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I have attended so many wine and cheese parties since opening the winery that it has been very difficult to keep track of which cheeses I have tried and which wine I have tried. When I first started to attend these parties I would try to remember which wines and which cheeses I really liked so I could get them in the store. But unfortunately by the time I got home I had forgotten the name or label.
Pretty soon I started to keep a small notebook in my purse and would write down the wine or cheese variety as soon as I tried it. Of course my friends snickered at my notebook when I first started carrying it around but now they usually call me the day after a party asking what kind of wine we drank or where could they buy the cheese that was served.
So during a recent wine and cheese pairing someone asked me for my top three cheese recommendations and which Candlelight wines I would pair with them. After looking through all of my notes, here are my top three recommendations.
My third place cheese is Brie. I love the creamy texture of Brie and how versatile it can be. Since Brie can be served plain on crackers, placed on top of apple slices or even be used as a cracker dip there are so many ways to pair almost any wine with this cheese. However, one of my favorite combinations is to wrap a wheel of Brie in a puff pastry, top with honey and walnuts and bake it until the pastry is golden brown. I’ve tasted this combination with both our red and white wines and found that the Candlelight Red is a great compliment to this wine.
For second place, slices of Smoked Gouda rise to the top of my list. I love the smoky flavor of this cheese and how thick the texture is. While there are many recipes that call for a Smoked Gouda I am old fashioned when it comes to Smoked Gouda. Simply pairing a few slices of the Gouda with an oaked Chardonnay really make my day. If I am really hungry I will make a grilled ham and gouda sandwich and enjoy that with my wine, otherwise a few slices will do.
Finally, my favorite cheese is one that we feature quite often at the winery – Adams Reserve Sharp Cheddar. This aged cheddar is amazing. While many people get scared by the word “sharp” it is quite smooth for a cheddar cheese. We have made many recipes with this cheese so it is difficult to comment on just one recipe to feature, however, we have all agreed at the winery that this pairs the best with our Sangiovese wine. The combination of a dry red wine and the “sharpness” of the cheese really tantalizes your taste buds.
Next time you are shopping at your local grocery store, be sure to stop in the cheese section and pick up one of these cheeses. See what combinations work best for you!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

Spell Check can’t do everything.
I was at the Farmers’ Market at Robinson the other day.  Small but interesting; an assortment of vendors with  good stuff.  Dave Stotler had Lodi apples, good for the first apple pies of the season.   A lady from Randolph was there with a food truck that had been featured on WKSU’s “Quick Bites”.  Great Harvest bakery from Stow had pepperoni rolls and breads—some on order—available.  A couple of tents had produce of various kinds( One had some plants labeled “Sweet Pea” tomatoes; I was tempted ) tomatoes, squash, the usual.  Mantua Gardens had offerings of their hydroponic lettuces, which looked fabulous, by the way.  Jo’s Kettle Corn was fresh, salty, sweet, crunchy, just what it should be and terribly addicting.  One young woman was working her way through cooking school by—what else—cooking…well, baking, actually.  She had some tasty cookies and I’m always in favor of education, so….  Another pair of entrepreneurs had offerings that they called  “Tiny Treats” or “Mini Munchies” or some such thing, implying that the items were small and tasty, which they were.

It seems, as of late, my Facebook and Twitter are nothing but wedding announcements, baby shower pictures and photo tours of nearly empty apartments sparsely decorated with Ikea’s finest. Don’t get me wrong, I too like to gloat about my latest accomplishment and achievements but are we all playing one big game of Keeping Up With The  Kardashians  Jones’? As most people know I am a Reality TV connoisseur and have discovered the gem that is Princesses: Long Island. For anyone unfamiliar with this program, it profiles a group of women in their late 20s/early 30s still living at home and looking to get married, start a business or find their own place to live…so basically where I hope not to be in 5 years. Not one episode goes by without tears and subsequent confessions of feeling inadequate generally brought on by another castmate’s engagement or a mother’s inquiry into a nonexistent love life. These tearful breakdowns used to elicit a good chuckle from me and thoughts that usually sound something like “what a loser. Who cares if your childhood bff is getting married?” until I wondered if we are all secretly throwing pity parties for ourselves every time someone posts their newest accomplishment for the world to see? Anyone will tell you no, but deep down we all feel a pang of defeat that we keep suppressed for fear of looking like a lunatic (although if that’s what it takes to become a Bravo star then sign me up for a few on-air meltdowns!). Whether or not we want to attain this same milestone as our friend at the exact same moment in our lives is moot. What matters here is that someone seems to be achieving something that you are not.
Let’s look, for example, at my friend Jackie who is 24, married one year and just closed on a new home with her new hubby. On one hand I’m thrilled that she is so happy and is well on her way to full fledged adulthood but on the other hand I’m sitting here wondering “what am I doing wrong that I’m not a homeowner and a married woman at 23?” and then on another hand (shoot…I don’t have three hands. Well, whatever) I don’t want to be tied down to a home and/or marriage right now so why the feelings of failure? Because we’re disproportionally inundated with these types of posts so naturally thoughts start to spiral out of control but rarely do we stop and think about the things we don’t see on social media that bring our seemingly perfect friends back to mortal status. When was the last time you saw someone bragging about overdrawing a checking account or being stood up on a date? Never, because no one wants to look like anything less than a perfect person living in a perfect world! If social media painted us a truly real picture of everyone’s lives I can’t help but think how differently we would all feel. No longer would we feel the pressure to hurry our lives along or live up to someone else’s expectations but rather we can feel truly happy for the people in our lives that are experiencing that is so great…for them.

