The Beauty and Power of Mother Nature on Display in Ohio's Waterfalls

How an Apple a Day May Keep the Doctor Away and Tastes Yummy Too!

By: Trish Mann

Mmmm—do you smell that? Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe a pinch of cloves? Who can resist a fresh-from-the-oven apple pie made from ripe apples from the farmer’s market?

Orchards across the Midwest are bursting with MacIntosh, Honey Crisps, and Galas, just a few of the wide varieties of apples available. Whether you grab a basket at the farm stand or pick your own at the orchards, you will want to get your apples soon and often.

So many delicious ways to enjoy apples can be hard to decide.

I enjoy my apples, fresh as a snack, baked into pies and crisps, or my favorite, a cup of hot cider while sitting around the campfire on a chilly fall evening. And let’s not forget the hard ciders when getting together with friends to watch a football game.

The delicious thing about apples is they aren’t just something for dessert. They make an aromatic yet decadent addition to pork dishes. Taste of Home has an array of recipes that will have everyone excited to come to your house for dinner.

Have you had an apple smoothie? Check out this recipe from Family Fresh Meals that is decadent yet healthy.

Whatever your tastebuds crave, I am sure there is an apple recipe to satisfy even the most demanding appetites.

Did you know apples are super healthy? They are full of fiber and antioxidants and have been shown to help lower the risk of many chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. But don’t skip the peel. The skin contains flavonoids and pectin, powerhouses in a healthy diet. According to Med Crave, flavonoids do everything from fighting coronary disease, free radicals, inflammation, lung disease, and asthma, which is just part of the story. Pectin is a fiber that benefits your gut.

What was God thinking when He forbade Adam to eat the apple? Hmmm—that is a story for another time.

Today, eat your apples, bake that pie and drink that cider. Here’s to your health 🍎

Ohio Fall Kayaking: Leave Your Worries at the Shore

By: Trish Mann

Ohio Fall Kayaking: Leave Your Worries at the Shore

Photo by Taryn Manning on Unsplash

Fall kayaking in Ohio is the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with mother nature. Even if you are a beginner kayaker, there is no better time to head out to Ohio’s many lakes and rivers to learn new skills.

The calm, slow pace of a lake offers the perfect place for a beginner to get the hang of things and build their confidence. But it’s not just for beginners. Many seasoned kayakers will tell you there is nothing like being on a lake. One of the advantages of kayaks is their ability to take you to the quiet, hidden recess of the lake. The only sound you hear is mother nature and the soft lapping of your boat against the water as you embrace the quiet solitude.

If you are more adventurous, fast-moving rivers provide an adrenaline rush like no other. Regular rainfall will keep the rivers moving, but if you happen to go after a rain storm, the pace will increase dramatically from all the tributaries funneling into the river.

Whether a beginner or a seasoned pro, it never hurts to be up on the latest safety requirements before heading out to the water. Paddle Camp provides a good starting point for the latest on Ohio’s laws.

If you do not have the equipment, many spots around Ohio offer rentals. A quick google search of your area will bring up a list of rentals nearby.

There are opportunities across the state for those who own their equipment. Kayak Help lists the top 10 places in Ohio to get on the water, and Sea Kayak suggests 13 prime places to visit. Paddle Ohio, an official state of Ohio website, details its five favorite kayaking spots.

Winter will be here before we know it. Embrace the magical days of Autumn and head out on the water before you have to trade in your oars for ice skates!

Discover How to Enjoy the Awe Inspiring Night Sky This Fall

Mother Nature will leave you breathless.

By: Trish Mann

Photo by Julentto Photography on Unsplash

Photo by Julentto Photography on Unsplash

For many reasons, I love to go camping in the fall, but stargazing tops my list. The clear, crisp nights and the tilt of the earth provide views of the soon disappearing summer stars, and when I look in the other direction, I see the winter stars making their annual appearance.

The autumn sky invites sky gazers of all ages to step outside and enjoy nature’s star-studded spectacle, making it one of the best seasons for stargazing in Ohio and surrounding areas. Enjoying the sky above is as easy as walking outside your home however, if you want to see more, head away from the city lights, where you have to look up to the stars to see any lights.

If you want to see and learn more, Ohio is home to various places you can visit and observe the stars. Many offer expert instruction, so you don’t have to be astrophysicists to understand what you see.

The John Glenn Astronomy Park: Located in rural southeastern Ohio, the astronomy park is a venue where visitors can see the night sky through a large telescope. At the same time, experts describe what they are seeing. The JASP offers events throughout the year, and for the novice at home, their blog provides detailed descriptions of the celestial sky.

 

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Observatory Park: located in rural Geauga County in the northeastern part of the state, is home to the Nassau Astronomical Observing Station. According to Geauga Park District Executive Director John Oros, the telescope is one of Ohio’s largest public viewing scopes. Observatory Park also has the distinction as a Dark Sky Park, which promotes and preserves the nocturnal environment for scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and public enjoyment.

These are just two of the many sights around the state to observe the nighttime sky. Check out Space Tourism Guide for more places to visit.

You are only a few steps away from the unimaginable wherever you live. The world above is beyond our comprehension and yet draws us to her, and it is something I never grow weary of seeing.

Summer’s Final Swan Song Is Found in the Days of September.
Summer’s Final Swan Song Is Found in the Days of September.

By: Trish Mann

As the sun slips beyond the horizon

We note the ever-increasing hour

Of darkness’s creeping intrusion.

 

September’s call is bidding summer’s goodbye.

Till once again, her summer sun warms the sky—Trish Mann

 

Photo by Marina Montoya on Unsplash

Photo by Marina Montoya on Unsplash

September is upon us, and the signs are everywhere. High school football is filling the stands, leaves are getting ready for their annual kaleidoscope of color, the night air is losing its heaviness, and the squirrels and chipmunks scurry to bury their winter feasts.

I always loved this time of the year. For many of us, It is a return to school, work, and sports schedules. For others, it represents the loss of the carefree days of summer sipping lemonade.

I love September for what she brings and what she leaves.

The cooling temperatures give way to days of exploring our stunning parks, stopping by farmers’ markets to enjoy the last of summer’s bounty, and spending the evenings sitting around backyard fires sharing stories with friends.

The skies are the bluest blue, and clouds of cotton float aimlessly across the sky. To the delight of birdwatchers, of which I am, the hummingbirds, vireos, and flycatchers are among the birds sharing their remaining time with us here in Ohio. Everywhere I look, the colors are more vibrant, the sounds are crisper, and the air just a bit softer.

Before we know it, the wind will bite, and the snow will fly. September offers us one more chance to step outside without a coat or sweater, inhale the last of summer’s breath, and feel her warmth upon our skin.

31st annual Mohican Bluegrass Festival

By: Trish Mann

Ready to kick up some dust and have a knee-slapping good ol’ time? The stage is set and ready to rock, so head over to the 31st annual Mohican Bluegrass Festival, Sept 15-17th. Nestled in the valley along the Mohican River, the event offers something for the entire family, crafts, food, fun, and some of the best bluegrass music from across the country.

Bluegrass began in the Appalachians and got national attention in the 1940s as a fusion of jazz, blues, country, English, Irish and Scottish music, although considered an American classic now. The band is a string band of at least four musicians and commonly includes acoustic guitar, bass, banjo, and often a fiddle or mandolin. The songs are commonly sung in two, three, or four-part harmony.

The Mohican Bluegrass Festival has three days of live music with performances by The Price Sisters, For Folk’s Sake, described them as “two of the most promising faces in the genre today.” Over the three days, twelve bands will be storytelling through music sure to get your heart pumping and your feet tapping. Mile Twelve and Crabgrass are just a few of the Friday performers. Northwest Territory has been performing together for over 30 years and brings energy and a mix of modern and traditional sounds on Saturday.

The Mohican area offers camping, canoeing, hiking, and much more. Come for the music and stay for the fun. Check out the Mohican Bluegrass Festival for all ticket information and last-minute details.

Juggling Family Time and Children’s Activities

By: Candy S. Collins, BS

Juggling Family Time and Children’s Activities

Time…I know what you are thinking as I am thinking about it as well…we wish for more time in the day. In 24 hours as parents we get our kids up and off to school, head to work, pick kids up, and head to sports practice/game or other activity, make dinner, assist with homework, make sure baths are done, and see them into bed. Then the next day we get up and do it all over again.

