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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: May 27, 2021

Honor those who fought for our freedoms!

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and summer appears to actually be here. Lilacs and other spring flowers are in full bloom, and wonderful spring scents fill the air. Hopefully, we've had our last killing frost. We've even had a few days when it was hot enough to complain about the weather.

Masks are coming off. The school year is ending. Students are graduating, most of them with ceremonies that family and friends are allowed to attend. Ball games are being played. Fishermen are plying their poles. Inner tubes, raft and other floating devices are busy on lakes and rivers.

Life on and off the water is good!



MEMORIAL DAY

Over the centuries and around the world, as kingdoms rose and fell, time was set aside to remember and honor those who fought and died for them.

Memorial Day got its start in life in America as Decoration Day, a day designated for decorating the graves of those who had lost their lives in the Civil War.

Legend has it that it was set on the 30th of May because the majority of flowers were in bloom on that date, and because there was no major battle fought on that date.

The Memorial Day history begins on May 5, 1868, when General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. â€The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,†he proclaimed.

On that first national Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried there.

Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor the dead on separate days until after World War I.

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost in the Civil War. However, as the United States found itself embroiled in other major conflicts, the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including the two world Wars, The Vietnam War, The Korean War and all the wars that came after them.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.



ON THE SOAP BOX

REMEMBER THOSE WHO GAVE


Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summertime funtime, but it also is the day we Americans are supposed to take time out to honor the thousands and thousands of men and women who fought and died so we could be free. We can honor them best by carrying on the fight, by getting involved and not allowing those freedoms to be eroded away.

To give the day more meaning, take time out from fun to participate in a Memorial Day service in your community. (Find times and locations scattered throughout today's Peshtigo Times.) Or simply visit a cemetery on your own. Clean an unattended grave. Put flowers on the tombstone of a veteran you do not even know, and add a flag if there isn't one already there.

Beautify the burial places of your dear departed loved ones, even those who are not veterans.

And as the federal government asks all Americans to do, take a moment of silence - or better yet, a moment of prayer - at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day to remember the fallen soldiers who have fought for our country. It's called the National Moment of Remembrance.



ON THE SOAP BOX

HONOR THOSE WHO GAVE


And then, to really honor those who fought and died to save our freedoms, take up the fight to preserve those freedoms. Speak up. Get involved in politics as much as necessary. Attend meetings. Talk to your legislators. Watch the history being taught to your children and grandchildren to be sure it's accurate.



REMEMBERING

I remember Memorial Day parades in Marinette when I was a child, and the wonderful Memorial Day parades in Crivitz years later when I was an adult living in Crivitz.

School children of the various city schools marched in the parade in Marinette. We ended up at the cemetery behind City Park, and then of course, on the playground equipment at City Park. If memory serves correctly, there was also a community picnic at the end of the parade, after the commemorative services at the cemetery.

The parade in Crivitz included the high school and grade school vans, members of the American Legion and VFW, some marching and some in cars, and an old Army tank or two. No elaborate decorated floats.

As the parade proceeded through the village the crowd lining the streets would fall in behind, on foot, and march to the cemetery where they stayed for the services in the circle of veterans' graves.

What a wonderful tradition. Hope it gets resurrected, if not in Crivitz, then hopefully in some other community.

TAX WHAT?

There's a lot of concern among thinking folks that all the money being passed around by the Federal government will someday need to be repaid by taking it from folks who are â€rich†because they work very, very hard.

Heard that a conservative Republican legislator, objecting to some comments made by a liberal Democrat member of the House, declared, â€Sir, you are really taxing my memory.†The Democrat replied with a delighted, â€Why didn't we think of that!â€



TICK REPELLENT

Fun in the great outdoors in Wisconsin's great north woods, if it doesn't involve snow and parkas, generally includes the risk of exposure to ticks and mosquitoes, which often carry disease.

During tick season, which we're in right now, be sure to have a nightly body check for ticks, and a morning one too. The longer a tick stays on, the greater a chance of contacting any disease it may be harboring. The tiniest ticks are hard to spot. Some are no bigger than a grain of pepper, and they burrow in quickly so nothing shows but their little bitty hind legs. And those are the ones most likely to carry diseases, particularly Lyme disease, which can cause long-term and sometimes even fatal effects.

There are good and generally effective tick repellents available for purchase, but some of us object to exposing ourselves and our pets to the chemicals they contain. This homemade recipe for tick repellent to spray on your clothes and your pets, allegedly comes from the USDA Forest Service.

