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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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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...

Wine Events

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! Sarah’s Vineyard...

First Fishing Trip: First Boat Ramp Frackas

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...

A Bad Spell

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. Like lots of vital...

Notes from the vineyard

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...

Will that incessant noise ever stop!

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...

Notes from the vineyard

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...

That was a fine old time!

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...

Special Places

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,...

Why are oak barrels toasted?

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...

Five Financial Success Strategies for Today’s Busy Woman

What is the sign of a good decision?® It’s preparing for the unexpected to help protect the lifestyle you have worked so hard to achieve.  Women play a pivotal role in the economic vitality of our society. You have worked hard for everything you’ve achieved – as an employee, business owner or even “mompreneur” – and throughout it all you’ve remained...

“I need a book about chipmunks.”

“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...

Ha Ha!

`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...

Disability Facts that Might Surprise You

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...

Straight Talk

As I type, my dog is in her bed, snoring her head off. The even sounds of her snores work as a sort of white noise machine, making it hard to feel anxious of my impending work deadlines. It also brings to mind the subject of voices we each hear in our own heads. Not the voices that urge...

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.   The rain had finally calmed to a slow drizzle and Doodle Dog decided he’d had enough of this hiding-inside-business. Wet or not, thundering or not, scary or not, the...

Unique

I am always on the lookout for a unique wine, unique label, unique bottle or unique wine accessory. So last week we had the opportunity to pour our wine at WineStyles in Howland. They have a monthly wine tasting where you can sample 5 sweet wines or 5 dry wines while shopping some great vendors. It’s a great wine...

Getting Old is NOT for Sissies!

Just dealing with the medical and insurance issues is enough to send a rational individual(That would be me…no snickering out there) around the bend. I will be the first to admit that my medical and insurance issues are--knock on wood--WAY less fraught with difficulty than many other folk out there who have to deal with catastrophic situations and illnesses.  BUT…...

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

By this time of year the seed catalogs, fruit tree catalogs, and various outdoor planting publications are all dog eared, paper clipped, or marked in some fashion. You have been working on re-doing your landscape, making sketches, imagining what this would like here, and that there. Is this shrub or tree going to have the desired effect? The sun...

Become a Master Gardener

The Ohio State University extends itself into every county in the state--all 88 of them.  These are called--what else--extension offices and they offer information, advice and services to local residents.  This can cover agriculture & natural resources, community development, nutrition, family & consumer science, 4-H programs--a whole bunch of things.  It’s the largest non-formal education system in the world. ...

Notes From The Vineyard

It is an exciting time for us in the vineyard! We are starting to see some swelling in the vines which means that we should be seeing bud break in the next couple of weeks! The next couple of weeks are a perfect time to start planting a vineyard if you want to try grape growing! Planting and maintaining a...

By The Numbers

What is the sign of a good decision?® It’s putting what’s important to you first. Did you realize that your assets owned at death are generally subject to federal and state taxes? A significant percentage of your estate may go towards tax liabilities. Unless you plan ahead, your legacy becomes open to public scrutiny through the probate process. There are steps you can...

Caution ~ Auction!

The Kiko folks have taken to putting up signs of this nature along roads where one of their commercial activities is going on, and with good reason.  These secondary highways are plenty full of just plain drivers, let alone the avid auction-goers looking for a place to park--without sliding into a ditch or quicksand (as I found to my...

Notes From the Vineyard

How many of you have thought to yourself that owning a winery or a vineyard would be an awesome opportunity? I know I thought that! But when we first started talking about owning a winery or growing grapes we really had no idea where to start. Sure, we loved making wine and we had a couple of vines in...

Puppy Tales

Ahhhhh! Spring is here, spring is here, spring is here! Doodle Dog thought as he bounded down the sidewalk through town. Spring is here, spring is here, spring is here! Doodle Dog thought as he dodged a row of melty puddles made by the dripping mounds of snow that, although they were still here, were no longer massive mountains...

How’s your Easter Bonnet look with snow on it?

Good Grief!  Polar Fleece and long johns, peeps and bunnies with frost on their little noses…er…beaks…er …whatever.  Deep frozen chocolate eggs and jelly beans, rock-hard marshmallow anything.  How crazy has this season been so far?  This is Spring from the old days, the ones where hardy ancestors walked two miles to school every day, uphill both ways, rain or...

By The Numbers

1. DROPS HAPPEN - Since the S&P 500 bottomed on 3/09/09, the stock index has gained +130.1% through the close of trading last Friday 3/22/13 (change of the raw index not counting the impact of reinvested dividends).  Even though the index has more than doubled there have been 13 different pullbacks of 5% or more since the 3/09/09 bottom. ...

“I am looking for a knitting pattern for a poncho that has cuffs…”

“I am looking for a knitting pattern for a poncho that has cuffs. I saw one online, but now I can’t find it again.”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff had trouble imaging what the garment looked like, so we asked for clarification. “It is a poncho you pull over your head, but along the edge there are cuffs...

