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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Grandma Is How Old?...

Summer is making its last hurrah! Furnace has been kicking in some nights, and mercury has been dipping into the low 40s. More and more red leaves are showing up along the roadsides. By this time next week, the kids will all be back in school.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

Meanwhile, we have this one last summer holiday weekend to enjoy. Let's hope the rains stop, and the sun shines enough to let us get outside and play a few more times before the snow flies.

There are a few more late summer picnics and festivals to look forward to. The Marinette Labor Council has a picnic in Marinette City Park on Sunday, Sept. 3. A picnic at Menominee Marina Park from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 will include free tours of the old Opera House there.

The Amberg Fire Department picnic and parade are slated to start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Crivitz annual Oktoberfest is to be held from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Keep Saturday, Sept. 30 open for the big Peshtigo Historical Day celebration, as well as the Fall Harvest Fest in Crivitz, and the annual Fall Color Weekend at Gov. Thompson State Park

Grandparents Day is coming up on Sunday, Sept. 10. Because being a grandparent pretty much means you're also a Mom or a Dad, that means we grandparents get a bonus day to celebrate. Most folks don't make as much fuss over Grandparents' Day as they do about Mother's Day and Father's Day, but a little is better than nothing, right?

TIMES CHANGE

Speaking of Grandparents' Day, times really do change, and not always for the better.

One recent evening a grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about welfare, drugs, suicides, and life in general, and how things were different when she was a girl.

Grandma said she was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, video games and the pill. There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams or even ball-point pens. During her earliest years, there wasn't even electricity yet on the farm where she lived. Light came from kerosene lamps, water was hand pumped from the well, and music came from a crank-up record player.

Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers or clothes dryers. Clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air. Man hadn't yet walked on the moon.

"We thought you had to be married and have a husband to have a baby. Even kissing good night on the first date was frowned on. Your Grandfather and I got married first, and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother.

"Mixed marriage meant marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant. There was no thought of gay-rights or same sex "marriage." Computer-dating was unheard of. In fact computers had not yet been invented."

Grandma said most moms stayed home to take care of the house and kids and most dad went off to work. Daycare centers and group therapy were pretty much unheard of, and unneeded.

"Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense," Grandma said. "We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions. Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege.

"Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

"Young men could be drafted for service in the military, but draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started, not people who lied to get out of going to fight for their country.

"We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, guys wearing earrings, or even pizza.

"If you saw anything with "Made in Japan' on it, it was junk.

"The term "making out" referred to how you did on your school exam.

"Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 &10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards.

"You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was 21 cents a gallon.

"In my day, "grass" was mowed, "coke" was a cold drink, "pot" was something your mother cooked in, and "rock music" was your grandmother's lullaby". "Aids" were helpers in the Principal's office, "chip" meant a piece of wood, "hardware" was found in a hardware store, and "software" wasn't even a word.

No wonder people call us "old and confused" and say there is a generation gap," Grandma finished.

To remember all these things, Grandma would only need to be 75 years old!

LUNCH TIME?

Just saw the video taken by Julie Smith of a Bald Eagle killing a fawn on Lake Noquebay and dragging it to shore for dinner.

Reminded me of concerns years back, when the grandchildren were small. Some of the grandkids learned to swim before they were even old enough to walk and a bald eagle would regularly perch on his branch over our favorite swimming hole in Left Foot Creek, Crivitz area, watching intently as we swam with them.

I often wondered: was that eagle just pondering what foolish creatures those featherless humans are, or was he thinking, "I wonder if I could handle one of those?"

Think I now know the answer to that. After seeing how easily the eagle drowned the fawn in Lake Noquebay and then hauled him to shore, there's no doubt in my mind that he could do it far more easily with a youngster.

Would he try?

Guess it would depend on how afraid he was of the adult humans. If eagles figure out that we can't fly, we're in trouble!

MORE ON WILDLIFE

Here in TIMESland we're blessed with frequent encounters with wildlife. Contrary to the folks who live in cities and seldom venture off a sidewalk, our version of wildlife generally involves critters with natural fur coats and four legs, not a crazy night on the town.

The neighbors we have problems with are also generally critters with natural fur coats, four legs and hefty appetites. Talking here about the raccoons and "possums who regularly tear open garbage bags and tip over garbage cans, scattering the contents that they don't eat. Have resorted to keeping the refuse inside until it's time to get it hauled to the dump.

Worry more about our little ones running into a wolf, coyote or bear when they're out playing in the woods than a bad human.

Many years ago, when I was a youngster playing in these same woods, Grandma (we called her "Ma") worried about the animals, but she also worried about the hobos who rode the rails through the family property. They had a camp on our property near the railroad bridge just south of Crivitz, and she always warned us to stay away from them.

Grandpa (we called him "Pa") had himself been a hobo for the first 20 years or so of his adult life. Sometimes he would spend time visiting his rail traveling friends at their campsite by the river, and his did not please Ma at all!

But back to the furred and feathered wildlife. This summer an eagle almost ran into the windshield of our van. On a recent morning I stopped for a trio of late-season fawns crossing the road. Wild turkeys continue to abound. Bears raid the bird feeders. It's all good!

POPULATIONS RISING

Hunters worry about a shortage of deer, but according to the 2017 pre-hunt population estimate from the Department of Natural Resources, there are currently more than 480,000 deer in the 18-county northern forest management zone that includes Marinette County, an 18 percent increase over last year. DNR foresters worry about the damage this deer population does to young hardwood trees struggling to get a start.

