Friday, June 30, 2023

Hot Dog

It's not often that I can get sauerkraut on my hot dog, but when I can I jump on it, like the one shown below that I purchased at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina last March.  At home, I can't justify buying an entire jar of sauerkraut and throwing away more than ninety percent of it.  I grew up eating Vlasic Old Fashioned Sauerkraut and nothing else comes close to its tangy goodness.  IMHO, of course.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Covered Bridge

While at Hidden Valley Orchard I spotted the covered bridge shown below and wondered why were these types of bridges covered.  I thought at first that maybe it was simply a nice place to get shelter during a rain shower, and while I'm sure it was used for that purpose, a little research led to a better reason.  Being made primarily of wood, the roof and walls offered some protection from rain, snow, and sunlight that would speed up the process of decay.  Delaying that extended the bridge's life and reduced repair costs.  In addition, keeping the bridge's floor clear made passage safer.  

If you're a fan of covered bridges, the link below leads to Travel+Leisures's list of twenty of the most beautiful bridges in America.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Hidden Valley Orchard

How does the combination of a warm, sunny day, a cool drink in hand, and walking around a farm sound to you?  Ours was made even better as my son and his fiance tied the knot at Hidden Valley Orchards (HVO).  The picture below looks into their nicely stocked bar that includes a list of signature cocktails.  HVO has quite the event calendar, hosting Blueberry Fest in July, Peach Days in August, and Apple Cider Donut Days in September, just a few that caught my eye.

HVO is located on SR-48 a couple miles south of SR-73, in the northern part of Lebanon, Ohio.  Check out more about HVO at the following link.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Off Par Golf & Social

Went to Off Par Golf & Social at The Greene in Beavercreek for a two-hour private event that included whacking all the golf balls you wanted.  In addition to a nicely stocked bar, they have seven bays with a variety of simulations such as playing a round of golf, as shown below.  Another fun screen had floating battleships you could try to hit.  

The normal fee to rent a bay for an hour (really 55 minutes) is $40 to $60, depending on the time of year (cold months are "in-season") and if it's a weekday or weekend.  That sounds like a good way to keep the swing flowing when the snow is flying.

Friday, June 23, 2023


About once a month Chef Elaine and I go out for lunch and it's the perfect opportunity to try new places.  Freddy's has been on the list and as shown below they serve up steakburgers and fries, with only one of us ordering fries for at least some semblance of portion control.  The burgers were really good, but the next time we venture there it will be for one of their many frozen custard desserts, perhaps a sundae or a chocolate malt.  

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Electronics Recycling

Montgomery County has this fantastic dropoff for all sorts of recycling (e.g. electronics, cardboard, etc.) and environmentally nasty household items (e.g. paint, batteries, oil).  It's only available to residents of the county and it's only open at certain times for certain items and can get a bit confusing, so check out the link below for more information.

Best of all, it's free (I love free).

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

One Nation Under God

It's nice to see a tribute to our country like the one shown along Spaulding Road in Kettering, Ohio.   A phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance, I must have recited this thousands of times every morning in grade school.  Some interesting history about the pledge can be found at this link.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Table Saw Blade Replacement

I've been wanting to replace the blade in my table saw for a while now and it took a YouTube video, turning the whole thing upside down, and all the torque my two arms could muster to break the stranglehold the nut had on the bolt.  After I got it apart I ordered a replacement blade (see link below) on Amazon for about $12 and the reassembly was easy.  I hope this blade lasts a dozen or more years like the first one.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Herb Pots

Since our raised herb garden fell apart last year, Chef Elaine instead potted some of our most used herbs.  As, at least, partially shown below, we have rosemary, dill, parsley, "mammoth" jalapeno pepper, and three basil plants.  These all get near-full sun as our house runs east-to-west and there are not many trees that get in the way in the summertime.  Maybe the nicest benefit of the new location is that it's only a few steps from the kitchen, making it really handy to clip off a few leaves when making a recipe.  Having the hose a couple of feet away (it's below the small window) makes watering the pots that much easier.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Hershey's Best Brownies

What to do with an almost full box of Hershey cocoa powder?  Bake brownies, of course!  And where to find a good recipe?  At Hershey's, of course!  See the link below.

You just blend the cocoa together with melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt, and pour it into a greased baking pan.  About 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven gets the job done.  And for some portion control, I cut them into small pieces, as shown in the picture below, and used considerable willpower to eat only one a day.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Espresso Martini

We received this infuse-your-own Martini as an unexpected gift and finally decided to give it a try.  The bottle on the left contains sugar, roasted coffee beans, dried coffee, and caramel color and is filled with your favorite vodka and steeped in the refrigerator for at least three hours.  After I emptied the container using the provided strainer, I washed out the bottle and returned the martini to it.  It's a very nice martini that will get stronger the longer it's steeped, so it's a good idea to taste it every hour or so until you get to your desired strength of coffee flavor.  Metro makes a number of infused cocktails which you can read at the link below.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023


Dayton's Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) is soon expanding from the confines of The Oregon District to include most of the central and eastern sides of downtown, as shown in the graphic below.  You can buy alcoholic beverages from a business within the DORA which they will sell in a specific plastic cup.  You can enjoy your beverage outside within the marked signage of the DORA.  Look for signs as there are several rules you have to follow.  Some other nearby DORAs include Austin Landing, Miamisburg, Troy, and Lebanon.