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...

Spring Things

How’re you liking Spring so far? Yes, indeedy, the official astronomical beginning of Spring was on Wednesday, March 20 at 7:02, EDT ( Or 11:02, UTC).  Actually, I lied; according to the Farmer’s Almanac there is no “official” start to any of the seasons.  That all depends upon the climate of an individual country.  It IS, of course, the Vernal...

Stewardship

Last article, we learned that those squishy, pink earthworms that we adore in our gardens are invasive and capable of dramatic changes in our natural habitats. We also learned what can be done to help the situation. This started a series of upcoming articles designed to inform our readers about opportunities to be good stewards of the environment.   stew·ard·ship ...

By The Numbers

1. LOOKING BACK - Over the 300 months ending 2/28/13 (i.e., the last 25 years), the S&P 500 has been up 64% of the months and down the other 36% of the months.  The period includes the 2000-02 bear market (down 49%) and the 2007-09 bear market (down 57%).  The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely...

Who would have thought…

Since the inception of Nearby Nature, we have discussed many subjects relating to natural history, geology, plant and animal identification, places to experience nature, and many others. Like huge puzzle pieces so to speak, we have tried to create an awareness of how everything “fits together” and works in harmony creating sights and experiences we enjoy every day. Beginning...

By The Numbers

1. TWO MONTHS - The S&P 500 gained +6.6% (total return) during the first 2 months of 2013, 67% of the average annual total return achieved over the last 50 calendar years.  The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the US stock market (source: BTN Research). 2. ANOTHER YEAR...

Notes from the vineyard

I know many of you are sick and tired of seeing the snow, the gray clouds and having to deal with the colder temperatures. But as I mentioned in last week’s column there are some sure signs that Spring is around the corner. First, aside from it being pancake breakfast season it is also Girl Scout Cookie Season! As the...

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...

Someone who has your back when it comes to families and mental illness

Amanda speaks thoughtfully and softly. She is very wise for one so young. She has been through more than her share of heartache, with mental illness in her family and recently a cousin completed suicide. She’s strong in her knowledge about how to help her family and she’s sharing that education as a teacher for the Portage County Family-to-Family Education...

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...

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...

Super Bowl XLVII

So…O.K., …I took notes….not during the Super Bowl game, which didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, but of the commercials that paid for all of the hoopla.   Mercy, what an assortment! The R-C had a short piece from the Associated Press headlined, “Celebs, babies, beer : It’s Super Bowl ad time”.  Indeed it was, although I didn’t...

Notes from the vineyard

It’s the season of flowers, fancy dinners and, of course, lots of hearts. Although if your Valentine’s Day is anything like ours the night is filled with homework, a quick dinner and running out the door to the next sports practice or dance lesson. While Valentine’s Day has never been a major event – even in college my husband...

“WILMA” where did all this ice come from!

Remember Fred Flintstone, he was always blaming poor Wilma for all the stupid situations he and Barney had gotten themselves into. Well, unfortunately Fred can’t blame the Ice Age on Wilma this time.  As we discussed in Part One of the geology of Ohio, the concept of geologic time was explained as well as the “Periods” that led to...

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...

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...

Nolan Night is Around the Corner

Even though January brings in our “winter hours” (Friday and Saturdays from 3pm – 9pm) we are quite busy working behind the scenes at the winery. Besides the usual work in the cellar (checking the wine from harvest, monitoring the juice to make sure it stays at a stable temperature, cleaning up the bottling line to get ready for...

How do I get on these lists?

How do I get on these lists? Bad enough that I get pleas from every animal rescue organization on the planet--puppies, kittens, polar bears, horses, donkeys, whales, big cats, farm animals, exotic animals (I tend to hope that abusers, traffickers and slaughterers will all fry in hell), you name ‘em.  I also get tree-hugger stuff--parks, water, trees, natural resources, pollution...

What Are Some Smart Ways to Refinance?

Recently, fixed mortgages were near their lowest rates in almost 30 years. And if you are one of the many people who took out mortgages in the few years prior to that, you may be wondering if you should look into refinancing. If your mortgage was taken out within the past five years, it may be worthwhile to refinance if...

The Muse Is Angered

Well, I just hate it when electrical things get weird and I have to do something about the situation without having a CLUE as to how to approach the problem. So, I go to start writing another of my pieces of deathless prose for inclusion in The Weekly Villager ( This is something that I do on a regular basis...

“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...

Rip Van Winkle Wakes Up

On September 9, 2012, a crotchety, absolutely ancient looking 1928 Studebaker Dictator made the first trip under its own power in at least 49 years to the Classic Car Show at Sunny Lake in Aurora.  Likely it’s been sleeping a good bit longer than that, because  sometime prior to 1963, it had been towed to a Studebaker Dealer in...

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