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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 26, 2022

Shirley Prudhomme

Heard on one weather report that the bitterly cold temperatures in Wisconsin on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 25 were the third lowest ever recorded in this state. Allegedly near Antigo there were readings of 30 below, which was lower than temperatures in the Arctic Circle.

Forecast calls for a bit of gradual warming, with lows of minus two on Thursday night, but a balmy 27 degrees - above zero - during the day, and possibly on Tuesday, Feb. 1 temperatures could get above freezing - possibly as high as 36 degrees.

And - guess what? Snow showers and cloudy skies, along with continued 30-something temperatures are predicted for Tuesday, Feb. 2 which is Groundhog Day. If the old stories are true that old groundhog will not see his shadow and we will be on our way to Spring.

By the way, Spring is supposed to be only six weeks out if the Groundhog doesn't see a shadow when he comes out of his burrow on Groundhog Day, which every year is Feb. 2. Wouldn't we all love for that to happen?

Only once in all my years did I see a March where temperatures warmed up to wonderful and stayed that way, but even that warm up was slightly more than six weeks after Groundhog Day.

DO IT YOURSELF

The following "news report" was published by spoof website Babylon Bee, which declares itself a source of fake news you can trust, "delivered straight to your inbox."

There is more than a grain of truth in what they wrote this time. The facts may be wrong, but it's the thought that counts. Hope they don't mind being quoted here. Their story, datelined Moscow, said, "After years of meddling by Russian agents and Russia-funded bots and hacking attempts, the Kremlin announced Thursday it would be withdrawing from all activity in the U.S., and would instead be allowing the country to tear itself apart without any help from them.

"Our spies and bots simply couldn't keep up with the rapid pace at which America is destroying itself," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a press conference Thursday. "They're on the verge of tearing each other to shreds. Really, it's quite impressive.

According to the story, Putin said Russian spies stationed abroad tried their hardest to divide America, but they "were outpaced and outclassed at every turn by America's highly motivated politicians and partisan activists, who are doing a far better job than his own spies could at ripping the country apart. They don't need our help, apparently. So we'll just get out of the way and let them have at it. Bravo, America!"

ON THE SOAP BOX

POLITICALLY CORRECT


Am totally frustrated that here in what once was "the land of the free," we now are prohibited by today's double standard requirements for political correctness from fsaying what we would really like to say.

Heard there is an annual contest at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. A few years ago, the term to be defined "political correctness."

The winning definition?

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of sh** from the clean end."

That definition is pretty much spot on, except that it neglects to mention that we've lost a great deal of the beauty of the English language, and even more, we're depriving our children of any chance of ever understanding our history - the history that made our nation and the people in it what we are today.

We cannot learn and grow from our past if we paint that past with a false brush. We need to study it, analyze it, talk about it, and decide what we can do about it.

All that is impossible if we're forbidden to use the words necessary o describe a situation or a sentiment!

GROWIN' THINGS

Feel the need for a little greenery in your home, a little gardening in your winter life?

Here are a couple of ways to get both at almost no cost.

You could even grow a few indoor eatin' greens, provided you have the space.

To get edible beet greens, simply buy tops-on beets at the supermarket. They aren't always available, but generally can be found.

Cut the tops off the beets, trim off any old or damaged leaves, and place the tops in water and set the container in direct sunlight. In a few weeks you will have a nice crop of fresh beet greens. (The remainder of the beets should be cooked and eaten. See recipes below.)

One sweet potato will make a wonderful vine that will soon encircle your whole room if you let it.

Simply stick toothpicks (at least four) around the mid-section of a sweet potato. Choose an attractive container with a mouth wide enough to allow the tapered half of the sweet potato to fit inside, with the toothpicks holding it up around the edge so the fat half sticks up above the water. It should not fit snugly. There must be enough space between the sweet potato and the container edges to allow adding water as necessary, and it will be necessary.

Put the container in a spot that receives lots of direct sunlight and just watch it grow. It will continue growing as long as the roots are in water. I've had them practically wind around the room with a little support.

Occasionally water in the container will get scummy. Simply drain out the old stuff, rinse with room temperature water and refill the container with fresh water, also at room temperature.

Eventually the nutrients in the sweet potato will play out and the vine may die, but possibly adding plant food could keep it going. I've never had the patience to keep one that long.

A few years ago there was a craze for using a clear glass container large enough to allow a few guppies or small goldfish to swim around among the roots. Don't know how the fish fared long term, but they were attractive displays.

HOMESPUN BEAUTY

Love to experiment with beauty products, but feeling a bit of pinch in the pocketbook?

Here's a homemade facial recipe that will nourish your complexion inside and out.

CLEOPATRA FACIAL

This isn't a good keeper, so slather on generously. Make it fresh again next time. Moisturizes, tightens, revitalizes, smoothes and soothes your skin. Don't know if Cleopatra had bananas or if she actually used this facial, but legend has it that she did bathe in milk. Even the Queen of the Nile could not afford to bathe in whipping cream! Bet she would have liked to, though.

