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Monday, July 24, 2017

Columns & Editorials

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Visiting Wineries: Filia Cellars Winery

It’s been a busy year for us so far and unfortunately we haven’t been able to visit many wineries. So, when we had a Saturday afternoon free, we decided to hit the road and see what adventures we could find. We had a family party to attend in Medina and decided to check out some wineries after the party. Our...

Garfield’s Victory Bell

In 1969 the Journal published an article about the Garfield School bell. For four years the Garfield School bell rang atop Garrettsville School. At first, the rope dangled into the vestibule of the old school built in the 1880’s. Then it hung through a hole in the ceiling of the second floor corridor of the...

That Red Buckeye Is A Show Off!

My Red Buckeye is showing off this year—full of blossoms and looking like it ought to be the guest star at the Home & Flower Show. Stop in some time and take a look. And if you’re walking around the estate, say “Hello” to the critter who seems to me to be the one munching up my...

Backwards Days

Sunday mornings are my favorite part of the week. After a busy Saturday night at the winery, Sundays are reserved for relaxing, reading and having brunch. On busy evenings, I let my girls have a “backwards day” for dinner so we get a moment to relax. Instead of your typical dinner, we’ll usually make pancakes, oatmeal, crepes, French toast...

Gone, But NOT Forgotten

Gone, but not forgotten…that’s my Bob, a classic over-achiever. How he became afflicted with liver disease--he wasn’t much of a drinker—is still a mystery to me, but he did use up what were left of his nine lives trying to fight it off.  Not that he wasn’t apt to milk any situation for all it was worth to get what...

The machines are out to get me!

Does a computer count as a machine or a device? Matters not, they’re after me. So I’m sitting at the computer typing away at my much-anticipated column for this week, when, out of the blue—or whatever color cyberspace is nowadays—the screen went black (that color I know) and totally unresponsive. I wiggled and jiggled various plugs and...

“How many people survived the Titanic sinking?”

After a presentation by Carol Starre-Kmiecik, who told the story of the “unsinkable” Margaret “Molly” Brown, a famous Titanic survivor, one of our patrons was curious about how many other people had survived. Ms. Starr-Kmiecik remembered that around 1,500 had died, but no one could remember the number of survivors. The answer was in Andrew Wilson’s book “Shadow of...

How old do you think Nelson Ledges is?

Understanding the concept of time in seconds, minutes, days, years, and even centuries is easy for us to comprehend. However, the concept of geologic time is very hard for most of us to wrap our brain around. How can you put into perspective 4.6 billion years, the estimated age of the earth? Let’s try. It would take you...

A Rash of Trash

Spring having sprung and all that, could I comment upon the sad indication that numerous persons hereabouts in the area are taking the opportunity to come down with a bad case of illiteracy? I am referring to the piles of stuff—junk would be a more accurate description but I’m attempting to be kind—that are appearing outside the various...

Wine Tastings

Last week we had a guest stop in the winery who said his wife and he had been invited to a horizontal wine tasting party. He was nervous about attending because he didn’t know what to expect and was told which wine he had to bring. After reassuring him that a horizontal wine tasting did not include tasting wine...

Weather or Not…

Don’t look now, but it seems to me that as far as weather predictions go, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has crashed and burned in its outlook for February. And in the ruins might be found the remains of a groundhog or two—Punxsutawney Phil and Buckeye Chuck, perhaps—who had stepped out for a snowball fight during the six more...

Area & Accent Rugs

Today, we’re talking area and accent rugs. Did you know that rugs and carpets date back to as early as 3000BC when nomad tribes began weaving together rugs to warm their earthen floors? They used the hair from their camels, sheep, and goats to craft their primitive rugs. In fact, good rugs or hides were considered to be...

Grandma Vancura’s Hulobky (Cabbage Rolls)

Back in the days when my cousins were getting married most of the wedding food was catered by family members.  What food establishment could cook better than any of my Great Aunts and Grandmother?  -“ NO ONE !”  then with some “Czech phrase” added  that would follow, which,  if I would repeat would have gotten me in trouble.   One of...

