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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 30, 2019

Shirley Prudhomme

Summer in TMESland is swiftly coming to an end and we've had some chilly nights to prove it. Fine weather blessed the Marinette County Fair this year, with bright sunshine and comfortable early fall temperatures.

Tuesday was a typical Wisconsin day - wind, rain, sunshine, wind, rain, sunshine, wind" you get the picture.

This weekend brings Labor Day, and immediately after that youngsters not already back in school will be starting their studies for the new year. Whether they want to admit it or not, most kids are sort of secretly looking forward to the possibility of new friends and new experiences. Hope everyone gets off to a great start for a year full of learning, with teachers who know how to make learning fun.

Summer may be very nearly over, but fun in TIMESland is not. Lots of events coming up in the next few weeks including Peshtigo Historical Day, Crivitz Oktoberfest, Wausaukee Harvest Fest, Fall Color Weekend at Gov. Thompson Park, and much more.

DO THE SALSA

Starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, enjoy Salsa Night at Harmony Arboretum. Learn the ins and outs of salsa making and preservation, and growing your own ingredients - like herbs, tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic - from UWEX personnel and members of the Master Gardeners. No charge, but you must bring either a batch of your own salsa complete with the recipe or list of ingredients, or a container of chips or crackers. Harmony Gardens is located on County E half a mile south of Hwy. 64 and about five miles west of Marinette.

ATV PARADE

Townsend is planning a fun-filled day on Saturday, Aug. 31 including an ATV parade at 10:30 a.m. from the Red Arrow Clubhouse at 16712 Hummingbird Hill Lane to the Old Town Hall Sports Bar where activities under a huge tent will include free sweet corn, food, beverages, meat raffle and other sorts of of family fun will continue until 6 p.m.

The Amberg Fireman's Picnic will also take place Saturday, Aug. 31.

COLD WINTER COMING

The Farmers Almanac predicts a "freezing, frigid, and frosty" winter for 2019-2020, a "polar coaster" season, which they say is just as bad as it sounds.

Last year's prediction calling for a long, snowy winter unfortunately turned out to be correct and predictions are for "another wild ride" with frigid temperatures and "hefty snowfalls" affecting a majority of the country.

Experts predict areas east of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians will experience a particularly brutal season. With these colder-than-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.

Predictions are kinder for the western-third of the country, which is promised a milder winter with near-normal temperatures and precipitation.

Late January is predicted to bring the coldest temperatures of the year across the Northern Plains into the Great Lakes. "Remember last year's polar vortex? Get ready for round two," say the folks at the Almanac.

COLD WINTER CLUES

Long before today's technology existed, people relied on nature to predict harsh weather"and some if it still holds true in modern times. Here are 20 signs that a rough winter is coming, according to folklore:

1. Thicker-Than-Normal Corn Husks.

2. Woodpeckers Sharing a Tree.

3. The Early Arrival of the Snowy owl.

4. The Early Departure of Geese and Ducks.

5. The Early Migration of the Monarch butterfly.

6. Thick Hair on the Nape of a Cow's Neck.

7. Heavy and Numerous Fogs During August.

8. Raccoons With Thick Tails and Bright Bands.

9. Mice Chewing Furiously To Get Into Your Home.

10. The Early Arrival of Crickets on the Hearth.

11. Spiders Spinning Larger-Than-Usual Webs and Entering the House in Great Numbers.

12. Pigs Gathering Sticks.

13. Ants Marching in a Line Rather Than Meandering.

14. Early Seclusion of Bees Within the Hive.

15. Unusual Abundance of Acorns.

16. Muskrats Burrowing Holes High on the River Bank.

17. "See how high the hornet's nest, "twill tell how high the snow will rest."

18. The Size of the Orange Band on the Woollybear (or Woollyworm) Caterpillar.

19. Squirrels Gathering Nuts Early to Fortify Against a Hard Winter.

20. Frequent Halos or Rings Around the Sun or Moon Forecasts Numerous Snowfalls.

How many of these have you seen this year?

SMOKEY'S BIRTHDAY

Missed Smokey The Bear's 75th birthday! Smokey Bear was born on Aug. 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention.

Artist Albert Staehle was asked to paint the first poster of Smokey Bear. It depicted a bear pouring a bucket of water on a campfire and saying "Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires." Smokey Bear soon became very popular as his image appeared on a variety of forest fire prevention materials. In 1947, his slogan became the familiar "Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!"

His name evolved into to Smokey the Bear because the song that became an anthem needed an extra syllable between "Smokey" and "Bear".

Summer is nearly over, but a dry Fall can be an extremely hazardous fire season.

Kids should be encouraged to follow Smokey's rules. Smokey's friends never play with matches, lighters, lighter fluid or other flammable liquids. If you find any of these items, tell a grownup where they are. If you see other children playing with them, tell them to stop, and then tell a grownup. Smokey says kids who help prevent wildfires deserve a Smokey Bear Hug.

