Living the dream

first_imgIt must have taken a lot of guts and a very understanding wife for a man to transform his home into a bakery in order to follow his dream. But in late 2006, that’s exactly what Patrick Moore did.Knocking through from his kitchen to his dining room and conservatory to make a large production area, Moore started baking pastries and loaves to sell at farmers’ markets and food festivals. With huge electrical costs, and a remortgaged house, he missed many a night’s sleep baking, before making his deliveries in the morning.Just over two years ago, he took on his first part-time member of staff, but as the initial 25 loaves required per day rose to 300, the need for a commercial bakery site was evident. He now employs 14 staff at his bakery and tea room More? The Artisan Bakery in Staveley, Cumbria and, last September, picked up the Baking Industry Award for Speciality Bread Product of the Year, sponsored by British Bakels, for his Lakeland Treacle Bread with Walnuts and Raisins.The past”My mother was German, and my father Irish, so there was a wide cross-section of food coming into the house,” explains Moore.Formerly a successful chef, Moore says his real passion has always been with bread and baking. His earliest ’bread memory’ occurred on a holiday to his uncle’s house in Germany, when he was around six years old. There, he was greeted by the smell of freshly baked rye bread and coffee probably not something that would excite most six year olds, but it made something in him click. After a long career working for other people, he decided he wanted to work for himself. “Baking was in my blood, so it had to be that,” he says.The presentMoore describes his business as a “destination bakery”; as he says: “People come from miles around for the products we sell, because they cannot get them anywhere else.” The shop sells a range of pastries, such as roast hazelnut and dark chocolate torte, and blueberry and almond tart, alongside its Great Taste Award grand champion-winning Muddees (a chocolate brownie). Pies include duck, plum and Armagnac, and honey chicken with parmesan and greengage, and he makes sandwiches such as hell-hot roast chicken, mayo and coriander leaf. It also boasts a wide selection of breads. “There are 63 different mix types on our bread list that’s massive for a bakery as small as ours,” says Moore. “We provide affordable luxury £2.50 for a loaf that is absolutely fantastic is not expensive,” he says. One lady, for example, comes in and buys 20-30 loaves to take down to her daughter in London, for her to store in her freezer, every time she visits.More? supplies a lot of farm shops, cafés, hotels and restaurants in the local area, as well as selling at farmers’ markets, food festivals and events. In terms of distribution, it only supplies within its local region as this ensures product freshness. Yet Moore says some items for example the treacle bread have a longer shelf-life, so he is now looking at the possibility of distributing these through a third party. Meanwhile, his online shop is doing a steady trade of 40-50 orders per week.The futureWork is due to take place at the Staveley site within the next six weeks to double the size of the shop. Moore wants it to have more of a “bakery and coffee shop feel”. The wall separating the shop with the current loading bay will be knocked through, and the loading bay moved to outside the building. He says increased space will also enable him to expand the product range available. “The win and the success of the treacle loaf has also encouraged us to bring it to a wider market. And we may go into large-scale production on a national level.”He says it’s important to think about how you are going to get to where you want to be. For Moore, the hope is to have several shops in different locations, targeted at the premium end of the market. In terms of finance, the business looks set to better his £600k revenue forecast by a further £100k. By the year after next, he is hoping for £1m.For anyone looking to enter the same BIA category this year, he says, “Don’t be afraid to be different. Entering something a bit more unusual is what gave us the edge. And it’s easy when you’re having fun.” The winning loaf “I invented this loaf about 20 years ago,” says Moore, adding that it has only been sold in the shop since June 2010. He used to make a couple of loaves a day, but it took a while for him to develop and perfect the recipe from a handful of loaves, to 100-plus a day. “The recipe, which didn’t contain raisins and walnuts initially, is quite heavy on treacle, so it needs a lighter bake on a lower setting. We use a very small amount of yeast for a wholemeal mix, which doesn’t always suit, but we found a fantastic flour from Carr’s, that works.” Moore says he then started thinking what could be added for texture, which is where the walnuts came in. “To add a softness and a background, we thought we’d add raisins. But then I thought how much flavour would normal raisins have? For some of our sourdough starters we begin with a grape-fermented raisin liquor, so I thought why don’t we use the raisins from that? People have said it’s a posh malt loaf, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s great with blue cheeses, cured meats, or used as a crispbread, for example,” he says. “Sales have gone up consistently since we launched it, but since the Baking Industry Awards, we must have seen a 40-50% increase.” The keys to success Moore’s chef-learned traits, such as absolute consistency, “have been paramount in our rapid expansion from three rooms of a house into a business that has seen year-on-year growth up 50% in the past two years”, he explains. Development and the willingness to try new things, is another, he believes. “We try to make a point of difference by looking at what’s on the market, and at how we can better it,” says Moore. “Development is key to what we do. If we don’t keep moving, it won’t be long before someone overtakes us in different aspects of the business. It might only be trying things such as 2C difference when the product is proving. There is no such thing as a bad idea.”Knowledgeable staff are also key to sales, he says. Although his staff don’t undergo formal training when they start, Moore says he tries to spend a lot of time in the shop imparting his knowledge to his team. The bakery also offers sampling trays and, if a customer comes in for a product that it is not currently making, Moore says he will make alternative suggestions for them; it’s all just about getting them to try it in the first place he says, adding that nine times out of 10 they’ll like it. Comment from the sponsor “Patrick’s success clearly shows the importance of speciality breads to the craft sector. People clearly are more discerning and are prepared to pay for quality, as the £3 he achieves for a 400g loaf testifies. As one of the judging panel, I was very impressed by both the quality and great taste of the bread.” Pauline Ferrol, national sales controller, British Bakels On winning the award Moore described winning at BIA as being tantamount to a lifetime’s achievement. “To be recognised in the industry to that extent, we were a bit aghast. It absolutely blew us away.”last_img read more