“Honesty is the best policy.”

I had always thought this oft-repeated nugget of advice from my father was fairly obvious. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the truth, but of course the alternative is immoral, indefensible and unwise. Yet, in the current political climate where policy has promoted the dissemination of alternative facts, hyperbole and misrepresentation, the obvious reminder bears repeating. If we expect honesty from...

Cats Up To No Good

Well, it’s finally here! My sure-fire, brass-bound, copper-bottomed, iron-clad, nickel-plated, sterling silver, gold standard (Had enough of the metallics?) opportunity to live in the manner to which I’d like to become accustomed has arrived. Yes! Reading through one of my weekly newsmagazine—appropriately enough named The Week—I came across an item about an entrepreneur, Lainey Morse, in Oregon who...

Gladys’ Beef Stroganoff

January, hits you fast after the Holidays, there is sometimes an emptiness after all of the celebrating and holiday festivities. When life slows down a bit, back into a steady pace, with an unexpected stay in the hospital or the cold or flu you have been fighting since Thanksgiving finally get its grip on you. There is nothing better...

Grandma Cooper’s Soup

January, hits you fast after the Holidays, there is sometimes an emptiness after all of the celebrating and holiday festivities. When life slows down a bit, back into a steady pace, with an unexpected stay in the hospital or the cold or flu you have been fighting since Thanksgiving finally get its grip on you. There is nothing better...

Valentine’s Day Tips

It’s hard to believe that Valentine’s Day is a couple of weeks away. While I love the romance of this holiday, it is definitely not one of my favorite holidays. I always feel pressured to make sure the day is “ultra” romantic and full of hearts and flowers. In reality, I wish that every day was Valentine’s Day! So...

What You Can & Cannot Control as You Plan for Retirement

Are you worried about retiring? Many baby boomers are, and they have reason to be, given low interest rates, subpar returns on equities, increasing health care costs, and the issues facing Social Security. Now, do yourself a favor. Read that last sentence again, and ask yourself, “which of those four things can I control?” The correct answer: none...

Latest Unlikely News

Ya know, you can’t make this stuff up.... The news is rife with absolutely amazing little bits—factoids, we might call them—about what’s going on “out there”, and I don’t mean outer space. Doesn’t take much more than a skimming of the news to find a fine selection of nutballs running around in front of God and everybody and coming...

The Quill Pig

The porcupine, the second largest rodent in North America, is by far the prickliest. Its Latin name means “quill pig.” There are about two dozen porcupine species worldwide, and all boast a coat of needle-like quills to give predators a sharp reminder that this animal is no easy meal. Some quills, like those of Africa’s crested porcupine, are nearly...

New Years Resolutions at The Winery

We are three weeks into 2017 and so far I am extremely happy with how this year is going! I’m not one to make New Years resolutions but I figured this would be a good year to come up with a couple of goals for the year. My first resolution for 2017 is to try new grapes. Teams from...

The Big One

And speaking of what’s happenin’ in 2017.... Make your reservations NOW for Beatrice, Nebraska—it’s in Gage County, in case you were wondering—to get the best look at “the Big One” as the astronomer-types are calling it—a 2.35 minute totality of the complete solar eclipse, being brought to us here in the United States at 11:37 a.m. (CDT) on...

It’s All About The Home

Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when we all make those New Year resolutions -- lose weight, travel more, get more sleep, quit smoking, exercise more -- the list goes on and on. All of those resolutions are great and I hope they are attainable to those who make them. All of this got me...

Funding 35-40 Years of Retirement

Will you live to 100? Your odds of becoming a centenarian may be improving. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control reported that the population of Americans aged 100 or older rose 44% between 2000-2014. The Pew Research Center says that the world had more than four times as many centenarians in 2015 as it did in 1990.1,2...

