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Monday, April 24, 2017

Columns & Editorials

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Irish Eyes Are Smiling

It seems that most everyone is Irish, at least on Saint Patrick’s Day. And although my family is truly Irish (just ask Grandma Flanagan!), we haven’t inherited a love of many of the Irish foods typically served this time of year. Sorry, Grandma, but cooked cabbage has been pretty much banned from our house due to its pungent aroma,...

The Old Farmer Says….

The Old Farmer says of the month of March (and I quote), “In like a sea lion, cold and wet with fishy breath. Rain to snow and snow to rain—di-si-do and back again!  This month can’t be trusted; the hinge of spring has rusted.” Well, D’ya think? Good Grief!  If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  The bit of doggerel above...

“What do you do with the money from the book sale?”

There are two annual book sales at the Newton Falls Public Library, one in the spring and one in the fall. There’s also a small cart in the lobby where people can buy books year-round. All sales are put on by the Friends of the Newton Falls Public Library. The Friends of the Library is a non-profit organization founded in...

The American Woodcock

Have you noticed? It’s getting lighter closer to breakfast and is still light out after supper! The temperatures have warmed (albeit very slowly) but you know spring is around-the-corner now that the sap buckets are hung and local breakfasts are serving hotcakes and maple syrup. March 20 is a special day in our calendar year: the Spring or Vernal Equinox....

Puppy Tails

It was time to go outside – Doodle Dog was tired of being cooped up indoors! Some furry rodent had supposedly predicted that winter would be camped out for quite a while longer, but some other furry rodent claimed that wasn’t true. Doodle Dog didn’t know who to believe so the only thing he could do was go and...

Tasting

As the cold stabilization stage starts to wind down this year, I had the chance to sample some of the new wines we are going to release this year. Sampling some of the wines before they are finished is one of my favorite jobs around the winery. This sort of sampling, called barrel sampling, can really give you a...

“How long is the Buckeye Trail Little Loop? Can you bike it?”

One of our patrons, an avid walker and biker, was making plans to spend a few weeks in late spring or early summer going around the Little Loop of the Buckeye Trail. The Buckeye Trail winds around the interior of Ohio. It’s made up of twenty-six sections and covers around 1,444 miles altogether. The Little Loop is comprised of the...

Why Don’t All Affluent People Become Wealthy? Perception, hesitation & poor decisions are factors.

Why do some people let their potential for lifetime wealth slip away? Some people are better off economically at 30 or 40 than they are at 50 or 60. In some cases, fate deals them a bad hand. In other cases, bad decisions and inaction are to blame. They buy depreciating assets, instead of allowing assets to appreciate. In 2012,...

The Maple Tour Begins

“Maple syrup is a unique product made in a limited part of the world, and Ohio is fortunate to be located in the heart of it,” explained Nate Bissell, owner of Bissell Maple Farm and board member of the Ohio Maple Producers Association. Bissell and his colleagues at the Ohio Maple Producers Association want you and your family to...

Whoa! Missed it Again!

Mardi Gras, that is.  Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, beginning of the Lenten season.  Carnavale, Carnival, Carnaval, Karneval, Faschtnact/Fasching…whatever your ethnic background, if there’s a shot of Catholic in there anywhere (or even if there’s no Catholicism but a lot of fun-lovers), you may be acquainted with Mardi Gras, one way or another. Some folk—like the ones in...

SANK

SANK!  The word is SANK!  The past  tense of “sink”  is “sank”…”sank”, not “sunk”.  “Sunk” is the perfect tense, which is either being shamefully abused or ignored most of the time by people who ought to know better.  If I have to listen to some talking head on a TV screen or hear a faux-authoritative voice on the radio...

Why are shamrocks considered lucky?

Various symbols and imagery breathe life into St. Patrick's Day celebrations. In addition to Kelly green clothing, leprechauns and Irish flags, shamrocks are commonly seen decorating homes and people. The word "shamrock" comes from the Irish seamrog, which is the diminutive form for the Irish word for clover, and translates roughly to "young clover." Clover is a grass-like plant, and...

“How do birds stay warm in the winter?”

One of our patrons stocks several bird feeders year-round. With the cold weather we’ve been having lately, she was worried about how her birds were keeping warm. Putting “how do birds stay warm” into an online search engine showed that this is a popular concern. Some birds will fly south for the winter, especially the species that eat insects rather...

Game Nights

One thing I have learned over the years is that wine tastes the best when shared with friends with some friendly competition. On any given Sunday night you can find us hanging out with the owners of Sharon James Cellars (11303 Kinsman Road, Novelty, Ohio – www.sharonjamescellars.com) enjoying some wine and playing a variety of board games. Between Apples to...

Why Does Family Wealth Fade Away? A lack of vision is often the answer to that question

Many are the stories of family wealth lost. In the late 19th century, industrial tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt amassed the equivalent of $100 billion in today’s dollars – but when 120 of his descendants met at a family gathering in 1973, there were no millionaires among them.1 Barbara Woolworth Hutton – daughter of the founder of E.F. Hutton & Company, heiress...

