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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: July 28, 2021

Reminiscingâ€

This week's column is a reprint from July 31, 2002

Time is passing! If you haven't stopped to smell the roses, get with it! Many are already done for the season. Despite the slow start this year, gardens are zooming toward maturity, and summer is zooming toward fall. We can't really slow things down, but sometimes taking just one day to simply enjoy life makes life worthwhile. God knew what He was talking about when he prescribed that one day of rest per week. What good are all the wonders He gives us if we don't take time to enjoy them?

Take the kids or grandkids for that walk in the woods. Laze on a beach. Build sand castles. Look at the stars. Cuddle under the moon with your loved one. Catch a trout. Catch a firefly. Wish on a star. Say â€I love youâ€. It's never too soon (unless you're a precocious teenager), but sooner than you think it may be too late.



PEST CONTROL

If the deer are destroying your garden, former Crivitz teacher George Steigelman of Crivitz offered a solution. Unless it's simply the force of his personality - as any Crivitz student of the last couple decades can testify, that's pretty forceful - this really works. His garden is surrounded by forest, but deer do not venture in.

Simply get a dozen or so bars of cheap hand and bath soap, drill holes through the center and hang them with string from branches, fence posts, whatever, all around the garden. The deer apparently are put off by the cheap perfume. Anyway, I have seen with my own eyes that deer do not dine in the Steigelman garden. To put off rabbits and other critters, he sprays with diluted ammonia too.



ANISE SEED

It's probably way too late for this year, but I recently learned that the licorice-flavored herb, Anise, is not only a delicious seasoning for Italian foods like sausage, pizza, chicken cacciatore, and marvelous liqueurs like anisette, ouzo and Pernod, it's a wonderful plant that can be used to â€hide†cabbagey things (they're called brassicas) from aphids and the like. At the same time it attacks predatory wasps, which like to dine on the aphids.

They can be purchased, but consider growing your own in future.

The 2-foot tall plant with lacy white flower heads is a valuable addition to butterfly gardens. It attracts caterpillars of swallowtail and monarch butterflies, which like to feed on the leaves.

Anise leaves can be used fresh in salads or egg dishes. The seeds, while most commonly used in Italian dishes, are good with zucchini, spinach and carrots and in dressings for fruit salads. For best results, the seeds should be warmed in a dry frying pan before adding to foods. The flavor is strong so use the seeds sparingly, adding two or three at a time until you get the flavor you want.

Anise seed is also a digestive, and chewing a few seeds will sweeten the breath. Steep 1/4 teaspoon in a cup of warm milk, add a teaspoon of sugar if you wish and sip just before bedtime to aid in relaxing for a good night's sleep.

Anise needs 4 months of warm weather to produce ripe seeds so here in the north country it's best started indoors and set out after the weather warms. It needs full sun to thrive, but does well among sturdier plants in a perennial bed.

Folks tell me the plants can also be grown in pots on a windowsill in bright light and cool temperatures. You probably need a few dozen plants to get enough seeds for harvesting.

Seed heads should be gathered after they turn light brown but before they shatter. Just as with dill seed, they should be dried thoroughly and then stored in airtight containers.

Incidentally, dill weed and the immature seed heads that are so good in dill pickles do not usually reach their peak at the same time as the cucumbers. We have had good results freezing them until time for making pickles arrives. Put right from freezer into jar. Do not thaw first. Keep some dried dill weed for dill dip, poached fish, etc.



FACE CREAM

A couple of 6-year-olds on a forbidden exploration venture were stealthily examining the contents of Grandma's medicine cabinet and testing some of the lotions and potions. Reading the label on a jar of face cream that promised to take 10 years off your age, one exclaimed, â€We'd better not try this!â€



ULTIMATE VACATION

It was back in 1952, when I was in 6th grade, that our Weekly Reader carried a story predicting that flights to the moon would become reality instead of science fiction in our lifetimes...if any of us lived that long. They included a coupon to sign up for the first ride. I sent it in. Only a decade later that first manned moon flight was made, but I wasn't invited. Still haven't been. Guess they lost the coupon.

Anyway, dreams of space travel for the common man are not only still with us, there is still a possibility they could come true in our lifetimes. If you long for an out of this world vacation - and if you have an extra $100,000 so for traveling in 2005, you might be able to go, not to the moon but at least on a rocket that cruises 62 miles into space.

Popular Science magazine reports that in response to a challenge by Space Adventures (www.spaceadventures .com), a 3-passenger vehicle has been designed to ride piggy back on a jet plane into the upper atmosphere, then be launched by rocket to a 62-mile high cruising altitude. The article didn't say how long flights would last, who would pilot the module, or how it would get back down, but tickets, at $98,000 per seat, are supposed to be available in 2005. The module is supposed to be able to do 3 flights a day. Would you like to book now or later?