How do we include family time in the mix of our daily routines? Here is an idea I found in an article from USA Football:

  • Take a blank calendar and start filling it with “non-negotiables” such as work, medical appointments, school, etc.
  • Family time is considered “non-negotiable.” With that said mark a time on the calendar that reads Family Time. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could be making pizza together and watching a movie. Having a fire outside to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Maybe a walk through a park near you. There are no limits to family time…just so it is you and your family spending time with one another.

Family time is essential for creating bonds, love, connections, and relationships among each other. Family moments become life-long memories.

“Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.” ~Mother Teresa

Click over to our Facebook page, CompasOhio, to share some ways you fit family time into your busy schedule.

Sports Hero Serena Williams Extends Her Legacy Beyond the Tennis Court

By: Trish Mann

The world of women’s sports has forever changed by a girl growing up in Compton. In an interview in Vogue Magazine, Serena Williams reveals her plans for the future without professional sports in it, “I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis toward other things that are important to me.”

At age 16, Williams played in her first U.S. Open Singles Match and has never looked back. Her undeniable talent, deduction to her growth as a player, and her fierce determination to always strive higher leaves an indelible mark on women’s sports. Williams has the most Grand Slam titles at 23 and 73 singles titles. CBS reports that Williams has a 79% win percentage against top 10 opponents.

Williams is the consummate athlete, but as she turns 41, she acknowledges her priorities are changing. Five years ago, she gave birth to her daughter, Olympia. Throughout her pregnancy, delivery, and recovery from a c-section, she pushed the boundaries on what women can accomplish. But motherhood has a way of changing priorities.

Previously, Williams shared that when she was younger, she never saw herself as having kids and did not see herself as a hands-on mother. Even for the best athlete, having a family takes time, but the cost is even greater for a woman. Williams and her husband have shared a desire to expand their family, which drives the decision. William says, “I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time, I’m ready for what’s next.”

Serena Williams is leaving an indelible mark on the world of tennis and women’s sports that will be felt for years to come.

Embrace the Waning Days of Summer

By: Trish Mann

 

Embrace the Waning Days of Summer

I can’t believe we are nearing the end of our summer months. They fly by quickly; this year has been even busier than before. We can thank the Covid lockdowns of the past two years for that. But whatever the reason, the days are getting shorter, schools are starting up soon, and fall decorations are lining the aisles at the stores.

It is important to take these few remaining days and embrace the warmth of the summer sun, the sounds of the cicadas, and the magical glow of fireflies on a warm summer evening. The older we get and the busier we are, these simple pleasures get lost.

It is fantastic when we can provide our families with exciting vacations and fancy toys, but the older I get, the more my memories are about simple pleasures. I remember catching lightning bugs in a jar as a child. Then as a parent sitting on my swing on a warm summer night, drinking lemonade, listening to my kids play hide and seek in the evening’s twilight. And the best part is now that my children are grown, some of their favorite memories are catching lightning bugs and lying on the trampoline watching for shooting stars. The simple things we take for granted often mean the most.

Before the fall chill is in the air, take some time to spend with those you love and just sit and enjoy the moment because it will be gone way too soon.

Don't Miss Out! Bargains Galore Await You at Ohio's Largest Yard Sale
Don't Miss Out! Bargains Galore Await You at Ohio's Largest Yard Sale
Yard Sale Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Yard Sale Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By: Trish Mann

Calling all flippers, collectors, and garage sale enthusiasts! The Lincoln Highway Buy Way Sale is right around the corner. Make plans now to check out Ohio’s largest yard sale on Thursday, Aug 11-13th (always the second Thursday-Saturday of August).

The annual event draws shoppers from all over, searching for anything and everything you could ever want or need. Besides all the unique finds, like a prized baseball card or an antique victrola, there is food and music along the way as individuals, organizations, businesses, and communities participate in all the excitement and fun.

My family loves shopping through the countless sales along the route. We discovered so many treasures we had to tie a larger item to our roof rack and learned quickly to have a vehicle capable of holding all our glorious finds.

While shopping for exciting and unique items, take time to discover some history along the way. Check out the Travelers Guide for a map, and for last-minute details to make your adventure successful, visit Historic Byway and Ohio Traveler.

The Lincoln Highway begins in Times Square and is the first coast-to-coast route across America, ending in San Francisco. Dedicated to President Lincoln in 1913, it crosses Ohio from East Liverpool to Convoy. A few years later, as more roads were being built across the nation,  The Lincoln Highway was renamed the now familiar U.S. Rt 30.

Look Out! Giant Mosquitos Are Everywhere! Or are they?

By: Trish Mann

Mosquitos on steroids!

Mosquito Hawks!

Skeeter eaters!

Nope, none of the above. What you may be seeing are Crane Flies.

Crane Flys, also called tipples, come from the family Tipulidae and are often mistaken for giant mosquitos. However, unlike the pesky, disease-carrying mosquitos, crane flies do not bite.

Both insects enjoy the same wet habitats. However, a crane fly lives most of its life as larvae eating on decaying leaf matter and wood, which is beneficial for the ecosystem. The crane fly emerges near the end of its life, searching for a mate.

If you think you recognize these insects, remember the last time you left on an outside light and saw these giant mosquito-looking bugs sitting around. Crane flies are nocturnal and fly very little conserving energy for mating.

Because they do not eat, they also do not bite, making the crane fly entirely harmless to humans and animals.

According to AZ Animals, their size is the easiest way to tell the difference. Mosquitos are under ½” long and have two pairs of wings. A crane fly is much larger, averaging 1 ½” in length, and has one pair of wings with legs about twice the size of their bodies. The crane fly is also not very adept at flying, and you will see them bumping into things.

So please, when you are out, do not kill these insects. They will not harm you, and they have a purpose in our complex ecosystem—mosquitos; on the other hand, I have yet to see a use for them.

Check out our last week’s blog on insect repellent and alternatives to the chemical-laden varieties.

6 Easy Natural Tips to Drive the Blood Sucking Mosquitos Away

By: Trish Mann

Summer is in full swing, and so are those pesky blood-sucking little vampires, otherwise known as mosquitos. With over 150 receptors in its antennae to locate its next victim and six needle-like parts in its mouth, it is difficult to avoid these demons. But don’t dismay. We can help.

Natural Repellents

Mosquitos have an incredible sense of smell which plays to our advantage. There are many scents that they find offensive and help to deter them.

1.   Essential Oils

  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil has been around since the 1940s, and the CDC has approved it as an effective mosquito repellent. A study in the National Institute of Health reports that a mixture of 32% lemon eucalyptus oil provided more than 95% protection for 3 hours.
  • Lavender Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Thyme Oil

The FDA does not regulate essential oils, and you should purchase from a quality source. Always mix with a carrier oil such as hazel or sunflower oil. For instructions on making your own, visit How to Make Homemade Mosquito Repellant.

2.   Aromatic plants planted in proximity to outdoor activities

  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Balm
  • Peppermint
  • Neem
  • Lavender
  • Marigolds

3.   Natural Predators:

By Supplying nesting boxes and specific vegetation, you invite these winged saviors to make your yard their home.

  • Purple Martins
  • Bluebirds
  • Dragon/damselflies
  • Hummingbirds
  • Chickens and turkeys

4.   Wear light-colored clothing. Dark colors attract mosquitos.

5.   Reduce excess vegetation around your yard

6.   Remove free-standing water

Mosquitos are not only annoying but also pose a health risk to humans and animals. Keep you and your family safe with these simple tips, and enjoy everything summer offers.

6 Tips to Make Summer Travel Safe and Enjoyable With Your Dogs
6 Tips to Make Summer Travel Safe and Enjoyable With Your Dogs

By: Trish Mann

Traveling with our fur babies requires extra attention and planning, but the hot dog days of summer (yes, I went there, LOL) add another layer of importance. While making a quick impromptu trip to Virginia Beach with our dogs, we ensured our pups were safe and enjoyed the journey as much as we did.

The temperature hit the mid 90’s F, and there was little cloud cover, so we needed to plan accordingly. Here are 6 tips to keep our babies safe in the heat.