It’s as if Harvard had a Poconos campus

first_imgMost sophomores, juniors, and seniors were not permitted to live on Harvard’s de-densified campus this fall. But some found another way to be together, deciding to live and study with their blocking groups or with friends with common interests for part or all of the semester in less-populated parts of the country. The Gazette spoke to a few of the groups.,New HampshireClaire Hotchkin, Gabby Schultz, Arianna Romero, Meaghan Townsend, and Gabrielle Fernandopulle would spend weekends hiking the mountains of New Hampshire during a typical, on-campus semester. So when the five seniors decided to live together as an off-campus pod for their remote fall semester, they knew the Granite State would be the perfect choice. They rented a farmhouse at the southern edge of the White Mountains only two hours from campus, 30 minutes from the grocery store, and five minutes from a lake where they kayak during study breaks.“This space has really helped us get away from the stress of the outside world and allow us to focus on what is important,” said Fernandopulle. “Most seniors are in the depths of their theses, thinking about postgrad plans, or reflecting on what College has meant to them. It’s been so great to do this reflection here, in a safe, isolated space that is so close to many outdoor activities that we enjoy.”Each day, the group splits up into a few of the house’s rooms, which they have affectionately labeled “d-halls,” [or dining halls] to attend classes and virtual extracurriculars and complete schoolwork. Townsend said that being remote has allowed them to have extra time to explore local hikes, go for daily walks, chop wood for nighttime fires, and have Korean cooking nights.“Harvard is really wonderful in that it gives students a wide network of friends from all over the world. Yet, from this experience, I’ve started to really appreciate the depth of friendship that can unfold when you get to spend extended time with the same set of people,” she said.Apple picking, baking, and hiking are shared interests among the Vermont members, Liv Weinstein (clockwise from top left), Ella Necheles, Amanda Powers, Courtney Delong, Marie Konopacki, and Molly Peterson.VermontThe six friends didn’t know at first where they would take their fall courses, on campus or remotely. But the members of the group, juniors and seniors all, were determined to spend one of their final Harvard semesters with each other.“When everyone’s summer activities and jobs were wrapping up, we were all looking for what was next. And we all really missed each other. We decided to spend this time together, especially since it is our last year at Harvard,” said Amanda Powers ’21.Using an extensive spreadsheet, with potential locations ranging from Florida to Colorado, the group decided on a cabin in Vermont, right next to Stratton Mountain. There they have been taking fall courses, working remote jobs, and participating in extracurriculars. Marie Konopacki ’21 said that though it can be difficult to find the perfect academic space when they all have meetings or classes at the same times, the semester has largely been going smoothly.“Because we can do classes together in the same space, it almost feels as if we have created our own small campus,” Konopacki said.So far, the group of six has loved apple picking, baking, and hiking. They have started a new routine of watching a TV show together each night, and most recently viewed the entire “Twilight” movie series. On Friday evenings, the group has “family dinner.” On Sundays, they venture to the local farmer’s market.“We are all spending more together than we usually would on campus, because even though we were living together on campus, we were always scattered to the wind, going to different activities and places at any given time,” said Molly Peterson ’21.Together, with Ella Necheles ’21, Liv Weinstein ’21, and Courtney DeLong ’22, the pod has described the experience as rewarding not only because of the proximity to each other and the free time, but also because they are learning practical skills, such as how to grocery shop, cook, clean, and live independently.“It feels like a gentle transition into adulthood,” Peterson said.,UtahBryan Head boasts a population of 83, but this fall that number surged 6 percent with the addition of five sophomores learning remotely.“We tried to avoid bigger cities, COVID hotspots, and looked for a place near fun things to do. It was off-season so we got a good price for it, and it’s near Zion and Great Basin. All are within an hour or two of us,” said Jaxson Hill. “A few in my group are big into hiking, though I was new to it.”Serena Wurmser, Ana Humphrey, and Hill are studying astrophysics and are also in Student Astronomers at Harvard-Radcliffe (STAHR). Hill brought a telescope and is teaching himself astrophotography, which is something he never could have done on campus.“There’s a mountain three miles down the road at 11,000 feet,” he said. “We’ve been stargazing, and the sky is absolutely breathtaking. It’s horizon-to-horizon viewing of the Milky Way. We’ve seen Andromeda galaxy and Swan Nebula.”The friends, including Chris Dolce and Loren Brown, shop every two weeks because the nearest Walmart is 45 minutes away. “We have to make those trips count,” Hill said.Not being able to see other good friends is still hard, but Hill said he tries not to dwell on what’s out of his control.“I’m glad I did this,” he said. “Even if we could have been on campus, there are so many restrictions, and it’s not regular life. I prefer to be out here doing our own things.”,PennsylvaniaThis group of eight seniors saw remote learning as an opportunity to explore a new place that was different from both Harvard’s campus and their respective homes around the country. The group, hailing from Minnesota, Illinois, Florida, Alabama, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, converged in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. They arrived just before classes started and plan to stay until Thanksgiving.“This location is a great combination of affordability and practicality. It is driving distance to all of the necessary places like the grocery store; there are relatively low levels of local coronavirus cases; and the house itself has access to internet connection that allows us to effectively participate in our classes,” said Alicia Zhang.“The area we are in is really different from where a lot of us come from — it is rural and beautiful, and there is a lake just three or four minutes down the road,” said Joyce Lu. “The environment here is much more relaxed. At Harvard, we might be rushing from class to class, or meeting to meeting. Here, we can take more time to ourselves, and more time to be with each other.”Veronika Melnik said that though the group is taking a variety of different classes, they are able to learn from each other and hold one another accountable for their schoolwork because of their proximity.Jake Lazar, Annika McDermott-Hinman, Chris Sun, Graham Macklin, and Davis Tyler-Dudley round out the pod. At Harvard they live in Kirkland and Eliot Houses, but in the Poconos they have enjoyed the changing fall foliage on hikes and runs as well as learning about each other’s food preferences. They plan to organize group costumes for their Halloween celebration and cook a Friendsgiving dinner.“We are very lucky to be in a position where we can have this unique experience. And though it isn’t the same as being on Harvard’s campus, it is still really rewarding and fun, and will definitely be something that we remember forever,” Zhang said.last_img read more

