of the economy, like airlines, hotels, motels and locally owned mom and pop resorts, bars and restaurants. Drive-in chain restaurants should do well, since carry out and delivery are encouraged, but dining in public establishments is banned.
Perhaps only time will tell how these hardest-hit businesses deal with a protracted loss of income, but there are some signs that help may be coming from Washington, and for once Democrats and Republicans seem to be putting aside some of their hate-filled rhetoric to deal with a real problem.
"There's great spirit among lawmakers, I can say that for Republicans and Democrats," President Donald Trump reportedly said at a recent White House briefing as he outlined several elements of his plan to save the economy.
Good news is that President Trump is asking Congress to unleash a torrent of emergency economic aid to help people and businesses through the financial pain of the coronavirus crisis, with checks directly to Americans as part of the deal, and it sounds like that may happen.
And for once, Democrats aren't trying to find a way to blame Republicans in general, and President Trump in particular, for causing the virus.
There may be a silver lining to this virus if it manages to bring about a reconciliation among Americans of the opposing political philosophies.
Maybe, just maybe, we can agree to disagree civilly again!
PUT THEM TO WORK
Meanwhile, on the home front in this war against the virus, children and some parents will be spending an unaccustomed amount of time at home, together.
This may be a good time for some new learning experiences. Maybe Dads (or Moms) can teach them how to change the oil, change a tire, or get the lawn mower ready for Spring.
Maybe Moms (or Dads) can teach them to cook, sew, do the laundry, change the beds, scrub the basement, rake the lawn (once the snow goes), and clean cob webs off ceiling fans and out of the attic.
We can only watch so much TV!
Maybe families kept home forcibly will find time to sit together and put old photographs into long neglected albums, laugh over old home movies, or just savor some memories while looking together at old family treasures and keepsakes.
Kids of course will be busy with cell phones and lap tops, but parents may occasionally be successful in prying them from their social media long enough to share some time playing old board games and learning the nearly forgotten card games that kept my generation amused for so many years. Perhaps some of us oldsters will get back to that.
There have been suggestions that hospitals should have totally separate wings for patients with coronavirus. Friend Gerald Wrench feels we in TIMESland have the perfect answer. He suggested converting the closed and vacant old Marinette General Hospital building as the Coronavirus wing of Aurora. That would protect workers and patients in the non-corona part of the hospital.
Meanwhile, we can try to stay healthy.
It's a total mystery to me why suddenly the fear of not having enough toilet paper in the house became a national pandemic of its own. Not just hand sanitizer or antiseptic cleaning items or hand wipes, but toilet paper!
Sis works at a nearby supply store, and her daughter contacted her to ask if she could get her some hand sanitizer. She could not, since their store was out. Told her daughter to rinse her hands in vodka, which after all is alcohol, but without the color or strong smell of brandy or whiskey. Then read that alcohol content of regular drinking alcohol isn't quite strong enough, so maybe she should use 101 rum instead!
We're told that coronavirus is a particularly nasty evolved version of the common cold virus, so advice for fending off the common cold should also apply to fending off coronavirus. In fact, the plain old common cold is also caused by a corona virus, but not the Covid 19 version the world is now dealing with.
Stocking up on stay healthy items like citrus fruits, plus Airborne and other vitamin and mineral supplements with plenty of vitamin C and D makes sense. So does eating homemade chicken soup, either to fend off the illness or deal with it when you have it. Grandma always said Chicken Soup was the best cure for a cold, along with a hot toddy and a cozy time in bed. Scientists in recent years have agreed that she was right. The hot toddies they can understand, but seem to have not discovered why homemade chicken soup has cold-curing properties, but it does. Maybe it's the love that's cooked into it.
To save money, or if local supplies of hand and counter-top sanitizers are sold out, you can make your own.
A fairly easy recipe for sanitizer gel is to shake together three parts of rubbing alcohol (preferably 99 percent, but 75 percent will do), one part aloe vera gel and 10 drops of tea tree oil or another essential oil, like clove, eucalyptus peppermint, or instead, substitute the juice from half a lemon.
For a spray sanitizer, mix one and a half cups of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol with two teaspoons glycerol, which you can get on-line if you can't find it locally. Then mix in two tablespoons hydrogen peroxide, 3/4 of a cup of either distilled water or water that you've boiled and cooled, and several drops of a nicely scented essential oil or lemon juice. The glycerol keeps the alcohol from drying out your skin too much. The sanitizer will work without it, but then use some hand lotion after you use it. This mixture can be put in a pre-sanitized spray bottle for a sanitizer spray, or moisten paper towels with it for sanitary wipes.
The rule, we're told by the folks at "Wired" must be at least three-quarters alcohol to be effective.
They advise using pre-sanitized utensils to prepare the mixture, and to mix it in a work space that you've cleaned with a diluted bleach solution.