Puppy Tails

Doodle Dog uncurled his little body and slowly stretched his legs so that they peeked out over the edge of his cozy bed, extending his paws so that they untucked from the soft blanket keeping the floppy-eared puppy, his legs and his paws quite warm and comfy. About to curl right back up again, Doodle Dog thought of all...

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...

Spice of Life

Sometimes bon appetit, the 0h-so-upscale cooking magazine, is just too much. They just assume that everyone has access to—and a budget for—artisan cheeses and spirits, baby organic lettuces, at least four different varieties of milk…and we don’t mean simply whole, skim, 2% and buttermilk…oh no.  You’re deprived unless the shelves boast the lactic fluid of cows, goats and maybe the...

Life, Art and Cookies

Recently, I heard an interview with a writer in Nebraska, who compared this winter’s polar vortex conditions to the ninth circle of hell mentioned in Dante’s “Inferno”. That reference brought to mind a quote by writer Oscar Wilde, who said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Lately I’ve realized that this is not the case, at...

“What happened to the lady who used to sit at the desk?”

We’ve gotten this question a lot in the past few months. The desk everyone’s been talking about is the reference desk, and the lady in question is Carol Baker, who had been our reference and adult services librarian here for quite a while. If you’ve been to the Newton Falls Public Library in the past thirty seven years, chances...

It Isn’t Too Late to Save for Retirement – If you’re 40 or 50 and haven’t begun, you must make the effort

Some people start saving for retirement at 20, 25, or 30. Others start later, and while their accumulated assets will have fewer years of compounding to benefit from, that shouldn’t discourage them to the point of doing nothing. If you need to play catch-up, here are some retirement savings principles to keep in mind. First of all, keep a positive...

Open That Bottle Night

Thankfully, this month is flying by! Sure we made it through Groundhogs Day, Valentine’s Day, some more rough Cleveland winter days but when I looked at the calendar today I realized that I almost missed my favorite thing about February - Open That Bottle Night (OTBN). The concept behind OTBN is exactly why I like to celebrate this holiday...

Making Your Money Work Harder for Retirement Little things you could do that could help you leave work a little sooner.

Little things matter. When planning for retirement, people naturally think about the big things – arranging sufficient income, amassing enough savings, investing so that you don’t outlive your money, managing forms of risk. All of this is essential. Still, there are also little financial adjustments you can make at mid-life that may pay off significantly for you down the...

Puppy Tails

Though the insides of the new office were still slightly strange to Doodle Dog, the floppy-eared puppy figured the outsides would still be slightly familiar, so he slipped out the new door to the new porch stoop and onto a sidewalk that seemed a bit strange but indeed a bit familiar too. He remembered that the moving truck hadn’t...

A Little Maple Madness, Anyone?

This week’s installment is a little light on recipes, and heavy on the rambling part. But I’ve got a very good reason. Because this Saturday, February 15th, the nice folks at the Burton Chamber of Commerce will be holding their annual Tree Tapping Ceremony. This event signifies the official start of Maple Syrup Season, and hopefully, the end to...

Pruning Shears

While many of us are still hoping to get through the cold Cleveland weather, the vineyards around northeast Ohio have another focus – the months of warmer temperatures that will be here soon. (Yes, I promise warmer weather will be here at some point…) To best help the vines prepare for Spring, we usually use the month of February to...

This is Getting OLD

Don’t you just every so often look out the window or open the door or read the weather forecast and feel like the little boy  on the  internet the other day?  The little guy must have been about four years old, bundled up to a fare-thee-well in mittens, hat , snowsuit and he was out shoveling snow, clearing the...

Favorites of the Feeders

This has been a good winter for those of us who love cold and snow. It has also been a good winter to observe birds at the feeder. Winter birds are some of my favorite and I enjoy watching them steal seeds from the feeder and hang upside-down from the suet block. Tufted titmouse. Northern cardinal. Downy and Hairy...

Notes from the vineyard

The Super Bowl is over and now my ultimate favorite sporting event is about to begin! I love watching the Olympics – especially the Winter Olympics. Sure, there are the normal favorites of skiing, ice skating and hockey. But I really like watching some of the other sports,  my favorite Olympic sport is Curling. Most people find it quite...

At Home Spa

If you’re feeling the effects of the ice and snow of an unusually cold Northern Ohio Winter, you’re not alone. And now that all the major holidays, including Groundhogs’ Day are over, you can spend a little extra time pampering yourself. There’s no time like the present to give yourself the gift of a few at-home spa treatments. First, let...

Curses!!

Curse that groundhog! Well, it does depend on which groundhog you are going to believe.  The storied Punxsutawney Phil, of Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, according to his “handler” (like a sports agent, I guess) interrupted his long winter’s nap, peered out of his burrow and predicted six more weeks of winter.  This would NOT be hard to do, given our experiences...

“Can businesses refuse to accept cash?”

While none of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library are lawyers, we have several resources at hand that we could use to help answer our patron’s question. We weren’t able to find the answer in either Nolo’s “Encyclopedia of Everyday Law” or the American Bar Association’s “Complete Personal Legal Guide,” so we took our search to the Internet....

