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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Columns & Editorials

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Isn’t technology wonderful?

Sports Illustrated reports that there is now a “Smart Sensor” basketball(94Fifty) full of God-only-knows what kind of sensors, nine of  ‘em, complete with circuit board, battery pack and Bluetooth relay—don’t ask—which will  do amazing things for your mastery of the game.  These sensors are processing whatever it is that’s happening with the ball, at your direction, of course, and...

The Annual Summer Solstice, Wine, Art and Music Festival

What an interesting Spring we have had – hot temperatures, frost, hot temperatures, cool temperatures, some rain, more hot temperatures – this weather certainly has been impressive this year. But the good news is the official start to summer is right around the corner – and that means one thing to me! The Annual Summer Solstice, Wine, Art and...

Puppy Tails

It had been quite a while since Doodle Dog found himself outside after dark. Though indeed quite curious most hours of the day, the little floppy-eared puppy always tried to make sure he was home, tucked safely in the office, before the sun went to bed and the street lamps lit up to take over its job for the...

Notes From The Vineyard

All of this talk about Champagne last week really put me into the holiday mood and the best way to celebrate the season was to go out and find some champagne to recommend for your holiday parties. I selected two bottles from the label of Domaine Ste Michelle which is located in the Columbia Valley in Washington State. During...

Meet Bob, he is a cool cat!

Bobcats, though seldom seen, are the most common wildcat in North America. The Bobcat, Lynx rufus, is named for its short, bobbed tail. They are medium-sized cats and are slightly smaller, but similar in appearance to their cousin, the lynx.  Rumors of Bobcats being seen on Headwaters Trail, in Pondbrook Conservation area west of Aurora, and several other areas...

Going, Going, Gone!

Well, going to an auction is often an adventure.  This last one, though, was more than I had bargained for. First of all, it was being held at what must, surely, have been the last--or nearly the last--farm in Aurora.  I saw a sign --kind of faded--that seemed to indicate that this was once the location of a working sugarbush...

OUTDOORS WITH SKIP…. Fishing the St. Lawrence Seaway

The St. Lawrence River is about an 8-hour drive from Mantua, Ohio.  It is the boundary between the U.S. and Canada from New York through Maine. The first 40 miles of the St. Lawrence from Lake Ontario eastward are also known as the Thousand Islands. This area has a mystique and aura about it, which is very much unlike...

Rocky Mountain High

With school now well underway, this will be the last of our articles in our series of getting out and experiencing Nearby Nature. As Matt indicated in the last article when he took us north to Pictured Rocks, I will take us west to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Yes, we know they are both a little more than...

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...

Key Considerations for Your Family’s Financial Future

What is the sign of a good decision?® It’s educating yourself and your children regarding finances to prepare for future financial needs. In today’s economy, families are facing increasing pressure to provide for their every day needs. It is important for parents to teach children in a way that gives them a chance for a better future than many parents feel...

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...

From Grandma Tr’ybl’s Table

This was one of our favorites that my father’s mother served in the early 60’s.  It was a wonderful meal served on potato dumplings, a mound of mashed potatoes or on freshly-made egg noodles. But most of a time, it was on Grandma’s very tasty potato dumplings (we will visit that recipe on a future visit.) As wonderful as this...

“In the book I’m reading, other characters call the main character the Sagehen. Why do you think they call her that?”

One of our patrons was enjoying “The Last Midwife” by Sandra Dallas, a work of historical fiction set in nineteenth-century Colorado. Gracy Brookens, the main character, is a midwife in a small mining town. Other characters sometimes refer to her as “the Sagehen.” Our first guess was that it was akin to calling Gracy a mother hen or a mama...

Plate City

Once upon a time, specific clerks dealt with specific operations and the issuer of license plates might be snowed under with people waiting and waiting, while the driver’s license clerk was able to sit at her leisure to examine the new nail color that she had chosen and tempers tended to shorten as the wait time lengthened. Well, that’s done with…and none too soon.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but having new eyes.”

In many of our articles we hope to give our readers a new set of eyes so as they can discover “nature” as they have never seen it before.  Most of our readers have been to Nelson Ledges State Park and are struck be amazing rock formations, but who would have thought that if you stand in the parking...

“I have a pregnant stray cat hanging around my house. How long until she has her babies? When can I get her fixed?”

Sources vary on how old they need to be, anywhere from eight weeks to twelve, so it’s best to check with your veterinarian and see what they recommend.

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,...

