Rain, Rain, Rain...
Summer is beautiful right now, but it's rushing to an end. Days have gotten noticeably shorter. Kids are getting ready to go back to school. As usual, some are looking forward to it and some are not. Marinette County Fair is only two weeks away. A week after that comes Labor Day, and then it's all over for another year.
Read on a national weather site that the midwest has had "a stretch of dry weather". Their map included TIMESland as part of the area with "a long dry spell". Guess they might call it that. We have had two days in a row now without rain. This year that's something to celebrate! Now they tell us that will end and the monsoons are starting again.
Would have been really, really easy to be a spot on weather forecaster this year. Every day, just predict "Chance of rain," and you'd be right! There there were only eight totally sunny days in July!
Normal rainfall for June in most of TIMESland is 3.88 inches, and in July the average drops to 3.2 inches. This year, according to national weather reporting services, rainfall in Peshtigo in June totaled 7.36 inches, about double the normal amount. Marinette took the prize, though, with 9.07 inches of rain in June and 8.83 inches in July. Crivitz had 7.66 inches of rainfall in June and 6.8 inches in July, again about double the normal average. No wonder we feel soggy!
Glad that wasn't all snow. Depending on the moisture content, an inch of rain generally equals 6 to10 inches of snow. If the 17.9 inches of rain Marinette got in June and July had fallen as snow, and none of it melted, we'd still be shoveling out from under 9 to 15 feet of snow on the level. Considering how much of it fell during some pretty windy storms, can't even imagine the height (or depth) of the drifts we might have been facing. And we probably still wouldn't have electricity!
Let's all hope this wet spell comes to an end before summer does!
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
On Monday, Aug. 21, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible from many parts of the United States for 2 to 3 minute durations at about mid day in most areas. This is the first time since 1918 that a total solar eclipse has been visible in the United States.
Closest major viewing area to TIMESland for the total eclipse is in southern Illinois, where the moon will cover the sun for about 2.5 minutes, starting at 1:20 p.m.
The next total eclipse visible from the United States will be in April of 2024, and then there will be none until 2045.
Scientists warn that looking directly at the sun, even when it is fully obscured, can result in some very severe burns and even cause cancer. Special viewing equipment can be purchased or made.
Check out the nasa.gov website for viewing safety tips and an offer for you to become an official volunteer observer by reporting clouds, temperatures and other data from your location via cell phone during the eclipse.
More next week on how and where to see the eclipse without going blind.
HOUSE PLANTS MAKE US HEALTHY>
This is the wrong season for house plants, but maybe we should be thinking about them anyway, Just read that keeping live plants in the house can make us healthier, both emotionally and physically. Science says looking at plants calms our stress and improves our moods.
Science also has proven that plants, some more than others, can effectively remove toxins from indoor air. That in turn helps prevent allergy flare-ups and other health issues.
Some of the best are:
Boston fern, which needs a cool setting with a high level of humidity and indirect light. A secluded corner in the bathroom or bedroom might be a good spot. Experts say they are well worth the maintenance because of their air-purifying abilities. Boston fern removes more formaldehyde than any other plant, as well as pollutants from car exhaust that might enter a home from an attached garage or passing traffic.
Garden Mum, which is generally grown outdoors, but is one of the top-performing air-purifying plants. It removes formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. This plant works well indoors, but requires bright light when blooming. Prune it regularly to keep it from getting straggly, and water if the soil is dry to one inch.
Aloe Vera is a plant that should be in every home, and perhaps every room of every home. Am told it's safe for cats, dogs and humans to eat but toxic to rabbits! Would love to surround the garden with it.
The growing plant removes toxins from the air. The gel inside the succulent spiky leaves helps heal rashes, cuts and burns. Eating a bit of the juice, or stirring it into a beverage and drinking it helps with stomach issues. The leaves, by the way, are not really prickly, they only look that way. Thrives on neglect, grows in sand, and likes to be crowded in its container. My kind of plant!
ON THE SOAP BOX
LIBERALS VERSUS CONSERVATIVES
Recently read what I feel is a good explanation of the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives.
"Liberals really do believe that all money belongs to the government and the government should have the power to determined how much you get to keep.
"Conservatives know that every penny the government spends comes from the citizens who pay taxes and other fees. The government does not give you health care. Your neighbor gives you health care from his own pockets."
Liberals do not understand this. Even taxes collected from big businesses, manufacturing companies, etc. ultimately come from either the people who work for them or the people who buy from them. The business, like government, has actually no money that does not belong to a person in one way or another, just as government has no money or other assets that does not belong to the people being governed.
Another big difference between conservatives and liberals certainly seems to be that the liberals believe in their mental superiority. They sincerely believe the "help" they provide and the taxes and regulations they impose are for your own good.
After all, common, average Joe Blow is certainly not intelligent enough to decide what he needs and how he should pay for it. Government is.
"They believe the government has the authority to determine how much is too much, or how much you need vs how much you can give up. The tax system is a structure for this. If you make so much money, you can afford to pay more taxes. You have no say in the matter. Liberals really do not understand the concept of liberty."
Kids do the best they can. Very young children are actually learning a brand new language, and they're doing it without being able to read or write.
They listen, and try to make sense of what they hear. Sometimes it doesn't make a lot of sense at all. Unfortunately for parents, at other times, kids make more sense of what they hear than we would like them to.
Friend Maggie recently shared some eye opening commentary from the little ones.
A Sunday school teacher asked her class, "What was Jesus' mother's name?" One child answered, "Mary." The teacher then asked, "Who knows what Jesus' father's name was?" A little kid said, "Verge." Confused, the teacher asked, "Where did you get that?" The kid said, "Well, you know, they are always talking about Verge n' Mary.''