  1. Keep water and a bowl handy for the pups to drink throughout the day. We occasionally added a small amount of electrolyte water to their bowl to ensure they stayed hydrated.
  2. The pavement is scalding and can quickly harm the dog’s paws. We put dog booties on our smaller dog and used a paw pad wax for our larger dog. Both worked well, and we had no issues.
  3. We purchased two lightweight, long scarves, saturated them in water and put them loosely around their necks and under their harnesses. We continued to keep them wet to help cool their skin.
  4. Whenever we saw a drinking fountain or water source, we wet the dogs more.
  5. Summer is no time to leave your pet in the car, requiring us to search for dog-friendly patio dining. Multiple websites can help with the search, but we used Yelp (type in dog friendly) and Bring Fido. Most restaurants provide dog bowls and treats for the pups.
  6. Find shade for the dogs to rest in and take breaks in the AC. After being out all morning, we spent the hottest hours of the day at the hotel relaxing in the air conditioning. Our dogs are part of our family and deserve to be treated as such. If you travel with your pets, remember their needs are just as important as yours.

Please share your tips for traveling with your pets on our Facebook page.

Blueberry Season is Upon Us!

By: Candy S. Collins

I don’t know how you are feeling, but I am amazed once again at how fast summer is flying by. We were picking strawberries a few weeks ago and now we are on to the blueberry season, which is happening a little sooner due to Mother Nature.
I learned last year that my grandson, William, cannot resist a blueberry. He was picking blueberries for the first time, and he was in heaven. The temptation at times was too great and I would peek over and there went another blueberry into his mouth. There is nothing greater than being a NaNa and watching your grandchildren enjoy the little things in life.
We made blueberry pancakes and cookies, but of course, there were still plenty of blueberries he could grab and pop in his little mouth.
Here is one of my favorite blueberry cookie recipes I received from a friend many years ago:
● 2 cups of flour
● 2 tsp baking powder
● ½ tsp salt
● ½ cup of shortening
● ¼ milk
● 1 egg
● 1 cup white sugar
● 1 tsp almond extract
● 1 ½ tsp lemon zest (I sometimes will add a little more)
● 1 cup fresh blueberries (I will usually add a few more)
In a large mixing bowl cream, the shortening, sugar, egg, milk, almond extract, and lemon zest. Mix well and then combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and blend into the sugar mixture. Fold in the blueberries, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours—Preheat the oven to 375°. Drop the dough by t spoonful onto greased cookie sheets leaving about 1 ½ inch apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Blueberries aren’t just delicious, but they are full of healthy antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. We at Compass Ohio would love to see your favorite recipe and/or picture on our Facebook page.

Images provided by author, Candy S. Collins: csphotonc.com

Summer Memories are Waiting Just Across The Lake
Summer Memories are Waiting Just Across The Lake

By: Trish Mann

“I found a diamond!” shrieked my grandson as we mined for gemstones at the Perry’s Cave on Put In Bay this past weekend. No, he didn’t really find a diamond, but he found lots of treasures. Everyone, young and old, got in on the fun. Even Grandpa was thrilled to find an arrowhead.

A weekend family trip began with a ferry ride to the island where we got golf carts, or as the grandkids say, “party buses!” We rented an Airbnb on the lake that provided the perfect setting for family fun.

Our party buses took us on sun-soaked adventures as we toured the island. We made a stop at The Candy Bar, where they have the most delicious fudge and taffy that your eyes glaze over just looking at it. We found souvenirs for everyone at the gift shop next door, and I mean everyone, from a ballerina doll for the youngest to a hat for me, ahem—one of the oldest.

“I found a diamond!” shrieked my grandson as we mined for gemstones at the Perry’s Cave on Put In Bay this past weekend. No, he didn’t really find a diamond, but he found lots of treasures. Everyone, young and old, got in on the fun. Even Grandpa was thrilled to find an arrowhead. A weekend family trip began with a ferry ride to the island where we got golf carts, or as the grandkids say, “party buses!” We rented an Airbnb on the lake that provided the perfect setting for family fun. Our party buses took us on sun-soaked adventures as we toured the island. We made a stop at The Candy Bar, where they have the most delicious fudge and taffy that your eyes glaze over just looking at it. We found souvenirs for everyone at the gift shop next door, and I mean everyone, from a ballerina doll for the youngest to a hat for me, ahem—one of the oldest.The kids loved riding Kimberly’s Carousel, one of the oldest carousels in the country. Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center also offers interesting exhibits and interactive activities and at dinner by the marina, we saw a car/boat! The actual name is amphicar. I didn’t know such a thing existed.

The island is a great getaway for all ages. From stunning sunrises to breathtaking sunsets, stress simply disappears across the waves.

On our last night, we were stargazing as the grandkids played with those styrofoam airplanes we all grew up with, only now they light up! There were squeals of laughter, hushed voices, airplanes soaring around us, and love filling the air.

Making memories like this is what summer vacations are all about.

Photo #2 courtesy of author Trish Mann

7 Life-Saving Tips for the Summer Heat

By: Trish Mann

Summer temperatures are once again soaring across the globe. Last year, hundreds of people died across North America because of extreme heat, and many others were hospitalized with heatstroke and other heat-related injuries.

Heatstroke is a dangerous condition and is caused by your body overheating. It often coincides with dehydration.

Signs of heatstroke

  • High body temperature of 104F (40 C) or greater
  • Altered mental state of behavior
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Flushed skin
  • Racing heart rate
  • Headache

If you see someone experiencing any of these symptoms, Call 911 and then get them to a shaded place or inside a building, remove excess clothing, and apply ice packs or cool water to their skin to reduce their body temperature.

Although we can’t control Mother Nature, there are things we can do to stay safe and enjoy the summer.

7 Ways to beat the heat.

  1. Dress in loose clothing, preferably cotton.
  2. Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, occasional electrolyte drinks, and foods with high water content, such as cucumbers, melons, and green peppers.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as diuretics; they flush water from your body.
  4. Leave strenuous work for cooler days or at least work in the morning and evening hours when temperatures are lower.
  5. Apply damp, cool rags or ice packs to the trigger points: neck, lower back, wrists, temples, and behind the knees to reduce your temperature quickly.
  6. Avoid sunburns, as this can alter your body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
  7. Whenever possible, get acclimated to warmer temperatures gradually.

A little planning can make all the difference when you are heading outside. Remember these tips, and you will have a fantastic summer full of great memories to keep you warm next winter.

The Remarkable Way Nature Takes Care of Us

Now we owe it to her to return the favor

By: Trish Mann

Look closely at the photo above. See the white specks all over the bee? That is pollen, and this little bee is hard at work perpetuating our fragile ecosystem.

 

Over the last couple of years, we have all heard the cry to save the bees. This year, we had “No mow May” to encourage people to leave the spring debris and plants alone to allow early season pollinators to forage and create habitats.

What does all this have to do with me, and why should I care? 

 

Because we can’t live without them! Pollination ‌puts food on your table. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, almost 80% of the world’s food and plant-based products require pollination.

 

  • Over 150 food crops in the U.S. depend on pollinators, including almost all fruit and grain crops.
  •  More than half of the world’s diet of fats and oils comes from animal-pollinated plants (oil palm, canola, sunflowers, etc.).

 

  • The USDA estimated that crops dependent on pollination are worth more than $10 billion per year.

In Ohio, there is a non-profit, the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative that is partnering with other non-profit agencies and businesses to improve and establish pollinator habitats and raise awareness of the importance of pollinators. Their grassroots efforts include roadside habitat creation, and habitat restoration at Deer Creek Park, including education and research. You may see this sign along the roadside.

 

But there is more to be done. That is where the home gardener comes in. Here are some simple ways to encourage pollination in your garden.

 

  • Plant native plants
  • Create diversity in the garden by providing different plants and varying bloom times
  • Plant trees to encourage shelter
  • Plant companion plants 

 

Our mission here at Compass Media is “to be a leader in Fitness, Health, and Recreation information that educates and inspires readers through print, web, mobile, social media and trade shows in Ohio and beyond.” 

 

These are not just lofty words. We believe in honoring this great planet and doing our small part in encouraging sustainability in our actions and highlighting others who are putting forth the effort to have a positive impact through their actions and their words.

 

What are you doing to help the pollinators? Go to our Facebook page, share a picture and tell us about the difference you are making or plan to make in the future. We would love to continue this conversation.

Photo courtesy of author Trish Mann

Don't Miss out on Summer's Best Treat!

 Don’t Miss out on Summer’s Best Treat! 

