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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: January 20, 2022

Shirley Prudhomme

It's definitely still winter, and forecasters are telling us things will get worse around here before they get better. Bitter cold temperatures are supposed to arrive in TIMESLand late Thursday, and probably will hang around for several days. Too bad we had that January Thaw back in December. Sure could use it right about now.

On the bright side, there's no significant snow in the immediate forecast, but that can always change.



FUN THINGS TO DO

Cold notwithstanding, there are still some fun things to do in TIMESLand for folks who can tear themselves away from the fireside and venture outdoors.

Ice fishing has been good, snowmobile and ATV trails are very actively in use, ice rinks are flooded, and even cross country ski trails are good. The High Falls Radar Run is coming up on Saturday, Jan. 22, and other fun outdoor events are offered throughout the area.

Or we could gather "round a fireplace somewhere indoors, toast hot dogs and marshmallows and sip hot chocolate or spiced apple cider.

Sounds good to me!



KID GAMES

Wonder if kids still play King of the Mountain? Remember the fun we used to have, especially right after a big snowstorm when the snow was still pretty soft, rather than ice covered.

We'd hunt around for the biggest snow pile we could find, or build one ourselves if we had to. Then someone would get to the top and everyone else would get busy trying to push or pull the "king" down.

The game involved a lot of rough and tumble play, and there must have been a few bruises, but I don't recall anyone ever getting badly hurt. Whatever bruises happened, the fun was well worth it!



FRIGID REACTIONS

Friend sent this report on reactions to temperatures at various levels. Folks accustomed to different climates respond differently to extreme temperatures.



Responses listed are:

At 60 degrees: California and Florida natives put on sweaters (if they can find one in their wardrobe), and turn on the heat.

At 40 degrees: Californians shiver uncontrollably, Minnesotans and Wisconsinites go swimming.

At 32 degrees: Water freezes and Italian cars don't start.

At 25 degrees: You plan your vacation to Australia, Minnesotans put on T-shirts, politicians begin to worry about the homeless, British cars don't start, Boston water freezes, Californians weep, and Canadians go swimming

At 10 degrees: French cars don't start, you plan a vacation in Mexico, and you need jumper cables to get your car going.

At Zero: You plan your vacation in South America. American cars don't start, politicians start worrying about the homeless, the cat insists on sleeping in bed with you, Alaskans put on T-shirts, and even Wisconsinites think it's too cold to go ice skating.

At 10 below: German cars don't start, eyes freeze shut when you blink, you can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo, Arkansas residents stick tongues to metal objects, and Miami residents cease to exist.

At 20 below: Cat insists on sleeping in your pajamas with you, politicians actually do something about the homeless, Minnesotans shovel snow off roof, and Japanese cars don't start.

At 25 below: It's too cold to think; you need jumper cables to get driver going.

At 30 below: You plan a two week hot bath, the Mighty Monongahela freezes, Wisconsinites wear gloves, and Swedish cars don't start.

At 40 below: Californians disappear, Minnesotans button top button, Canadians put on sweaters, and your car helps you plan your trip south.

At 50 below: Congressional hot air freezes, Alaskans close the bathroom window, Hell freezes over and Polar bears move south!

Happy Winter, everyone!



ON THE SOAP BOX

VOTING REFORM


Wow! Am totally impressed that the experts in major league sports and many in the entertainment field are urging passage of "voter rights" legislation they say is needed to protect the integrity of elections here in America.

Surely they are the experts in this field, right?

Personally agree with them that voting reform is needed. Also agree that "voter rights" need to be protected.

But that protection should be done by making sure that every vote cast is counted for the candidate for which it was intended, by guaranteeing minimum opportunity for "vote harvesting" by requiring voters to show up at the polls with proper identification documents, and by imposing extremely severe penalties on anyone convicted of tampering with an election in any way, shape or form.

Tampering should mean anything that illegally affects election outcomes"not comments on social media or political advertising. Talking here about buying votes, "fixing" voting machines, producing bags of ballots from mysterious sources, curtaining off ballot counting areas, attempting to vote when not a citizen or voting more than once in a single election, and creating false voter registration lists - which happened here in Wisconsin, and probably all over the nation in the last election.

In Milwaukee, 79 votes were cast by people claiming to live in one apartment. In just one apartment, not the entire apartment building. In one small Wisconsin town, election officials found that 10 ballots had been cast by "electors" who claimed to live at a single address. Problem is, the house that used to be located at that address was torn down a few years ago, and the site is now a vacant lot. Neighbors would probably have noticed if someone was living there.

Those are just two of the many "irregularities" for which verification is readily available.

Does cheating happen? Do we need election law reform?

Absolutely.

Do we need to make it easier for non-citizens to vote, for valid ballots to be lost or tossed out, or for ballot harvesters to garner votes by paying someone a dollar or three?

Absolutely not!

