Paul's Miscellany

All photographs by Paul M. Clayton unless otherwise noted. Click on a picture to see it larger.

This page includes posts from 5/13/20 through 10/23/20.

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I Voted

Posted 10/23/20

After a long spell at the boatyard, I finally got home a couple days ago. Yesterday I walked across the street to the Rec, waited in line for 5 minutes, and voted. It was a long ballot and slow to complete, filling in each selection with a black pen, but the well-run NC Board of Elections considers this the best, most accurate and tamper-free way to cast ballots. I voted mid-afternoon and the line was short, but I noticed considerably more people waiting to vote this morning, probably on their way to work.

Guilford County Early Voting

Posted 09/08/20

The Guilford County Board of Elections has finalized the times and locations for one-stop early voting. As provided by state law, polls will be open October 15-31, and also on November 3rd, Election Day 2020. For early voting, you do not have to go to your own precinct. You can vote at any site on this list. On November 3rd you can only vote at your precinct. Remember, despite what you may have heard, you can only vote once. Do not try to vote twice - it is against the law. But if you vote early, you can skip the long lines on Election Day and know your vote will be counted.

If you are already registered and not changing your address, you don't have to show your voter registration card or any form of identification. If you are not already registered to vote, or need to change your address, you can do that at any one-stop early voting site and then vote immediately. Bring a driver's license, other government id, or a paycheck stub, utility bill or some other paper showing your name and where you live.

Hours for Guilford County early voting are: Weekdays, 8:00AM - 7:30PM; the first two Saturdays, 8:00AM - 5:00PM; third Saturday, 8:00AM - 3:00PM; Sundays, 8:00AM - 3:00PM.

1. Old Courthouse-Blue Room
First Floor — Room #108
301 W. Market St., Greensboro, NC 27401

2. Ag Center (Barn)
3309 Burlington Rd., Greensboro, NC 27405

3. Allen Jay Recreation Center
1073 E. Springfield Rd., High Point, NC 27263

4. Barber Park (Pavilion)
1500 Dans Rd., Greensboro, NC 27401

5. Brown Recreation Center
302 E. Vandalia Rd., Greensboro, NC 27406

6. Bur-Mil Club
5834 Bur-Mil Club Rd., Greensboro, NC 27410

7. Charlotte Hawkins Brown—Kimball Hall
6136 Burlington Rd., Gibsonville, NC 27249

8. Craft Recreation Center
3911 Yanceyville St., Greensboro, NC 27405

9. Deep River Recreation Center
1529 Skeet Club Rd., High Point, NC 27265

10. Gateway University—North Campus
5900 Summit Ave., Browns Summit, NC 27214

11. Greensboro Coliseum—Special Events Center
1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro, NC 27403

12. Griffin Recreation Center
5301 Hilltop Rd., Jamestown, NC 27282

13. GTCC—Cameron Campus
7908 Leabourne Rd., Colfax, NC 27235

14. High Point Parks & Recreation Administrative Building
136 Northpoint Ave., High Point, NC 27262

15. Jamestown Town Hall
301 E. Main St., Jamestown, NC 27282

16. Leonard Recreation Center
6324 Ballinger Rd., Greensboro, NC 27410

17. Lewis Recreation Center
3110 Forest Lawn Dr., Greensboro, NC 27455

18. NC A&T University-Dudley Building
202 University Cir., Greensboro, NC 27411

19. Northeast Park
3421 NE Park Dr., Gibsonville, NC 27249

20. Oak Ridge Town Hall
8315 Linville Rd., Oak Ridge, NC 27310

21. Pleasant Garden Town Hall
4920 Alliance Church Rd., Pleasant Garden, NC 27313

22. Roy B. Culler, Jr. Senior Center
600 N. Hamilton St., High Point, NC 27262

23. Trotter Active Adult Center
3906 Betula St., Greensboro, NC 27407

24. UNCG–Kaplan Center for Wellness
1301 W. Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, NC 27403

25. Washington Terrace Park
101 Gordon St., High Point, NC 27260

Dubious Honor

Posted 09/07/20

Texas has surpassed California in total deaths from Covid-19.

