And now for a little bit of food porn

Cue swanky ’70s guitar for a big ol’ slab o’ beef … and some secret herbs and spices and unsparing direct lighting


t-bone porn

Oooh, yeah, baby, carve me right down to the bone! Yeah, yeah … ummmm


Not ready for prime time foliage

I have to preface (in case the header didn’t clue you in) that the fall colors have been disappointing so far this year. Perhaps it could be the unusually warm fall.

Anyway, here’s my second stab at fall foliage, but I think this might be an off year, going mostly straight from green to brown. We’ll see.

touch of red

misty falls


I wish I had a more powerful lens, cuz I had to crop and enlarge this quite a bit, and as you can see, it’s gotten a tad grainy. Someday when I grow up, maybe. 


This would make an excellent haunted house

other misty falls

This was generating a fair amount of mist, so I didn’t hang long for fear of ruining my camera.


orange oak

And them’s pretty much the highlights Oct. 30 in Cascade Park along the Black River in Elyria (a somewhat dingy town in Northeast Ohio). Hey, I’m just sayin’.

Maybe I’ll have better luck in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park/towpath area. Before the leaves all fall off.

And you know what comes next …

Brandywine with the offspring

It only took me a week, but here is evidence of our trip to Brandywine Falls, ostensibly to see some fall foliage. Nature was not cooperating. The leaves had hardly begun changing, even though it’s mid-October.

But it’s always fun gathering with the offspring!

Matt and Linz

Brandywine falls.vert

lion cat

The Lion Cat stands watch over his garden, enduring the occasional pat on the head or scratch on the ear. 


I flick you!


owl rock

I found this painted rock in Elyria, hiding in plain sight outside the Chronicle. It is being hidden in plain sight here near Brandywine. Perhaps visitors have been too bedazzled by the waterfalls to notice this humble rock owl.

rock backside

 This cryptic inscription was found on the back.Scary Matt


Woolly Woolly!


That’s all, folks!

Pelee 2018

After a much-too-long absence, I finally made it back to Pelee Island, the southernmost part of Canada on Lake Erie.

This sunrise vaguely resembles a nuclear detonation, don’t ya think?

It wrapped up a fabulous 10-day vacation that started slowly and then went BAM! with the Foo Fighters concert Wednesday at Blossom Music Center and then on to the Lake, which had perfect weather, except on the ferry ride over to Pelee, when a lovely rainstorm hit. No biggie, though: It was over by the time we reached the island.

Trouble ahead, troubles behind …

It was a tad buggy the first two days. On Friday, for whatever reason, the biting flies were especially vicious. They would land on a leg or arm three at a time and start chewing away. They leave a nasty sting but usually no visible mark. I probably have more bruises from swatting the bastards than actual marks or welts from the bites. Eric, the Pelee veteran he is, has mastered the smush-three-flies-at-a-time technique and is quite proud of his skill.

He has many skills. Backing up a trailer is not among them. Trying to back a personal water craft (PWC) into water a sandy slope doesn’t help matters. Especially in the soft, dry sand above the waterline, the tractor’s smaller front wheels became glorified sand plows when Eric would cut the wheels to turn one way or the other. We all looked on in horror. And yet we survived.

Eric on tractor

Eric and his toys

Having been there for the better part of a decade, Yvonne and Eric — along with my niece Natalie and relatively recent addition Finnegan (Finn, or my preferred nickname “Finster,” inspired by a Bugs Bunny episode) (but I digress) — have developed a nice rapport with the neighbors, who are without exception exceptionally friendly and fun.

Finn in his natural environment

The previously mentioned PWC is a relatively recent addition. Once we (mainly meaning Eric) got the sucker in the water, we took turns taking it out for a spin.

Eric and Natalie in action on the water

This was only my second experience with any personal watercraft. Boats? No problem. Water skiing? No problem. Jet Ski? Problem. Especially if you’re trying it for the first time in ocean surf. But this Kawasaki is more like a Seadoo, a motorcycle on water. Toughest part was getting a feel for the throttle and steering, which is waaaay different from a 15- to 20-foot boat. But on the second trip out, I got it up to 52 mph, which can be a bit unnerving bouncing around that close to the surface.

