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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Issue Date: August 12, 2020

No Cell Phone Service...

Summer is drawing to an end, but there's still some beautiful weather waiting in the wings. For the next week, weather forecasters are promising daytime highs in the 80s, partly cloudy skies, and nighttime temperatures of 60 and above. Can't complain about that. There's a chance of thundershowers Saturday night and early Sunday, though, so if you're camping out, bring a tent!

ADVENTURESM

Summer is the time for adventures, and usually they're good things, but the adventure I had last weekend is one I wouldn't wish on anybody, especially little old ladies traveling alone, in an area where there's little or no cell phone service.

Had attended a family wedding in Iron Mountain, with plans to spend Friday night and Saturday with other family members at a cottage on Dolan Lake.

Wedding went great, except for the detour because Niagara is closed. Had to detour around via US 2 and US 8 through Norway and Quinnesec, Michigan. Got to see some countryside that I seldom visit, so that was okay, even though it added miles to the trip.

Didn't want to use the same route home, but efforts to find the alternate to the west were unsuccessful, so retraced the route back to Pembine. From there, took Hwy. 8 west to Dunbar, where I used to turn south on County A to get to Athelstane.

It isn't county A any more, however, it's now Old Hwy. A going south from Dunbar, and I think is has become Northway Road going north from Athelstane. And in the Dunbar portion at least, it has been allowed to return to gravel and worse. Much, much worse as you travel south.

By the time I got to Dunbar it was nearly 9 p.m. and almost totally dark. Had only one drink at the wedding, honest, but somehow managed to get my little Ford Eco Sport off Old A, which is a town road of sorts, and onto an ATV/UTV trail somewhere in the wilds of the Marinette County Forest.

Realized that too late, when there was no place I felt my vehicle could safely turn around. Followed that trail designed for off-road fun for over two hours. Drove over sand traps, around 45-degree corners, slanted on embankments and praying not to slide off, over bumps, ruts and through more sand traps for more than two hours, praying to God that He would lead me to a real road. It could lead to anywhere, as long as it was civilization.

Never met another vehicle during that awful two hours. Good thing my little car is a 4-wheel drive, or I'd still be there. Even had to put it in low drive to get through some of the sand traps.

Had visions of calling 911 on my useless cell phone to call for a tow. They'd ask where I was, and I'd have to admit,"I don't know!"

God finally granted my prayers, and led me out of that wilderness and back on to a real road.

Guess where I ended up?

Right back on Hwy. 8 in Dunbar, at the exact point I had started from two hours earlier.

Good lesson here. If you're planning to travel in northern Marinette County, have a printed road map in your possession and pay attention to the direction indicators most vehicles are equipped with these days. Also bring some extra food and water in case you get lost anyway!

GREAT LOSS

TIMESland in general and Menekaunee in particular lost a great lady with the death of Sandy Saunier on Friday, July 24.

Sandy, the former Sandy Olson, was born Sept. 17, 1938, and graduated from Marinette High School in 1956. She had 13 older brothers and sisters and loved all of them. She was a true Menekaunee native who probably did more for the Menekaunee area of Marinette than any other individual, living or dead.

She represented that area as Ward 1 alderman on Marinette City Council for many years until she was defeated by five votes in 2013. She and her late husband owned and operated the Marine House in Menekaunee for many years, and were justly famed for their fish fries and other offerings.

Sandy had an uncanny memory for old Menekaunee tales, knew the names of old fishing boats and their captains, and knew the history of more shipwrecks than you or I could count.

She organized family reunions and helped keep the large and scattered family together, to keep the old memories alive.

She was instrumental in starting the tradition of Menekaunee Old Timers picnics. Sadly, she wasn't able to attend this year because the event was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. As one who always enjoyed sharing that event, hope this year is just an interruption, and not the end of those gatherings where memories of the old community are shared and handed down.

Saunier also spearheaded many improvements at what once was Whiskey Park and now is Menekaunee Heritage Park, improvements at Menekaunee Harbor and the marina there, and improvements at Red Arrow Park, where the Old Timers reunions have been held in the recent decade. The original Old Timers Picnics were held at City Park before the Red Arrow pavilion was built.

Never mind that I was one of the Merryman School kids and Sandy was a Menekaunee brat, we had some good visits and shared more than a few laughs together, including appreciation of the Menekaunee T-shirt slogan she helped coin, "A little drinking town with a big fishing problem."

Those of us who are Marinette/Menekaunee natives remember back when the harbor at Menekaunee and the Main Street drinking establishments were havens for professional fishermen and for Great Lakes sailors who were known to sometimes celebrate too much when they finally got shore leave.

ON THE SOAP BOX TRUMP DONATIONS

Just heard that President Donald Trump released his White House expense report on Friday, Aug. 7. According to a web video, the salaries of 377 white employees totaled $35.8 million, versus $60.9 million for a similar period under President Barrack Obama. There were 140 fewer employees. Michelle Obama had 44 assistants assigned, compared to five for Melania Trump.

The report also stated Trump donated his entire $400,000 salary to the Department of the Interior to be used for construction and repair of military cemeteries around the country, another sign of his high regard for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to defend our country and the freedoms he hopes to help preserve, despite steadfast opposition from those who would turn us into a subservient socialistic nation.