Another year, another centennial.

The Almanac pages that the papers often have are, at times, sort of desperate to come up with some event having happened on a particular date that is significant enough to mention at all. They have to resort to mentioning obscure baseball players hitting their first home run or the birthday of Foghorn J. Leghorn (from the...

“Where do I go to vote?”

Several of our patrons have been unsure of where to go to cast their ballot on November 8. Fortunately, the Ohio Secretary of State website has made that information easy to find. To find out where to vote, go to http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/, type in your first name and last name, and select your county. It will bring up your polling location,...

The cat came back!

The cat came back! Isn’t that Dr. Seuss or something?  Anyway, the cat did not come back—it never left.  The cat/kitten is still here and in fine fettle, as they used to say in British horsey circles.  This is the sole survivor of a litter that was left on my back doorstep and, in the manner of kittens in general,...

“Where can I find a place that publishes poetry?”

At a recent meeting of the Newton Falls Writers’ Club, one of our writers was wondering how to find a home for their poems. While it’s impossible to find a full list of all the contests and publications accepting submissions, we found a few resources that could be helpful. A nonprofit organization called Poets & Writers has an online database...

Cats and Bats

One more mystery solved...sort of. The questions here are :”Where have the bats come from?” and “Where do the bats go when they’re not swooping around inside the house?”  I mean,  they’re not hanging from the drapery rods waiting for the sun to go down or anything, at least I haven’t spotted them, though given the state of my expertise...

Autumn is Upon Us

Welcome to my favorite time of year.  I just love, love, love autumn!  I love the striking colors of autumn-the beautiful hues of red, orange, yellow, and brown.  I love the warm scents of autumn-glorious scents of apple, cinnamon, hazelnut, and pumpkin spice.  I love the warm autumn days and crisp cool nights.  I love Halloween with all the...

May You Live In Interesting Times

There is , allegedly, an ancient Chinese curse, which says, “May you live in ‘interesting’ times”. Last week was really interesting. First off....  I have been  waiting for and keeping an eye on the paw paws on the finally-mature paw paw bush on the east side of the house.  There are only two bushes and only one of them had fruit...

Just When All Hope Was Lost… Part II

Along with renewed health came new love for Brenda Reiner. The following July after the bone marrow transplant, she met Michael Formberg, a fellow divorcee searching for true love after a painful marriage. Following three years of dating, they got engaged while vacationing in Kauai, under a rainbow of promise. “Meanwhile, in July of 2013, my donor and I were...

Sounds of Summer

This edition of Nearby Nature marks the one hundredth article in our nature series. It is hard to believe that when Matt Sorrick and I started this endeavor it would have lasted this long.  It was our intent to inform our readers about our natural world and hopefully motivate them to venture out and experience the wonder and majesty...

“Why are Gone with the Wind and The Lovely Bones on the banned books display?”

The American Library Association launched Banned Books Week in 1982. It typically runs the last week of September, with the aim of educating Americans about censorship. Many libraries, including the Newton Falls Public Library, mark the occasion with displays that highlight famously banned or challenged books in their collections. We used lists such as “Frequently Challenged Classics,” “Top Ten...

How Women Have Assumed a Larger Role in Family Finance

More women have become the primary wage earners in their households. Generations ago, life and financial roles were cut and dried according to gender. Man: breadwinner. Woman: homemaker. Those stereotypes have, thankfully, shattered. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 38% of women in heterosexual marriages now earn more than their husbands. Thirty years ago, less than one-quarter did.1 The...

Pumpkin Pizza

I think we are officially in “that” season… Pumpkin Everything!! Pumpkin latte, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin pasta… the list of pumpkin items goes on and on. I know in last week’s column I said I would talk about the fermentation process that the grapes are going through but I had many guests this past week ask for some...

