Country CousinIssue Date: September 23, 2021
It's Officially Autumn!
It is now officially Autumn in TIMESLand and everywhere else in the northern hemisphere. Right on schedule, temperatures converted swiftly from somewhat sultry late summer days and nights to crisp Autumn temperatures that even caused our furnace to kick in.
According to Old Farmer's Almanac, the fall equinox arrived on Wednesday, September 22 at 2:20 p.m. Central Standard Time in the Northern Hemisphere. The equinox occurs at the same moment worldwide, but marks the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The word "equinox" comes from Latin "aequus," meaning "equal," and "nox," "night." On the equinox, day and night are equal in length.
During the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the "celestial equator" - an imaginary extension of Earth's equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun's center passes through this line. When the Sun crosses the equator from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox; when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox.
The full Moon that occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox is always called the Harvest Moon. This year, the Harvest Moon happened on Monday, September 20 - just two days prior to the autumnal equinox.
The Harvest Moon is called that because at the time of the fall equinox, the full Moon rises around sunset for several nights in a row and shines extra brightly, which traditionally provided farmers with just enough extra light for them to finish their harvests before the killing frosts of fall set in if the skies were clear. Normally, the Moon rises about an hour later each night, but around the time of the fall equinox, the angle of the Moon's orbit and the tilt of the Earth line up just right and cause the Moon to rise only about 20 to 30 minutes later each night for several nights in a row!
Incidentally, just heard there are plans in the works for another trip to the moon by a United States space craft in the not totally distant future.
Speaking of the Harvest Moon, the Old Farmers Almanac says the best days for harvesting underground crops this month are on September 23 through 25, and the best days for canning and pickling are September 28 through 30.
The best time for harvesting above ground crops came earlier in the month, but considering how quickly it seems to be turning cold, don't think we should wait October. Besides, anything ready to pick now would be overripe by then anyway.
Regardless, if garden produce is to be put up for winter, it's got to be done now.
Some gardeners say early fall is the best time to divide perennials. Others swear that early spring is the time for that task. It probably depends on the year, and just how sheltered or exposed your perennial bed is. If you choose to try fall divisions, pick a cool morning, and give your faithful plants room to grow next spring. Give the divisions away, or use them to start new beds or expand existing ones.
To plant or transplant peonies, choose divisions with 3 to 5 eyes. Mix a handful of bone meal in the soil around each plant. Set the divisions so the top eye is two inches under the surface of the soil. Water well when you're done.
With frost already being threatened, it's not too soon to bring in plants that you want to winter indoors, for example impatiens and geraniums that you can use as "mother plants" to start new cuttings in spring.
You can also dig up clumps of chives, basil and other herbs for fresh herbs to pick during the winter. Parsley winters pretty well indoors if you have a cool, sunny location for it. Chives usually do well in an indoor pot, at least for a couple of months. I have had spotty luck with basil indoors, but mainly killed it myself, for example accidentally watering with white vinegar instead of water. Shriveled up and died so fast I couldn't even get the leaves off to dry for future use.
It is good to dig up these herb clumps and set them, soil and all, into large pots with some crushed egg shell and coffee grounds on the bottom. Pack enough dirt around them to bring the soil level evenly to where it was in the garden. Then water well and keep them outside for a week or so so they can acclimate to their new home before they have to learn to survive indoors.
STUDENT DAY OF PRAYER
Kudos to Beecher, Dunbar, Pembine School District for allowing students and staff on Wednesday, September 22 to join church group at 7:30 in the morning in front of the school flag pole to unite and pray on the national day of student prayer. After gathering they have been invited to share donuts and juice in the lobby of Grace Lutheran Church, so kudos to them as well.
With our world in the mess it's in right now, and everyone confused and convoluted over right and wrong, we can use all the prayers we can get!
ON THE SOAP BOX
Can't believe society has come to this! In a nationally syndicated advice column a while back there was a letter from a man who is going forward with a sex change operation.
Oh, yes. He is also a husband, and the father of two daughters.
Problem is, his wife doesn't seem to understand. Doesn't like the idea of being married to a woman.
But she doesn't want to get a divorce because of the children!
Personally, think that man is going forward with possibly the most selfish act a married man (or woman) could commit! Talk about being unfaithful!!!
If that wife has a brain in her head she will get a divorce, let her husband find some other woman (or man) to make him happy and raise her daughters alone if need be, rather than with a man selfish enough to deliberately deprive them of himself as a father!!!
Incidentally, the reply in the column did not criticize the man for his indifference to the unhappiness of his wife. Just advised some other sources for counseling for her.
He's the one that needs counseling, on how to be a decent human being!!@!@
Heard about a long-wed couple who were discussing their wishes should one go before the other. Hubby said he would not oppose her getting married again, but didn't want the new hubby wearing his clothes.
Wife said not to worry. They'd be too small for him anyway.
Henny Youngman said his wife dresses to kill and cooks the same way. He also said the secret to a happy marriage remains a secret.
Actor Clint Eastwood had other ideas. "There's only one way to have a happy marriage," he said, then added, "and as soon as I learn what it is I'll get married again."
Visiting grandson who had been playing outside with neighbor kids came in with a question.
"Grandpa," he asked, "What's it called in a bedroom when one person sleeps on top and the other person sleeps on the bottom."