UPDATE: We Won’t Grow Tired of This: Dell EMC Leads PC, Storage, Server, Converged Systems and HCI Revenue, Yet Again

first_imgThis post has been updated to include the latest Converged Infrastructure and Hyperconverged Infrastructure data from IDC.Dell Technologies is a data-driven company. Making the past few weeks especially gratifying for us, as IDC released its latest worldwide trackers for enterprise storage systems, servers, converged infrastructure sytstems and PCs. What the reports tell us is our strategy is working. I invite you to read the reports from top to bottom. Or, to save you some time, I’ll give you the punch line – Dell Technologies continues to lead and grow in every category.IDC tracks shipments across many IT industry segments on a quarterly basis. Quarter after quarter, Dell Technologies holds the No. 1 spot across these segments and continues to widen our lead – servers, enterprise storage systems, storage software, converged infrastructure, hyper-converged infrastructure systems, hypervisors, PCs, displays and more. No other technology company can claim this nor support customers’ digital transformation efforts the way we can. The breadth of our leading technology portfolio is unprecedented.Dell EMC is No. 1 in worldwide enterprise storage systems revenue and growing.In Q4 FY19, our Storage business recorded $4.6B in revenue – up 7% Y/Y – and its fourth consecutive quarter of growth. IDC’s Q4 CY2018 Worldwide External Storage Systems Tracker reflected a similar refrain. A fourth consecutive quarter of share gains (+2.6 share points) in enterprise storage systems, tightening the grip on our No. 1 position in the enterprise storage systems market with 30.3% revenue share. That’s nearly 3x our nearest competitor. Our storage business took share across nearly every region while the competition virtually stood still or lost share.These consistent results drive home that we have a winning combination of superior storage products from entry to high-end, along with a strategy that makes us hard to beat. Hard to beat in the minds of our customers. Hard to beat because of the tireless work of our teams to deliver for our customers every day.All this adds up to Dell EMC firmly in the lead across every storage industry segment in the IDC WW Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker:#1 in entry storage vendor revenue with 22.1% share#1 in midrange storage vendor revenue with 30.1% share#1 in high-end storage vendor revenue with 37.3% share#1 in All-Flash storage vendor revenue with 27.9% shareDell EMC is No. 1 in worldwide x86 server revenue and units shipped2018 was an excellent year for servers. Amidst those prognosticating the movement of workloads to public clouds, the sale of servers, and particularly mainstream servers to everyday companies, grew beyond expectations.In Q4 2018 alone, IDC research notes that worldwide server vendor revenues increased 12.6%, Y/Y to $23.6 billion. Vendors shipped almost 3 million units globally. Server demand continues to be strong; this marked our fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit year-over-year revenue growth and the all-time high for total revenue in any quarter ever.IDC research shows that Dell EMC further extended our lead as the undisputed No. 1 provider of both x86 server revenue and units shipped globally. In fact, for x86 servers, Dell EMC holds the No.1 position* for revenue for six consecutive quarters and volume units for the past nine quarters.Companies around the world are moving to multi-cloud strategies. Companies – like New Belgium Brewing – have over-indexed on moving everything off-premises to find that everything in the public cloud comes at a cost. There’s truly a time and place for everything – a hybrid approach which we are delivering.Building on this momentum, Dell EMC continues to innovate, bringing customers even more value from the PowerEdge portfolio as the bedrock of the modern data center.Dell EMC Extends Lead as No. 1 in Converged Infrastructure and Hyperconverged InfrastructureIn 4Q18, Dell EMC maintained its undisputed leadership of the Converged Systems industry. At 31.8%, Dell EMC expanded its lead to more than 2.5 times our nearest competitor.Dell EMC also continued to distance itself as No. 1 in HCI systems sales revenue, thanks to the continued strong growth of VxRail and the breadth of our HCI portfolio. While the HCI systems industry grew an impressive 46.5% year over year, Dell EMC further distanced itself as No. 1 in HCI with 28.6% of the $1.9 billion in industry revenue for Q4, growing faster than the market at a whopping 64.2%, according to IDC.We continue to expand our CI and HCI leadership through advancing our portfolio, based on customer feedback, and by delivering the fastest and simplest paths to achieving IT outcomes, innovation and business goals. We do this through industry leading and trusted technologies, close collaborations for tightly integrating offerings, and the industry’s most diverse portfolio that enables us to offer incredible solutions for any type of computing environment and customer preference.Most recently, Dell EMC enhanced our HCI portfolio with an even simpler path to hybrid clouds, announcing that VMware Cloud Foundation is available on Dell EMC VxRail beginning this April. This offers customers a jointly engineered, hybrid cloud infrastructure stack integrated with VMware’s flexible, full stack HCI architecture. The result: it’s about to get even simpler to deploy hybrid cloud for customers in VMware environments with Dell EMC.But wait there’s more…Dell grows PC industry share for…24 consecutive quartersOur Client Solutions business had a stellar year. As we reported in late February, in FY19, we drove double-digit revenue growth in commercial notebooks, workstations, high-end consumer notebooks and displays. We reported year-over-year worldwide PC share growth for a 24th consecutive quarter and gained unit share in displays year-over-year for the 23rd consecutive quarter.IDC notes in Q4 of 2018, Dell’s global PC share increased 0.8 points to 16.5% year-over-year (Y/Y), marking 24 consecutive quarters—six years—Dell has grown its global PC share! For calendar year 2018, Dell had 5.6% Y/Y growth and 1.0 point Y/Y share gain —both results are best of the top 10 in the industry.Our customers tell us that they use their PC, in its many forms, as their entertainment center, productivity tool and to get real work done. We’re as maniacally focused on pushing innovation in the PC industry today as we were the day Michael founded the company in his dorm room 35 years ago. We started 2019 with a bang by earning a record-high 144 product awards and honors at the Consumer Electronics Show, more than any other company in our industry. We launched products and experiences that change the way we see, hear and immerse ourselves in movies and content. That change the way we work – allowing us to be faster, better and more productive, connected and mobile. And that continue to define PC gaming innovation.FY19 represented a new high-water mark for Dell’s Client Solutions Group. But, as I look at what’s to come this year and beyond, I know we’ve only just begun.These results speak volumes, and it’s clear our strategy is working. But as our founder likes to remind us – we are pleased but never satisfied. We will continue pushing ourselves to do better and bring to bear the full value of Dell Technologies for our customers. Because it’s your satisfaction and partnership with us that is the best accolade of all. Thank you.* In some quarters, Dell was statistically tied for the number 1 position for x86 server revenues or unit shipments in IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker. Note:  Dell Technologies and Dell EMC are currently reported as Dell Inc. in IDC’s Quarterly Tracker products.last_img read more