North to Canada Following the St. Lawrence River

We are whale watching in Tadoussac on the St Lawrence but staying 30 miles inland in Petit Saguenay. You will need to look on the map/world atlas to see exactly where we were. It’s about a hundred miles northeast of Quebec City up where the St. Lawrence River widens out and meets the Atlantic salt water influx and tidal...

Just When All Hope Was Lost…

Imagine a dried-out sponge… no moisture, no spring or flexibility, just a hole-y husk capable of little else besides absorbing something new. That was the condition of Brenda Reiner’s bone marrow before she received a life-saving bone marrow infusion from an anonymous donor five years ago. Unfortunately, that was also the condition of her life: She had received two different...

North to Canada Following the St. Lawrence River

We are in the Baie De Laval area south and east of Montreal. It is a shallow lake area caused by the river widening out and slowing down which in turn caused many sediment islands to form. This excursion was represented to be a boat tour of the St. Lawrence and its many islands south of Montreal.  “See the...

Bats & The Queen

The season is on!  Which season?  Football, Volleyball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer...you name it; the sticks and the balls and the nets, the helmets, the hitting, the sweat—all ramping up for participants and  fans alike.  And others.... Came home after the football game the other night—which, by the way, could have been played on top of the hinges of hell,...

Signs of the Zodiac…Part I

This is the last of our foray into astronomy, discussing the signs of the Zodiac. I will divide the 12 signs into two parts.  What we, who live in the 21st century, must realize is that people from many different cultures have been looking at the heavens for thousands of year without the aid of telescopes, computer simulations, orbiting...

“Why have I been seeing apparently healthy trees with random patches of dead leaves?”

This is called flagging! It can be caused by a variety of things, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, from weather-damage to insects to fungus and other diseases. At this time of year in this area, the flagging was probably caused by the periodical cicadas. We checked www.cicadamania.com and In Ohio’s Backyard: Periodical Cicadas by Gene Kritsky for...

How Millennials Can Get a Good Start on Retirement Planning

If you are younger than 35, saving for retirement may not feel like a priority. After all, retirement may be 30 years away; if your employer does not sponsor a retirement plan, there may be less incentive for you to start. Even so, you must save and invest for retirement as soon as you can. Time is your greatest ally....

Farm to Table

I have always been proud of our little town, from the people, to the businesses to the support from all of our guests, we have a pretty amazing town! So a few months ago we were approached by the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard to host a fundraiser. We tossed around a couple of ideas and I mentioned I have...

Apocalypse?

Latest signs of the Apocalypse : O.K., so I’m listening to the radio, some story on economics and financial trends and I hear the money guru on there talking about the latest thing in supermarkets is  cupholders in the supermarket carts, sometimes known as “buggies”.  And I’m thinking, “What?  We need cupholders to circulate around the grocery aisles?  Refreshment is...

You Retire, But Your Spouse Still Works

Your significant other may retire later than you do. Sometimes that reality reflects an age difference, other times one person wants to keep working for income or health coverage reasons. If you retire years before your spouse or partner does, you may want to consider how your lifestyle might change as well as your household finances. How will retiring affect...

Protecting Your Wine While on Tour

Usually this is the time of year when people start complaining about how hot it is outside and how they’ve had wine ruined because it was so hot. Thankfully this summer has been relatively cool but I know that someday we will see temperatures in the high 90’s. Before we get to enjoy those temperatures, I figured now would...

Cat Contest

Well, I’m certainly put out... disappointed... chagrined (Not you, Falls ites).  Whilst the Garrettsville SummerFest was tootling along its merry way, I was missing the grand convocation of the Great Lakes Region of the Cat Fanciers Association at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron last Saturday and Sunday.  The tractors, fire engines, unicyclists and French fries won...

Outdoor Living Spaces

Now that summer is finally here, it’s time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.  I hope that you are enjoying the warm weather and beginning to utilize your outdoor living space.  With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to discuss outdoor furniture.  So, let’s take a look at some common materials used...

Marc Pfenning