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Thursday, December 8, 2016

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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...

Puppy Tails

Snowflakes landed one by one outside the office window, each one adding to the smooth blanket of white covering the town like a new cozy comforter keeping the grass warm. But the weather was anything but warm as the snow continued to drift down, some icy flecks floating lazily on a gentle wind before landing on a small pile,...

Ice Wines

Happy 2013! Tis the season for making new promises and new goals for the new year. Along with my regular New Year’s resolutions (losing weight, winning the lottery, etc) I am also adding a new resolution this year – broaden my horizons on wine. I like this resolution because it is a great excuse to try some wines that...

The Most Important Meal?

I understand that breakfast is the most important part of the day. I agree with the theory that a healthy and productive day starts by fueling your body, which kick-starts your metabolism, giving your body the energy it needs to face the day. This idea really has merit, so I feel validated sharing it with my kids each morning....

What We Got For Christmas

Y’ know that old pop/novelty song, “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”?  He sort of lisps and whistles through the tune.  Real cute.  Ever wonder what the kid actually GOT for Christmas? (This is all sort of a segue into the next topic, which is what I got for Christmas, which, as it applies to humans...

Delightful and Sometimes Dangerous Decomposers

Since mushrooms have been in the news of late, we thought we would try to enlighten our readers about one of the most unusual and extremely important organisms in nature. Ominous sounding names like Destroying Angel, Deadly Galerina, and Poision Pie, are obviously poisonous; but Sulfer Tuft,  Jack O’Lantern, and Fly Agaric are equally as dangerous. However Morels, Meadow...

Wine Gift Ideas

Last week I gave you 5 of my favorite wine gifts for this year. And while I could probably have this list go on until next Christmas, I will just keep it to the final five! Items four and five can be found at Bed, Bath and Beyond or I’ve even seen them at Kohls! While items one, two...

What’s in a name? “Geography 101”

We all know the three most important factors in real estate: Location, location, location. What stories can the names of geographic locations tell? Most of our county names in northeast Ohio derive from significant geographic features in the area and their Native American names.  What’s in a name? “Geography 101” Our state name is derived from the Seneca word ohi-yo’, meaning...

Party On!

Well, yes, it IS that season of the year when all sorts of disparate groups have their annual Christmas parties.  The barrage has begun already. Hiram College hosted a seasonal soiree last week for Friends (That’s Friends, with a capital F), faculty types and festive individuals of all stripes, featuring a number of  tours de force by AVI, their supplier...

“I’m trying to remember the name of a drug store chain from the 1950s, 1960s…”

“I’m trying to remember the name of a drug store chain from the 1950s, 1960s.  There was one near where I lived in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., and I remember there was also one in Youngstown.  The one in Washington was replaced by Gray Drugs. Can you find the name of the store for me?”  Questions such as...

Memories of Christmas Past

Isn’t it funny how a smell can instantly take you back to a time and a place where you first experienced it? For me, when I smell crayons, I’m six years old, and back-to-school supply shopping. My mom would take me and my platoon of siblings to Kmart, long before the invention of the world’s largest retailer. There we’d...

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...

Omnishambles

Omnishambles. That, declares the Oxford English Dictionary--OED, to friends and family--is the word of the year, 2012, presumably, though it seems to have got its start in 2009 on a British political satire TV show.  I’m sure you’ve used it countless times since then, right?  It did manage to gain some currency in Europe after Mitt Romney’s goof-prone visit there...

Holiday Leftovers

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...

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