A few years ago there was a big concern that wolves would become extinct. Currently Wisconsin has an all-time high population of the big bad wolf, 925 of them in the northern tier of counties that includes us. This is 24 percent more than the 2015-2016 wolf population estimate, but people on the federal level who actually know little or nothing about them continue to stymie Wisconsin's attempts to limit their population growth.

Thanks to some mild winters, the bear and coyote populations also continue to grow. Hopefully there are enough rabbits and other small critters to feed them so they don't dine on our pet dogs and cats.

Man continues to rank at the top of the list of predators. A 2009 DNR document reported that in Wisconsin's northern and central forest regions there were 122,000 deer killed by bow and gun hunters, about 50,000 died due to winter stress, 33,000 were killed by black bears, 16,000 by coyotes, 13,000 by motor vehicles (that's us again), 13,000 by wolves and 6,000 by bobcats.

ON THE SOAP BOX POETIC JUSTICE

A recent film on the web shows a man in Kent, Washington clinging to the door handle of a vehicle he was attempting to hijack. He was being dragged down the street, and in the process his shorts were being pulled off. Talk about road rash!

Think he was satisfied? When the vehicle finally came to the stop the man, who by then was half naked, opened the door and tried get in. The driver again sped off, with the crazy high jacker still clinging to the handle. Talk about a determined thief!

The man must have finally gotten tired. Reports are that he was eventually arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. He was wanted for several other car jackings in the area, and some of his victims were also treated for minor injuries.

Poetic justice! He was punished by one of the vehicles he tried to illegally enter!

Wonder if he learned anything?

CLEAN CUT

When life gives you lemons, there are lots of things you can do besides make lemonade. Not so tasty, perhaps, but they'll make your life easier.

Cutting boards, especially wooden ones, have a porous surface that can be a breeding ground for certain bacteria. They need to be cleaned regularly but sometimes need a little extra attention. For a super clean cutting board all you need is half of a lemon, coarse salt, warm water, and a sponge.

Sprinkle the coarse salt on the cutting board, and scour the surface with the cut side of the lemon facing down. As you clean, squeeze some of the lemon juice, allow it to sit for about five minutes, and then scrape off the liquid with a scraper or even a pancake turner, and discard. Then rinse with clear warm water and you're done.

COOKIN' TIME

Time is waning to cook on the grill and to enjoy the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables from our gardens and local farmer's markets. Let's take advantage while we can.

GRILLED VEGGIE PACKETS

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed

1/2 pound yellow wax beans, trimmed

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

1 yellow summer squash, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

Preheat grill to medium. Cut 6 12-by-18-inch pieces of heavy-duty foil. In a large bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, seasoned salt and pepper. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Divide vegetables evenly among foil pieces. Drizzle with any remaining dressing. Fold long sides of foil toward each other, crimping edges to seal. Fold and crimp remaining edges, forming a sealed packet. Place packets, seam side up, on grill. Close grill and cook for 20 minutes. To check for doneness, remove one packet from grill, open carefully and taste a vegetable: It should be crisp-tender. Carefully open packets and serve.

GRILLED ONIONS

Like your burgers with fried onions, but you're cooking on the grill? Let these tasty and easy grilled onion packets "fry" on the grill while you're busy with the rest of the menu. Peel and thinly slice as many onions as you want. Prepare foil as in preceding recipe, and spray with cooking spray. Put pat or so of butter on the bottom, add the sliced onions, and put more butter on top. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. (If you want bacon burgers, put some diced bacon on the foil instead of butter before and after you put on the onions. Salt and pepper generously, and seal up the packets. Put on grill heated to high, or even directly on the hot coals. Cook for about 30 to 35 minutes.

CORN AND ZUCCHINI MEDLEY

4 slices bacon

2 cups chopped zucchini

1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen) corn kernels, cut from cob

1 small onion, chopped

1 pinch pepper

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-heat until evenly brown. Reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings. Drain bacon, chop, and set aside. Heat the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Sauté the zucchini, corn, and onion until tender but still crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper. Spoon vegetables into a bowl, and sprinkle with chopped bacon and shredded cheese.

DENVER OMELET BISCUITS

With school starting, we sometimes need a quick and easy breakfast to get the day started on a bright note or a quick and easy lunch to pack along for kids who don't want hot lunch. Why buy breakfast biscuits when you can easily make these?

1 tablespoon butter

3 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup sliced green onions

4 slices fully cooked bacon, chopped

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)

1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated Buttermilk biscuits

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Pour in eggs, bell pepper, onions and bacon. Cook until eggs are set, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut slit on 1 side of 1 biscuit, forming a deep pocket. Place 3 tablespoons egg mixture inside. Press dough over filling, sealing edge of biscuit; place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining biscuits and egg mixture. Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until you need them. These are even good cold, but better if you warm them in the toaster oven to take the pressure off a busy morning.

Country Cousin

Thought for the week:
Read somewhere that no matter how much some folks may disavow God, or how many rules there are against praying in some public places, there will always be prayers from soldiers in a fox hole with grenades landing around them, students taking a vital final exam, or passengers in a car careening down a mountain pass after the brakes failed. For the rough times in our lives, we, and our kids, need the support that comes only from a confident belief in God. Let us all pray for a good start to the school year, and pray that teachers do not give into pressures to keep God out of the lives and minds of our children. Please God, help us and our children stay confident in You. Amen.

P.S.: Please God, send help to those poor people in Houston, Tex. suffering with the awful floods there. Please send the hurricane out to sea where it will do no more harm, and drain the waters from the land. Asking this in Jesus' 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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