In times like these, good decisions matter. And when you have a need for life insurance, you should consider whole life and its flexibility. To begin with, of course, there’s the guaranteed death benefit, which can help give you peace of mind by assuring a legacy for your heirs. But there are other benefits as well.
For example, the build-up of a policy’s cash value is also guaranteed, and can help to give you a reliable source of supplemental retirement income regardless of market conditions.1 And with all the volatility in investment markets and the economy, whole life can help make your retirement more secure. You can depend on your policy’s guaranteed cash value growing to a specified amount over time.
And you can customize your whole life policy to fit your needs with optional riders that provide even more features and benefits,2 and even increase your whole life insurance coverage with evidence of good health.3
To make sure you get the right solution for your needs, it’s a good idea to work with a trusted financial professional.
© 2011 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company 01111-0001
1Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.  2. Riders are available at an additional cost.
3.  If you own a MassMutual term life insurance policy or certain riders, you may be able to convert your term coverage to whole life coverage without evidence of good health.

I am amazed at  how quickly time flies when you’re having fun! So I am more amazed on how much fun we have had in the past 9 years! From the day we opened our doors on August 13, 2004,  every moment of having the winery has been exciting. Sure – some of those moment have been challenging (especially the moments Mother Nature has thrown at us), but nevertheless each moment has gotten us to where we are today.
As we have in years past, we will celebrate the 9th anniversary on Saturday, August 10th with a huge benefit for Ohio Pug Rescue. For those of you that do not know the story, our pug Mynde, passed away suddenly on the winery’s first anniversary. Shortly after her passing, our other pug Mork, needed a companion so we reached out to Ohio Pug Rescue and adopted two more pugs, Ellie and Truman. Every year since Mynde’s passing, we have celebrated with a benefit to Ohio Pug Rescue.
We will open the winery to all friendly dogs and their owners to enjoy wine (especially our Pink Pug wine and Pink Pug Sangria), live music by local favorite Steve Vanderink, food by two great food trucks – Stone Pelican Rolling Café and The Rolling Pig, shop over 15 vendors, enter to win some great raffle prizes and so much more! We will have everything set up outside by our pond so bring some lawn chairs or a blanket to enjoy the day with us.
The day is dedicated to all dogs (pugs especially!) with music, food, Pug Wine and of course plenty of dogs. So if you have a special dog, plan on joining us on August 10th from 2pm – 10pm. All friendly dogs are welcome!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

“Tis the season!
For just about everything, I guess.  The other day, a container of blueberries and two squash magically appeared on my front porch sitting on some literature from the Jehovah’s Witnesses or some other well-meaning group and next to the comic strip umbrella from the AB-J.  Tasty stuff!  Then the model neighbors on the corner (You know who you are, Wittes) appeared with a tender little summer squash and a trio of blackberries that could have filled half a cup (We’ll never know now, will we?)

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.

Today is going to be a great day! Well, it BETTER be! Doodle Dog thought as he took a quick sip from his shiny silver water bowl and a quicker bite of kibble from his bright red dish, barely stopping to crunch it between his teeth before he zipped off to a corner of the office towering with boxes. There was a lot to do in that little corner and Doodle Dog was excited to check one more thing off his Doggie To-Do List!
The current project on his list was to clean up his area of the office, but over the last couple of years it seemed random objects had decided to make his home THEIR home too and had simply invited themselves into whatever spare space had once existed between Doodle Dog’s comfy, fuzzy blanket and basket of chewy toys and his neighbor: the bookcase overflowing with his favorite stories. Doodle Dog didn’t want to be unfriendly, but those uninvited objects were starting to overstay their welcome and he really needed his nice clean area back. Perhaps with a little nudge in the right direction, they would migrate back to wherever they had come from or, if not, then find a new place entirely!
With all the right intentions and his goal firmly in mind, Doodle Dog approached his mission at hand with all the gusto of somepuppy who knew exactly what he wanted and exactly how to get it, but as the little fluffy form that is Doodle Dog came nearer to the towering stacks of boxes, the little floppy-eared puppy realised just HOW big and menacing this project appeared! His early confidence quickly fading, Doodle Dog gulped and stopped right in his tracks, wrapping his tail around his front paws as he stared up at the mountain in front of him. A mountain that he was sure was growing and expanding into quite a scary kind of monster right in front of his eyes! Doodle Dog hadn’t bargained for this! But he knew there was a job to be done and he couldn’t back down now, so after he let himself be scared for a moment, the little floppy-eared puppy mustered his courage and imagined that the mound-of-mess-monster was no bigger than a molehill mouse (whether it was true or not!) and, just for good measure, he also imagined that he was not, in fact, a puppy of small size but was actually, for the time being at least, quite a bit braver, stronger and smarter than he seemed a moment ago.