I’m Batman

Unfortunately when most people think of bats they are horrified with images of Dracula sucking the blood out of some poor woman’s neck.  They think of the caped crusader in the Bat Mobile saving Gotham City once again from the evil clutches of the Joker, a nocturnal creature flying  into your hair and getting tangled up in it, or...

Take Advantage of Your Freezer

The start of the New Year is a great motivation to make small changes to help make life run a little smoother. Since everyone must eat, one easy change to incorporate is in the area of meal preparation. This is where a little pre-planning can make your life a whole lot easier. Start by making modifications to recipes you...

“I inherited a Chandler pastel painting. Could you give me more information on the artist?”

If you’d like to see a Chandler painting in person, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown has “Scene in the Adirondacks” in its collection.

Beavers

As I write, the full Beaver Moon is dancing brightly behind passing clouds on a blustery Sunday (November 17) evening. Known as the Beaver Moon because this is the best time to set traps prior to the marshes freezing and because beavers are actively making preparations for winter. To celebrate the November full moon, let’s learn a little about...

How Will I Pay Estate Taxes?

Estate taxes. It’s not enough to simply know they exist, and to know strategies to minimize them. When it comes down to it, you need to plan how you and your family will eventuaally pay them. The Estate Tax Dilemma Estate taxes are generally due nine months after the date of death. And they are due in cash. In addition to...

Amen for Jacks!

Can I get an “AMEN!” out there? Keep your fingers crossed; Spring may actually be here this time.  For the occasion, all of the Jack-in-the-Pulpits at my place have climbed up to their little green lecterns and are  giving us palefaces H-E-double toothpicks for all they’re worth.  They are in the front where the ferns are finally unfurling, they are...

Nearby Nature

Finally some snow! How does the old song go “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go”….well something like that. Since we discussed the Christmas tree in our last article, we thought it would be fitting to discuss two other traditional botanical icons of the season, the poinsettia and holly. Sorry mistletoe…maybe next year. Did you Know!   • ...

“Do big cats like lions get hairballs?”

One of our patrons has been dealing with his cat’s hairballs as the weather warms up and the cat sheds more of its winter coat. Since they groom themselves by licking their coats just like their domestic cousins, wild cats have this same undignified issue. Hair typically passes through a cat’s digestive system without causing an issue, but sometimes...

Law & Government

Since it is Christmas, we are shopping.  For most of us, that also means we do not have much money and so we shop with credit cards.  Some stores offer “zero interest” on a purchase or on a credit card.  But be cautious!  Read the fine print and get all of the details. I had a client recently who made...

Oops

The expression “oops” is a very useful one. However, there are times when one really, Really, REALLY does not wish to hear it...or...

“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...

Memorial Trash

Another Trick-or-Treat for adults? I am referring, of course, to the semi-annual trash pick-up in the village—not to be confused with the weekly services provided (paid for on an individual residence basis) to dispose of our pitch-worthy household detritus and garbage.  Garbage Eve is observed every Wednesday night; no carol-singing or candles in the windows that I know of. The Trash...

Ragnarok

Well, here we go again.  The Mayan “end of the world” didn’t pan out, so, now we can look forward to the Viking Apocalypse. It seems that in some enormously long poem in Norse mythology written in the 13th century by( Here’s a name to conjure with) Snorri Sturlson, the gods of just about everything and nothing have a whopper...

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...

Top 5 gifts for wine lovers

As is my yearly tradition, my husband and I were one of the insane that went shopping on Black Friday. For us, it’s not about getting...

Making and Keeping Financial Resolutions

How will your money habits change in 2016? What decisions or behaviors might help your personal finances, your retirement prospects, or your net worth? Each year presents a “clean slate,” so as one year ebbs into another, it is natural to think about what you might do (or do differently) in the 12 months ahead. Financially speaking, what New Year’s resolutions...

Ohio Wines

Save the date – Vintage Ohio (and a little brew too) is August 4th and 5th this year. What is Vintage Ohio you ask? It is Ohio’s largest wine festival featuring only Ohio wines and beers held at Lake FarmPark in Kirtland, Ohio. Enjoy the day sampling wines or beers from over 10 Ohio wineries and a couple Ohio...

The Big Fandango

So here I am at the BIG FANDANGO at the Longaberger Basket Outlet Store at Aurora Premium Outlets and I’m making a basket…me, Little Miss Craftperson, whose biggest venture into crafts was probably when I used to make  molds out of modeling clay and pour plaster-of-paris horse heads, later hand-painted, as gift items for favored individuals (Mom still has...

