Country CousinIssue Date: April 7, 2022
Holy Week is Almost Here...
It's definitely time to get out the Easter decorations. Lent is almost over, and Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday just a few days from now.
With all the miserable snow and cold we've been having, it's hard to believe it is really Spring, but the calendar says it is.
That said, so far this year we've only had a few days - maybe only a few hours - of weather that give us hope the Springtime we love is really getting near. Maybe tomorrow?
The first robins of the season were spotted in Marinette over a month ago, and those particular robins, in that particular tree, haven't been seen since. Hope they made it.
However, it is definitely Spring. On Saturday, April 2, the oldest the grandson got our family's first tick bite of the season. It was one of those miserable little Deer ticks that spread Lyme disease, are small as a grain of pepper and almost invisible until they bite in and leave their ugly mark.
He was bitten while he and his brother were stalking wild mushrooms in the woods around my home. They found - and picked - some of the black Wood Ear variety that they tell me are used in making Chinese Hot and Sour Soup. The Chef had plans to make something great from them, and he always comes through.
PALM SUNDAY PROPHECY
Some 500 years before Christ walked this Earth, the Old Testament prophet Zechariah wrote : "Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
Approximately 500 years later, on what we now observe as Palm Sunday, a week before He was crucified for our sins, Jesus did come into Jerusalem as a king, riding on a donkey, and was greeted with joy and praise by the crowds that lined the streets, waving palm branches in His honor, exactly as described by Zechariah.
The Apostle John wrote: "The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
"They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!' "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' "Blessed is the king of Israel!'
"Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: "Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt.'
"At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to Him.
"Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
"Many people, because they had heard that He had performed this sign, went out to meet him.
"So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!'"
That realization was probably what led the jealous Pharisees to whip the crowed into a frenzy, and go to Pontius Pilate with their demands that Jesus be crucified. The result was Christ's death on the cross and then His glorious resurrection.
Without knowing it, those Pharisees, instead of destroying Christ as they planned, did exactly what needed to be done to eventually convert most of the world to Christianity.
If you're going to start plants indoors from seeds, better get to it in the next week or so for most things. The last frost in our area is generally about May 31, so plants that need 8 weeks' head start need to go in very soon. Those include eggplant, Brussels Sprouts, peppers of all sorts, tomatoes, and just about all the herbs. It doesn't hurt to not plant outdoors immediately on June 1, but as soon after that as possible is a good idea, provided the snow is gone by then.
Since some herbs do not transplant well, try to plant them in individual containers so you can just slip them out and into the ground intact without disturbing the roots.
Wash and sterilize whatever container you use. Fill it to within 3/4 inch of the top with a moistened sterile planting medium. To moisten the planting medium uniformly without drenching it, pour into a sturdy plastic bag, add water and shake until it's well mixed. Feel the soil. It should be damp, but you don't want mud. Press the planting medium into the corners and smooth the top with fingers or a block of wood to give a uniform surface.
Have on hand some fine screened planting soil mix or fine vermiculite to cover the very small seeds to a depth of at least 1/4". To plant those very fine seeds, just sprinkle them on (an old salt shaker usually works well) and press lightly into the planting medium or spray the surface with a fine mist. Then top with the quarter-inch vermiculite or planting medium.
Larger seeds can be planted in rows in starter flats, or better yet by putting 3 to 4 seeds each in individual pots. I have very successfully used egg shell halves as containers to start seeds. When its time to plant them outdoors, just squeeze the shell to crack it all over and then put the plant, shell and all, into the ground at the proper depth for whatever variety of plant you have started.
For the indoor row method, use a narrow board, drinking straw, wooden skewer, or whatever to make little furrows about 1/8" to 1/4" deep and 1" to 2" apart across the soil in the planting tray. The rule is to plant seeds twice as deep as their diameter. Sow the seeds lightly but evenly in the rows, and cover with dry vermiculite or sifted planting medium. Moisten the planting mix thoroughly, preferably by placing the containers into a pan or tray with about an inch of water. Don't flood the container.
To keep the starting beds moist, slip the whole flat or pot into a clear plastic bag. Use props to be sure the plastic stays at least 1 1/2" from the soil surface. Put where it will get light, but not direct sunlight, which can actually cook plants in a plastic bag. As soon as the first seedlings appear get the containers out of the bag. Then put in bright light, preferably a south-facing window. If that's not possible, put the baby seedlings under a fluorescent light or special grow lamp and keep the lights on about 16 hours a day. Try to keep the temperature 55 to 60 degrees at night and 65 to 70 during the day.
Don't keep the soil saturated, but don't let it dry out either. Watering by means of a mist bottle from the top while keeping the bottom in a tray of water.
As the plants grow, thin out the weaklings to make room for the stronger plants to flourish. If the roots get all tangled together they may all die when you try to separate them for planting in the garden.
Once the weather gets fine during the day - which it will probably do sooner or later - you can wean the plants from indoors by setting them outside for a few hours, in the shade for the first few days, then for gradually longer times in the sun until it's finally time to plant in the garden.
Don't let a few summery days trick you into believing Winter is done with us for the year. If you must plant outdoors before June 1, have materials ready to cover them if the weather turns wicked again.
ON THE SOAP BOX
PROTECT THE CHILDREN
We parents, grandparents and great grandparents need to stand up now to protect the innocence of our children and let them enjoy their childhood.
Am absolutely sickened that it would be necessary for Florida to pass a law prohibiting "educators" from teaching students in Kindergarten through Grade 3 about trans gender identity and such.