In the last installment of Nearby Nature we discussed the Portage Park District and the idea of one tank trips where you can go out and discover and explore some of the plants, birds, or trees we have highlighted in the past year and a half. A few months ago, we also talked about “special places” and the memories and experiences at these places. In this edition, we will highlight four “special places”, at least to this writer: Holden Arboretum, Penitentiary Glen, Hell’s Hollow, and Cooks Forest State Park. Three of the four are in the Lake County and the fourth is in western Pennsylvania. All are well within the one tank limit and are more than worthy of spending the day hiking, picnicking, and enjoying Nearby Nature.

Here’s one of those little known facts about a place in the Garrettsville community that maybe you didn’t know about because you can’t see it and you’re not an old car person. It’s not obvious; it’s in a barn behind a spacious older house.  The only tipoff you might notice is a brightly colored blue and white 1956 Studebaker Champion off to the side in the yard. Studebaker always made flashy, sometimes oddball color schemes, and you notice the car from the road.  If you pull down the driveway you will encounter a fairly nice, sedately gray-brown bathtub 1940s Packard in the drive and a couple other old cars and trucks. …… And cats!

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 grow slimmer each year – as fewer and fewer employers extend health care benefits to retirees.

What a great summer this has been! Most of the days have been hot and most of the nights have been cool, I couldn’t ask for a better summer so far! What has been making this summer great though is all of the time I have been able to spend with friends on the weekends. We’ve had planned parties, we’ve had parties that people just stopped over and we’ve had a few parties that we crashed.
We almost always have wine with us on each occasion which usually presents the challenge of what to bring when I may not know the menu. So I came up with some quick tips to help you bring the right wine to your next event.
I love sparkling wine or champagne. To me it’s a fun drink. Not only is the texture of sparkling wine fun but just the thought of drinking something bubbly gets people in a good mood. You don’t need to be celebrating anything special to have a sparkling wine, however, too many people save it for a special occasion. I usually bring a Brut champagne with me since it is neutral in flavors and can pair well with anything from appetizers to desserts.
Of course I have to bring a dry red wine with me. My trick here is to bring something you like, not something you think the host would like. Too many times I have gone to a gathering where there is usually sweet wine on the tables because that is what the host drank. Sure, it’s nice to bring something for the host but I try to get my friends to try something different and expand their horizons. I make sure that the bottle is opened while I am there so the host doesn’t feel the need to save it for another occasion and drink something that they may not like.
Finally, depending on the size of the gathering I will bring in a dry Riesling. A crisp Riesling can easily be paired with a variety of dishes without overpowering the meal. I love to add a slice of strawberry from the fruit salad to the glass to enjoy with dessert. It’s a great glass of wine for sitting back and spending time with friends and family.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

My, how Time flies!
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
So, if the line above is an example of  a “garden path sentence” or syntactic ambiguity or  a pun, a double entendre or an antanaclasis—well, it would be, wouldn’t it—possibly by that great linguist, Groucho Marx, these recent weeks have been an example of pandemonium! (from the Greek, all demons; a wild uproar)  One thing right after another.
Got the haircut for the class reunion.  Went to the class reunion.  Got new recipe ideas.  Didn’t look like the most infirm in attendance.  Successful reunion.