MOSQUITOES SPREAD ILLNESS

We've been hearing on the news about West Nile Virus and the possibly fatal encephalitis brain inflammation it can cause. It's spread by mosquitoes, and a spokesman for the national Center for Disease Control says we should protect ourselves by wearing a mosquito repellent containing DEET and staying indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are hungriest.

That's fine.

Then they go on to recommend not letting water accumulate in buckets, flower pots and wading pools, changing birdbath water frequently, stocking ponds with mosquito eating minnows and using larvicides in unavoidable standing water.

That's fine too. But the DNR would probably get upset if we started treating all their precious wetlands with larvicides.

Those mosquito-prevention methods may work in cities but are totally ineffective out in the country. When the surrounding swamps and woodlands are hatching the pesky little devils by the millions, what good will it do us to empty the bird bath and eliminate a few dozen?

We've been spoiled by several years of few mosquitoes, but this summer we're making up for it. All the larvae that didn't hatch in the last 5 years must have come out in the early season rains, and they sure haven't gone away. Don't they ever get full? At least some of the birds should be happy!

Humans, especially those over 50, birds and horses are most susceptible to West Nile virus. You can't catch it from each other, only from mosquito bites, according to the experts. Unusual numbers of dead birds can be a sign the virus is in an area, so be on the lookout.

Among humans, symptoms are high fever, severe headache, stiff neck or muscle weakness and confusion or difficulty thinking are typical and anyone with those symptoms should see a doctor right away. Confusion and difficulty thinking? I've had that for years! Must have been those childhood mosquito bites.



GYPSY MOTHS

Just learned how the gypsy moths crossed the Atlantic after migrating from Africa to Europe a couple hundred years ago.

The DNR says during the Civil War era a scientist in Massachusetts brought some to this country hoping to use their webby cocoons to make silk. That didn't work. Then the caterpillars got away. The escapees got busy being fruitful and multiplying and their offspring have been working their way south and west ever since.

The rest is history. They're in Marinette County now and if something isn't done soon our beautiful forests could be history too.



TWO EARS

Caustic comments getting to you? Remember, God gave you two ears so things you don't want to hear can go in one and out the other. Kids seem to know that from birth. How come we seem to forget as we grow older?



COOKIN' TIME

The season of bounty is definitely open us. For those without gardens, roadside stands and farm markets offer home grown fresh veggies only hours after harvest. What could be better?



REFRIGERATOR BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES

Annette Steigelman got this recipe from friends in Germany and was kind enough to share! These cucumber slices have the flavor of old fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles, but with a marvelous fresh twist. They're a whole lot easier than the canned variety, and will keep for months in the refrigerator. Great on sandwiches, in salads, and eaten on their own. The cukes stayed a beautiful bright green too.

7 cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup onion slices

2 green peppers, cut in strips

Put into large jar or bowl which you can cover

Mix:

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 cup vinegar

Mix these things together until sugar and salt are dissolved but do not heat. Pour over the cucumber mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. At first the juice will not cover the cucumbers but as the mixture stands there will be enough to cover. Eat and enjoy.



GREEK TZATZIKI

Tzatziki is a refreshing sauce made with cool cucumbers, creamy Greek yogurt, and zingy lemon. It's the perfect condiment for just about everything, especially grilled meats, and very especially ground venison burgers. Or use as a dip to serve with pita triangles, a salad dressing for lettuce leaves, or as a cooling side dish with spicy foods like curry.

2 medium-size cucumbers

2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons minced fresh dill

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel the cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Grate the cucumber coarsely and place in a medium-size bowl. Stir in yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, and salt. Chill for at least 30 minutes and serve.



VEGGIE QUICHE

Here's another way to use zucchini. Make as a full-size quiche in a 9†pie plate by doubling the filling ingredients or for quicker baking make mini-quiches in muffin cups. Really great for grab-and-go breakfasts.

1 package ready to bake pie crusts (15 ounces)

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped zucchini

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1 garlic clove, finely minced

Dash or so each of salt and black and red pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If making the full size 9†quiche double all ingredients. You can opt to slice the vegetables instead of chopping if you wish, and use an already lined pie pan. For the mini-quiches, roll pie crusts into 12â€X10†rectangles on floured surface and cut out a dozen 3†circles from each. Press into the mini muffin cups. Using a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and seasonings. Stir in the other ingredients and either pour into pie shell or spoon about a tablespoon into each of the lined muffin tins. Bake the mini-quiches 15 to 18 minutes or until puffed and slightly browned. Cool in pans for 2 minutes before removing. Serve warm. For the full size quiche bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.



BLUEBERRY PEACH CRISP

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons for the fruit

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix fruits with 2 tablespoons sugar and put into well buttered 8†or 9†square baking dish. In a medium bowl, or in food processor, mix the other ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and drizzle the melted butter over all. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Serve warm with ice cream or cool with whipped topping.

The Country Cousin



Thought for the Week: You can never give away too many smiles. They keep coming back.

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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