Why 2014 May Be a Very Good Year More improvement may be in store for the economy & the stock market.

Will the economy & the bull market make further strides next year? On both Wall Street and Main Street, 2013 has turned out better than many analysts expected. Will the recovery gain additional momentum in 2014, and will stocks climb even higher?   Optimism is widespread. Do you remember how gloomy things got at the end of 2012? Fears about...

The Cream of Wheat Mercury

It was a long time ago, say about 1960.  I would have been about 14 years old then and would have recently become very much interested in automobiles.  Back then age 14 was a magical time when you first really became aware that having a real car—as opposed to plastic model cars-- was going to soon be a real...

File Under…

File under “Sorry we missed this one.” New Years celebrators in London this New Year’s Eve were treated to  an interesting array of flavored fun-type  festivity-promoters.  Indeed! There was banana-flavored confetti, there were orange-scented bubbles, peach-flavored snow, for starters.  Mercy!  So who first checked out this stuff?   Somebody just stuck out his/her tongue   and lapped up a healthy (?)...

See, Swirl, Smell, Sip.

January is always a great month for us at the winery. Since it is typically our quietest month of the year we get to take some time to prepare for the rest of the year. In past years we have worked on the addition at the winery, focused on new wine labels and created a new look to our...

A Market to Be Thankful For Could 2013 end up being the best year for stocks since 1995?

In financial terms, 2013 has been a very nice year – a year in which the economy, the housing and business sectors and the stock market have all improved. Looking back over the year to date, it is particularly amazing to see how stocks have soared in the face of many challenges – some of which proved tougher than...

“Do you have any information on cleaning and caring for a cast-iron skillet?”

One of our Newton Falls Public Library patrons had recently inherited a cast-iron skillet and wanted to be sure they were taking care of it properly so that it would perform at its best. We checked Consumer Reports Books’ “How to Clean Practically Anything” and Don Aslett’s “How Do I Clean the Moosehead? and 99 More Tough Questions About Housecleaning,”...

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...

Try Something New in 2014

How often do you tell your children to try something new? Whether it be a new sport, a new food or a new game – they should try it because they just might like it! Growing up, I heard that over and over again from my parents. As much as I hated hearing it back then, they made an...

Here’s Your Chance!

Here’s your chance to investigate the Mpemba Effect.  There’s a video of some Canadian dude on the internet performing this interesting experiment.  He takes a hard plastic water gun (A Nerf weapon would probably not work; you’ll see why)sucks up boiling water into it (That’s why you use hard plastic) and squirts  the water out into the air. The...

“How can I get my dog therapy-certified?”

Many of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library have seen therapy dogs at work, whether at hospitals, nursing homes, or even colleges. Therapy dogs are different from service dogs such as seeing-eye dogs and seizure-response dogs. While service dogs are specifically trained to assist a person with their documented disability, therapy dogs are pets with the training...

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...

Gifts From the Kitchen…

This time of year, Santa isn’t the only one who’s making lists and checking them twice. If you enjoy giving handmade gifts, here are some simple spice mixes that are sure to appeal to the foodies on your list. Individually, they make great stocking stuffers. Package them together with some kitchen tools for an even bigger impact.    Porcini Parmesan...

Makin’ A List…

Now that the clock tower lights are lit, Santa has made the first of his (many) local appearances…for lunch, for breakfast, for pizza, etc….it’s time to get down to some serious shopping—preferably local, but wandering off into the exotic every so often. So, in pursuit of exotica (Try looking that up on the internet some times; Sears & Roebuck ,...

“Can you help me find a short story I read in high school? I want to read it again, but I can’t remember what it’s called or who wrote...

At the Newton Falls Public Library, we understand how discouraging it can be when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Our patron remembered that the story was about a son going through his father’s belongings to discover that he had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam. She also remembered that her high school had used the Language...

Notes from the vineyard

By now you probably have had your share of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and desserts! But if your family is like mine, you also have enough leftovers from dinner to have a second Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are serving turkey sandwiches, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey frittatas or just plain turkey there are so many ways you can...

The Ghost of Christmas

As we reflect on this past Thanksgiving holiday and get ready for the coming Christmas season, we want to begin this week’s segment with some reflections of our own; we are truly thankful for the opportunity to write Nearby Nature and the Weekly Villager for printing our articles. It is hard to believe that this is article #56. We...

“I need a book with instructions on hemming blue jeans; it is getting too costly to have someone else hem them for me. I would also like them...

The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library has their own memories of children complaining about the appearance of clothing after shortening or alterations, and can understand a mother wanting to be frugal. We found a variety of instructions for hemming different types of clothing and fabrics in sewing books on our shelves, such as the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide...

Light Shows

It’s hard to believe that six years ago we put together a small animated light show for families to enjoy during the summer. With only 10,000 lights synchronized to music it was something that left an impression on anyone who saw the show. Then the years continued and the Summer Light Show grew to over 70,000 lights this past...

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