It’s funny to take a few minutes to read past articles of mine. For example, I found the original article from 2008 when I first announced the Candlelight Cove Light Show. I boasted that with about 10,000 lights, we had synchronized them to a couple of songs and had a great family friendly event for everyone on Friday nights. The 2009 article had more promise for the show as we added some new features, doubled the amount of lights to 20,000 lights and added some new colored lights to the show. 2010 was an exciting year as we added a 15 foot mega tree that alone had 10,000 lights and the show grew to 40,000 lights. Finally last year we announced the addition of LED lights and 60,000 lights total.
So this year when my husband asked if we were in over our heads with lights I had to laugh as I started to write this article. In our 5th year of light shows we have completely switched from the standard “Christmas Lights” to 70,000 LED lights! The color opportunities are endless now and the effects we can create just from the lights are amazing. Similar to the Fountain Show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the Candlelight Cove Light Show has been programmed to a series of patriotic songs for your enjoyment.
This year’s light show will officially kick off on Friday, July 12th at dusk (for those of you who were lucky enough to see the sneak peek, come on out to check out the full show!). Nestled between the hillside and the winery, Candlelight Cove will be THE place to relax outside and enjoy the night sky in Garrettsville. Imagine as dusk settles around Garrettsville, you are sitting back and relaxing with your favorite wine from the winery as you watch the lights dance around the pond and entryway.
On Fridays we are family-friendly (kids must be supervised) and we offer a kids food menu of chicken nuggets, an ice cream sundae bar, cornhole, glow sticks, Frisbees and more to play with before the show starts. On Saturdays we gear the evening towards the adults; live music starts every Saturday at 7:30 and at least once a month gourmet food truck, The Rolling Pig, will be parked outside serving dinner!
So join us on every Friday and Saturday at dusk for this summer’s light show! Feel free to bring your families, friends and neighbors and a picnic basket to enjoy while you watch the show (just leave the drinks to us).

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

It’s no surprise that graduates at all levels of education are having a difficult time finding suitable employment where they can truly use what we paid good money for. Yes, there are jobs to be had but who wants to take their costly diploma to a job where they can’t even make enough money to pay the minimum student loan payment? Certainly not myself or anyone I know. If you’re like me, you have parents willing to let you move back home until you manage to get a career off the ground or start another journey into higher education. However, not everyone is as fortunate as myself…or willing to live in their childhood bedroom again and those people (whether justified or not) are going to extreme lengths to live as a “mature, sophisticated adult”.  One such example is one of my best friends, Katie who just recently moved to Africa to volunteer for the Peace Corps for 27 months. As you all don’t know Katie, let me paint this picture before we go any further. Katie is born and raised in New Jersey with parents that work in NYC, was a member of my sorority and is an all around city girl. Because Katie was unable to find employment beyond a day care and bank (fine places to work but not with a comparative studies degree from an out of state school, no less) so she enlisted in the Peace Corps to teach gender studies to village children.  While the rest of us will continue to send out resumes and apply to various graduate schools, Katie will have to bleach her water before drinking, may or may not have electricity and will have to remember to take her daily malaria pills. Which is worse, being underemployed or living like a pilgrim? Apparently for Katie the former was a fate she was destined not to meet.
Before our dear friend departed to the straw huts and desert of Africa, a group of us spent the weekend in New York City shopping and treating Katie to one of her last typical outings for the next 2+ years. From the time Katie told me her plans via text message (how ironic) I constantly bombarded her with questions on how she would pack, live and most importantly stay safe so far from home. Most of her answers made me laugh, some -ok all- made me cringe and some were just so absurd I thought ‘this must be a joke’.  If the idea of a grand adventure sounds appealing, I suggest you read a few of my favorite questions and answers below. Of course, I’ll be emailing a copy of this letter to Katie as I don’t know her hut address and I want her to read this before Christmas.
Q: Katie, you said that 1 in 4 people will have electricity. What about plumbing? How will you use the bathroom?
A: Yep, a hole in the ground.
Q: I’ll email you so know what’s going on. When can you check your email?
A:  Depending on where I’m placed, the village will be anywhere between 2 and 6 hours away on overcrowded buses on dirt roads. If they have internet, I’ll check then.
Q: Do they pay you?
A: Yes, $14 a week. I can buy food with that but I might learn to garden. Maybe I’ll have a hot plate. Who knows!
Q: Be careful, aren’t there dangerous animals?
A: Not sure, but people say they keep monkeys as pets.

English has some very unusual phrases that the patrons and staff of the Newton Falls Public Library have found to be interesting.
Our search began in the library’s reference collection.  On the cover of Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green, which is, according to Evening Star Standard  reviewer Jonathan Meades says “. . . a terrific piece of work – learned, entertaining, funny , stimulating.” It has 1312 pages of definitions, from  “a n. 1[20C](W.I./Guyn.) a general term for dislike. 2 [1940+] (US) used as euphemism for ARSE” to zweideener n. [late 19C] (Aus./N.Z.) a two-shilling (10p) piece.” Our library staff was intrigued. Some of the words have a great variety of meanings. For example, dog has 34 entries, and 56 definitions.  It was interesting to browse through the book and see that it includes slang from as far back as the 16th century up to modern day.  “Like white on rice,” the expression, for which we were searching, came into common usage in 1980 and continues to be used today.  The origins of  the phrase is attributed to US Black.  It is defined as “very closely [rice is white itself]”.

For answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls or phone 330-872-1282. For information about all the free library programs or hours, visit our website at www.newtonfalls.org or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewtonFallsLibrary.

“Are we there yet,” she said? It’s about 440 miles to Clayton, New York from our house. “I think we have gone five miles”, I said to Emma, my nine-year-old Granddaughter. “We’ve got a ways to go yet.” Nine years old is a great age to be; no worries about how you look to others, or for that matter, how you sound to others.  “I’m going fishing with my Dad and Grandparents. I have them all to myself, just me” (no sister to compete with). Then she resumed regaling us with the bottles of beer song.

You know, the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”  Ain’t it the truth!
The Villager took a brief hiatus on the Fourth, giving staff and media stars (That’s you, Benjamin.) a little time to set off and/or observe firecrackers and recoup after all of the frenetic activity of the SummerFest—BEST EVER—and come out swinging for the rest of the summer, which has lots of activities yet to go.  I thought this was great, as I had a(also brief) report on the Annual Conference of the Methodists of East Ohio to give in church on Sunday and a duet of fireworks presentations for the Independence Day holiday(after the SummerFest fireworks on the 29th), following two separate junkets to Playhouse Square to see “Book of Mormon “ and “Guys and Dolls”.  I even missed the retirement party at the PCDL.  Geez, the thought of some down time seemed just fine to me.
But then I just got backed up on the opening events for July.

“I remember many years ago that there were a pair of pianists who played the song Exodus. Can you find me their names?”  Some of the more mature library staff also remembered the pair and that their initials were F & T, but nothing more.
The online search for the words “dual pianists played Exodus” brought immediate results. The Wikipedia article,  Ferrante & Teicher [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrante_%26_Teicher] gave us the names, as well as a link to their official website, www.ferranteandteicher.com.  The site noted that their careers spanned five decades, they performed in over 5,400 concerts attended by over 18 million people, recorded 150 original record albums, received 22 gold and platinum record awards and sold more than 90 million recordings.  The biographical information given at AllMusic.com, states that they met and began to perform together while students at Julliard (School of Music).
Also noted in the Wikipedia article was an interesting bit of trivia about the duo; in the 1950s the two students practiced in the home of Constance Neidhart Tallarico “pianist who studied at the Peabody Conservatory” and was grandmother of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler [Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith by Aerosmith with Stephen Davis, pp. 19-20.]  A copy of this book, as well as CDs of the pair’s music are available through the Clevnet shared catalog.

For answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls or phone 330-872-1282. For information about all the free library programs or hours, visit our website at www.newtonfalls.org or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewtonFallsLibrary.

We are finally into summer and with July 4th rapidly approaching many people are looking for something different to serve at their holiday picnics. They love wine but after a busy (and extremely hot) summer, sometimes wine just doesn’t cut it. What does one do in an extreme case like this??? Turn to Sangria of course.
Sangria, or wine punch, is a great way to entertain large groups or just cool off by the pool. All you need is a punch bowl, some wine, some fruit, a carbonated drink and another liqueur. Sangria is sold in bottles today but homemade Sangria tends to be a lot more exciting and you have the option to add/subtract as much wine as you want. Also, my favorite part of making Sangria is that you can make the usual version with red wine or you can experiment with white wine (which is called Sangria Blanca). If you did a search on Sangria recipes, you would be overwhelmed with responses. This is why I like Sangria, there is no “one” recipe so you get to make your own as you go.
For those of you that are need a quick easy recipe, let me give you a couple here.

We all remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where the bears come home to find “someone has been sleeping in my bed.” Well, during the months of June and July in Northeast Ohio, some night you might come home to find a bear sleeping in your bed! At a recent ODNR presentation, it was noted that Portage County has the highest number of confirmed sightings of all counties in northeast Ohio. According to ODNR, in 2011 statewide, there were 152 confirmed sighting representing 89 individual bears.

So…the lightning storm took out the computers—desk top, laptop, probably the remote control for the alarm clock, for all I know—and the Villager deadline is looming on Monday.  What  to do?  What to do?
The schedule is filling up : The computer guru who is working on the problem will be arriving with his bag of magic spells and incantations,( no masks or sacrificial animals) as well as new hardware to replace the fried bits and the ones clogged by cat hair.  There’s a stint as the sous chef for a lunch at church following an untimely funeral.  Evening begins with a rousing session of the regular meeting of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary at the Kennedy Center, Hiram College.  Garrettsville SummerFest is coming!  The week end will be full.  Not to mention the Goldfire Realty Tractor Parade, there’s the GRAND PARADE, with Barb Bejger as Grand Marshal.  How GRAND is that?  Rehearsals for the Community Band at Hiram’s Fourth of July festivities.  Two engagement for “the theatah”  this week.  No rest for the wicked, as my dad used to say.