By: Trish Mann

It is that delicious time of the year, and summer’s first bounty is here. Thanks to warm days and the cool nights of late spring, fresh strawberries are popping up in farmer’s markets and stores everywhere. If you want them even fresher, there are plenty of Pick Your Own farms to visit. Strawberries are the world’s most popular fruit. Rome was the first known to cultivate strawberries, and Provincial France considered them an aphrodisiac. Today, they grow all over the world. Whether you are a purist who eats them right out of the patch, or maybe you prefer to be a bit more decadent and dip yours in chocolate, there are so many ways to enjoy these bite-size jewels. I have to admit; that there is nothing sweeter and more satisfying than homemade strawberry jam. It tastes like you just made it fresh. Put strawberries over yogurt or oatmeal for a fresh fruity taste for a quick treat. And who doesn’t love strawberry pie? Ripe, red strawberries piled high and topped with whip cream. Can you almost taste it? Strawberries go great with everything from pound cake to cereal. If you want to get adventuresome, there are loads of recipes on the internet and in your favorite cookbook that will make you everyone’s favorite baker, even when it doesn’t require an oven! Here are just a few.

Pancakes 

Over ice cream 

Parfaits 

Tarts 

Strawberry cocktails 

Salads 

Strawberry cake 

If satisfying your tastebuds isn’t enough, let’s not forget the multiple health benefits of these little heart-shaped beauties. According to Web MD, strawberries protect our hearts by increasing good cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and guarding against cancer. Just eight strawberries provide more vitamin C than an orange, and they also are among the top 20 fruits in providing antioxidants and a good source of manganese and potassium. 

Now there is no reason not to indulge in enjoying some freshly picked strawberries warmed by the sun. So hurry on out to your favorite strawberry patch or market and get yours today. The season won’t last long. 

Hey, all you foodies out there, head over to our Facebook page and share your favorite strawberry recipe, and while you are there, you might just find a new one to try yourself. 

How to See an Exciting Baseball Game and Still Have Money for Cracker Jacks!

By: Trish Mann

The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, peanuts in one hand and a beer in the other. Does it get any better than this?  

Who doesn’t love a good baseball game? Whether it’s little league or the pros, we all become one when our team is up to bat as we sit on the edge of our seats, waiting for the pitch. With a nod to the catcher, the pitcher lifts his leg, rears back, and lets the ball fly.

 

We are fortunate to have two exciting major league baseball teams in Ohio, The Cleveland Guardians, and the Cincinnati Reds. But did you know they are not the only boys of summer lighting up the scoreboards? Six minor league baseball teams also call Ohio home.

 

 

Practically every player in major league baseball gets their start in the minors, and each MLB team has minor league teams under them for player development. Often called “farm leagues,” there are triple AAA and AA, where you may see players from the big league’s rehab after an injury or time off. Then there is also single-A, and the newly created draft league that showcases the top eligible draft prospects.

 

Summer will fly by, and your opportunity will be gone before you know it. Don’t let the chance for some memories disappear too. Grab some friends and head out to the ballpark this summer, and if you check the schedule beforehand, you might just take advantage of some exciting and zany promotions for the game. With ticket prices ranging from $5 to $27, you will save money over the cost of the big-league games, and you never know which rising star you may see at the beginning of their all-star career. And don’t forget to bring something for autographs.

 

Baseball is back in all its glory, and as the weather is warming up, there is no better way to spend a beautiful day than cheering on your team favorite at the ballpark with family and friends.

Frightened Yet Excited! The Day I Came Face to Face With My First Bear

A visit to Shenandoah National Park leaves its mark on my memories!

By: Trish Mann

In June 2013, my family and I took a vacation to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Little did we realize what was waiting around the corner for us on this fateful day.

Shenandoah is an outdoor lover’s paradise rich in breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife, and enough lore to keep the history buffs engaged for days. But what made it memorable for my family happened one-morning driving through Skyline Drive.

 

It was a warm summer, and every mile provided a beauty of nature the soul never tires of. Birds were singing, deer crossed our paths, and the air had just enough breeze to allow for our open windows and sunroof.

 

We were taking it all in as we drove along Skyline Drive. To our right, as we ascended the parkway, a stone wall dating back to the early 1930s when the park was under construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It not only provided a barrier for safety from the sudden drops below, but it provided much more.

As we came around a bend, we gasped! I am not sure who was first or exactly what we said. All I remember is feeling my heart beating with wild excitement and my arms pointing and poking my family to make sure we all saw her.

 

There, sitting like she just knew she belonged there, was a black bear. She looked straight at us and before we could grab a camera; she disappeared over the wall.

 

We were all extremely disappointed our first meeting was so brief.

But we quickly realized there was a movement behind the wall. A few saplings started swaying and suddenly, not one, not two, but three bear cubs climbed the tree behind the wall and then just stared at us.

 

It was perfect. 

 

My daughter took a few pictures, but mostly we just sat there quietly watching these amazing creatures do what they do best, live in harmony with nature.

 

For more information, please visit Shenandoah National Park

Sustainability and Eco Friendly: the New Way to Shop for Footwear

By: Trish Mann

As consumers, we often make decisions with little thought to the overall impact on the environment and society, but as we become more socially conscious, we are becoming more aware of the consequences of our actions. Fortunately, many newer companies and established ones lead the way to help us all positively impact society and our planet.

 

As our social consciousness grows, our way of shopping is changing.

Reason for change

The Shoe Industry estimates that 20 billion shoes are produced every year, and about 300 million shoes end up in landfills. Many of these shoes can take up to 40 years to decompose, and rubber soles can take 80 years.

 

Sneakers alone create a substantial environmental footprint. A study at MIT reports that one pair of running shoes will generate an average of 30 pounds of carbon dioxide. That is equivalent to burning 15 pounds of coal from just one pair of sneakers.

 

As our social consciousness grows, our way of shopping is changing.

The world is changing, and people are learning to be more aware of how our choices affect not only others but also the environment and are now demanding businesses provide sustainable and eco-friendly items.

 

To be eco-friendly means respecting the environment and striving not to bring it harm. Sustainability refers to the social, economic, and environmental impact on our future well-being. Consumers want to know how a company treats its workers, its effect on society, and its use of recyclables and sustainable materials when making their buying decisions.

Making a difference

Traditional materials are quickly being replaced by renewables such as eucalyptus, merino wool, hemp, cotton, and vegan materials. But that is just one part of the equation. When designing footwear, eco-friendly companies also engage in buyback and repair programs.

 

The return of the shoe repair is a service Vivobarefoot offers called ReVivo. Their skilled craftspeople will recondition your shoes, extending their life, or you can send them in when you are done with them, and they will try to refurbish them and resell them to keep them out of the landfill.

 

Adidas and Parley have collaborated to develop shoes made from recycled ocean plastic trash while using low water and low energy. Their running shoe was rated #8 in Best Sustainable Running Shoes by Ecothes for 2022.

 

The products mentioned here are just a sampling of the ambitious companies making a conscious decision to make a difference in all of our futures.

 

Now the real question is, what will you choose?

It’s About Time
compass-5.27.22-2

By: Elaine Kish

The cold, wet days of winter hung on much longer than we wanted this year. As the sunshine streams through the window today, I look out and see tulips that have finally pushed their way to the surface and the blossoms of a dogwood tree in full bloom. The grass is green and although better weather means that extra exercise of yard work, we gladly accept it just to be outdoors.

Bright sunshine changes your outlook on life, even though we continue to do the same day-to-day activities we did in months past. I see people getting outside for their normal evening walk in the neighborhood. They are eager to share a hello with neighbors they haven’t seen for a while.

Opening the windows to let some fresh air in, we’re starting to plan graduation parties, barbecues, picnics and summer sports. Can a warm, fun day on the lake or at the pool be far behind? I think not.

As I walk around my yard picking up the last of the tree branches courtesy of the spring storms and wind, and contemplating picking a bouquet of tulips to bring some spring inside the house, I say to myself, “It’s about time.”

Folk Artist and Nature Collide on This Enchanted Yet Serene Hike
worden-ledges-1

Exposed sandstone ledges provided a canvas to an aspiring artist named Noble Stuart.

By: Trish Mann

Off a nondescript road in Hinkley, Ohio, lies a trail to take you to the almost mystical gift Noble Stewart left for future generations.

In the 1940s, Noble Stewart married 80-year-old Nettie Worden. Nettie was the sole survivor of her family, and upon her passing just a few years later, Noble, 63, ‌inherited the land named after its namesake, Hiram Worden.