Incidentally, old fashioned Lysol has long included corona virus in the list of molds, germs and viruses that it will kill. If you have some Lysol, use it according to bottle directions on surfaces that you want to sanitize, and if you don't have any, you may want to get some.
With all this gloom and doom, we all need a good laugh break. Friend shared these answers kids at a Catholic elementary school put on some papers they turned in. Imagine you're a straight-laced nun, trying to grade these papers in front of the class with a straight face!
In the first book of the Bible, Guinissis, God got tired of creating the world so he took the sabbath off.
Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's wife was Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark and the animals came on in pears.
The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up to Mountcyanide to get the ten commandments.
The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.
Christians have only one spouse, and this is called monotony.
Lot's wife was a pillar of salt during the day, but a ball of fire at night.
The Jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with unsympathetic genitals.
Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Battle of Geritol.
Samson was a strongman who let himself be led astray by a jezebel like Delilah.
Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the apostles.
The epistles were the wives of the apostles.
But perhaps the answer any parent can understand best was to the question asking what was the greatest miracle in the Bible. One youngster felt that greatest miracle was: "when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him." Wonder if Dad was giving advice when the boy wrote that answer?
Can't go out to eat right now, so make some great meals to enjoy at home. You might once again find that family dinners are a wonderful idea.
Try this meatless mid-eastern treat now, while the kids are around to help with peeling, chopping, measuring and mixing. Makes four meatless sandwiches. You probably want a bowl of soup to go with this if it's to be a complete meal.
4 Small eggplants with soft, edible skins
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Eggs, hard boiled and sliced
1/4 Cup hummus (store bought or homemade)
1/4 Cup tahini sauce (recipe follows)
Israeli salad (recipe follows)
Mango Chutney, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Pita rounds, cut in half
2 Tablespoons sesame paste
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tomato, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4 Red onion, diced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Slice the eggplant into rounds and fry in the oil for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Assemble the Israeli salad and stir together the tahini ingredients. To assemble the sandwiches, spread the hummus evenly into the pita pockets, stuff with the fried eggplant rounds and the sliced hard boiled eggs. Spoon in the Israeli salad and drizzle with the tahini sauce and mango chutney.
CROCK POT STUFFED CABBAGE
Cabbage is a vastly under used vegetable, very healthy for body and budget. This sounds like work at first glance, but requires very little kitchen time for an impressive and satisfying meal. You can serve the sauce over boiled wide noodles, or, if there's room in your crock pot, tuck a few peeled potato halves, carrots and onions into the bottom of the slow cooker before you abandon it for the day, and then you have a sort of stuffed cabbage boiled dinner. Cook a bit longer and remove the cabbage and other vegetables before you finish the sauce.
1 can beef broth or 2 cups prepared beef bouillon
1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
1/2 pound hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pint sour cream
2 tablespoons tomato paste
garlic salt and pepper to taste
Cut the center out of the cabbage head and save it for tomorrow's cole slaw. You don't have to be fancy about the cut, just make room for the stuffing. In frying pan brown the sausage and hamburger. Drain off excess fat and mix in the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Pack it into the cabbage head and set the whole thing in the slow cooker. Pour the broth or bullion around the outside of the cabbage. Cover and cook at low all day, 6 to 8 hours. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving time boil wide noodles or potatoes, remove cabbage from the crock and mix sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Heat but do not boil, because Sour Cream will curdle if it boils.
FRUITED DUTCH BABY PANCAKE
Perfect for a fancy stay-at-home breakfast or brunch. You might need to double the recipe and use a 12-inch skillet if you're feeding the family, since this cake serves only four at the max.
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries, or other fruit, such as blueberries or bananas
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and flour into a blender. Pulse until no dry lumps remain in the batter. Melt the butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the batter, and drop in the strawberries. Place the skillet into the oven, and bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Cinnamon: Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter and skip strawberries.
Apple: slice half an apple and cook in the melted butter until lightly golden. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon over them, and then pour in the batter. Skip the strawberries.
Blueberry: use 1/2 cup of blueberries instead of strawberries.
Banana: add 1 sliced banana to the melted butter and cook it until golden, but still firm. You may add a pinch of cinnamon to it if you like. Skip the strawberries.
Chocolate chip: add 1/2 cup of your favorite chocolate chip to the batter in the skillet. Strawberries are optional.
Chocolate: Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa to the batter.
Plain: Skip strawberries or other fruit and top the baked pancake with a squeeze of lemon juice and powdered sugar.
The Country Cousin
Thought for the week: Lent continues. Are we using the assigned 40 days to do some soul cleaning? Saint Benedict once advised, "Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ; discipline your body; do not pamper yourself, but love fasting." And many years later, his namesake, Pope Benedict XVI suggested, "Lent is like a long "retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual "combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism." Dear God, we always need your help. Help us find the way to a Happy Easter for our souls. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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