Summer Is Going, Fair Is Here...
Hard to believe, but summer is almost over. Fair time is here. School will start for most in less than two weeks. Days are getting noticeably shorter, and a few leaves are starting to turn. Nights have been pretty chilly all summer, but now they're even cooler. The William Shakespeare line, "Summer's lease hath far too short a date," is surely true.
Now our lease for 2017 is running out. Let's take full advantage of the fine days we surely have left. Also better get busy on outdoor chores like painting or roof repairs before the bad weather sets in. Goodness knows, there have been too few days this summer when the weather was dry enough for them. Before long, we'll need to get storm windows up, but not yet.
ECLIPSE HAS COME AND GONE
The once in a lifetime total eclipse of the sun across America has come and gone. In our area, it wasn't total, but those who viewed it with dark glasses were able to see the moon encroach on the sun, and anyone who went outside could see and feel the dimming of the noonday air.
Was sure rain and clouds would spoil the day for us, but that didn't happen. Monday, Aug. 21 was about as fine as a summer day can get.
ON THE SOAP BOX
Wisconsin has a problem that our legislators need to fix promptly. There has been much said in the local news lately about Wisconsin Department of Health attempts to place violent sex offenders into supervised release in Marinette County.
Marinette County Circuit Court Judge James Morrison, who is familiar with the area, has ruled that the proposed residence on Seventh Road in the Town of Pound does not meet legal requirements, but judges in Outagamie and Jefferson counties, who have never been here, have ordered violent sex offenders from their areas placed into that home.
That specific conflict appears to be headed to Appellate Court, but it reveals a larger question, one for which we voters should demand some answers. Does a judge from one jurisdiction have authority over another county? In that case, why do we have locally elected judges?
Our state legislators need to settle that issue promptly if we are to continue believing in the notion of "justice for all."
Don't know about your area, but skunks have been active lately in our neck of the woods. Peggy Smith, in the Northern Lights Master Gardener's cookbook, offered a de-scenting solution. Mix 1 quart of peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap and spray it on affected areas. She doesn't say if it's okay to spray it on affected pet. There's always buttermilk or tomato juice for them, but they aren't totally effective.
Skunk got the family dog last week, and the whole house and yard now need the descenting treatment. Guess you get used to it after while.
EVENTS STILL COMING UP
The Marinette County Fair starts Thursday, and the last of the season's movies in Littleland Park in Crivitz will be shown on Thursday, Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, unless there's another cancellation due to rain. The annual Amberg Fireman's Picnic and Parade will be headquartered at the Amberg Ball Park starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, and on Sunday, Sept. 10 St. Margaret's Church in Amberg hosts its annual Harvest Dinner at 11 a.m., and Crivitz celebrates Oktoberfest on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Peshtigo Historical Day is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 30. Other events on the same day include a Chili and Soup contest at Silver Cliff Town Park, Fall Harvest Fest in Crivitz, and Fall Color Weekend events at Gov.Tommy Thompson State Park.
When my cousins and I were kids our families didn't have a lot of money. (Still don't, but we're not kids any more.) Anyway, our weekend outings were usually picnics to one of our beautiful Marinette County Parks, or primitive tent camping near a trout stream in the County Forest.
But once a year, we went to the Fair!
Now there was an event! Since spending money was minimal, Mom usually packed a picnic lunch, which we kept in a cooler in the car. Food and drink from the vendor stands at the Fair didn't cost a lot, but when you're feeding maybe eight kids (counting the cousins) it added up. So we brought our own. Carry-ins were frowned on then as they are now, so we had to go back to the car if we wanted to eat and drink, but that was all right. The rides were what counted!
When we weren't riding we'd wander the grounds, perhaps with Mom and Dad, meeting the friends they met along the way, looking at the exhibits, and wondering why some of the wilted floral arrangements had blue ribbons.
When we got just slightly older, we were allowed to wander the grounds on our own, meeting our own friends, and deciding which rides we would go on when evening came.
We always saved the Ferris Wheel until after dark, so we could look down on the wonderful fairy tale lights of the Fair grounds.
One magic year several cousins and I were finally old enough not only to be on our own, but to have some spending money in our own pockets. We were each given $5 and turned loose. What wealth! If memory serves, rides were 25 cents each in those days, so $5 went a long way.
The folks weren't afraid of losing us. They knew that when the money ran out we'd be back to try for more.
Ice cream was the one food item we'd splurge on. The rest of our wealth had to be saved for rides. There was the Tilt-A-Whirl, Octopus and Ferris Wheel. We were far too sophisticated to ride the merry-go-round unless we had a younger sibling for an excuse, but did love to stand nearby and listen to the calliope. We were always on the lookout for free handouts, and once in a while there were some, for example at the candy stand in the main exhibit hall. Some years the ice cream stand provided taste samples on little spoons.
Once we sprung for a run through the fun house, but decided that was a waste of money and wouldn't do it again. The one ride I personally never risked was a contraption with bullet-shaped enclosed cars at the end of its two very long arms. The arms went up and down abruptly, and I think the cars spun around on their own. People on that ride screamed lot. Looked dangerous and certainly was scary. Since I wouldn't go on it, the cousins didn't either. I'm sure there were other rides over the years, but those are the ones that stand out.