Feeling daring, I allowed myself to be talked in an inner tube ride. And in spite my sister and niece’s best efforts, I survived. Yay! Curiously, I noted the brand name later, and it struck me as completely appropriate: Jolt.

Can’t make this stuff up!

As hard as it might be to believe, there is more to Pelee than water sports and lazing on the beach and swatting flies. There is wildlife. I just missed an opportunity to get pix of the legendary Lake Erie water snake wolf down a goby, one of the most despised invasive species in the lake in part because nobody knew if they had any natural enemies. Huh. Now we know. I remember shouting, “Good job, snake!” As I dashed (lumbered, really) over the sizzling sand to grab my camera. Too late.

Nobody bothers the snakes, which is a good idea because they’re a protected species. Also, they can get a bit bitey, though they are not venomous. Just ouchy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of them on the Ohio side, although that is part of their quite small natural habitat (western basin of Lake Erie, basically), they’re quite common on Pelee. I have proof on previous posts, if I can just find them! Ah, here’s a link from 2009, one of my earlier trips.

On to wildlife:

I spy a birdie in the ditch that circumnavigates the island. Not sure what its original purpose was, but I suspect the ditch serves to contain the farm runoff. There is a lot of farmland on Pelee, and that water is thick with algae.

And now:

Money shot!

I had spooked this heron shortly after the previous shot, went on to the lighthouse and violated several local ordinances because the area was closed off because of recent storm damage. Scofflaws! Well, we ran into a few others while out there.

Anyway, on the way back, I spotted our blue friend here chomping away on a snack — a sunfish, judging by its orange coloring and shape and size.

And now a few other images, because I’m running out of useful things to say, except thanks to Eric and Yvonne and that pesky Natalie for a great time and great hospitality.


The obligatory selfie with the legendary Stoneman of Pelee Island



With neighbor John

The Horstman crew with neighbor John


Sunset (I know, hard to tell, right?)

Version 2

Stoneman and his growing family.

Natalie with Stone Bridge

Natalie with Stonebridge

neighbor on paddleboard

Neighbor on maiden voyage on paddleboard. I was there, ready to shoot when she flopped. She did not flop, much to my disappointment

stair rail

Custom-decorated star rail to the loft

Living room other angle

Living/dining area with view of the lake

Living room

Another part of living area, also with a view of the lake.

A hummingbird visits the feeder

This is the quintessential island car, a 1990 (I believe) Cavalier. Low mileage, runs just fine, and nobody cares if you get a little sand in it.

An exterior shot of the the place …

Ha-ha! This is the actual cottage. Hard to hide from sunrise here.

A hazard of parking in Sandusky: Gulls poop all over the place, and this isn’t even that bad.


Fully functioning kitchen

Gang in water

Some of the gang hanging in the water

Eric and Nat

Father-daughter dance, Pelee style

on deck

One of the more recent projects, updated deck


To be continued … maybe



Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day, May 28, 2018.

It’s 10-something a.m. on Washington Avenue in bucolic Elyria, Ohio.

Pretty much your standard small-town parade: firetrucks, convertibles, every club and civic organization in town, old soldiers, not-so-old soldiers, Marines, etc., firetrucks, candy, marching bands, vintage cars, a beat-up old Ford station wagon (!), no DeLorean. A cemetery.


Three flags.JPG

Apple princess.JPG

Captain America

Some of us might want to rethink the whole Spandex idea


Green shuttle


Model T's

More Model T's.JPG

Low Rider

Low. Rider. Goes a little slower.


Silly tractors


At the Rib Cook-Off

Took a little jaunt down the pike to Berea for the Rib Cook-Off, the unofficial official start of summer in Northeast Ohio.

After getting caught in rush-hour traffic, I arrived at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds to a fairly sparse crowd. Things were just getting started, I guess.

Anyway, here are just a few pics from the day. Nothing spectacular, but the ribs I tried were mighty tasty. I randomly picked Sgt. Oink, one of fourteen vying for the championship. Recommended!

Entertainment provided by Cleveland classic R&B group Cruisin.

Cookin ribs


Old Vette.JPG

New Vette

Old Vette