After Nettie’s death, Noble spent many days in the property’s woods, composed of sandstone rock formations. Bricklayer, by trade with artist desires, Noble carved images into the sandstone of whatever was on his mind.

The many faces of Worden Ledges

The hike begins off the parking lot and takes you into the woods as a rocky path descends below the ledges. The natural surfaces and untouched scenery transport you back in time as you wind around the sandstone formations.

Soon your gaze will ‌make out the different images carved into the ledges as you discover a sphinx guarding the area.

Around another bend, you spy a detailed schooner carving or a Bible and cross.

The unique carvings appear randomly throughout the region and evoke a sense of mystery yet awe-inspiring.

Imagining the time and effort Noble Stewart took to create the depictions may leave you speechless. Not only are they unexpected, but some are also quite detailed, like the image of Ty Cobb and George Washington.

 

Worden ledges are a loop trail that is part of the Hinkley Reservation, and the woods connect to the Whipps ledges. It is a .07-mile trek and, with proper footwear, is suitable for kids.

All total, there are nine carvings at the ledges. Can you find them all?

For directions, visit Worden’s Ledges, Cleveland Metroparks.

All photos property of Trish Mann (author)

Why Every Successful Grower Turns to These Almanacs for Time Tested Advice?
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By: Trish Mann

The Farmer’s Almanacs are still predicting the weather with astonishing accuracy.

For centuries, farmers and gardeners have looked to The Farmer’s Almanacs for guidance on everything from first frosts, fun facts, and household tips.

 

The (Old) Farmer’s Almanac

 

In 1792, the Farmer’s Almanac began under the editor of Robert B. Thomas. Almanacs have been around since the 15th century and are used to record and predict the weather, astronomical events, and tides. But this almanac found immediate success.

 

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Robert Thomas employed his keen observation to develop a weather forecasting formula using a complicated series of natural cycles that produce results estimated to be around 80% accurate. Thomas’s secret formula is kept securely in a tin box at the Dublin, New Hampshire headquarters.

 

In 1846, Thomas retired but left enough astronomical material for predictions for several subsequent editions. Shortly after, in 1848, the word “Old” was inserted into the name to distinguish it from other almanacs.

 

The Farmer’s Almanac

The Farmer’s Almanac’s first editor was David Young, an astronomer, and mathematician. He developed a guide using sunspots, the tidal activity of the moon, and planet positions. According to The Farmer’s Almanac, they adjusted it slightly into a mathematical and astronomical formula. Only one person knows the exact calculations, and they go by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee.

 

More than just a weather predictor, The Farmer’s Almanac covers many topics such as horoscopes, conservation tips, and astronomy.

 

Past Meets Present

While both Almanacs are thriving today, they have not remained entrenched in the past.

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac embraces technology and combines it with its time-tested formula from the past to predict the future.

 

The Farmer’s Almanac has moved into the 21st century and delivers three versions yet remains fully invested in the secret formula initially developed by its first editor, David Young.

 

Next time you need to know what the weather is going to do, turn off the tv and check out the Almanacs.

A Beginner's Guide to the Right Gear for Successful Backpacking
A Beginner's Guide to the Right Gear for Successful Backpacking

Tips for planning your hiking adventure

Are you an occasional day hiker, but want to take your trek to the next level and start backpacking, but you aren't sure what gear you need? After diligent research, we have composed a list of the basics needed to start your next exciting trek into nature. With the proper gear and planning, your only regret will be, "Why didn't I start backpacking sooner?"

By: Trish Mann

Are you  an occasional day hiker, but want to take your trek to the next level and start backpacking, but you aren’t ‌sure what gear you need?

After diligent research, we have composed a list of the basics needed to start your next exciting trek into nature. With the proper gear and planning, your only regret will be, “Why didn’t I start backpacking sooner?”

Tent

Your tent is more than a place to sleep, it also serves as shelter. The first thing to consider is size; how many people does it need to sleep and what is its weight? It should be lightweight, free standing, size appropriate and suitable for the weather you plan on hiking in. Clever Hiker provides a list of the best budget friendly tents available.

Backpack

A proper fitting backpack is essential! Make sure it fits properly on your hips and shoulders, has adjustable straps and suits your frame. A good retailer will measure your back for fit.

Look for one with a breathable back panel and plenty of gear storage. For more in-depth information on getting the right backpack, check out  Backcountry.com.

Sleeping Gear

When choosing your sleeping bag, consider temperature rating and insulation type. For the budget friendly, synthetic is less expensive than down. However, down lasts longer and provides more warmth. REI breaks down additional factors to consider when purchasing your bag.

A sleeping pad is key to a good night’s sleep. Choices are air, self inflating and closed cell form.

Clothes/Shoes

When choosing footwear, a proper fitting pair of quality hiking boots is crucial. Break them in before hitting the trails and make sure they are lightweight and waterproof.

Avoid cotton clothing, including socks. Cotton is highly absorbent, making it heavy. It is slow drying and once it is wet, it loses insulation properties. Synthetics and clothes with wicking material are the best choice. Remember to plan for swings in temperatures.

Gear

  • Watertight first aid kit
  • Compass/Safety app (see last week’s blog)
  • Headlamp with batteries
  • Water filter
  • Sunscreen/bug repellent
  • Matches
  • Rain Coat
  • Cooking gear/food
  • Firestarters

Do not neglect the details.

A backpacking trek is challenging, but with a little planning, it is a rewarding adventure.

Sleeping to the sounds of the nightlife and waking up to the sunrise, as the world comes alive around you is a magic few in this world get to experience. What are you waiting for?

3 Clever Apps to Make Your Time on the Trails Safe and Worry-Free.
3 Clever Apps to Make Your Time on the Trails Safe and Worry-Free.
Being prepared is more than grabbing your shoes and a water bottle and heading to the trailhead. There are unknown dangers that can come from others on the trails to the trail itself. A slippery spot can send a runner off course in seconds, or taking the wrong path can lead you into the unknown. Fortunately, technology is making the road safer, allowing you to do what you love with the freedom that comes from peace of mind. Depending on your needs, there is an app for everyone, from the walker to the overnight backpacker.

By: Trish Mann

Being prepared is more than grabbing your shoes and a water bottle and heading to the trailhead. There are unknown dangers that can come from others on the trails to the trail itself. A slippery spot can send a runner off course in seconds, or taking the wrong path can lead you into the unknown. Fortunately, technology is making the road safer, allowing you to do what you love with the freedom that comes from peace of mind. Depending on your needs, there is an app for everyone, from the walker to the overnight backpacker.

#1: Road iD

This app has GPS and accident alerts for up to three of your contacts. It provides a link to a map, and it has a patented stationary alert that notifies your contact if you stop moving for more than five minutes. It also has an SOS button to message contacts or dial 911.

A subscription to Road iD is $29.99 a month.

#2: Share My Run

The user sets a start notification and the planned distance to alert your contacts if you don’t arrive on time at the designated end site. It also allows followers to follow you with a real-time map location.

Share My Run offers a free version and a premium version for purchase.

#3: Run Buddy

This app provides a speed alert feature that monitors how fast or slow you are going, which can indicate trouble on the trail or, should you suddenly be quickly traveling, meaning you are in a car. It also has bright lights and alarm features.

The Run Buddy app is free to have “buddies,” or there is a yearly subscription of $9.99 or $.99 a month to activate an alert system.

Staying Safe is #1

Getting out in nature is vital to our lives. Now you can hit the trails and enjoy the peace of mind knowing technology and your family have your back no matter where the path may lead.

Photo by Andraz Lazic on Unsplash

Spring Out of Your Winter Doldrums With These 4 Exciting Events for April
Spring Out of Your Winter Doldrums With These 4 Exciting Events for April

By: Trish Mann

The weather is breaking, and it’s time to kick off those boots, lace up those shoes, and head outside for some fun in the sun activities this spring.

Spring is a time when the world awakens after a long winter slumber. Everywhere you look, there are signs of life as nature turns its faces towards the warming sun and feels the flood of new energy coursing through us.

April kicks off the outdoor activities, and here are four must-see events to get you shaking off the winter doldrums.

#1: Cincinnati Zoo Blooms

Cincinnati Zoo Blooms

April 1-30th at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Nicknamed Tulip Mania, the zoo boasts over one million tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, other spring bulbs, and blooming trees and shrubs in a stunning display of color throughout the zoo.