That story reminded me of one a favorite niece told after reading an article on the web recounting an incident involving Donald Trump before he was elected president. Trump had bought an estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he put up a 50 foot flag pole and flew a US flag on it. The City Council told him that he could only have a 30 foot pole but he refused to take it down. Told him they would fine him $1,000 a day until he took it down.

Trump said fine, that's chump change. When the fine reached $120,000 he went to the City Council and made a deal. He would lower the flag to a 30 foot pole if he could donate the $120,000 to the Department of Veterans Affairs, to which they agreed. He took the 50 foot pole down and had a landscape company come in and build a 20 foot hill where the pole was and put up a 30 foot pole.

"That's why we love the guy," the niece said, adding that she and another relative had gone fishing in Florida some time after she had read about the Trump flag issue and its resolution. They had gone past Kidd Rock's house, just north of West Palm Beach. Didn't realize it was his house, but did notice a fine big US flag painted on the garage door. They later learned that Kid Rock too had been flying a US flag that the city forced him to remove. So he had the flag painted on the garage door instead. She declares there should be a law against not being able to show your pride as an American by putting up a flagpole and proudly flying the flag.

Agree that sometimes height limits are called for, but certainly if violent demonstrations are protected under freedom of expression laws, certainly flying any flag we choose should also be protected!

COOKIN' TIME

Some seasonal treats are no longer available from local farm markets, but they're still in the supermarkets, so enjoy them while you can. Other local produce is just coming onto the markets, so enjoy that too.

DANDYLION SOUP

Nothing goes better with a sandwich than soup, and this soup is perfect with almost any of them, but especially egg salad or tuna salad. Dandelion greens are best in spring, when the leaves are most tender, but they're still usable now in this soup, if you an find them. If you can't find them now, substitute an equal amount of any other bitter green. Broccoli rabe is a favorite, but mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, beet greens, arugula, watercress, or spinach can be substituted. Cook the greens longer if you're using tougher ones, like kale. If you've had corn on the cob and have a cob left over, slice off the kernels and add them to this soup, or use kernels cut from a fresh, never cooked cob of corn. Adding more than one cup of corn is perfectly acceptable.

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

1 cup onion, diced

4 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced

1 tablespoon cumin

4 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 cups dandelion greens, chopped

4 cups spinach, chopped

8 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1 cup whole kernel corn

2 cups white beans, canned or cooked

1 cup potato, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Sauté the celery, carrot, onion, basil, oregano, cumin and garlic in the vegetable oil until tender. Add the stock, bay leaf, corn, beans and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

HOMEMADE BISCUIT MIX

Homemade Bisquick comes together in less than 5 minutes and can be used in any recipe that calls for Bisquick or all-purpose biscuit baking mix. It's perfect for things like pancakes and diner-style muffins. Don't know if it's cheaper to make your own or not, but sure is handy to know how when you're in the middle of a recipe that calls for biscuit mix and you're fresh out.

6 cups flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening or butter, cubed

Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse ingredients for about 15 seconds. Add the shortening and/or butter, and pulse the processor until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Place homemade biscuit mix into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Will keep for 3 months if you used shortening, and about a month if you used butter or half of each.

EASY BISCUIT BLUEBERRY CAKE

Blueberry picking time is over for the year in TIMESland, but they're still available at a good price from the supermarket, and probably can still be picked farther north in the UP. Blueberry anything is usually wonderful, and they're remarkably good for the eyes, if you need another good excuse to enjoy them.

For the cake:

2-1/2 cups biscuit mix like Bisquick

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

3 Tablespoons milk

1/2 tsp.vanilla extract

For the crumb topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

4 Tablespoons salted butter, cut into small cubes

Powdered sugar, for serving

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In medium bowl combine biscuit mix and sugar. Add sour cream, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Batter will be very thick. Gently stir in blueberries by hand. This will take a few minutes because batter is thick. Scoop batter into prepared baking dish and make sure it is evenly spread. In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and butter. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, combine mixture until it looks coarse and crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over dough. Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

FROZEN BANANA SPLIT BARS

Perfect for a totally indulgent summer dessert, or as a totally indulgent snack instead of a meal.

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup butter, divided

24 Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

3 to 4 medium firm bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup sugar

2 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened, divided

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

1 jar (10 ounces) maraschino cherries, drained and halved

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Whipped topping, optional

Slice the strawberries and mix them with the sugar and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, milk, chocolate chips and half a cup of the butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter; toss with cookie crumbs. Press into a greased 13x9-in. pan. Freeze for 15 minutes. Spread strawberries over the crust. Arrange banana slices on top of them. Spread with 1 quart ice cream. Top with 1 cup chocolate sauce. Freeze for 1 hour. Refrigerate remaining chocolate sauce. Spread the remaining ice cream over dessert; top with pineapple, cherries and pecans. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Reheat the chocolate sauce. Cut dessert into squares. Serve with whipped topping and chocolate sauce.

The Country Cousin

Thought for the week:
Summer 2020 is drawing to an end. Autumn is not here yet, but it's coming on fast. As Dr. Seuss sort of said, let's not cry because it's almost over; let's be happy and enjoy what's left of it while it's here. And share a smile whenever you can. We all need more of them.

(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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