TRUE RECYCLING

Have long maintained that laws that mandate recycling of paper, plastics, etc. while allowing really beneficial materials to go into landfills are missing the boat. Most of our waste foodstuffs should go into mulch piles or be put to other good uses instead of being tossed in the trash.

For example, there are dozens of good uses for egg shells, believe it or not.

Statistics say the average American consumes 250 eggs per year, for breakfast and in recipes for baked goods, etc.

That's a lot of shells. Eggshells, an excellent source of calcium and minerals, can be reused in many ways that don't readily come to mind.

My grandma used to dry them well on the back of the wood cookstove and then crush them finely and feed them back to the chickens. You could do the same if you have chickens. If not, you could dry them, crush them finely and use as a calcium and mineral rich addition to your wild bird feed. Makes their shells stronger, and thus helps their young have a better survival rate.

Adding crushed dried shells to coffee grounds before brewing clarifies the coffee and helps reduce any bitterness. Probably gives you some calcium and other minerals as well, but don't have any scientific evidence of that.

As a soil additive for houseplants, egg shells add minerals and help keep soil loose and aerated.

When camping, use crushed shells with soapy water as a natural abrasive for pots and pans, especially when cleaning products and really hot water are at a premium. Then, when you toss out the cleaning water they help nourish the soil that you toss it on.

Bake clean eggshells at 350 degrees for eight 8 minutes. Let cool and grind to a fine powder. Feed them to yourself as a calcium supplement by adding a teaspoonful to a glass of juice, smoothies, etc.

Add coarsely crushed shells to your garden to keep cats away that may be using it as a litter box. Cats will not like the sharpness under their tender paws. Their smell can also reportedly deter deer and repel slugs, snails, and cutworms without resorting to toxic chemicals.

Remember next spring that mineral-charged eggshells can be crushed and scattered into each hole before planting, and then sprinkle additional crushed shells around your plants every couple of weeks.

For skin irritations, folklore tells us to drop an eggshell into some apple cider vinegar for a couple of days and then apply the solution to skin irritations or itches.

Unclog drains: Placed in your sink strainer, they can trap errant solids, and when they ultimately break down, they will serve to clean pipes on their way out.

Dry eggshells in a 250-degree oven for 30 minutes, then place in a plastic bag and roll or crush with a rolling pin to a very fine powder, or process in a blender or food processor until very fine. You can add this to dog food as a supreme calcium supplement, but check with your vet for the proper amount.

Looking for a fun art project? Crush egg shells to varied degrees of fineness and add to paint for decorative textured walls, furniture or other crafty works of art.

COOKIN' TIME

Perfect time of year! Cool enough to bake indoors, and still pleasant enough to cook out doors. Those of us who love to cook have the best of both worlds right now, not to mention the wonderful things gardens and roadside stands are producing to do that cooking with!

CINDY'S LEMON BARS

(double recipe for 9x13 pan)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix in procession - press into 9x9 or 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool slightly.

Mix together:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

Spread over crust. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool, then frost with mixture of powdered sugar and lemon juice.

AMAZING MUFFIN CUP

3 cups frozen has browns, thawed

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 package (12 ounces) Johnsonville breakfast sausage links

6 eggs

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

Chopped fresh chives or green onions

In a bowl, combine the hash browns, butter, salt and pepper. Press mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of greased non-stick muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, cook sausage according to package directions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Divide sausage among muffin cups. Combine the eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon over sausage. Sprinkle with chives. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until set. 12 servings.

OPTION: This recipe can be doubled to make Jumbo Breakfast Muffin Cups. Press hash brown mixture into 12 greased jumbo non-stick muffin cups. Bake crust for 12 minutes. Fill cups and bake 22-24 minutes longer or until set.

WATERMELON RIND PICKLES

one 10-pound watermelon

6 cups water

1/3 cup pickling salt

3-1/2 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups white vinegar

1-1/2 cups water

15 inches stick cinnamon, broken

2 teaspoons whole cloves

Cut rind from watermelon (should have about 4-1/2 pounds rind). Cut the green peel and pink flesh from the watermelon rind (the white portion), discard peel. Cut the rind into 1-inch squares. Measure 9 cups; place in a large bowl. Combine the 6 cups water and pickling salt; pour over rind (add more water if necessary to cover). Cover and let stand overnight.

Pour rind mixture into a colander set in a sink; rinse under cold running water; drain well. Transfer rind to a 4-quart heavy kettle or pot. Add enough cold water to cover. Heat to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until rind is tender, drain.

Meanwhile, in a 6 to 8 quart stainless steel, enamel or nonstick kettle, combine sugar, vinegar, the 1-1/2 cups water, stick cinnamon, and cloves. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered for 10 minutes. Strain liquid; return liquid to kettle. Add watermelon rind. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until rind is translucent.

Pack rind and syrup into hot, sterilized half-pink canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process rilled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.





Thought for the week: Here's a wish for the start of the new school year for students and the beautiful Fall season for everyone, echoing the words of Edward Abbey: "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous...leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." Add to that, may the views found on those mountaintops inspire us to be the best people that we can be!

(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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