And am even more sickened and disgusted that anyone other than an absolute sicko would want to do that to the innocent little ones who do not yet even think about such things!
The law itself has been called the "don't say gay" law, a distortion spread by lying mainstream media and their corporate spokesmen - including the Disney corporation whose products and attractions we should now boycott, since they obviously have no regard for youthful innocence.
The Florida law - signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis - says in part: "classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards." Parents would be able to sue over violations.
And the liberal bunch is trying to make us believe that is bad. The word gay is not in the law at all. And kids that young should not even know what the word "gay" means in today's ugly world. Nobody should be filling their little heads with ideas that could confuse them for life.
Kids are always curious, but they often can be steered to the way we - or their teachers - want them to go.
Our society needs to let little girls want to be cowboys if that's what they like. Let little boys play with dolls if they want. However, as Dr. Seuss pointed out long ago, if nobody interferes, give a little boy one of those jointed baby dolls and he'll love it and cuddle it for a time, but sooner or later he's likely to pull off an arm or a leg and use it for a gun or a hammer.
We need teachers to quit stealing our nation's heroes. Our Founding Fathers may not have been perfect, but they worked together to create a brand new type of government - the best form of government this world has ever known.
Am firmly asking the "woke" and LGBTQ crowd to pull in their horns and quit spreading their gospel of hatred under the pretext of preaching acceptance for all.
And if they won't do that, am urging the silent majority to put an end to their madness by keeping a close eye (and ear) on what's being taught in our schools, and to scream long and loud - with voices and pocketbooks - whenever and wherever they find the minds of the little ones being polluted.
We need to boycott corporations like Disney that think it's okay to steal childhood from our children!
Remember the old nursery rhyme, "What are little girls made of?" Bet they wouldn't even allow that in any public school today.
Would certainly like us to get back to joyful acceptance of what most of us are if we let nature take its course!
HOT TUNA SALAD BAKE
Remember good old Tuna Casseroles? Back in the day of year-round meatless Fridays they were mainstays at our house. This one is absolutely no penance at all! Don't let the mayonnaise throw you. This is very good, very economical, and a great Lenten meal. Serves six. Pop some scrubbed potatoes into the oven to bake before you start mixing up the casserole and they'll be done at about the same time. Broccoli or Brussels Sprouts provide perfect harmony on the plate. So do buttered beets. Incidentally, when you buy lemon pepper, pay the higher price and get the kind in which salt is not the first ingredient listed. The difference is astounding.
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can tuna, 6 to 9 ounces
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper, or more
3 hard cooked eggs, sliced
1 cup crushed potato chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 1 1/2 quart casserole mix everything except the potato chips and eggs. Stir in the egg slices gently so as to leave them as intact as possible. Then crumble the potato chips over the top. Bake for 25 minutes. You can substitute canned french fried onion rings for the potato chips if you prefer. You may also want to add a bit of salt. The original recipe called for half a teaspoon but we find it plenty salty without.
STUFFED SEAFOOD SHELLS
Makes a very fancy-looking, fancy tasting, delicious and
relatively inexpensive meatless main dish.
30 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1/2 pound bay scallops
2 teaspoons butter
2 large eggs
2 cups cream-style cottage cheese
1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (6 ounces) lump crabmeat, drained (or use a half
pound imitation crab meat)
3/4 pound cooked small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce
Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9-in. baking dish with buttery flavored cooking spray, or butter it well with regular soft butter. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook scallops in butter until opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Place one egg, half each of the ricotta and cottage cheese, plus the nutmeg and pepper in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Add this mixture to the scallops, and then repeat with the remaining egg, cottage cheese and ricotta. Add to scallops and then stir in the crab and shrimp until everything is well mixed. Stuff the cooked pasta shells with seafood mixture and place each one in the prepared baking dish, open side pointing sideways. Pour the Alfredo sauce over everything. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, 30-35 minutes. Take off cover and bake another 10 minutes, and then let it sit a few minutes to cool before serving. Ideal served with a lettuce salad with Russian or French dressing, and sliced tomatoes. Also good with stewed tomatoes with onions and green peppers are also great with this.
CREAM CHEESE COFFEE KUCHEN
This would be great for Easter Brunch, or to treat the family any time.
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups packaged biscuit mix
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup fruit preserves, any flavor
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9" round cake or tart pan. Mix the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and almond extract. (Works best if the cheese is at room temperature.) Set aside. Mix the baking mix, milk, 1/4 cup sugar and butter until a soft dough forms. Pat in the bottom and 1" up the sides of the pan. Spread on the cream cheese mixture. Carefully spread the preserves over this. (If they"re too thick warm in microwave until the jell softens.) Sprinkle on the almonds. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is set. Let cool for 20 minutes. Then carefully remove from pan. Refrigerate any leftovers.
The Country Cousin
Thought for the week: Author Laura Peyton Roberts said it: "Sometimes when I pray, it feels like God is all around me - so close, that when I'm done, I almost hate to say amen. Saying amen - in a way, that's almost like ending a call...like hanging up, you know? It feels like God just evaporates out of the room. So that made me think...wouldn't it be great if we could leave a prayer off the hook? Just leave it off the hook forever. Then whenever we stopped to listen, God would be right there breathing."
She has a point. And another thing. Maybe when we're done praying we should just go quiet inside and listen for a bit. Maybe God has something to say too, and we should give Him a chance before we say the "amen" that ends the prayer.
(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 email@example.com.)
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