Discrimination? Sounds like some of the liberals are saying people of color are incapable of getting proper identification. Personally think most of them are every bit as capable as I am. Maybe more. I can be pretty scatter brained sometimes, and if I forget to get an ID before election day, I deserve to lose the right to vote.

Personally don't think anyone without enough intelligence to get a free Wisconsin photo ID should be voting anyway, no matter what color they are, what religion they follow, or where their ancestors came from!

Use some logic. When people try to make it easier to cheat, isn't it pretty likely they are wanting to do just that???

As the French used to say, "Cherchez le femme!"

And yes, that is not a gender-neutral statement. But don't you agree that being able to use it enriches the language?

That said, we should all be contacting our elected representatives in Washington and Madison and asking them to enact laws that protect the integrity of our elections, and stand firm against proposals to weaken those protections.



PEROXIDE

Hydrogen peroxide is a great dental rinse recommended by my old dentist to prevent gum disease, and it is wonderful for cleaning cuts and scrapes. But it is also invaluable as a laundry and household aid, and doesn't weaken fabrics like bleach can. Use spray-on peroxide to clean mirrors without smearing, and to disinfect and deodorize cutting boards and counter tops.

Pour some straight onto the fabric to disinfect and deodorize dish rags and sponges, and to remove blood stains. Add half a bottle to a wash load of whites to get rid of leftover grunge and restore like new whiteness.



BEAUTY MASK

Facial lotions and potions can cost a small fortune, and winter air can play havoc with your complexion. Here's a facial regime that brightens skin and relives winter drought for mere pennies, provided you have half an hour or so to spare.

Prepare to be beautiful!

Before you start, put on some soothing music.

First, for a deep cleansing mask, stroke milk of magnesia all over your face with cotton balls, but avoid the eye area. Leave on for 10 minutes, then remove with a warm wash cloth.

Next, to moisturize, mix one egg yolk, 1 teaspoon honey and 2 tablespoons of sour cream. Apply to clean skin with cotton balls, again avoiding the eye area.

Now cut two slices from a cucumber. (Use the end pieces and then you can cut up the rest for a salad.) Lie down on bed or couch and place the cucumber slices over your eyes. Relax like that for 15 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with warm water and finish with a splash of cold. Add commercial moisturizer or anti-wrinkle cream at this point if you like, but you shouldn't have to.



COOKIN' TIME

GRANDMA'S SWISS STEAK


1/4 cup all-purpose four

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds beef top round steak, cut into serving-size pieces

gravy:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1-1/4 cups beef broth or water

Hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes, optional

Preheat over to 325 degrees. In a large shallow dish, combine flour, salt and pepper. Pound steak with a mallet to tenderize. Add meat, a few pieces at a time, and toss to coat.

In an ovenproof Dutch oven, brown steak in oil on both sides. arrange onion slices between layers of meat. Add water and Worcestershire sauce.

Cover and bake 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat is very tender. Remove to a serving platter and keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and broth until smooth; stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve steak and gravy with noodles or mashed potatoes, if desired.

Freeze option: Freeze cooled beef mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially than in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a covered saucepan, gently stirring and adding a little broth or water if necessary.



NOODLE PIZZA CASSEROLE

10 ounces uncooked egg noodles

1-1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup finely c hopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce

1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni



DIRECTIONS

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, breaking the meat into crumbles; drain. Add pizza sauce and mushrooms; heat through.

Drain noodles. In a greased 13-9 in. baking dish, layer half the noodles, half the beef mixture, 1/2 cup of each cheese and half the pepperoni. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked casserole for up to 3 months. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Uncover; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through.



NO COOK PEANUT BUTTER BALLS

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix ingredients by hand, roll into balls. Roll or dip into the following ingredients: coconut, cocoa, sprinkles, icing sugar, graham cracker crumbs. Refrigerate.

3 teaspoons fresh ground espresso coffee powder

3 tablespoons Kahlua

1 cup Mascarpone (or cream cheese)

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound cake (baked and cooled)

Optional: dark cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or added espresso powder, for rolling the balls.

Combine coffee powder, Kahlua & brown sugar in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Mix Mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Add the coffee mixture. Stir until well combined and the mixture thickens slightly to a smooth creamy consistency, set aside. Wash and sanitize hands, or put on fresh rubber gloves. Crumble the pound cake into little crumbs. Pour the Kahlua/cream cheese mixture into the cake crumbs, and then, using your hands, mix cake crumbs and Kahlua mixture until well mixed, with no crumbs remaining. Roll mixture into balls using your palms. If you like, roll the balls in dry cocoa powder, powdered sugar or espresso powder. Chill the balls in fridge for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving.

The Country Cousin



Thought for the week: "When all of the guns have been banned, when all of the words have been censored, when all of the history has been erased, when all the freedom has been taken, only then will you discover why our right to bear Arms was so high on the list." - Cheri Freeland, United Constitutionalists of Marinette County



(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 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)


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