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.

Steam rose from the pavement covering the street outside the office window and little drops of dew that happened to plop on the sidewalk sizzled away within seconds. Summer was definitely here and it was definitely hot! Doodle Dog watched from inside his cool corner of the cozy couch, calmly guarding his little piece of air-conditioned earth. The floppy-eared puppy could see some of the townspeople walking very, very slowly so not to become too exhausted that they couldn’t make it home and some walking very, very quickly to find a cool place to relax as soon as possible. If Doodle Dog let his imagination get away from him, it might almost appear that some of the people were melting right into the concrete! First their shoes, then their socks, then the rest of them as they became shorter and shorter and shorter! His thoughts were so vivid that Doodle Dog almost began to think that HE was sinking too! But Doodle Dog shook his floppy ears and remembered where he was, on the comfy couch, simply sinking into the squishy cushions, and remembered that the people weren’t actually sinking into the street. Whew!
Doodle Dog looked at the left side of the couch cushion creeping up next to his front paw and at the right side of the couch cushion sneaking up by his tail. He knew he wasn’t really supposed to be up there in the first place, but the very middle of the couch was so very comfy that he decided he would let himself squish right down with it anyway, and sank a little bit deeper.

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 they have today. Parents may want to talk about finances so their children feel confident with financial decisions later in life.
A 2011 study commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and conducted by Forbes Consulting Group as part of the State of the American Family series studied family financial decision makers with responsibility for at least one child.

The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the importance of this information to home gardeners, so they can determine the best selection of plants for our growing season.

We showed our patron Ortho’s Complete Guide to Vegetables by Jacqueline Hériteau which has several pages of descriptions of various tomatoes with growing periods.  Our patron stated that he wanted a printed sheet, and would like us to look online for the information.

The website, Harvest to Table Plant Prepare Preserve has the article, How to Choose a Tomato for Your Garden by Steve Albert (February 28, 2009) [www.harvesttotable.com/2009/02/how_to_choose_a_tomato_for_pla]. The included chart has more than 100 tomatoes. The tomatoes are either early-harvest, main-crop, or late-season.  Albert also notes whether they are determinate (bushy) and indeterminate (vining) varieties, the days to maturity, and growing suggestions and use.  This was exactly the information our patron needed.

When his bumper crop of tomatoes comes in, the staff also recommended The Tomato Festival Cookbook: 150 recipes that make the most of your crop of lush, vine-ripened, sun-warmed, fat, juicy, ready-to-burst heirloom tomatoes by Lawrence Davis-Hollander and

Food in Jars: preserving in small batches year-round by Marisa McClellan. McClellan’s book is excellent for beginners as it focuses on small batches that are easy projects for those unfamiliar with canning.

Holy Mackerel, the South’s gonna rise again, in Hiram!  Well, maybe not THAT Robert E. Lee, but never-the-less, Mr. Bob Lee has a 1948 Chevrolet coupe sitting in front of the garage at the white house high on the hill on Rt. 82 coming into Hiram.  I saw the roofline—that old ‘40s car roofline—out of the corner of my eye one day as my wife and I were going to the college athletic center.  I made a mental note to knock on the door one day and find out about that car.  As luck would have it Bob called me about one of the old car articles.

It’s no secret that the quality of wine is really up to Mother Nature every year so it’s no surprise how many times I have been asked how the grapes are doing this year. In past years we were spoiled with hot temperatures and little rain but unfortunately last year and this year we are seeing quite the opposite weather patterns. The late frosts, the cooler temperatures, an increase in rain fall and the amount of wind we are receiving in each storm has caused some challenges for this year’s production.

Grapes grow the best when they are slightly stressed searching for water and cooler temperatures. The amount of sunlight allows the grapes to produce higher levels of sugar in the grape clusters. Given the limited amount of sunlight and the rain and high humidity this is causing a greater chance for disease in the grapevines.  We combat this problem with a spray program that has been more frequent than last year due to current conditions.

While I do not mind the cooler temperatures, it starts to make the perfect combination for the bugs to come out and weeds to grow around the base of the vines.  We’ve already sprayed for ants who like to eat the baby that are currently growing on the vines. The next pest we expect to see are the Japanese beetles who love to eat grape leaves.  We are also currently spraying for diseases that love high humidity, such as powdery mildew.  Also a threat are the Asian lady beetles (a form of the ladybug), but they will not make an appearance till later in the year. All of this varies depending on the variety of grapes planted and their level of susceptibility to the diseases.