Odds & Ends: Idina Menzel Hits the Top, a Royal Miss Saigon & More

first_img Jonathan Groff Star Files View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today.Menzel & Buble Are the TopsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year—particularly if you’re Idina Menzel. Days after the If/Then and Frozen star performed “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Michael Buble on the UK’s X Factor, the tune (from her album Holiday Wishes) has hit the top spot on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. Let’s all say it together, now (again): the cold never bothered her, anyway.Saigon & More Go RoyalThe 2014 Royal Variety Performance, the annual UK gala featuring performances of all sorts, included an electric performance from the cast of the West End’s Miss Saigon. Take a look as Eva Noblezada and Alistair Brammer sing “The Last Night of the World” and Jon Jon Briones lets loose on “The American Dream”. The evening also included a performance of “Let It Go” by Demi Lovato (the one who’s not Idina Menzel) and the Sondheim staple “I’m Still Here” by Dame Shirley Bassey. #PeterPanLive Was Hardcore TrendingThe December 4 broadcast was the biggest non-sports program for that Thursday’s Twitter TV ratings, according to Deadline. A total of over 475,000 tweets reached approximately 5.3 million unique users. And it’s a good thing too, because our tweets were what saved Tinker Bell’s computer-animated life! Also trending that night? #ChristianBorle. And yes, his arms have their own Twitter account now.Jonathan Groff Salutes Bradley CooperWe were already excited for The Elephant Man star Bradley Cooper’s latest film, American Sniper, but now, we have even more reason to be. As it turns out, he’s not the only Audience Choice Award winner to appear in the flick. Take a look the TV spot for a quick glimpse of a rather toned Jonathan Groff! We’ll salute to that. Double Date with Stage & Screen FavesOrange in the New Black costars Michael Chernus and Tracee Chimo, who recently appeared together in off-Broadway’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart, are joining forces again—and you can join them! Space on Ryder Farm, an artist resident program in Brewster, New York, is auctioning off a double date with the pair at Rose Water in Park Slope, Brooklyn. And no, we’re not banana lobby bullsh*tting you. Does Rose Water have lentil soup? Idina Menzellast_img read more

Broadway Will Dim Lights for John McMartin

first_img View Comments John McMartin(Photo: John McMartin) Broadway theaters will their lights in honor of John McMartin, the Tony-nominated actor and original Follies star who died at the age of 86 earlier this month. Marquees will go dark on July 13 at 7:45 PM for exactly one minute. “John McMartin has been a frequent and beloved actor on Broadway for over six decades. He originated memorable roles in shows that are now considered classics,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, in a statement. “Our sincere thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans.”McMartin made his Broadway debut in The Conquering Hero before receiving Tony Award nominations for Sweet Charity (for a role he later went on to reprise in the film adaptation), Don Juan, Show Boat, High Society and Into the Woods. He last appeared on Broadway in the 2014 Tony-winning Best Play All the Way.last_img read more

Leahy scorches Pentagon over stop-work order for GE’s F35 engine

first_imgGE Aircraft Engines – Rutland Operation,Senator Patrick Leahy yesterday lambasted the Pentagon for its decision to issue a stop-work order on General Electric’s version of the jet engine for the F35 fighter jet. Some of the components for the engine are made by GE in Rutland. The principal contractor for the engine is Pratt & Whitney. Leahy and others in Congress had been able to continue funding for the GE version through stop-gap measures as Congress continues to work on a new federal budget. However, the House declined to add the GE funding to the latest interim budget bill. The Pentagon subsequently ordered GE and partner Rolls Royce to stop work on the engine. However, GE has decided to self-fund continued work on its engine. Leahy’s spokesman, David Carle, issued the following statement Thursday evening:”Today Defense Secretary Gates and Ash Carter, undersecretary for acquisition, issued a stop-work order to GE and Roll Royce on the F136 alternate engine for the F-35.  They did this administratively, during the current short-term budget bill ‘ the current stop-gap appropriations bill that funds the government until April 8.  Senator Leahy engineered language in the first continuing resolution, last December, which prevented the Pentagon from doing this back then.  Subsequent stop-gap bills written since then by the House have not included his preventive language, and they are doing now what he knew they wanted to do last year, if given the chance.  Senator Leahy believes this is an opportunistic power grab by the Pentagon, egged on by Pratt & Whitney, to circumvent what should be a decision by Congress, not by a federal agency.  He believes it is the wrong decision, which would eliminate competition for the troubled Pratt & Whitney engine and cost taxpayers more.”Senator Leahy’s Twitter tweet yesterday: “Pentagon’s stop work-order for #GE #AltEngine is wrong for #F35 & taxpayers. No competition=higher cost & inferior engine for F35. “Carle also said that Leahy’s allies on this have also criticized the stop-work order. He said they will continue to push for continuation of the alternative engine program.  Carle said Leahy commends GE Aviation for continuing work in the meantime.last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Step-up Your Backcountry Cooking With These Recipes