Grandpa was a bit taken aback, but finally decided to answer honestly. He explained as best he could about the birds and the bees.
Grandson went back out to his playmates.
Short while later he was back.
"Grandpa," he declared, "You were wrong. It's called bunk beds! And Susie's mom wants to talk to you."
Read a quote from Mark Twain the other day advising, "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time and reflect." Shortly after that, I spotted an anonymous observation that, "If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." How true! It seems that in recent years - well, decades (and that shows my age) - we Americans have become a nation of sheep instead of individualists. If enough "experts" say a thing is so, it must be true. We seldom question their sources.
Never mind the wisdom of our forefathers or the cries of our own consciences that we try so hard to stifle. If there's a parade going by with enough people in it, the rest of us join in just because we want to be going the same direction as everyone else, without giving a thought as to where it will lead us in the end. Are we like lemmings heading into the sea of our own moral destruction?
MOUTHS OF BABES
The lady home for a visit met her high school chum's 5-year-old son for the first time. "What beautiful eyes you have," she exclaimed. "Where did you get them?" The child looked perplexed, then shrugged and replied, "They came with my head."
Makes a lot. Ideal treat for a football party. You can also freeze it for future use.
4 pounds hamburger
4 large onions, diced
2 green peppers, diced:
4 pounds hamburger
4 large onions, diced
2 green peppers, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can say leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can stewed tomatoes (or an equivalent amount of fresh
2 cans beef broth (21 oz.)
2 cans tomato sauce (16 oz.)
1 teaspoon cocoa
Simmer for half an hour.
1 head lettuce, shredded, as for salad
1 package corn chips
1 cup diced raw onions
2 cups cooked rice
Shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese (optional)
Large chili bowls
For each serving, put some chili meat in bowl, add small amount of rice, more chili, then onions, lettuce, corn chips, cheese and more chili. Let everyone assemble their own. They'll be happier, and you'll have less to do.
BORSCHT WITH MEATS
Milder flavored Polish sausages seem to go better with the soft and sweet flavors of the beets in this version of a classic Russian treat. Serve with crusty fresh bread.This is a 2-day project, but well worth it.
1-1/2 pounds beets, boiled and grated
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 pound lean beef chuck
2 quarts water
1/2 pound bacon
1 tablespoon salt
8 whole black peppercorns
6 sprigs fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dill seed
1 pound shredded cabbage
2 leeks, sliced
1 cup chopped onion
2 pounds Polish sausage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed, more for garnish
Sour cream, for servingThe day before you plan to make this, cook the beets and peel them. Combine 1/2 cup of the beets, the vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl; refrigerate, covered, overnight. Refrigerate remaining beets. Place beef, water, bacon, salt, peppercorns, parsley sprigs, marjoram, and dill weed (or basil leaves) in Dutch oven. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, simmer, partially covered, over medium heat until beef is tender, about 2 hours. Or, the day before simmer the beef and bacon with seasonings for up to 6 hours, then let sit overnight in the broth to cool. Skim the excess fat and cut the meats into bite-size pieces. Discard the parsley sprigs. Add 3 cups beets, the cabbage, leeks, onions, carrot, and sausage to the broth you cooked the meats in and simmer, covered, over low heat 30 minutes. Return meats to the broth mixture, and add reserved beet mixture. Sprinkle with snipped dill. Pass the sour cream.
TAFFY APPLE SALAD
(This salad doubles as a dessert)
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
8-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 cup salted peanuts (chopped)
8-ounce carton whipped topping
4 cups (1 pound) good eating apples
Drain pineapple and save the juice. Do not peel the apples, but cut them into small chunks. Mix flour and sugar. Beat egg. In small sauce pan mix egg, flour and sugar. Add the wine vinegar and pineapple juice. Stir and cook over low heat until thick. Cool the dressing, then pour it over the apple pieces. Add pineapple and nuts and stir in the topping.
ALTERNATE TAFFY APPLE SALAD
Here's a version that requires no cooking.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Cream together. Then add:
1 small box instant French vanilla pudding
20-ounce can crushed pineapple
6-ounces whipped topping
4 ounces chopped roasted peanuts
2 or 3 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cut into small chunks
FROZEN COLE SLAW
Good eaten fresh, but keeps for several days in the fridge and several months in freezer. Make a batch now to enjoy at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Easter!
1 large head cabbage
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
For the dressing
Boil together and cool:
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon salt (can be omitted for those on low sodium diets)
Shred the cabbage and mix in the 2 teaspoons salt. Let stand at room temperature for an hour. Drain and add the rest of the ingredients, including the cooled syrup. Divide into serving size containers and freeze until needed.
DOUBLE APPLE BARS
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup softened butter
2 cups diced peeled apples
1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 9X13 pan. Mix flour, spices, baking powder, soda and salt. Beat butter and the half cup of brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg, then applesauce. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Fold in apples and half cup nuts. Spread evenly in the pan. Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake for 35 minutes until edges pull from the side of the pan and top is lightly browned.
The Country Cousin
Thought for the week: Sometimes silence is the best proof you have a supreme command of the English language. If you rest your chin in your hands when you think, it will keep your mouth shut and you won't disturb yourself.
(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 email@example.com.)
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