The fun goes on...

By: 
Shirley Prudhomme

Once again, TIMESLand was blessed with marvelous weather for the entire Fourth of July weekend. Don’t believe it rained on any of our parades, nor were any of the fireworks drowned out.

The Independence Day celebrations are over for another year, but there are plenty of celebrations coming up before summer comes to an end. Impossible to enjoy all of them, so we’ll simply have to do the best we can to not waste any of the fun. 

The City of Marinette hosts its annual Logging and Heritage Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14, complete with a parade, picnic on Stephenson Island and fireworks. 

The Athelstane Fireman’s Picnic is also on Saturday, July 13. There will be a parade at 11 a.m. along County C in beautiful downtown Athelstane, followed by a picnic at Fireman’s Park at the Town Hall.

Check the ads for other events and plan accordingly. We can’t do everything, but we sure can do some things. That said, it’s unfortunate but true that summer can’t be all play and no work, at least for most of us. 

There are gardens to care for and berries to pick. Things are coming in early this year. The corn was well past knee high for the Fourth of July. Incredibly, strawberry season seems to be already gone, but blueberries are ripe and so are raspberries. 

Seeing the harvest season is moving so quickly, think there’s a chance we could get overs this year?

SOLAR POWER

Whether we’re having fun in the sun or slaving in the garden, our clothes get dirty, and bedding still needs to be laundered. For me, one of the joys of summer is drying sheets and blankets on with pure solar power - you know, on the good old clothes lines.  It works even better if there’s a little bit of wind power to go with it. Hang garments on the clothesline on a slightly windy day and even the wrinkles blow out.

Unfortunately, too often as soon as you get things on the line, the clouds come in, but when everything works right, there’s nothing like climbing into a bed newly made with sun-dried sheets, pillow cases and blankets. That’s one of the joys of summertime.

KEEP THE WHITES WHITE

Nothing gets those sheets quite as white as good old sunshine, but some things do help if the sun isn’t available, or even if it is. 

For starters, to keep your white garments truly white, sort carefully, and never wash whites with any colored items.  Seperation is good here. Even though you may not notice it for a few launderings, if you mix in colors, eventually the minor bleeding of colors will start turning white things grey. We used to add blueing to the rinse for white clothes, but you can’t even buy that any more.

Next, treat stains right away, if possible. Keep a squeeze bottle filled with /Dawn Ultra in the laundry room, and glance over each item before you toss it in the washer. If there’s a visible stain, pre-treat it with Dawn and then launder as usual. Most stains will come right out.

Don’t pack the load too tightly. Those clothes need room to slosh around, so the water can move through the fabric. And rinsing is almost as important as washing when it comes to keeping whites white. Again, smaller, uncrowded loads are better.

Finally, skip the fabric softener for your loads of white clothes, bedding, towels and washcloths, whatever color they are. Instead, add a cup of white distilled vinegar to the final rinse. Don’t worry, the vinegar scent will not linger.

If you dry your white clothes in the dryer, check first to be sure stains are gone. If not, wash over. If the white things do go into the dryer, don’t over-dry, and use a medium heat setting instead of hot to preserve the whiteness.

CARPET STAINS

Speaking of vinegar, dilute half vinegar (the regular five percent kind) and half water in a spray bottle and spray it on and then wipe it off to remove soap scum and mildew from chrome in kitchen and bathroom. Leaves it sparkling clean.

Then, if you want to go the next step, use wax paper to keep that chrome shining.  Just crumple  up a piece of regular kitchen wax paper and rub it all over the chrome fixtures to buff on a light layer of the wax. This will act as a protective layer, repelling water and smudges. This  thin layer of wax washes off easily with the next cleaning, so there are no issues with build up. 

SNEAKY SNAKES

When we spend more time in the great outdoors we’re more likely to accidentally encounter critters we’d rather not meet ­— like snakes. Fortunately, here in Wisconsin most of the snakes are harmless, except to insects and mice, but if we travel to other locales it could be a different story.

According to a recent Reader’s Digest, a group of trainees at an ROTC summer camp in Florida were being coached on the dangers of various types of snakes and how to deal with snake bites. The officer advised that since the venom of rattle snakes, copper heads and water moccasins affect the circulatory system; their bites should be treated with tourniquets, incisions and/or suction. He added that was not the case with the coral snake, whose bite affects the nervous system. He offered no further advice, so one cadet asked how that bite would be treated.

The officer said they would find the answer on page A1-7 of their training manuals. When the cadets opened to that page, they found it consisted entirely of interdenominational prayers.

COOKIN’ TIME

Believe it or not, blueberries, raspberries and black raspberries are ripe and ready for picking. Strawberries available at the supermarket are a little better than they are during the winter and sometimes we can get Michigan berries, which are always good. Anyway, the biggest summer holiday is over, but there’s plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of the season - and the meats and vegetables that go with them.

BUSY DAY SOUP

Easy, easy soup. Serve with cold sandwiches and lemonade for a great summer meal. You can vary this by using different kinds of ground meats, and/or different frozen  (or fresh) vegetables. Freezes well, so make a big batch and store in bowl-size portions for really, really quick future meals or take-along lunches.

1 pound ground beef

1 packet onion soup mix

1 3/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh, diced)

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

5 cups water

28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup macaroni, uncooked

Parsley, shredded cheese, or Italian seasoning, optional

In a large soup pot, brown the ground beef. If it is too greasy, drain the fat.  Pour in water, onion soup mix and tomatoes with juice. Simmer for 1 hour on medium low. Add the macaroni and frozen (or fresh) vegetables. Cook 15 minutes longer on medium heat, or until the veggies are done as you like them.  If the soup is too thick, add more water to thin it out.  Serve hot, with or without crackers. Garnish with minced parsley, fresh diced onion, shredded cheese, or Italian seasoning if you like. Some like it hot. Add a splash of Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce if you like.

LEMON BLUEBERRY/RASPBERRY BREAD

This quick bread is wonderfully versatile when it comes to varying the flavors and ingredients because of its lemon base. For a delicious lemon raspberry bread, swap out raspberries for the blueberries. Turn this into an orange cranberry bread by using orange juice and cranberries. Cherries and almonds also pair beautifully with either lemon or orange flavors, so substitute if you like.

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk (not skim)

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries

1/2 cup chopped nuts

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

GLAZE:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in the blueberries, nuts and lemon zest. Transfer to a greased 8x4-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients, drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely.  When cool, store the bread in an airtight container to keep prevent it from drying out.

Tips: To keep this bread moist, use whole milk or even half and half, and bring the eggs to room temperature before using. Bake in a glass or light-colored metal pan as opposed to a dark metal pan, which absorbs more heat. If you notice during baking that the edges are browning too quickly, tent with a piece of aluminum foil.

Thought for the week: There are many ways to be generous, and some of them involve nothing but giving up a bit of our pride. Too often we are afraid, or ashamed, to ask for help, but sometimes asking for help, or accepting help when it is offered, is the most generous thing we can do. Many people in this world believe their lives have no meaning and purpose, and nothing would give them a greater sense of purpose and joy than genuinely helping someone else. The inspiration for this came from the web site of Matthew Kelly, “The Dynamic Catholic,” and it’s a good idea indeed. Even young children love to be asked for help, at least secretly. That’s one reason household chores are so good for them. The kids may complain, but they need the pride that comes from completing a needed job and doing it well.

(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.)

Shirley Prudhomme

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