Since we are still recovering from the late frost and as we continue to spray for diseases, bugs and weeds, we are monitoring the vineyard to maintain great quality grapes and look forward to find out what future harvests will bring us

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…how’s that for original thought?

I went to my computer, the desktop, which is one of the newer dinosaurs, as compared to the iPads and tablets and such, intending to turn it on and get started on my weekly offering of deathless prose and witty repartee before journeying off into the wilds of assembled Methodist doings.  

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We can do better, America. We have to do better. Our nation is facing a serious plight that we have put up with for far too long. Someone has to speak up against the pain of peanutbuttery knuckles, stale cereal and smashed bread. 

High school classrooms tend to follow a similar pattern: students arrive to class, sit in rows, listen to the teacher and take notes, memorize the information, and take the test. All of this is usually accomplished in periods lasting about 45 minutes. At the end of the period, the bell rings and students move en mass to the next class. State and national learning standards guide the teaching of nearly all classes and subject areas and the goal is to prepare students for success on chapter and unit tests, and the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). The OGT is one of the measures of successful schools and a requirement to receive a high school diploma. 

In times like these, good decisions matter. And when it comes to protecting a portion of your income from disability risks, it’s important to base your decision on the facts. In the case of disability, some of those facts might surprise you.

For example, more than one-quarter of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire.1 And if you are covered by a group disability income policy through your employer, you might not know about the likely gap between your policy’s benefits and your family’s actual needs.

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Dating is brutal. Finding that special someone who doesn’t drive you to commit an act that will grant you 25 to life in federal prison is a daunting task. I have had my fair share of losers and “did that really just happen?” moments but today is not about me; today is about one of my friends who just isn’t good at dating.

Just in time for the summer cooking-out season, the Hormel company has now fessed up to producing ten–that’s 10 different kinds of SPAM.  Well, who’d a thunk it? 

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 evening. It was then, on this particular occasion, just a bit unusual that as the shade of the sky deepened into a blue so dark it was almost violet Doodle Dog was not, in fact, inside his warm blanket in his favorite corner of the office, but was actually still admiring nature’s morphing ceiling… under the earth’s soft covering that is the sky itself!

2013 is certainly flying by! I’m not sure if it’s Spring, Summer or Fall any more so it’s hard to believe it’s already June! 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 Music Festival is almost here!

It was the best of days; it was the worst of days. It was a day that we had been looking forward to since last September. This was the first time we could get out fishing this spring, and it was long overdue! Because of our cold spring the fish have been slow to begin to bite. And probably more due to the prolonged cold weather, I have been slow to get out and see if they are biting. But finally we seem to have broken winter’s back and have had a run of warm days. Because Lake Erie is indeed very slow to warm up—little is biting around Cleveland and east– we went to Mosquito Reservoir where, if you follow the fishing blogs, and the Plain Dealer accounts, the walleye and crappie are reported to be very active. And because it was a very warm, sunny weekend many, many other people evidently felt the same way. As bad luck would have it there was a two-day bass tournament going on as well. We didn’t know that! We thought it would be over on Saturday.

It wasn’t pretty.

The brain trust here at the Weekly Villager sallied forth to adventures in orthography by participating in the22nd Annual Community Spelling Bee for Literacy, co-sponsored by the Portage County Literacy Coalition Community Partners at the NEOMED Conference Center on Friday, May 24, 20013.  And fourth…maybe fifth… was about where we wound up…out of five.

As I mentioned last week, what a month May has been; warm temperature, cool temperatures, hot days and some really cold nights. After I mentioned that we lost most of our vines to the frost some of you noticed that are few vines looked like they were coming back. We had a glimmer of hope that we might get something from the vines… but Mother Nature took control. The beginning of May showed a lot of promise for a great crop season for us. The warmer temperatures early in the month allowed us to be out in the vineyard pruning, weeding and cleaning up from the winter. 

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 there is another insect that can almost drive people to insanity due to its constant-saw like droning; the cicadae. There are 170 species of cicadas in North America, 2000 in the world, and they inhabit every continent except Antarctica. There are three types of cicadas, the periodical, photo-periodical, and the annual or commonly known as dog day cicadas.

About a year ago I wrote an article about how Mother Nature gave us a run for our money by May. And while this year’s winter was more of your typical Cleveland winter and spring, we sure have had a number of changes in the weather. While the weather held out for bud break in late April and early May, the vineyard did not fare well in the frost we had a couple of weeks ago. So as we clean up from the frost damage and look forward to next year, I thought I would share some ways to avoid damage in the future.

If you travel to some of the larger wineries you will see that they might have wind machines that are used to keep the vineyards warmer and therefore prevent a frost. Other wineries might use a temperature sensitive sprinkler which will turn on and off when the temperature drops below 34 degrees.