Mix two cups of white vinegar, one cup Avon skin so soft bath oil, one cup water and one tablespoon eucalyptus oil in an old spray bottle and spray on to pets and clothes. Word is that there are no guarantees, but the mixture has a pleasant odor and many users have reported success with it.



SPRING CLEANING

Lots of homemakers in TIMESLand have been in a frenzy of spring cleaning, getting ready for the influx of friends and family who love to come â€up north†in summer.

I've been busy planning to get my house cleaned, but not much has happened so far. Time is running out, but that's okay. I've just discovered a great new excuse for not vacuuming as often as I should: Research shows that there are about 15,000 vacuum cleaner-related accidents in the United States each year.

Hmmm†Wonder what the accident rate is for scrubbing floorsâ€Washing dishesâ€Cooking dinner?

Maybe it's okay to not take the risk!



MIGHTY MORELS

This is the season of bounty for those who love to forage in the fields, forests and roadsides of TIMESLand. Asparagus, morel mushrooms, rhubarb, wild leeks (ramps) and fiddlehead ferns are ready for harvest.

Look for the luscious morel mushrooms around dead or dying elm or ash trees, in old apple orchards, and in places where forest fires have burned in recent years. Old apple orchards are a great place to hunt for morels. Approximately one out of ten aging apple trees support morels. 

 Great places to seek out old apple trees and the morels that go with them are along wood lines that are up against a farmer's field. You may want to look in a 12 to 15 foot diameter around the tree.

Old orchards are also good spots to look for wild-growing asparagus patches.

Wild, untended rhubarb plants can often be found near the foundations of abandoned home sites or outbuildings.



COOKIN' TIME

Enjoy asparagus and rhubarb as often as you can while they're in season. Their season is all too short!



CHEESY BAKED ASPARAGUS

2 pounds asparagus, stalks trimmed

3/4 cup heavy cream

3 cloves garlic minced

salt

black pepper

1 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus in a shallow baking dish. Pour over heavy cream and scatter with garlic. Generously season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle parmesan and mozzarella. Bake until cheese is golden and asparagus tender, 25 to 30 minutes. (Broil the last two minutes to brown the top, if desired.)



ROASTED PARMESAN ASPARAGUS

1/2 pound fresh asparagus

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

3 cloves minced garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil or olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degree. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with cooking oil or pour in about half of the olive oil. Set aside while you rinse the asparagus and trim off woody end pieces. Spread out in a thin layer on top of the prepared cookie sheet. Spray the asparagus lightly with a coat of olive oil cooking spray or drizzle on the rest of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Use your hands to mix the asparagus with all of the ingredients, then lay out into an even layer again. Spray with one more light coat of olive oil, if using. Bake in the preheated over for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of the asparagus and how well you like it done.



ALMOND RHUBARB CAKE

The recipe calls for almond paste, but you can substitute marzipan, or make your own Almond Paste. To make Almond paste, whirr a cup of blanched almonds and 4 tablespoons sugar to a paste in the food processor or blender. Freeze whatever you don't use right away in an airtight container, preferably a small glass one, and thaw before using. Make a double batch of the Almond Crunch ahead of time. Use half on the cake, and save the other half to use on an ice cream sundae. June Dairy Month is coming!



ALMOND CRUNCH

This makes a single batch, just enough for the cake.)

1 egg white

2/3 cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon sugar

Dash salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy, and then whisk in the sugar and salt. Stir in the almonds, spread on the baking sheet, and bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Stir at least once while baking. Cool completely on the baking sheet.

CAKE

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup almond paste

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sliced rhubarb (1/2 inch thick)

Glaze:

6 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X2 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray. Dust with flour, tapping out the excess. To make the cake, mix the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Beat almond paste, butter and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, perhaps 2 minutes at high speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and almond extract. Add the flour mixture gradually at low speed just until combined, and then beat 30 more seconds at medium speed. Spread batter in the prepared pan and spread the rhubarb slices evenly over the top. (I like to sprinkle it with another 2 tablespoons sugar, but that's not in the original recipe.) Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then invert it onto a serving plate. Mix up the glaze while the cake cools in the pan. Once the cake cools, drizzle the glaze over the top and sides and top with almond crunch. Let stand until the glaze is set.

Thought for the week: Congratulations and best wishes to all of this year's graduates - whether it be from kindergarten, middle school, high school, or college. The advice is always the same - keep learning, keep growing, keep trying, and keep taking chances. As Nora Roberts once said, â€you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.†And as Abraham Lincoln said, the best way to predict your future is to create it.



(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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