A little boy seems to have a pretty easy going attitude. He was overheard praying: "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am."
After the christening of his baby brother in church, another youngster sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him several times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, "That preacher said he wants us brought up in a Christian home, and I want to stay with you."
A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they were on the way to church service, "And why should we be quiet in church?" One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."
Quiet was an issue for a couple of other youngsters too. Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother, Joel, were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Mom and Dad did nothing, but finally, his big sister had had enough.
"Hush up! You're not supposed to talk out loud in church," she demanded.
"Why? You can't stop me!" Joel challenged. Angie brought in the reinforcements. Pointing to the back of the church, she said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers!"
A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. "Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked. "He died and went to Heaven," Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then asked, "Why did God throw him back down?"
Be careful what you ask for. A Mom in a family that regularly offered before-meal prayers had invited a number of people to dinner. She had spent the whole day cooking and did not enjoy it.
Finally the meal was on the table and the family and guests were seated around it. Mom asked their six-year-old daughter to say the blessing.
"I don't know what to say," the girl protested.
"Just say what you hear Mommy say," her Mom answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people?"
Fresh fruits and veggies abound. Corn on the cob is emphatically in season. Enjoy old time flavors, and try out some brand new ones.
FAVORITE CORN RECIPE
This great corn on the cob recipe came from my wonderful old "Grow it and Cook It" cookbook that is now in the lands of the lost. The author, who tells how to raise and cook foods, says to put a large kettle of water on to boil. Add salt to taste, and a little sugar if you want to. Walk to the garden and pick as much corn as you need. Run back to house as fast as you can and toss the corn into the boiling water. No need to husk it first. When water returns to a boil, shut the stove off. Let corn sit 10 minutes, then husk, remove silks, and serve corn with butter, salt and pepper.
This recipe was contributed to the Northern Lights Master Gardeners Cookbook by Mike Howayeck. It has a slight mideastern flavor, very similar to dishes prepared by my dear old landlord from Armenia. All the ingredient are easy to get. If you do not have pita bread to toast, go ahead and use croutons.
2 large tomatoes, chopped
5 or 6 radishes, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 peeled cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or 2 tablespoons dried mint
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, grated or crushed
4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large toasted pita bread, broken into 2-inch pieces
Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the fresh herbs. Squeeze the lemon juice around the bowl. Grate garlic directly over the salad. Then drizzle olive oil around the edge of the salad. Using hands, gently toss the salad together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. If needed, add more lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Toss the pita chips into the salad just before serving, or serve them on the side so they stay crisp, especially if you plan to save the leftover salad.
SHREDDED CHICKEN EMPANADAS
These little turnovers are great in a lunch box with a piece of fresh fruit, or for packing on a picnic. Can be made ahead and frozen. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, use a glass with about a 4" diameter.
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
1 cup finely shredded Mexican Style Four Cheese
1/3 cup Chipotle Aioli (buy it, or make your own, see below)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon water
1 package (14.1 oz.) ready-to-use refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
1 teaspoon chili powder
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine first four ingredients. whisk egg and water until blended. Unroll 1 pie crust on lightly floured surface; roll out to 12-inch diameter with rolling pin. Cut into 8 (4-inch) rounds with biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary; place in single layer on parchment-covered baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pie crust. Spoon two tablespoons chicken mixture onto center of each dough round; brush edge with egg. Fold in half. Gently press tops to remove excess air; seal edges with fork. Brush with remaining egg. Sprinkle with chili powder. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream, taco sauce and/or chunky salsa, and add a tossed green salad plus a simple dessert for a complete meal.
*Chipotle Aioli: 6 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper, to taste.
*Alternate Chipotle Aioli: 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced, 1 large clove garlic, minced, 1/8 teaspoon salt, black pepper to taste.
APPLE ALMOND PIE
Pie crust, single crust
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup corn syrup, light or dark
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup almonds, toasted and sliced
1 apple, peeled and sliced thin
2 tablespoons almonds, toasted and sliced
Prepare pie crust for filled one-crust pie using 9-inch pan. Flute edge. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Reserve two tablespoons sugar. In medium bowl, combine the remaining sugar and cornstarch. Add eggs, beating well to combine. Stir in butter, corn syrup and almond extract. Mix in apples and almonds. Pour into pie crust-lined pan. If desired, garnish with apple slices overlapped in a circle around edge of pie. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until center of pie is set. Cool completely on wire rack. Store in refrigerator.
STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM CAKE
Summer food and fun continues. No need to tun on the oven. Just assemble, freeze, and bring out proudly at serving time.
1 quart strawberry ice cream
20 vanilla sandwich cookies
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cake (10.75-ounces), cut into 1/2-inch slices
16 ounces fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 quart vanilla ice cream
Let strawberry ice cream sit 15 minutes at room temperature.
Lightly grease a 10-inch nonstick springform pan and wrap the bottom with aluminum foil. Add cookies to food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add melted butter and pulse until well blended. Press mixture into bottom and slightly up sides of prepared springform pan. Spread strawberry ice cream evenly over crust. Cover ice cream with pound cake, cutting pieces to cover as much as possible. Freeze 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine strawberries, sugar and orange juice in heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to heatproof container; cover; refrigerate to cool completely. Let vanilla ice cream sit 15 minutes at room temperature. Remove cake from freezer and spread cooled strawberry sauce over pound cake, leaving a 1-inch edge all the way around. Top with softened vanilla ice cream and spread to cover evenly. Return to freezer for 4 hours. Remove from freezer and let sit 10 minutes; transfer cake to serving plate. If desired, garnish with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries.
Thought for the week: Lord, please help me to master the art of giving advice without giving offense, and to know when to speak up and when to clam up. 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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