Unfortunately, many preventative options come with a large price tag which can be a challenge for small vineyard owners. Some of our winery guests have suggested that we follow the “romantic” frost protection options in movies like “A Walk in the Clouds” and have bonfires throughout the vineyards to keep them warm. While I don’t mind a good bonfire, the risk of having our vineyard catch on fire is more than I am willing to take.

So what does a small vineyard owner do when the threat of frost is announced? Depending on the size of your vineyard you can always cover the vines to keep the warmth in. Similar to covering your plants or flowers during a frost, large tarps can be used to cover the vines. Another way is to coat your vineyard with a layer of ice. I am not a chemist so I do not understand the technical side of why this works, but essentially as the water freezes it releases latent heat. Someone once explained it to me this way: As ice melts, energy must be added to the ice (usually in the form of heat). So when you reverse the process, the water must release that energy. As the water freezes on the vines, that release of energy gets trapped between on the vines and forms a layer to protect the vines.

If you are going to freeze your vines, you will need to continually spray your vines until there is a layer of ice on them. Just be sure your hoses and sprayers can reach all areas of your vineyard. Once the vines are frozen you can get some rest but then be sure to be back out spraying the vines in the morning before the sun comes up so you can help the vines adjust back to the current temperatures.


Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

That was a fine old time!

Well, if you weren’t trying to get anyplace in a hurry, that is.  The annual Garrettsville community garage/yard/porch sale seems to have attracted quite a crowd for most of the weekend.  Some of the narrower thoroughfares were a challenge for those just trying to get into their own driveways.  Down Park Ave. some savvy shoppers parked up at the Intermediate School then walked down to peruse the situation on Park and Liberty–maybe even Maple and Water, for all I know–before hauling their treasures back to the cars and off to new homes.  

What makes a person care for and be good steward of the land? Connections with special places are a result of frequent visits over a long period of time. Whether it is a farm, woodlot, backyard, or fishing hole, you really have to know and understand the land. This doesn’t happen after one visit. Often times it takes years, or even a lifetime, to fully understand the land around you. Familiarity with the land is the best way to develop stewardship.

If you’ve been reading my column you know that I am big fan of dry red wines. I especially enjoy a red wine that has been sitting in an oak barrel for a while. The oak gives the wine so much more body than if the wine was sitting in a stainless steel tank. A lot of our guests at the winery have asked me though “why are oak barrels toasted”? Well that made me think… I’ve always taken toasted oak barrels for granted and never considered why they were toasted. So after much research (and of course wine tasting), here are my findings… 

“I need a book about chipmunks.”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff member wasn’t too surprised by the statement; we have another patron who enjoys books about squirrels.  After careful questioning as to the exact nature of information wanted about chipmunks, it was learned the our patron is having a problem with chipmunks in their garden.  She wished to know how to humanely remove them.

A search of our shelves revealed a selection of materials about wildlife and gardens.  One of the books taken from the shelf was The Nature-friendly Garden: creating a backyard haven for plants, wildlife, and people by Marlene A Condon.  While it did have some suggestions concerning squirrels and birdfeeders, discussed a variety of wildlife including coyotes and bears, it had no information about chipmunks.

Living with Wildlife how to enjoy, cope with, and protect North America’s wild creatures around your home and theirs discourages live traps as they often cause death and do not permanently remove chipmunks from gardens.  It does suggest protecting flower bulbs by covering the planting area with coarse gauge wire screen and removing their favorite dwelling places, “like rock and woodpiles, brushy hedges, and dense ground cover. [p.105]. The Friendly Trapper Book II (2) by Harold E. Bailey has instructions for a humane chipmunk trap.  Bailey seems to feel that chipmunks were placed here for a reason, and the only time they need to be removed is if we need to protect our homes or vehicles from them chewing on wires.


For answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls or phone 330-872-1282. For information about all the free library programs or hours, visit our website at www.newtonfalls.org or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewtonFallsLibrary.


`You thought that spring had come, just because you looked at a calendar and got out your flip-flops and sunscreen (I wear sunglasses all year, so that’s really no indication), not to mention making pool plans.  Think again, Hummingbird-watcher.

I DID hang out four loads of wash on the line to dry; they didn’t even freeze.  Planted several new flowers–I did break down and cover them up when the frost warnings went out, though (Jeez! How could you NOT to that for a Maidenhair Fern?).  Also covered the teeny-weeny tomatoes that are out in my west side pots (I cheated and bought a ”Bush Goliath” plant with a blossom already on it at Home Depot a couple of weeks ago.  Another precocious “Patio Giant” plant has a tiny green orb about the size of a chocolate chip.  We’re going for speed here.).  All of the other greenery has to fend for itself and seems to be doing all right so far.