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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: January 20, 2021

Inauguration Day, 2021...

Today, Wednesday, Jan. 20 marks the inauguration of long-time Senator Joe Biden into the top political position in this land, possibly in the world".President of the United States of America.

Roughly half the voters of America are delighted. The other half - some 75 million - are dismayed and somewhat frightened of what the outcome may be.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Covid-19 gathering and masking restrictions continue.

MODERATE WEATHER

Political temperatures are hot, but here in TIMESLand we've been experiencing one of the most moderate winters in history, climate-wise anyway. We've had far less cold and snow than usual, and that's always a good thing.

EAGLE TIRES

We were discussing the relatively good driving conditions on TIMESLand roads so far this winter when a friend threw me a curve. Said that's really good for him, since he's been driving on Eagle tires.

Never heard of that brand, so asked him what's wrong with them. He explained that his tires, like our nation's symbol, are bald eagles.

NO LONGER ENDANGERED

Was pleased to learn recently that our national symbol - the majestic Bald Eagle - has made a comeback nationwide and is no longer on the endangered species list.

Back in 1782, our nation's Founding Fathers selected the Bald Eagle as the national emblem for the new nation they had wrested from the British monarchy in 1776.

Since then, that majestic bird has been featured on our National Seal, currency, stamps, and various historical and legal documents.

The Founding Fathers made a good choice when they settled on the Bald Eagle as the official emblem for the United States of America. Bald Eagles live only in North America and represent strength and dignity. They dine mainly on fish, small mammals and even snakes.

Bald Eagles have great family values. They live for about 35 years, and mate for life. No divorces for those couples. Mother and Father Eagles share the work of incubating eggs and caring for their young.

They are mighty and majestic, with wing spans up to seven feet. Bald Eagles can fly 35 miles per hour, and are truly masters of all they survey.

Experts believe in 1783 there were between 25,000 and 75,000 bald eagles in the US. By 1963 only about 800 eagles remained, despite a law passed by Congress in 1940 making it illegal to capture or kill a bald eagle. In 1973, Congress banned use of DDT, a pesticide that was known to kill bids, frogs, and other creatures.

Now the majestic bird has made a comeback, and is no longer on the endangered species list. Let us all hope that the majesty and freedom that the bird represents are not allowed to go extinct.

FRIENDLY BIRDS

Some parts of Marinette County are blessed with resident Bald Eagles. Was fortunate enough a few times to spot one dining at its favorite roadkill grill. In summertime, have enjoyed watching one soar high above the Peshtigo Times parking lot in Peshtigo.

And at home in Crivitz, one eagle regularly watches when family members go to the river to swim, and that bird has preened out a feather and tossed it at them more than a few times. Sadly, since owning an eagle feather is forbidden, they have had to refuse the offering.

It may be the same bird, or it may be a different one, but a few years ago would find a Bald Eagle perched on a branch above us, watching the small grandchildren swim. Never did decide if that bird was just being friendly and curious, or if he was wondering if he could manage to fly off with one of those tasty little morsels.

ON THE SOAP BOX

Have had a few letters from readers declaring that this is the time to make peace with those on the other side of the political aisle, and maybe they're right. But trying to vilify and destroy outgoing President Donald Trump is not the way to do it. You have seen some photos, video footage, etc. that gives impetus to your convictions. We on the Conservative side have seen video clips, heard first hand interviews, etc., that support our beliefs. Definitely the news media and internet platforms are at least as divided as the general citizenry of this land.

Maybe it's appropriate that the same people who were trying to impeach Donald Trump before he took his oath of office in 1917 are again trying to impeach him as he leaves office today.

However, feel a strong need to remind the alleged 80 million persons who voted for Joe Biden and the Democrats that there were 75 million who voted for President Donald Trump and conservative values, and would still do so today. We also deserve some respect and understanding.

Many of us still believe there was ample evidence that results of the election were tampered with, but even if they were not, this country is pretty much equally divided. If there is to be forgiveness, acceptance and understanding it has to be a two-way street.

There is no point but cruelty in the liberal faction efforts to totally destroy and vilify Donald Trump and rub Conservative noses in the defeat of values we strongly believe in - mainly that making - and keeping - America great was and still is the right way to go.

Also strongly believe that steps must be taken to protect the right to free speech and defense of our beliefs, and to be sure that there is never again reason for so many people to have so many doubts about the legality of an election here in the land of the free.

For the first time in all my decades of life, am terrified that a political candidate will actually carry out his campaign promises. If that happens, pretty much everything I hold dear about being an American, everything our forefathers fought and died for, will be destroyed.

In each of the major wars our nation has been engaged in, the American way has been to treat those we vanquished with respect and compassion. We rebuilt Germany and Japan after World War II and set them off on their own. Let us hope the liberals will show the same regard for their vanquished fellow Americans. They should be extending handshakes of understanding instead of thumbing their noses and taunting us like a bunch of school yard bullies.

INTERNET SCAMS

Have been getting multiple voicemail messages recently advising me that my Amazon order will be shipped out within a day or two unless I call and cancel the order, and charges from the Amazon account will be billed to my bank card.

The hitch is that I do not have an Amazon account, never have had one, and in the light of recent happenings most certainly never will have one unless it is billed to a very restricted pre-paid debit card.

Because of that, I ignored the voice mails. Then, early this week, at my regular e-mail address there was an e-mail from "Lois" at "gcqhqjf@baybabes.com" that included an Amazon order confirmation number, a final price of $6,120 and instructions that the order would be billed to my account and shipped in two days unless I called Customer Service at 1-360-702-5238 to cancel. Looked official. It included the Amazon logo, Order Confirmation Number, and photos of the products I allegedly ordered.