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,I’m taking my girlfriend on her first overnight backpacking trip and want to do everything possible to ensure she enjoys it. Normally, I don’t put much thought into food. I’m easy – my only request is no tofu. But my girlfriend is a foodie and I want to impress her.Do you know of any good one-pot recipes for dinner and breakfast?Thanks,BackpackerDear Backpacker,Aww, that’s so sweet that you’re putting so much thought into the small details. I’m a woman after all and it’s in my DNA to gush a little. If I’m vicariously thrilled by your effort, just imagine how pleased your lucky lady will be.After a long day of hiking, this Gnocchi with Bacon recipe dishes up warm, comfort food. At home, combine ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of dried sage, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder and store in a zip-loc bag. Boil shelf stable gnocchi (sold at Trader Joe’s) until the gnocchi floats to the top, drain and add cheese mixture. Add shelf stable bacon as desired.Breakfast burritos are a yummy way to fuel up in the morning. To minimize the pot scrubbing, put the eggs into a plastic bag (you can use the leftover zip-loc bags from dinner) and then boil into the eggs don’t run. Add avocado and shelf stable bacon, season with salt and pepper, and roll up using the flavored tortilla wrap of your choice.Backpacker, just keep in that your girlfriend will expect good food on future backpacking trips, so don’t make the food too elaborate. And remember that so much of how food tastes depends on the dining experience. Set the mood by creating soft lighting.  Wrap your headlamp around a colored Nalgene bottle (length-wise), make sure the light shines through the plastic, and, ta-da, your water bottle is now a soft glowing lantern.Bon Appetite!Mountain Mamalast_img read more

New Protections Proposed for Pisgah-Nantahala

first_imgThe United States Forest Service is considering adding as much 264,000 acres of the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests to its wilderness inventory—a move that would protect the selected acreage from logging, road building, fracking, and mining. While most of the inventoried lands will not ultimately be designated as wilderness, the inventory suggests that the Forest Service is committed to protecting the wild character of the Pisgah-Nantahala.The new developments are the latest stage in a lengthy planning process that will guide the future of the Pisgah-Nantahala—a swath of land that encompasses some 1 million acres of public land in Western North Carolina—for the next 15 years.In addition to the potential wilderness additions, Pisgah-Nantahala stands to gain as many as 53 Wild and Scenic River designations under the newly proposed plan.Currently, there are only three Wild and Scenic rivers in the entire state of North Carolina: the Chattooga River, The Horespasture River, and Wilson Creek.Newly eligible rivers include the Davidson River, the French Broad, the Linville River, the Nolichucky, the entire Mills River system, and the East Fork Pigeon River, just to name a few.One portion of Pisgah National Forest that would benefit immensely from the Forest Service’s proposed wilderness inventory additions is Buncombe County’s Big Ivy.Big Ivy, which was previously on the chopping block for potential timber production, has long been a popular hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, and trail running destination for Western North Carolina locals and visitors alike. The terrain includes the Black and Craggy Mountains, with summits that top out above 6,000 feet, and over 3,600 acres of biologically significant old growth forest. Big Ivy also houses the 70-foot, free-falling Douglas Falls.“All of Big Ivy except the areas west of Stony Fork and north of Highway 197 are included in the inventory,” reads a statement on the Friends of Big Ivy website. “This would ensure that all current recreational and cultural uses can continue and that Big Ivy’s wild forests and creeks will be protected long-term.”Our hope is that most of Big Ivy could be protected as wilderness, especially its old-growth forests and pristine headwaters. Big Ivy’s trail system should not be in wilderness but should be managed as a backcountry area, where recreation is prioritized and commercial logging is prohibited.The latest version of the revision plan would also inventory lands adjacent to existing wilderness areas like the Linville Gorge, the Middle Prong Wilderness, the Southern Nantahala Wilderness, and the Ellicott Rock Wilderness. For a detailed, interactive map that highlights the proposed inventory areas click here.Right now the Forest Service is actively seeking public input and feedback about the proposed changes. Let them know where you stand by attending the public meeting on from 6 to 8 p.m. November 16 in the Mountain View Room of the Kimmel arena on the campus of UNC-Asheville.last_img read more

