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Showing posts from November, 2017

Thanksgiving At The Homestead; The Wynfield Creek Years

The biggest change in most people’s holiday traditions typically results from marriage. Two completely different, often conflicting, sets of traditions have to be consolidated, mashed-up and ironed out. This process is even more difficult if the parents of the person you are marrying are divorced, which means you essentially have to merge THREE different sets of traditions. For the first several years Janet and I were married, we lived in The Little House on the Highway, which was not quite half-way between my parents’ house in Port Clinton and hers in Ft. Wayne. The first year, Janet’s mother actually came and had Thanksgiving dinner with us at my parents’ house. Back then, I was working as manager of a retail store, and while I had Thanksgiving day off for the first time in years, I would be putting in 14 hour days the rest of the holiday weekend, so it was impractical for me to travel anywhere. Once I got out of retail and into a more sane holiday work schedule, we began alternati

Lasagna Gardening Might Be The Answer To The Question You Didn't Know To Ask

For the homeowner who doesn't spend hours each week immersed in gardening journals, tweets and blogs, the term "lasagna garden" probably conjures up visions of tidy plots of Italian herbs and Roma tomatoes. But lasagna in this case refers to the process, not the product, of the garden. Also known as "kill mulch" or "sheet mulch" gardening, lasagna gardening is a no-till method which uses layers of mulch and compost to create a stratified growing medium while simultaneously enhancing the underlying soil. I stumbled across the idea a few years ago while, ironically, expanding my Square Foot Garden. I wanted to reclaim space for several new raised beds from my lawn and didn't want to use any sort of herbicide to kill the grass. I got the bright idea of cutting the grass as short as my mower would allow, then covering it with a layer of newspaper and several inches of shredded leaves. It was a fall project and effectively allowed me to kill two bir

It's An Amazing Time To Be A Rural Entrepreneur: Five Unusual Ideas

For my last two years of college, I drove an hour every Friday afternoon from my dorm at Bowling Green State University to my hometown of Port Clinton to work a weekend job and then back again every Sunday evening. The route I took was SR 105, a two-lane country road that roughly traced the path of the Portage River. At about the halfway point, just outside the tiny hamlet of Woodville, I would pass a small enterprise tucked between the road and a 20 foot cliff overlooking the river. While I forget the name, I recall that it was a hunting and fishing outfitter that advertised custom-made fishing rods. I never stopped, because I was always in a hurry to get to my job on Fridays and the shop was closed by the time I would pass late on Sundays, but I was always curious how successful that business could possibly have been, located as it was on a sparsely traveled back road far away from any population center. That was the mid-1980's and rural businesses faced a variety of marketin