Smith Reynolds Update

Posted 09/04/20

There are still eight United jets parked at Smith Reynolds, as well as two Americans in the North State Hanger and one parked around back. A perusal of the minutes of Smith Reynolds Board of Directors meetings in May shows that North State Aviation furloughed their entire staff in April but were able to bring them back to work after United committed to store 40 aircraft and American committed to setting up two maintenance lines. In the end, United needed more planes in the air than they had planned, and the most of their planes I saw at Smith Reynolds at one time was about fifteen. The Americans finally started showing up in mid-August. So, it is an ill wind that blows nobody good. The grounding of commercial flights all over the world has been a boon to small airports with tarmac that can be leased out for storage.

Forsyth County Early Voting Locations

Posted 09/02/20

The Forsyth County Board of Elections has finalized the locations for one-stop early voting. All will be open every day from October 15th through the 31st. Monday through Friday, the hours are 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM, the first two Saturdays 9:00-5:00, the third Saturday 8:00-3:00, Sundays 1:00-5:00. Here are the locations:

Forsyth County Board of Elections
Forsyth County Government Center
201 N. Chestnut Street
Winston-Salem

Brown & Douglas Community Center
4725 Indiana Avenue
Winston-Salem

Harper Hill Commons Shopping Center (next to Harris Teeter)
150 Grant Hill Lane
Winston-Salem

Lewisville Branch Library
6490 Shallowford Road
Lewisville

Miller Park Recreation Center
400 Leisure Lane
Winston-Salem

Rural Hall Branch Library
7125 Broad Street
Rural Hall

Southside Branch Library
3185 Buchanan Street
Winston-Salem

Walkertown Branch Library
2969 Main Street
Walkertown

Winston Lake Family YMCA
901 Waterworks Road
Winston-Salem

Clemmons Branch Library
3554 Clemmons Road
Clemmons

Kernersville Branch Library
(Paddison Memorial Branch Library)
248 Harmon Lane
Kernersville

Masie Woodruff Center4905 Lansing Drive
Winston-Salem

Old Town Recreation Center
4550 Shattalon Drive
Winston-Salem

Sedge Garden Recreation Center
401 Robbins Road
Winston-Salem

Sprague Street Recreation Center
1350 E. Sprague Street
Winston-Salem

Winston First Assembly of God
3730 University Parkway
Winston-Salem

WSSU- Anderson Center
1545 Reynolds Park Road
Winston-Salem

You don't have to go to your precinct, you can vote at any location. No excuse or reason is required to vote early. If you are a registered voter and live in the same place as when you last updated your registration, you do not have to show identification or a registration card. If you are not registered or have moved, you can register or change your address on the spot, but for that you do need some form of identification showing where you live. That could be a driver's license, government or college identification card, or even a utility bill with your name and address.

A Good System

Posted 08/31/20

This picture sums up many of the advantages of the Fuji X system. The sensor in my X-T20 has a reputation for good high ISO performance, and this picture was taken on a dark, cloudy day at ISO 3200. The crop sensor uses just the middle, best part of any lens designed for full frame, and this shot has a fair degree of additional cropping in post, so I'm getting the very best out of an ancient Vivitar 19mm lens that has a reputation for distortion toward the corners. Being able to use this lens at all, in a Nikon F mount, is one of the greatest advantages to me of the short registration Fuji X mount. And finally, while I usually shoot raw, I reprocessed this one using the very simple and convenient in-camera raw converter. One more thing - the Provia film emulation gives colors that I like, especially skin colors.

Summer Weather

Posted 08/28/20

The remnants of Laura are spread across central Tennessee, but warm, humid air is starting to push into the Piedmont, and isolated storm cells are popping up. Thirty minutes after I took this picture from my bedroom window, a short but powerful dry storm with plenty of lightning and wind blew through Ardmore.

Fly-Rodding for Bass

Posted 08/28/20

Last weekend out at the McKenzie place, Mark let me make a few casts with his sweet little 3-weight fly rod setup and I promptly caught this small bass. Mark took the picture with his cell phone. That was all the action for the day, but I'm looking forward to next time. After a while, we put the rod away and had a round of Sierra Nevada IPAs.

Muddy Mess

Posted 08/22/20

At the Bog Garden today, Lex got his feet stuck in the mud, fell down and had to crawl out. Here he sits, asking the heavens why they let this happen to him, while Lars tries to pretend he doesn't know the little dirt ball.

Stranger

Posted 08/19/20

Stored United jets are a common sight at Smith Reynolds. I found ten of them there yesterday, par for the course over the last three months. This is the first American to show up.

