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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: August 22, 2019

Shirley Prudhomme

Speak Wisconsin...

Summer, beautiful summer, is coming to an end. Here and there a few leaves are already starting to turn. The extreme heat seems to be gone. Nights have been cool and comfortable, days warm and bright. Do things get better than this?

The annual Marinette County Fair starts on Thursday, and again this year it has a lot to offer. Pack up the family and get to Wausaukee to see what the kids and adults have been creating in this county, view the animals they have raised, watch some truck pulls, listen to some music, see the demonstrations, play some games, maybe take some rides, bump into old friends, and enjoy traditional Fair Food and drink along with some offerings of more recent vintage.

Once the Fair is over Labor Day Weekend is only five days off. Then it's back to school for kids who aren't already there, and back to reality for most of their parents.

Speaking of back to school, be tough on your kids, like Yogi Berra said he was on his. The great baseball player was almost as famous for his sometimes confusing comments as he was for playing baseball. He said: "I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did." Asked how he liked school, he said, "closed." He's also the guy who said he'd give his right arm to be ambidextrous, and at another time asked his teammates to pair up in threes.

SPEAKING WISCONSIN

We're seeing deer aplenty these days, many of them on the roads, so drive carefully. There's greater risk at dusk, but the deer aren't shy about being out and about at any hour of the day or night. And they definitely still do not understand about cars.

Granddaughter who is currently living in Nevada and wishing she was home in our northwoods corner of Wisconsin says "Watch out for deer" is the Wisconsin version of saying "I love you."

LEARN TO BREATHE

As we get older, many of us do not get enough exercise, and one of the bad side effects of that is that lungs start losing capacity.

To counter this and stay healthier longer, we should do breathing exercises. Lungs, like any other part of the body, tend to lose efficiency if they're not used properly.

According to the American Lung Association, we should practice breathing exercises five to 10 minutes three to four times a day. No special equipment or special clothing is needed.

One recommended exercise: Lie on your back with your knees bent and inhale through your nose as deeply as you can for three seconds. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest, taking note that your belly and lower ribs should rise while your chest is still.

Breathe in as deeply as possible though your nose, making sure the belly and lower ribs move. Then tighten your abdominal muscles and exhale slowly though the mouth. Repeat for five or 10 minutes.

They add that not only does deep breathing improve lung capacity, it is a calming activity that can reduce stress effects.

ON THE SOAP BOX

DON'T SELL OUT!!!

When seeking favors from the government, we need to remember that there's always a price. Aside from its major duty of protecting our nation's borders from outside forces, and protecting law abiding citizens from those who would rob or physically harm them, every bit of "protection" we get from government results in an offsetting loss of freedom.

Zoning laws limit your own right to use your property as you see fit as much as it limits the rights of your neighbors.

Accepting "free" government health insurance gives government the right to tell us how we must live to stay healthy. It could even someday come to mean we must accept whatever care they want to give us - including euthanasia to put an end to our suffering. George Orwell's 1984 does not sound that far-fetched today!

Government energy assistance programs eventually lead to government dictating how much energy we can use.

In the end, nothing government "gives" us is free. Government has no money of its own. Every cent it gives away or spends was taken from the earnings of those who who invested or worked for it.

Let's not be so busy trying to dictate what our neighbors do that we wake up some morning realizing that we have given someone we do not know - or perhaps do know and do not particularly like - the right to dictate what we do on our own property and even in our own homes.

If this nation continues down the path toward Socialism that so many are now supporting, we will have sold out the birthright of freedom that our forefathers fought and died for.

George Orwell, in his book 񓟠," may have had the dates wrong, but the society he wrote about seems to be coming closer and closer to reality today. Maybe he should have named it 2024. Terrifying!

If we allow freedom to go and Socialism to take over, we will no longer have the very thing that made America great from the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, and destroyed the pattern much of the free world has followed since then.

Do any of us really want to be guilty of that???

ANOTHER IS ON THE SOAP BOX

A friend had some things to say about gun control. He wanted to pass them along without having his name used, so he is now sharing my soap box.

He says, in regard to the recently renewed push for gun control, we all should know that bans work.

The American Colonists banned Redcoats, and it worked, after long, bloody and horrific Revolutionary War.

We banned alcohol, and that generated a civil revolt and a cruel (and often bloody) underworld.

We banned drugs and we are left with the worst opioid crisis in human history....Fueled by greed, drug lords, cartels, gangs and apathy, as well as not only some of our elected officials and the public in general.

Obviously bans don't work.

Does anyone seriously think a gun ban would stop criminals from having guns? Really?

Maybe instead of the government taking away our guns, they should give everyone a gun. Then when a shooter starts there will be plenty of fire power to stop him.

Yes, we know that can't and won't ever happen, but it makes as much sense as a ban on our Constitutional right to bear arms, more in fact.

NEVER SAY NEVER. An armed populace is very important to national defense. It may be that some day we face an invasion. There is always a need for ground/mop-up troops. (Note the movie, "Red Dawn".

If the Russian or Chinese ever reach our shores, do you think they'll come armed with sling shots and muzzle loaders?

Maybe we should keep some AR-15's around just in case.

It would be nice to be able to defend ourselves.

FALL CLEANING

Some of us never did get around to Spring Cleaning, so we're doing Fall Cleaning instead. Others are so concerned with being spotless that they do both.