Great Lake: Explore Lake Jocassee

first_imgIt’s no wonder Jocassee Valley held a central place in Cherokee myths. Places like Jocassee inspire stories. Water tumbles off the sides of the mountains from rivers and countless unnamed creeks, all converging into a crystal clear lake. The lake’s surface reflects mile after mile of pristine shoreline steeped with jagged rock formations, fading into uninterrupted mountain vistas for as far as the eye can see. The area is also a hotspot for diversity. Some of the rarest plants and animals in the world make this lush gorge home.Lake Jocassee has been called many things over the years, from the “Lake Tahoe of the East” to “South Carolina’s Little Switzerland.” But perhaps the greatest praise came in the autumn of 2012 when National Geographic named Jocassee Gorges as one of “50 of the World’s Last Great Places.” Most of the list includes destinations of a lifetime, like Easter Island or Loire Valley. By comparison, Lake Jocassee in South Carolina is right in our own backyard.While part of the area’s appeal is the area’s inaccessibility, it seems a shame to have a world-class destination so close to home be unseen by folks who live within a few hours drive. Devil’s Fork State Park offers lake access, and the Jocassee is ideal for many different types of lake paddling trips, from a leisurely afternoon paddle to a multi-day kayak camping trip.How the Valley Became a LakeThe name “Jocassee” is derived from a Cherokee word that means “place of the lost one.” The name was created from a Cherokee legend, but it would also foreshadow the events that would unfold in the area centuries later.Cherokee legend goes that rival tribes lived in the area, and one day, a young warrior broke his leg while hunting in territory claimed by the rival tribe. A young maiden named Jocassee came to the young warrior’s rescue and nursed him back to health.  The two fell in love, but the warrior was killed in a battle between the tribes. Heartbroken, Jocassee entered the water to end her life. But her body didn’t sink. She walked across the water’s surface to be embraced by, and forever disappear with, the young warrior’s ghost.The Cherokee fair maiden Jocassee wasn’t the only thing to disappear here. Jocassee valley once provided an idyllic summer retreat for families. When Duke Energy Co. dammed the river in the 1970s, an entire valley became forever submerged. Duke Energy bought most the land in Jocassee Valley and razed all the buildings. But the owners of Attakulla Lodge Hotel refused to sell. Scuba divers report the hotel remains unscathed 300 feet below the lake’s surface. The peeling paint is just as it was back in the 1970s, and the basketball court remains intact. Divers have also found an underwater cemetery.Many feared that the fairy tale of the idyllic summer get-away gave way to progress when the dam caused water to flood the valley. Fortunately, Duke Energy partnered with dozens of local, state and natural conservation organizations to forever preserve the 43,000 wild acres surrounding the lake, including Gorges State Park.Gateway to the GorgesDevil’s Fork State Park, the aptly dubbed “Gateway to the Gorges,” offers the only public access to Lake Jocassee. Lake Jocassee’s relatively remote location and small parking lots limit the number of visitors. Even on busy summer weekends when boaters, anglers, and swimmers fill other lakes to capacity, Lake Jocassee remains relatively empty.If you don’t have your own boat, both Jocassee Lake Tours and The Jocassee Outdoor Center rent kayaks, as well as offer tours and provide shuttle services for hikers and kayakers.If you do have your own boats, bypass the main boat ramp and parking lot area to avoid pontoon and power boats and head over to Devil’s Fork remote ramp. Duke Energy recently rebuilt the ramps there and added changing facilities. Either way, consider stopping by the park store to buy your own waterproof map of the lake.Lake Jocassee is shaped like a hand with three fingers extending outward. The boat launch facilities are located deep at the palm of the hand. All the options below outline routes to explore the fingers of the lake.Day Trippin’Even at the launch ramp, when the sun’s rays hit the lake water at just the right angle, you’ll see just how clear and green the water is. If you only have an afternoon, paddle left. Within a few minutes, you’ll see houses on the point of Fisher Knob, where about twenty massive summer homes provide the only reminder of development in this otherwise wilderness area. The homes disappear when the lush canopy provides a welcome disguise, and the docks remain the sole reminder of civilization.To really get a sense of wilderness