#2: Wildflowers & Waterfalls Hike Hocking State Park

Wildflowers & Waterfalls Hike Hocking State Park

April 24, 2022 10am

Grab your hiking shoes and camera, then head to the entrance to Ash Cave for a guided hike. You will take in the majesty of Ohio’s spring wildflowers nestled among the intimate beauty of Hocking Hills while the guide takes you around the falls at Ash Cave. Look carefully, and you may see the red trillium and many other wildflowers along the trail.

#3: Geauga County Maple Festival 

Geauga County Maple Festival

April 21-24, 2022 Chardon Ohio

A celebration of everything, maple! Historic Chardon square provides a picturesque setting for rides, games, food, and entertainment. The festival includes maple candy carvings, pancake breakfasts, a pancake eating contest, and local sugar bushes providing tempting maple syrup tastings.

#4: Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival

Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival

April 22-24, 2022, downtown Bellbrook Ohio.

Not outdone by the county up north, Bellbrook celebrates maple syrup with arts and crafts, a parade, concessions, and a beer garden. One highlight you don’t want to miss is the boot-stomping beat of live music.

Wherever your feet may lead this spring, take time to enjoy the longer days and embrace the beauty of spring.

3 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Hiking With Your Toddler Successful and Fun!
3 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Hiking With Your Toddler Successful and Fun!
Taking the little one hiking can be stressful, but when you have the right accessories, your family will have a blast. Raising my kids to have a love for the outdoors is a priority we never left to chance. From the time they were babies, we headed to the trails every chance we got. But hiking with little ones poses some unique problems that are best addressed ahead of the trip. The following tips/items are what I found to be invaluable and I believe will make your next adventure the best it can be.

By: Trish Mann

Taking the little one hiking can be stressful, but when you have the right accessories, your family will have a blast.

Raising my kids to have a love for the outdoors is a priority we never left to chance. From the time they were babies, we headed to the trails every chance we got.

But hiking with little ones poses some unique problems that are best addressed ahead of the trip.

The following tips/items are what I found to be invaluable and I believe will make your next adventure the best it can be.

#1 Stroller

Invest in a good-quality all-terrain stroller.

If you plan on hitting the trails, especially if they are hilly or uneven, you will want something lightweight and easy to handle.

Many use jogging strollers which are better than the traditional stroller, but the all-terrain provides better tires and suspension. Look for a swivel front wheel for uneven terrain but locks in for flat surfaces.

#2 Child Carrier Backpack

This is a must-have for active parents.

For infants, a carrier that holds the baby in the front is the right choice. Once they can sit up without help they can transition to a backpack.

A quality backpack offers a free range of motion while keeping the child safe. You won’t worry about little legs getting tired or wandering off. They adjust for comfort and have multiple places to hold items like a water bottle.

The freedom and security make this a worthwhile investment.

#3 Snacks

There is nothing worse than a hungry child.

Remember to bring water bottles and snacks for your child. Pouches are a great choice. Choose protein over sugar and take more than you will need.

A little preparation makes the difference

Family time is valuable, help it be the best it can be with a little help from these tips.

Ramps: a Delicious and Healthy Wild Plant Hiding Out in the Forest Floor
This header showcases the title for the Compass Ohio blog post for 3.21.22. "Ramps: a Delicious and Healthy Wild Plant Hiding Out in the Forest Floor"
This image shows the vegetable, Ramps. A Delicious and Healthy Wild Plant Hiding Out in the Forest Floor

By: Trish Mann

Spring is the time of year when foragers head to the dense forests of Northeast America in search of ramps, also known as wild leeks. As the weather warms the soil in late March or April, depending on the climate, you will see vibrant emerald green leaves pushing through rich organic soil towards the light.

 

The taste of wild ramps is similar to both garlic and onion and provides a potent taste that makes a great addition to salads, stews, soups, and stir-fries, just to name a few. Chefs love them for their versatility. The entire plant is edible and can be eaten raw, baked, pickled, sauteed, or roasted.

 

But there are even more reasons to love ramps. They have an incredibly high nutritional content. 

 

  • Rich in nutrients: Vitamin K1, Provitamin A carotenoids, Vitamin C, and Manganese

 

  • Contain small amounts of fiber, copper, vitamin B6, iron, and folate.

 

  • High in antioxidants.

 

  • They are believed to reduce inflammation and heart disease.

 

  • Low in calories.

 

  • Contain cancer-fighting compounds

 

  • Great for gut health: soluble fiber, including prebiotics

 

The plants are ready to harvest when their leaves reach 6 to 8 inches. Gently dig up a clump, removing some bulbs, but be careful to leave some to allow for them to propagate for the coming years.

 

If you are looking for some delicious ways to cook using ramps, Food & Wine offers 16 tempting recipes by chefs that are sure to get your mouth watering.

 

If you do not want to trek into the forest, The Village of Peninsula is hosting RAMP GRAB-N-GO on April 23, April 30, and May 7, 2022. Vendors will be selling prepared foods such as ramps, sauces, and more. You can also purchase freshly harvested ramps.

 

If this is your first time foraging for ramps, YouTube has a great video on How to Find and Identify Wilds Leeks (Ramps) to help make your trek successful.

How to Make Your Time on the Trails Safe for You and Your Dog
How to Make Your Time on the Trails Safe for You and Your Dog

By: Trish Mann

It has been a long, cold winter, and everyone is clamoring to get outside and hit the trails, including your furry companion.

 

Hiking with your dog is not just excellent exercise for both of you, but it also provides a fantastic chance to bond with them. But along with the fun comes responsibility, and you will want to make sure your buddy is safe and enjoys the time with you.

 

Here are a few tips to make your hike a maximum success.

 

  • Ensure the trails allow pets: Although many parks allow dogs when properly leashed, make sure they are permitted before heading out. The website Bringfido provides a reference for parks across the country for one-hour walks up to overnight hikes. If they do not have information for the place you are visiting, a quick check online of your park’s website will often provide the information needed.

 

  • Vaccines: Be sure your pup is up to date on all vaccines, flea, tick, and heartworm medicine. You never know what you may come across on the trails.

 

  • Proper dog handling: Your dog should be well socialized, behave appropriately, and be handled with a strong leash. You should train your dog to not growl or pull before heading out into public spaces.

 

  • Proper identification: If your dog should get away from you, be sure they are wearing proper identification that lists your contact information.

 

  • Know your dog’s activity level: If this is your companion’s first adventure, or it has been a while since you last went out, take it slow. Try one hour, and see how they handle it. Gradually increase their experience. You can make a proper determination for the next time.
  • Food and Water: Always carry more water than you think is necessary and give frequent breaks to rehydrate both of you. If your dog’s enthusiasm level appears lacking, a small snack can give them a much-needed energy boost. If your friend is showing signs of dehydration, a bandana soaked in water and tied loosely around its neck can help cool them. Treats are also good to have on hand.

 

  • Proper attire: If you are hiking in cold temperatures, booties and a jacket can make your pet more comfortable. The booties can also help protect the paws from frostbite and cuts. If hiking at night, reflective gear is a must-have.

 

  • Leave no trace: Just as with humans, it is important to remove any waste your dog may incur. Bring along extra poop bags and make sure you carry them out of the park with you or dispose of them in any provided trash containers. Do not leave alongside the path for someone else to handle. They are part of a pet owner’s responsibility.

 

As a dog owner, it is up to you to take proper care when hitting the trails with your pet. You want it to be a rewarding and safe experience for both of you and something you will look forward to doing time and time again.

The Beauty and Power of Mother Nature on Display in Ohio's Waterfalls

By: Trish Mann

 

Spring has returned, and it is time to get back outside and enjoy the beauty often only afforded this time of year. Winter releases its icy grip as melting snow, and spring rains combine to create magnificent waterfalls throughout the region as the temperatures rise.  

Whether you are a seasoned hiker or someone who prefers easy terrain, there is a waterfall for you.

Hocking Hills is home to many spectacular waterfalls. Big Spring Hollow Falls is the tallest in the state with a drop of 120’, and Cedar Falls is most majestic. It is a half-mile hike along a stream surrounded by hemlocks and boulders. Other falls in the area include Ash Cave Falls and Whispering Falls, among others.