Money Concerns for Those Remarrying: What financial factors deserve attention?

Some of us will marry again in retirement. How many of us will thoroughly understand the financial implications that may come with tying the knot later in life? Many baby boomers and seniors will consider financial factors as they enter into marriage, but that consideration may be all too brief.  There are significant money issues to keep in mind when...

Puppy Tails

As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up And here we meet a sleepy pup, Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day, Then saw The Villager and decided to stay. Tucked cozily in his blanket, the warm fabric wrapped extra tightly around his toes, Doodle Dog peered out the window to the town streets where the fluffy snow was...

Spring Battles On

He stands erect, like the captain of a ship, gazing out the upstairs window at the sea of lawn that surrounds our home. “We’re under attack!” he bellows. “I didn’t work by butt off all this time to let those worthless grubs destroy the yard I worked so hard to grow.” I ask him to calm down. My protests...

Cicadas Back by Popular Demand… Not!

As we make the transition from spring into summer, the wildflowers are fading, flowering trees and shrubs are ablaze in color, and the mosquitoes, deer flies, and other insects are making their presence known in one way or the other. We are all too familiar with the biting and blood sucking insects that cause us so much irritation, but...

Wise Decisions with Retirement in Mind Certain financial & lifestyle choices may lead you toward a better future.

Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want, others don’t. Fate aside, it isn’t merely a matter of stock market performance or investment selection that makes the difference. There are certain dos and don’ts – some less apparent than others – that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort.  Retire financially literate. Some retirees don’t know how much they...

Notes From The Vineyard

It’s been a good year, actually, let me rephrase that – it’s been a GREAT year! Sure, this year has definitely put up a good fight...

Cookies

Like many of you, our family and employees are saddened by the loss our town suffered this past weekend. We have grown to know many of the business owners and their families over the years and are working with the fundraising groups in Garrettsville to host a number of events. More details will be posted to our website as...

Lions and Tigers and Bears oh my….no dear it’s just a coyote!

I can still vividly remember the first time I saw a coyote; it was at the gravel pit where I worked during the summer behind the Red Fox housing development in Shalersville. The game protector informed the plant manager that a coyote had been killing young calves on a neighbors beef farm. He gave us permission to kill the...

Help Protect Your Assets

Lawsuits have become increasingly common in our society. From 1951 through 2009, the cost of torts (civil suits) rose at more than double the annual rate of general inflation and even surpassed the annual increase in medical expenses. In this litigious environment, it is especially important to protect your assets and your future income. If you entertain often, have a...

How Much Will Health Care Cost in Retirement?

What is the sign of a good decision?® It’s managing health care costs and your retirement outlook. Health care costs rank as one of retirees’ biggest financial concerns. But the sooner you plan for this cost, the better you’ll feel about your retirement security. Keep in mind, too, that the chances of those costs being offset by retiree health care insurance...

Notes From The Vineyard

Is anyone else sick and tired of winter yet? Spring officially sprang this week but unfortunately I think the Cleveland area missed that memo, so here we are surviving with cold temperatures and potentially more snow. The cold temperatures and extra moisture has lead to a very popular topic amongst the wineries – “how are your vineyards doing?” Thankfully, the...

Puppy Tails

The sky was clear as Doodle Dog padded along the sidewalk, no clouds or hot air balloons to be found today! He had somewhere on his mind – some place very special he hoped – and he was determined to sniff it out. When Doodle Dog had finally peered over the basket edge and spotted all the places he’d...

Reflections…

Heroes have been celebrated in song and story for generations and millennia.  One local hero has lately left us--too soon--and three songs/poems come to mind. #1.  Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1879 “Pirates of Penzance” contains a “patter song” titled “The Major-General’s Song” in which the gentleman referred to sings, ”I am the very model of a modern major-general.” Now Craig Moser would...

Notes From The Vineyard

I love art festivals! I love walking around looking at some of the most interesting sculptures, still life drawing and “recycled” art. The last theme is one of my favorites. I will never understand how someone can take what I would consider garbage (old milk jugs, tires and plastic bags) and turn it into a work of art. So imagine...

Where do mental health services fit in the debate over how to reduce community and school violence? Have a comment?

Since the school deaths in Connecticut, our nation has seen more school and community violence, as well as the ramping up of the debate over guns and, just as importantly, over mental health services. Portage has an array of mental health treatment services for children, teens and families supported through funding by the Mental Health & Recovery Board. The...

Marc Pfenning