Either way, if you want to have your windows sparkling before cold weather sets in, friend Deanie, whose house always sparkles, has a recipe:

CLEAN WINDOWS: This works beautifully on car windows as well as house windows. Also on mirrors and other glass objects. Just mix two cups of warm water with a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol, a tablespoon of ammonia and two drops of plain Dawn dish soap. Put in a spray bottle to spray it on, or put in a small bucket and wipe it on with one soft lint-free cloth, and then wipe it off with clean one or with crumpled up newspaper for a streak-free finish.

Granddaughter-in-law Shelley came through when I asked if anyone had a solution for killing mold and removing mildew, and another for removing rust stains. She purchased the ingredients called for at a farm supply store. Possibly they could also be purchased at a paint store, and certainly you can get them on-line. You probably should wear rubber gloves for either of these projects.

TO REMOVE MILDEW AND KILL MOLD: Mix up a solution of one ounce laundry detergent (one that does NOT contain ammonia), three ounces of trisodium phosphate (TSP), one quart chlorine bleach and three quarts of water. Apply heavily with a soft brush. Let it sit a while and then rinse with warm water.

TO REMOVE IRON RUST: Mix one pound of oxalic acid crystals with one gallon of water. Apply with soft brush and let stand for three hours. Then scrub with plenty of plain water to rinse.

COOKIN' TIME

Gardens are producing their bounty and days have mostly been cool enough to enjoy cooking it, even indoors.

CHICKEN SQUASH SKILLET

This lovely (and delicious) dish makes good use of the zucchini and summer squash harvest. Serve with rice, buttered noodles, or perhaps baked, boiled or fried potatoes if you like.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3/4 pound yellow summer squash, sliced

3/4 pound zucchinis, sliced

1 medium tomato - peeled and chopped

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter in the oil over medium high heat. Season chicken with half of the salt and half of the pepper, and add it to skillet. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to large plate or platter, and cover to keep warm. Pour off fat from skillet, and add squash, zucchini, and tomato. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until squash is slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat, and return chicken to skillet. Cover partially. Cook until squash is soft, and chicken is white throughout but still juicy, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to platter, and cover with foil to keep warm. Raise heat to high. Cook vegetable mixture, stirring often, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Arrange vegetables around chicken, and serve.

SAVORY TOMATO PIE

Make this a meal with purchased broasted or rotisserie chicken, or just enjoy by itself as a snack that's savory, not sweet. Makes great use of fresh tomatoes, as well as fresh basil, which should be plentiful now if you planted some outside. If you have no fresh basil you can cheat and use a scant tablespoon of dried basil, but it isn't quite as good. You could also bulk it up a bit with a cup or so of fresh corn cut from the cob, or some small diced eggplant that has been lightly browned on the stovetop first. Haven't tried it, but bet that a layer of pepperoni slices on top of the tomatoes would be good.

1 9-inch pie shell

1/2 cup chopped yellow or red onion (about 1/3 onion, diced)

3 cups diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 large leaves)

2 cups (8 ounces) grated cheese (any combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozzarella)

1/2 cup real mayonnaise

1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank's Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)

Black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake crust for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Peel 3 or 4 tomatoes and then cut them in half horizontally and squeeze out the excess juice before roughly chopping enough of them to make the three cups. Lightly salt them and set in a colander over a bowl to drain while you prepare everything else. In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of  freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snowball. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes. Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.

SUMMER SQUASH CHICKEN ALFREDO

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 (8 ounce) package uncooked rigatoni pasta

6 slices bacon

1 small zucchini, sliced

1 small yellow squash, sliced

1 cup Alfredo sauce

1/4 cup milk

6 tomatoes, diced

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish. Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish, and coat with the garlic. Bake 25 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear. Cool and chop. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place the rigatoni in the pot, cook 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove the bacon, crumble it, and set aside. Drain off all but about two tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the sliced yellow squash and zucchini and sauté over medium heat over medium heat until tender and lightly browned, probably about 10 minutes. Turn the squash slices with a pancake turner and use it to scrape the browned bacon bits from the bottom of the pan so they don't burn, and so their flavor gets onto the squash. In a small bowl, mix the Alfredo sauce and milk and add this to the pan. Stir until it comes to a boil. Serve chicken over the cooked pasta. Pour Alfredo sauce over the chicken and top with zucchini and squash slices. Sprinkle with bacon and Parmesan cheese as desired, and top with bright chunks of diced tomato. Or if you prefer, serve with tomato slices on the side.

APPLE DUMP CAKE

This super easy dessert cake comes from Betty Crocker, and we thank her for it. Great served with vanilla or salted caramel ice cream. Just read that apple trees are at their prime when they're about 50 years old.

6 cups coarsely chopped peeled apples

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 box Super Moist yellow cake mix

3/4 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with buttery flavored cooking spray, in the dish mix the chopped apples, sugar and cinnamon and then spread out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the top of the apple mixture. Spread out as evenly as you can and use a fork to break any large lumps that there might be. Pour the melted butter as evenly as possible over the top, trying to get it to cover the entire top. tilt the pan to get it to move evenly and cover the cake as much as possible. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until the to is light golden brown, mostly dry on top and bubbling around the edges. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

Thought for the week: Roy T. Bennett had lots of good advice in his book, "The Light in the Heart." Among his words of wisdom were: "Always find opportunities to make someone smile, and to offer random acts of kindness in everyday life." Imagine what a wonderful world this would be if all of us did those two things - even if it was just once a day for each of them! We can all do just that if we want to. Doesn't cost a cent, and the opportunities expand. Smiles are contagious!.

(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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