area, paddle past Fisher Knob toward Whitewater River and Thompson River. Stay left and paddle all the way to where Whitewater River flows into the lake. Pull your kayak well up onto shore and hike alongside the river. In the summer months, the eddies along the river provide nature’s version of cold water plunges, where small falls massage knots out of shoulders and the oxygenated water provides an energizing boost. Hours can be spent boulder-hopping, discovering waterfalls or cooling off at the river’s edge. The intrepid hiker can piece together a path to view both Upper Whitewater falls and Lower Whitewater falls.If you still have time, paddle toward Wright Creek Waterfall and Thompson River. When lake levels are high, the falls flows directly into the lake and kayakers can paddle behind the waterfall. Lower lake levels reveal golden sandy beaches around the falls that make ideal picnic spots. When the lake is low, walk behind the falls and be treated to a view of the lake from the lens of the watery curtain.Water cascading down the Wright Creek waterfall.OvernighterDevil’s Fork State Park maintains Double Springs, a boat-in campground. Some say that Double Springs provides the best stargazing spot in the Southeast. Brooks Wade was skeptical of the claim initially. When his friend told him about the phenomenal camping in South Carolina, he replied, “You drink too much moonshine.” Reluctantly he agreed to visit. After a week of camping at the lake, he and his wife moved and opened the guiding company Jocassee Lake Tours. He spends every day on the lake, which he describes simply as paradise.Most kayakers paddle across the lake to unload their boat and set up camp before exploring the endless inlets and waterfalls. The paddle across the lake takes between forty minutes to one hour, depending on your paddling speed and wind conditions. Double Springs is a primitive campground with ten boat-in campsites. Because of low lake levels, wooden steps help visitors negotiate the steep embankment, beyond which the campsites are located.With an empty boat, you’ll have an easier time paddling, and can either follow the day trip route above or paddle up to Mills Creek Waterfall and the Horsepasture River.Along the way to Mills Creek Waterfall, you’ll notice the low lake levels. Ever since the summer of 2011, the lake has been at drought levels, which means that incredible rock formations are exposed. Marvel at the granite formed 500 million years ago, and the beautifully intricate roots systems that have eroded off the mountainside.Expedition StyleThe only other legal option for camping lakeside is to paddle all the way up the Toxaway River and camp along the river’s banks and share campsites with hikers walking the Foothills Trail, an 80-mile footpath from Table Rock State Park in the east to Oconee State Park in the west. The sites are remote and secluded, rewarding kayakers willing to paddle a fully loaded kayak ten miles each way. Plan to paddle for at least three and a half hours.As you paddle up the Toxaway River, the shore transforms from outcrops of pine trees to a marsh-like setting where sea grasses grow and birds build nests. At the mouth of the river, the dirt ribbon that is the hiking trail can barely be viewed from the vantage point of a kayaker. When you see the trail, pull your kayak securely on shore and unload to carry your gear. In low water years, it’s impossible to paddle up the river all the way to the campsites, and slugging along the inlet involves sinking into knee deep mud.  Within approximately a hundred feet, you’ll see an opening under a canopy of evergreens and will see remains of other campfires. Here you’ll find camp spots along the river’s bank, and will be lulled to sleep by the flowing water and gentle breeze.The Oconee BellIncluded among the rare plants found in the area are 90 percent of the world’s Oconee Bells. The Oconee Bell is only found in a few isolated locations in Southern Appalachia. The Gorges provides a perfect habitat, meeting the wildflowers’ requirements for humid, rocky outcrops and cool, shady woods. The flower’s nearest relative lives in China and Japan. The Oconee Bell, a white, delicate bell-shaped wildflower blooms from mid-March to April in the Jocassee Gorges.An Oconee Bell in Jocassee Gorges.A French botanist, Andre Michaux first collected the Oconee Bell in 1788. He placed the specimen in a herbarium in Paris, where it went unnoticed for fifty years. Then American botanist Asa Gray discovered the specimen. Botanists searched without luck for the flower. But in 1877, a teenager named George Hymans found Oconee Bells when walking along the Catawba River in North Carolina.Related Articles:last_img read more