Northeast Ohio also boasts some fantastic falls. The Cuyahoga National Park alone has over 100 falls, most in the northern portion. However, not all are mapped out or available by trail. Bridal Veil Falls is about a quarter-mile walk from your car, while the popular Brandywine Falls is accessible from a scenic route or a shorter path leading you to steps to the falls. Blue Hen Falls offers something for everyone. You can take a short half-mile walk to it, or you can be more adventurous and take either an eight or four-mile round-trip hike too. 

The southwestern part of the state is home to many scenic falls. Charleston Falls is an impressive waterfall at over 40’ and is in the 416-acre Charleston Falls Preserve. Indian Run Falls in Dublin was once home to the Wyandot tribe, and there is an observation platform, bridge, and scenic trails around the falls.

While the falls are breathtaking, nature offers beauty at every step. Spring is a perfect time to see wildflowers reaching for the warm sun, and wildlife is peeking around every rock and tree. Keep your eyes peeled, and you never know what you may see. 

This spring, be sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing. A 60-degree day can be drastically colder on the trails, and there may be icy patches and slick surfaces. A walking stick, waterproof footwear, and layering will make your adventure more enjoyable.  

How-to Guide on Quality Running Shoes for Your Track and Field Superstar

By: Trish Mann

Schools everywhere are preparing for an exciting season of track and field. But before anyone hits the course, it is essential to have safe, quality running gear so your son or daughter can put their best foot forward.

When shopping for running shoes, remember not all footwear is the same, and what worked last year may not work this time. It is easy to get swayed by all the mad, exciting patterns when shopping, a twisted ankle or banged-up knee won’t look good no matter how cool the shoes look. But getting a proper fit is more than just trying on a pair of shoes. It is also about safety. 

A trained salesperson looks at the person’s gait and running biometrics by studying how they walk, run, and land on their feet. They also check where the runner puts their weight on impact and if they roll inward or outward. This information reveals which of the three types of support: neutral, stability or motion-control will provide the best option for safety and success for your athlete.

Each style poses various requirements for support and cushioning and requires someone skilled at making these assessments. Someone who lands on the outside of their heels can transfer weight to the inner edge instead of the ball of the foot. We know this as overpronation, and another runner may land on their heel and roll inward. 

Improperly fitting shoes can cause pain or injuries to the knees, hips, back, and feet. When you select well-fitting, quality running shoes, you will help keep your child in the race.

CHECK OFF YOUR FITNESS BUCKET LIST

By Kimberly Wagler, BA, CPT

Have you ever wanted to start (and stick with) a fitness program? Have you ever wondered if you were even physically capable of participating in one? Have you ever felt like you just don’t have the motivation or drive to make fitness a part of your life? You, certainly, aren’t alone.

Over the years, I’ve learned the strategies our clients use to get them on their health journey, in addition to what keeps them going. Take a look at the 4 traits we’ve seen in common with our most successful clients. Followed in order, these simple steps can not only help you get started, but also make fitness a part of your lifestyle.

They started. Quit getting ready to get ready.

This sounds simple, but it’s often the most difficult first step. Most of us procrastinate because we keep “getting ready to get ready.” Why? Because the fear of what could potentially go wrong keeps us from taking action and finally gaining control of our health and wellness. Or, we put off starting because we don’t know how to start or what exercises to do.

On the other hand, successful people take action. They just start. Imagine the endorphin rush of achieving your goals. Feeling confident, healthy, and in control. Realizing you accomplished what you always knew you were capable of. This doesn’t need to be a fantasy. In fact, these are real-life results from our clients. People just like you. Feeling good, getting stronger, and still motivated for more.

But the only way to get there, the first (most important) step, is committing. Just getting started. Remember, you are the hero of the story. And just like any great story, it cannot begin until the hero takes action. So, act!

They’re consistent. Especially when it’s hard, and life seems too busy.

Now that you have committed, it’s time to be consistent. Life is busy. There is always something to take up your time. These priorities matter, but so does your health. It is difficult to succeed without planning.

Failure to plan is planning to fail, and that is why the most successful people plan ahead.

By scheduling workouts ahead of time, busy schedules become more manageable. I’ve found that, for most people, creating a schedule you can maintain week to week works best. That way, it becomes a part of your life and identity.

Getting an accountability partner can also help with consistency if they are someone you respect and will help you overcome excuses.

They follow a plan. What does success look like? What’s realistic?

You’ve started, and now you’ve committed to being consistent. The next step is to follow a proven path to success. Without a plan, it’s easy to get frustrated and off track. Getting “in shape” can be vague and structureless.

You can seek out professional help for this if you aren’t confident in your ability to create a plan. There are plenty of options these days. From simple at-home programs, to in-depth training programs at your local gym, you can absolutely find the best plan for your goals and your life!

For those who are uncomfortable asking for help or not confident in being able to talk to a fitness professional, follow these points to create your own plan.

  • Figure out what you like. What kind of activity do you enjoy the most?  If you don’t enjoy exercising, you most likely won’t continue doing it. Finding the type of movement you enjoy is key. For instance, if you are a former athlete, you may want to pick up your sport again. If you are an extreme introvert that enjoys movies, maybe it’s hopping on a cardio machine while you watch your favorite flick.
  • Start slow. Going crazy in your first session can cause so much soreness that you might not be willing to try it again.  If you are a former basketball player, don’t sign up for an intense league right away. Start by shooting around and doing some light drill work. Work your way up to being able to recreationally play, and then join the league when your body feels ready.
  • Set SMALL goals. Giving yourself achievable goals to hit each week is much more optimal than throwing out a 50-pound weight loss goal that just overwhelms your efforts. This is why programs like Couch to 5k are so successful. They focus solely on what needs to be done for that week.

They measure their success. And not just by using the scale.

The people who have gotten stronger, leaner, and healthier understand that weight alone is not an adequate measuring stick. Results and continued success happen when you understand what your body is made of and what it can do. Weight alone is an incomplete picture. It’s a number that represents everything in your body.

It is important to break your fitness down into meaningful data such as conditioning, strength, lean muscle, and fat mass. These individual factors are key to understanding your health, but more importantly, it gives you a direction and strategy to get you where you want to be.

Purposeful and consistent measurement of the right metrics is how the most successful people move forward with confidence. They know what they are doing is providing them with the best results possible.

Here are some great ways to measure your fitness level. Start by doing these movements, and complete them again every one to three months to measure your progress.

  • 1 mile test:  How fast can you complete a mile? This can be done on a bike, walking, running, swimming, etc.
  • Farmer carry: Time yourself to see how long you can walk at a comfortable pace while holding dumbbells. Make sure you are carrying the weight by your sides with one weight in each hand. You can use buckets filled with water if you don’t have access to dumbbells at home.
  • Pushups: How many can you do? Remember to use good form and not cheat yourself with half reps. If you need to modify, you can start on your knees or elevate your upper body by placing your hands on a chair or countertop.
  • Pull-ups or hold for time:  How many full-rep pull ups can you do? It is very difficult to do full pull-ups, so if you aren’t comfortable doing them, try to get yourself into a pull-up position with assistance. Time yourself to see how long you can hang.
  • Squats: The best option for this is to be able to hold a heavy weight and see how many squats you can do.
  • Body composition scans:  Inbody, Bod Pod, and Hydrostatic Weighing are the most accurate and accessible ways to get your body composition tested in our area. Typically, home scales aren’t going to be as accurate, but if that is all you have access to, then by all means use them.

The four traits listed above are tried and true methods to making fitness a lasting part of your lifestyle. If you’ve been wanting to improve your health journey, consider this your sign that it’s time to get moving. All you have to do is start.

TIPS FOR A NUTRITION BUCKET LIST

By Courtney Wright, RDLD, CPT, CSN

Not sure where to get started on how to eat healthier? Ever feel trapped in the yes-no-maybe-why is nutrition advice so confusing? I get it…and I got you. The best nutrition advice will stand the test of time.

So, what exactly may that be? Simplicity. When in doubt, remember the basics. Here are five tips to add to your bucket list to start eating healthy.

 

Keep it simple

So, what exactly does this mean? Well, after browsing the web, you will soon have over ten tabs open on all the nutrition advice out there. You will also feel overwhelmed. If nutrition had a manual, there would only be one. There will always be someone out there promoting the latest craze with nutrition. Don’t believe it. If it seems too good to be true, it is.