There are currently 113 DORAs in the state of Ohio, which you can locate at the link below.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Pickleball Courts

After being closed for ten months, the newly renovated and expanded pickleball courts at Kennedy Park in Kettering, Ohio are set to open on June 25th.  The number of courts was expanded from six to twelve, the courts resurfaced, and all new fencing was installed among other upgrades.  As you can see from the picture below, they look awesome and ready to go except for adding the nets.  More information on the grand opening celebration can be found at the link below.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Infiniti Cardholder

Behind the passenger's sun visor on our Infiniti G37x is a cardholder (top portion of the picture below), a handy place to store a library card or a couple of letters that need to go to the post office.  This feature is another case of ignoring what's in front of our faces for six years before finally having it reach the upper part of our consciousness.  I wonder what other handy features exist that are lurking just outside our mental reach?

Friday, June 9, 2023


There might not be a more divisive food on the planet than anchovies.  You rarely find someone that says "Ah, they're OK", but you get a lot of "They're the worst!" or in my case "Love them!".  Chef Elaine makes a great Caesar Salad (see below) with homemade dressing and it's great but if I have anchovies available, the entire can will go on top.  But as much as I love anchovies, they become gross when baked, like on the top of a pizza.  A link to my favorite brand, King Oscar, is below and it includes some interesting recipes I need to try.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Dayton Dragons

The Chef and I enjoyed an evening watching the Dayton Dragons as they defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps 3-2 thanks to a 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning off the sizzling bat of Blake Dunn.  It's been a while since we've seen a game at Day Air Ballpark and a couple of changes were much appreciated.  First, the 25' (that's a guess) high netting around the stands now wraps all the way around the field preventing 100+ mile-per-hour line drives from spoiling your evening.  The chances to grab a foul ball are fewer, but that's a good safety tradeoff.  Second, the addition of a pitch clock really sped up the game, with our game clocking in at 2 hours and 19 minutes.  That's much nicer than the games that would drag out to 3 hours or more.

The funniest (or just perhaps the stupidest) comment I overheard from a nearby fan was "Why do they call them the Whitecaps?"  Well, let's see. The name West Michigan places it near Lake Michigan where they are lots of big waves.  Need I say more?

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

National Radio Quiet Zone

There are two "Radio Quiet Zones" in the United States, the largest, the National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ), was created in 1958, and is located primarily in rural West Virginia and Virginia as shown on the map below.  The other, Table Mountain, is located twenty miles north of Boulder, Colorado.  If you're looking for a place to disconnect yourself from the world, these would make good choices as any source of radio transmissions is severely limited to allow for government surveillance and research.  That pretty much means no cellular service and the closer you get to the center of the facilities, the more restricted it gets.  For example, near the center of NRQZ, gasoline-powered cars are prohibited, as their spark plugs generate radio interference, so only diesel-powered engines are allowed.  Read more at the link below.

Another shout-out to my buddy Nick for this tip!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Spring House Park

I took the picture below of the field that sits at the southwest corner of Patterson Road and Grange Hall Road.  Extending south to Shakertown Road, it is the City of Beavercreek’s newest, and largest, park at 148 acres.  After receiving hundreds of name suggestions, the Beavercreek City Council named it Spring House Park.  It's still in need of quite a bit of new funding, so it might take a few years before the site is fully developed.

This land holds a truckload of happy memories for me.  My mother's brother Bud, his wife Jessie, and their nine kids moved to a house on this property back around the time I was born and we all knew it as "The Otto Farm".  For decades they would hold a family picnic on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, and it never seemed to rain, regardless of the forecast.  It was a day full of volleyball and basketball games, picnic tables full of fried chicken, potato salad, and such, my uncle using his tractor to pull us through their fields on hayrides, and cracking open-pit fires complete with burning marshmallows and S'mores.  

After they passed, the house was destroyed for firefighter training and the chicken coup and barn were taken down.  The property has been vacant for at least 25 years with almost nothing remaining I can recognize.  The gravel path seen below was the driveway up to the house and the rest Mother Nature took care of in her usual way.  

I can't wait for the day I can walk again on this land and recall all those good times.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Father's Day Love

I can hear Rodney Dangerfield's famous quote, "I don't get no respect!" when I spotted this rack of Father's Day cards sitting at the back of our Meijer store next to shelves of children's toys.  I really hope this was just a temporary resting place for these, eventually taking its place and being displayed proudly somewhere in the front of the store.  

In case you need to know, this year Father's Day is Sunday, June 18.  

Friday, June 2, 2023

French Toast

A few weeks ago I blogged on the delicious Cinnamon Streusel bread we bought at Costco and then Chef Elaine used it to whip up the couple of pieces of French Toast shown below.  That took my favorite childhood breakfast into another dimension of flavor.  I have since eaten through the entire two loaves of bread and will try my damndest not to buy another 3 1/2 pounds of it until fall begins.  

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Baby Mallards

It's baby duck season at the pond at Lincoln Park Pond and watching this mommy with her band of ducklings made me wonder if she had all girls given their feathers were all the same shade of brown like hers.  Not so I learned.  Male mallards start out the same but as they mature they develop their signature green heads and colorful plumage, all geared to make them attractive to the females.  The females maintain brown and grey colored feathers which helps them hide from predators before and after they give birth.