When we weren't riding, listening to a band or looking at animals and other exhibits, we'd soak up the sights and sounds while watching strong men try to swing a hammer to see if they could ring the bell at the top of the post, throw darts at balloons to win wonderful stuffed animals for their kids or sweethearts, or shoot guns at wooden ducks on a revolving belt.
WHAT IS A GRANDPARENT?
These comments were taken from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds:
Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of her own. They like other people's.
Grandparents don't have to do anything except be there when we come to see them. They are so old they shouldn't play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the shops and give us money.
When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.
They show us and talk to us about the color of the flowers and also why we shouldn't step on "cracks."
They don't say, "Hurry up."
Usually grandmothers are fat but not too fat to tie your shoes.
They wear glasses and funny underwear.
They can take their teeth and gums out.
Grandparents don't have to be smart, but they have to answer questions like "why isn't God married?" and "How come dogs chase cats?".
CREEPY CRAWLIES EAT TOO
There's nothing like the flavor of home-grown vegetables. Even broccoli and cauliflower taste better when they're grown with little or no fake fertilizer, picked fresh and used promptly. The ones you pick from your own garden or buy at the local farmers market are far better than the mass produced genetically engineered products shipped in from who knows where.
Problem is though that the little creepy crawlies like home grown produce as much as we do. If yours are organically grown a few precautions are in order unless you want unexpected meat with your vegetables. Check the head for signs of webs. If the webs are present, their occupants probably are too.
In any case, soak the lettuce, cauliflower or broccoli head upside down in salted ice water for at least 15 minutes before cooking to draw out any hidden insects.
Time is ripe for preserving the bounty of the season for winter enjoyment. In case you're not done making pickles yet, friend Don says when he lived in the city he simply could not make good pickles, though the cucumbers he used came from the same fields as the ones his mother prepared, and he used the same recipe. He was mystified for a few years, then figured it out. Water made the difference. He says whenever you make pickles be sure to use good, untreated well water or bottled water, not the kind that comes from city faucets complete with the fluoride, chlorine, and whatever else they add. Also use canning or pickling salt, without iodine or other additives. Your reward will be crisper pickles with better color and better flavor.
FRESH FROZEN CUCUMBER SALAD
Ran this recipe about a decade ago, but it's time to repeat. These pickles are a great way to save the flavor of summer for winter enjoyment. They can be frozen right after the 3-hour standing time is up, or refrigerated. It takes a week for the flavor to develop in the fridge, and they keep for weeks even unfrozen. Note that the mustard seed is optional. Some like it, some don't. Works both ways.
7 cups cucumbers, peeled, sliced thin
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed, optional
Slice cucumbers, pepper and onion. Mix with other ingredients and let stand for three hours. Put into containers and freeze. For the best pickles (these or any other kind), do not use city water, since it contains chlorine, fluoride, and probably other kinds of chemicals. Use bottled drinking water, or get some from a good well. Here in Wisconsin we're blessed with good ground water and most wells provide sweet, pure water. Just avoid the few that do not.
VEGETABLE SANDWICH SPREAD
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tomato, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soften unflavored gelatin in cold water; add boiling water, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Cool. Drain vegetables on paper towels and set aside. Combine mayonnaise and salt; fold in gelatin mixture. Gently stir in vegetables. Chill. Serve on bread. Party rye is really good with this. Makes two cups of spread.
Another good use for those plentiful and delicious summer vegetables.
2 small green peppers, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh corn, cut from cob
2 young zucchini, thinly sliced
2 yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Sauté onion and green pepper in oil in a Dutch oven 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Yield: 8 servings.
RAM JAM CHICKEN
Grill this chicken alone, or make it into kabobs, using chicken tenders, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, sliced corn cobs or pre-cooked potato chunks, and fat slices of young summer squash. Marinate the summer squash and mushrooms along with the chicken.
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon dried Italian-style seasoning
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 pinch ground black pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, wine, lemon juice, oil, Italian-style seasoning, ginger, garlic, onion powder, and ground black pepper. Place chicken in the bag. (If you're making kababs, add the pre-cooked potatoes mushrooms and summer squash to the marinade too.) Seal, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Thread the chicken (and vegetables) onto skewers, and set aside. Pour marinade into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Cook on the prepared grill for approximately 8 minutes per side, basting with the sauce several times. Chicken is done when juices run clear.
SUMMER SQUASH SOUP
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
6 medium-size yellow squash, sliced
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup half-and-half
chopped chives (optional)
Sauté onion in butter in a large skillet until tender. Add squash; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and seasonings; cover and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Place squash mixture in container of an electric blender; process until smooth. Return mixture to skillet. Stir in half-and-half; cook just until thoroughly heated. (Do not boil.) Garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot or cold. Makes 6 cups.
APPLE SNACK CAKE
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cup peeled, finely chopped apple
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg, blending well. Combine flour, soda, salt, and spices; add to creamed mixture, stirring well. Stir in chopped pecans and apple. Spoon batter into a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan; sprinkle top with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.
The Country Cousin
Thought for the week: Do not spend time envying those with more money or finer possessions. We should enjoy the things we love, appreciate the beauty of life. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness."
(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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