Wasn't too concerned that they would ship anything, since there is no credit card, I have no Amazon account, and my bank account balance is far, far below their listed purchase price.

However, did call to cancel. The woman who answered in highly accented English tried hard to convince me my Amazon account had been hacked, including my personal banking information. She said the only way to prevent future misuse would be to get an Amazon green card. She then tried to get information from me, saying she had to confirm I was indeed the person involved before she could issue the card.

Had probably been dumb to make the call in the first place, but was smart enough to hang up without giving the answers she was looking for.

Attempted to call Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Never did manage to reach a human, or even a chance to leave a message. Their budget is over $193 million a year, and they apparently can't afford a human to answer the phone.

Called the governor's office and got nearly the same response except that there was an opportunity to leave a voice mail. That led to a game of phone tag with Ti Gauger from the Office of Consumer Protection. Will pass along advice from her as soon as we manage to make contact.

Meanwhile, called my bank and was told I had rightly assumed I should provide no information to the supposed Amazon caller. She explained how to set up a way to monitor my account by phone.

Also contacted my sister-in-law, who has been advised to never say "yes" in a conversation with a scam caller. Say "correct," if you must, and for example, "speaking," if they ask for you by name. If you say the magic word "yes" the scammers can record it and attach it as your response to whatever ridiculous offer they're making, which could give them a legal right to withdraw money from your bank account or credit card.

COOKIN' TIME

Ran the good old Cabbage Diet Soup program last week, complete with the original Cabbage Soup recipe. Problem was, as a very kind reader informed me, the gremlins were at it again, and the printed version of the recipe failed to include the cabbage. Use a medium head of cabbage, cored and chopped into chunks. Add the cabbage when you add the chicken broth. You can also omit the broth and add an equivalent amount of V-8 or tomato juice instead for a change in flavor.

ANOTHER DIET SOUP

This soup is a variation of the soup in the Cabbage Soup Diet, but its specially designed for folks who don't like cabbage, so it isn't supposed to have any. Dieting or not, this soup is delicious, nutritious, low fat, no meat, and low carb. In its original form it has only about 35 calories a serving. Great companion with a grilled cheese sandwich for an easy supper. There's no limit to ways to successfully make variations of this soup, but many additions mean it will no longer be low carb or low calorie. If you're dieting and the rest of the family is not, add sturdy things like noodles, rice or cooked dried beans after you take out enough soup for yourself. You also can add browned hamburger or cut up leftover meat of just about any kind. I usually leave the carrots out and add more zucchini, yellow squash or celery, because carrots aren't low carb. A friend leaves out the spinach. In either case, the soup is still good. Recipe makes a lot. Pack what you can't use in two days in individual containers and freeze to retain flavor and nutrients. Then defrost on demand.

5 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch slices

3 medium celery ribs, sliced

3 large onions, chopped or 3 medium leeks, cut into inch thick chunks

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes (in juice)

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces

12 ounces green beans, each cut into thirds

3 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices

2 (5 ounce) packages baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

12 cups hot water

Coat the bottom of a large heavy soup kettle with nonstick cooking spray. (I skip the spray and melt 3 tablespoons butter because I believe in low carb, not low fat! There's lots of evidence, but we'll go into that some other time.) Anyway, add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until they start turning lightly brown. Stir in the tomatoes with their liquid, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Add cauliflower, remaining ingredients and 12 cups or so of hot or at least warm water. Bring quickly to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. When it starts boiling, turn heat down so it simmers, and simmer about 15 minutes or until the vegetables become tender. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like. Some like it hot. Add a bit of hot sauce, cayenne pepper or some crushed red peppers if you like.

NO PEEK CHICKEN OR CHOPS

Remember this good old standby? Sometimes we get too cozy with a recipe for a while, then neglect it so long we forget about it.

2 cups raw rice

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 package dry onion soup mix

2 1/2 pounds or so raw chicken, cut into serving pieces, or equal amount of pork chops or lean pork roast, sliced across the grain

Butter a sizable casserole dish, one with a cover if possible, but if not, use aluminum foil. Mix the 2 cans of soup and the soy sauce. Mix half of this with the rice and put into the casserole dish. Put the chicken or pork on top. Pour over this the remaining soup, then sprinkle the packet of dry soup over the whole thing. Cover tightly and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Do not peek! Serve with a green salad, or a green vegetable.

BREAKFAST COOKIES

These aren't meant to be low cal, low carb or low anything, and they aren't! But they are a good healthy treat, especially designed for youngsters (and parents) who've spent some time playing out in the cold.

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups old-fashioned or quick cooking rolled oats (oatmeal)

1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1 cup raisins, dried cherries and/or dried cranberries

1 cup chocolate chips (semi sweet, bittersweet, milk, and/or white)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat just until incorporated. Stir in the nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. For large cookies, use about 3 tablespoons of batter to form the cookies (can use two spoons or an ice cream scoop). Space the cookies about 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so they are about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges yet still soft in the center. The longer they bake the more crisp they will be. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes about 30 cookies.

THE COUNTRY COUSIN

Thought for the week: Lord, on this Inauguration Day we pray for this nation. We pray that we can go back to being a land of peace and prosperity, a beacon of what the combination of free enterprise and Christianity can do for the world. Grant us a better understanding of our enemies, and give them a better understanding of our beliefs and our fears. Give us tolerance of one another, but help us preserve the values that built this land into a haven of hope for the world. In Jesus' Holy Name, 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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