My advice? Close the tabs and know there will never be one perfect diet. Keto, intermittent fasting, paleo, no eating after 7 pm, 1200 calorie deficit diets, etc. The best diet out there focuses on minimally processed foods, a lot of plants, and planning ahead. You can eliminate so many unhealthy choices by simply planning your menu for the next week.

Make your healthy food convenient

We live in a busy world. Time seems to run out very quickly. Sometimes it feels like we don’t have time to cook. I often tell clients to sit down on whatever day they have off (usually Sunday), and look at their upcoming schedule. Whatever days they are extra busy, put a “Q” (Quick dinner). on the menu.

Make these dinners 20 minutes or less. So yes, you still have to cook, but anyone can find 20 minutes to put something together. You can search “20-minute meals” online or opt for a quick salad, fish, pasta, or other quick dishes.

Another way to make healthy food more convenient is to do some snack prepping on your day off. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Washing off your fruit, cutting up some veggies, portioning out yogurt, or boiling some eggs. This encourages you to reach for a yogurt over junk food when you are hungry.

It’s okay to take a detour, but always come back

If you change your mindset, you can change your habits. Imagine a setback as a detour and not a dead end. We are all human and will not make perfect choices at each meal, every day, for the rest of our lives. Food is just food. It’s neither bad nor good, it simply provides us with nourishment or pleasure. It’s okay to have both.

A mixed green salad at lunch and an ice cream at night with your kids are both okay. We know that ice cream at each meal won’t make us feel physically well, and we know that salad at each meal is boring. Once you take the pressure off yourself for perfection, it creates more freedom in your food choices and less guilt in your mind.

 

Find enjoyment outside of food

When we begin a new journey to be healthy, sometimes we are hyper focused on food alone. This can get us into trouble when we have cravings for food that we really don’t want. We seem to eat out of default instead of an informed decision of actually wanting the food. Do you tend to crave junk food at night? Do you feel powerless at the 2 pm donuts in the board room at work? That’s totally normal, but ask yourself if you really want the food you are reaching for.

We tend to eat out of habit when we are bored or stressed. Find things to do that you’ve been wanting to do; listen to your favorite song, read a book, take a bath, journal, call a family member, etc. Once we focus our attention on activities outside of eating, processed food seems less appealing because we are finding pleasure outside of food.

Eat more plant based

Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health, and are often higher in fiber and phytonutrients. It doesn’t mean you cannot eat meat or dairy; it just means to eat less of it. Research has consistently shown that the Mediterranean (plant-based) diet is effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality. It’s important to note, this diet is not a fad, rather it’s a journey to eat healthier options for optimal health. Here is a sample menu of what a plant-based diet looks like.

 

Breakfast

  1. Wrap–Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with scrambled egg, black beans, peppers, onions, Monterey jack cheese, and a splash of hot sauce or salsa.
  2. Oats with walnuts or almonds, banana, and cinnamon.
  3. Whole-wheat English muffin topped with fresh tomato and avocado slices, and blueberries.

 

Lunch

  1. Vegetarian pizza topped with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, peppers, and mushroom; fresh strawberries for dessert.
  2. Greek salad–Chopped mixed greens with fresh tomato, Kalamata olives, fresh parsley, crumbled feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Whole-wheat pita on the side, fresh melon for dessert.
  3. Tomato basil soup, whole-grain crackers with tabbouleh, and an apple.

 

Dinner

  1. Vegetarian chili with a spinach-orzo salad.
  2. Grilled vegetable kabobs with grilled tofu, and a quinoa and spinach salad.
  3. Whole-wheat pasta with white beans and peas, and a romaine salad with cherry tomatoes, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

So, there you have it, five ways to get started to becoming healthier. Always remember that it’s progress in your heating habits, not perfection. Simplicity and consistency will always persevere.

PUT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST

By Judith Bratten

“Start slow, start with small steps, and make it fun!” advises Angela Lombardo about developing a healthy lifestyle. And she should know. The owner/manager of Fresh Twist, a plant-centric kitchen established in 2019 in Steubenville, Ohio, Lombardo learned about the value of eating fresh and nutritious foods through her own research and taking classes to become a certified health coach.

“When my daughter was about two, she was diagnosed with a health condition that would require frequent surgeries throughout her life,” Lombardo explains. “That’s what started my search and my interest in preventing lifestyle-related disease through diet. We needed the doctors, but I also knew we could help by changing our eating habits.”

The purpose of Fresh Twist is stated clearly on their menu: Our mission is to provide delicious plant-based food and nutrition education to promote health and wellness within our community. Our recipes provide a synergistic blend of complex carbohydrates, phytonutrients, antioxidants, plant-based protein, fiber and healthy fats. Long words to describe dishes that not only feed the body but are also environmentally friendly.

“We make an effort to source our food organically, locally, and sustainably,” Lombardo adds. The more she learned, the more she realized that diet alone wasn’t the key to good health. And the more she learned, the more she wanted to share her knowledge and experience with others.

“But when I did, friends would say ‘I don’t know how to eat healthy’ or ‘I don’t know where to get these foods’ or ‘I don’t know how to cook this way.’ So that’s when we decided to open Fresh Twist, as a way to introduce and encourage people to try a new way of eating and living.”

The eatery is a small but bright space with an open kitchen where customers can order set menu items or create their own salads, bowls, flatbreads, or smoothies. The pandemic hit just as they were growing, but they were able to keep interest up with their take-out menus. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff also draws customers back.

The most popular items? The Taco Bowl, the Taco Salad, and the Buddha Bowl (warm rice, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, crispy chickpeas, carrots, cabbage, smashed avocado, peanuts, and scallions).

“We’ve had guys get our taco salad and swear they were eating meat – but we create our own meat substitutes with all natural ingredients and no preservatives or additives,” she notes proudly. “And our most popular smoothy is called Purple Rain with blueberries, banana, almond milk, and a peanut butter drizzle.”

Her final advice is to look at eating and living a healthier lifestyle as an adventure. “Trial and error,” Lombardo suggests. “Try new things. Don’t be hard on yourself. Add a few more vegetables to your diet. Drink a few more glasses of water. Spend more time in the produce section rather than among the shelves of processed foods. Aim for the goal of 80% whole foods. Everyone is different with different needs and tastes, so be willing to experiment.”

Take a ride to Steubenville and try Fresh Twist for yourself. Located at 2311 Sunset Blvd., you can check the website www.fresh-twist.com to help you start on your adventure.

RUN A MARATHON IN 2022 BUCKET LIST

By Breanne Bakan

Whether you’re new to running or you’ve been around the block a few times (pun intended), your first marathon can seem daunting. Covering 26.2 miles on foot is no small feat, and many people don’t know where to start to prepare for such a task.

 

I have put together a few easy tips to get you started on your marathon journey!

Find a Support System

Whether it’s a running partner, a run group, or an online community, having people to hold you accountable is important. They’ll help you get out the door on the days it seems impossible. Plus, there’s a good chance they will know things you don’t, so you’ll be able to ask questions and learn things.

Get the Right Gear

Running is great because you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it. But there are a few important things to keep in mind. Having the right shoes on your feet can make the miles seem easier and help prevent injury. Head to your nearest run specialty store to have your gait analyzed by a professional so you can get the right shoes for your feet. I also recommend investing in comfortable running clothes that fit you well and are designed for whatever elements you’ll be training in. If you’re running in the winter, make sure you have appropriate clothing to keep you warm.

Make a Training Plan

If you find a training group, you might be able to get a training plan from them. If not, you need to make sure you find one that is geared to your current fitness level and will provide you with the necessary training to complete your marathon. Thankfully, the internet has tons of resources on this and many different plans to choose from. You can even find coaches online to help guide you through this journey.

Practice Your Race Day

This doesn’t mean run the full race; it means do everything that you would do on a race day on some training runs. Need a new pair of shoes? Don’t debut those on marathon morning. Looking to try some new hydration or nutrition? Don’t break those out for the first time at mile 10 of the race.

Making sure that everything you need for your marathon works for you and your body is important to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for race day success.

Be Patient

Running a marathon isn’t easy, and neither is preparing for one. When you first start it might seem impossible that you’ll ever complete that 26.2 miles. The best thing you can do is to take each day one at a time. Focus on what you have to do that day and enjoy the journey. After all, this is supposed to be fun. Before you know it, you’ll have finished your first marathon!

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