Brazil Blames Vast Blackouts On Short Circuits

first_imgBy Dialogo November 18, 2009 Blackouts that darkened much of Brazil last week were caused by short circuits in a power substation that prompted the shutdown of three key transmission lines from the planet’s second-largest hydroelectric dam, officials said. The short circuits happened Nov. 10 at the substation in the Sao Paulo state town of Itabera while lightning, wind and intense rain were pummeling the area, Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry said in a statement, but it did not say weather caused the problem. Mines and Energy minister Edison Lobao came under criticism last week for blaming severe weather, though experts said the area experienced no lightning strikes. The blackouts raised questions about Brazil’s ability to supply a stable energy supply for World Cup football competition it will host in 2014 and for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. More than 60 million people lost power for up to four hours in 18 of Brazil’s 26 states. All of Paraguay was briefly darkened and 7 million people in Sao Paulo lost water service. The short-circuits prompted the automatic shutdown of the lines that carry energy to much of Brazil from the Itaipu dam straddling the border with Paraguay, the statement said. And the loss of power from Itaipu triggered automatic orders that shut down other Brazilian power plants, including the nation’s two nuclear generators. It was the first time that Itaipu — which provides about 20 percent of Brazil’s electricity — had been shut down in the dam’s 25-year history. The dam was the largest producer of electricity in the world until China’s Three Gorges dam recently surpassed it. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday on his weekly radio show that an investigation will determine why the short circuits happened and that his administration will work hard to make sure similar outages don’t occur. Lobao said last week that the transmission lines were knocked offline because of the storm. That prompted confusion and criticism because the National Institute for Space Research said that satellite images indicated the closest lightning strikes were at least six miles (10 kilometers) from the affected transmission lines. Organizers of the 2016 Olympics are pitching host city Rio de Janeiro as a potential “power island” immune from blackouts, though experts have said that creation of such a safe energy haven would require large investments. Both Rio and Sao Paulo — South America’s largest city — were completely darkened during the blackouts.last_img read more