1/2 fresh banana

1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream, lightly warmed

1 teaspoon honey, lightly warmed

1 to 2 tablespoons finely powdered oatmeal

1 tablespoon very strong freshly brewed chamomile tea

Use food processor or blender to turn regular old oatmeal into a fine powder. Mash the half banana to a creamy consistency, or whirr it in food processor. Mix the honey, whipping cream and tea in a small microwavable dish and nuke perhaps 10 to 15 seconds until comfortably warm. Stir in the banana, then add enough oatmeal powder to make a nice smooth but somewhat sticky consistency . Wash your face and leave it slightly damp, then massage on the banana/oatmeal mixture smoothing and patting it all over, particularly on your neck. Now sit back and relax for 10 minutes or more, preferably half an hour. You get the best results if you have time for the facial to dry. Eat the other half of the banana while you wait. Potassium is good for you. Rinse off the facial with comfortably warm water (not hot), and a soft cloth. Pat on additional chamomile tea if you like and let it dry. if you have dry skin, finish with a light application of olive oil or your favorite commercial moisturizer.

ANOTHER TRICK

Just read that applying castor oil lightly to eyebrows and eye lash roots just before going to bed each night will make them grow longer, stronger and thicker. I do plan to try it on the lashes. Don't really want long eyebrows!

ZEROS

Most of us have been feeling the pocketbook pinch lately, and Heaven knows we've been feeling the cold, but guess it's nothing new.

This story was found in a 40-year-old magazine:

On the first mild day after a long cold spell, a friendly teller at a Wisconsin bank was trying to make small talk with a customer who had just made a somewhat small deposit.

"Nice to have it above zero again, isn't it?" the teller commented as she handed over the deposit receipt.

The remark drew an icy glare, a questioning look, and then a laughing realization. "For a minute there I thought you meant my checking account," the nearly broke customer laughed. "Yeah, it's sure nice when they're both above zero!"

RIDDLES

1)Where do Snowmen go to dance?

2)What do Snowmen call their offspring?

See answers after Cookin' Time.

COOKIN' TIME

20 LASHES


Years ago one of my favorite authors of housekeeping tips would declare she deserved 20 lashes with a wet noodle if she published an error.

Well, Yours Truly deserves those 20 lashes for an error that apparently happened a year ago, but was only recently brought to my attention. Left the necessary two cans of water out of this recipe. Cooking all that rice without water must certainly have led to an interesting result. A bit like the sister-in-law who as a young bride tried to make baked beans with dried beans and no water added. Any way, this recipe is reprinted today with the 2 cans of water included.

NO PEEK CHICKEN OR CHOPS

Remember this good old standby? Sometimes we get too cozy with a recipe for a while, then neglect it so long we forget about it.

2 cups raw rice

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 soup cans water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 package dry onion soup mix

2 1/2 pounds or so raw chicken, cut into serving pieces, or equal amount of pork chops or lean pork roast, sliced across the grain

Butter a sizable casserole dish, one with a cover if possible, but if not, use aluminum foil. Mix the 2 cans of soup, water and soy sauce. Mix half of this with the rice and put into the casserole dish. Put the chicken or pork on top. Pour over this the remaining soup/water mixture, then sprinkle the packet of dry soup over the whole thing. Cover tightly and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Do not peek! Serve with a green salad, or a green vegetable.

OVEN BAKED PORK CHOPS

Pop some baking potatoes in with these. The sauerkraut recipe that follows bakes at the same temperature for the same length of time and is an excellent go-with for any kind of pork.

8 pork chops

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs

2 eggs, well beaten

Melted butter, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large shallow baking pan. Combine soup mix with bread crumbs. Dip pork chops in beaten egg, then in crumb/soup mixture and place on the baking pan. If desired, drizzle with melted butter. Bake one hour or until done. Turn once, about half way through cooking time.

FANCY KRAUT

1 can sauerkraut, drained

1 medium onion, diced, 2 tablespoons butter

1 cup rose wine

1 tablespoon caraway seed

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 red delicious apples, cored, chopped, skin left on

Sauté onion in butter in a heavy saucepan. Add everything else and stir and heat until warm. Turn into a baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. If you're doing this with the pork chops, get this in the oven first, then do the chops and add the potatoes. Nothin' says lovin' like somethin' from the oven!

COLD OVEN POPOVERSM

Easier than pie, and oh, so good. But you do need to serve them right away. With the price of bread these days, baking your own quick bread is even a money saver.

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Generously grease a muffin tin. Set in refrigerator while preparing the batter. Beak the eggs into a bowl, add milk, flour and salt. Mix well with a spoon. there will be lumps. don't worry about them. Fill the chilled greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Set in a cold oven, then turn on heat, with setting at 450 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve at once with plenty of butter.

CRUSTLESS CHEESECAKE

Have your cheesecake and diet too. Makes 12 servings.

2 packages (8 ounces each) reduced fat cream cheese,

softened

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

Preheat the over to 325 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar; beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Do not turn off the oven.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice; mix well. Spread over the top of the cheesecake and bake for 10 minutes. Let the cheesecake cool, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Cut into 12 squares. On the Diabetic Exchange equals 1 carbohydrate and 1-1/2 fat. Calories: 169; Saturated fat: 7 grams; carbohydrate: 12 grams.



COLD RIDDLES:

1)They go dancing at Snowballs.

2) Snowman kids are called chill-dren.

Oops" These pathetic jokes are more reason for wet noodle lashes!



Thought for the week: Modern medicine has still not succeeded in producing a tranquilizer more effective than a few kind words. And unlike some medications and vaccines, if chosen carefully kind words have no harmful side effects.

(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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