You Never Know What You are Going to Get

Posted 08/06/20

Interesting image courtesy of the SMC Takumar 55. Some people consider their cameras as a tool to capture images that they see. I consider myself to be a tool to capture images that the Takumar sees.

Early Voting in North Carolina

Posted 08/18/20

One-stop absentee voting (commonly known as early voting) is a snap in North Carolina. Between October 15th and October 31st, registered voters can go to one of several locations that the local Board of Elections will establish and cast their votes. It doesn't have to be in their home precinct, it can be any site in the county. It will be just like regular voting - you go in, the election officials will look up your name in the rolls, give you the correct ballot for your precinct, and then you will vote on a standard voting machine. I voted early in the primary this spring, at Southside Library, and it was completely easy and quick. There was no line. I just walked up to the table, gave my name and address, and received a ballot. Then I was directed to the machine for my precinct, I voted, put my ballot in the box and left. It took less than five minutes.

In North Carolina, no excuse or reason is required to vote early. If you are a registered voter and live in the same place as when you last updated your registration, you do not have to show identification or a registration card. If you are not registered or have moved, you can register or change your address on the spot, but for that you do need some form of identification showing where you live. That could be a driver's license, government or college identification card, or even a utility bill with your name and address.

Forsyth County has not decided on the locations for this fall, but as soon as they do I will post them here on this site. Early voting is the fast, easy way to see that your vote gets counted in November. It saves waiting in the long lines that are expected and makes the lines a little shorter for those who have to vote on Election Day. And you don't have to worry about whether the strapped Postal Service can get you mail-in ballot to the Board of Elections in time to be counted.

The NC State Board of Elections has good information at their wesite. To find the local sites, contact your county board of elections. Forsyth County residents can go here. For voters who are not ambulatory or will be out of town in late October, the option exists to vote by mail. Check your local board of elections for information.

Hop Bullet

Posted 08/06/20

After the drive home from Edenton, important stuff unloaded from the car - time for a hop bullet.

Summer Night

Posted 07/31/20

Cross post from my View from the Window website. Summer night at Miller Park Circle with lightning flashing behind the clouds.

Politicized Dionysian Rites

Posted 07/24/20

Pulp doing Common People at Reading 2011, leading in for the Strokes. "If Pulp were only ever remembered for this song - I don't care. It's a good song. You know, Black Lace are only remembered for Agadoo. See, it could be a lot worse."

By my estimation Jarvis Cocker is one of the great underappreciated English rockers.

As far as I know, Jarvis never went to prison, but the singer for Black Lace did time for the British equivalent of welfare fraud. His fellow inmates reportedly forced him to sing Agadoo repeatedly.

That's your Britpop trivia for tonight.

An Old One

Posted 07/21/20

Eagleton was an export brand of Wester & Butz, an ancient maker from the Merscheid borough of Solingen. The lack of a country of origin stamp on this bare-head jack persuades me that it was imported prior to 1891.

Kabar

Posted 07/21/20

Best known for their fighting knives introduced in 1942, Kabar also made a full line-up of folders, including this delrin-handled Barlow. I took the picture with one of my Lumix point-and-shoots in 2011.

Solid Geometry

Posted 07/19/20

Color removed, abstracted to form.

Solid Geometry

Posted 07/19/20

An array of geometric shapes in the woodshop.

Sourdough

Posted 07/15/20

Bulk fermentation is complete, the dough has been shaped and is ready to pan. It's 50/50 whole wheat/bread flour, with a tablespoon of flax seed meal. In two hours it should rise to well over twice its size, and will go into a 450 degree oven. The temperature will be allowed to gradually decline, and in another hour the loaf will register 200 degrees internally and be done.

Rising slow and getting late, so into a pan of warm water to help it along. Now it is ready for the oven.
An hour later it is done. Look at the oven spring - nice!
Breakfast in the morning.

Deer at Silver Springs

Posted 07/09/20

Here's one that my mother, Ellie, took at Silver Springs State Park. I suspect she took it with her cell phone, and it shows how good the cameras in cell phones have gotten, in proficient hands. She is very observant. Probably nine out of ten would never have seen the deer.

Best of Friends

Posted 07/09/20

I turned up this picture of Roy and Jeannie from April 2018 and felt like I had to post it for the benefit of their friends who may not have seen them in a while. I get down to St. Petersburg at least a couple of times a year and always have a grand time touring around the town with them, drinking craft beer and eating hipster food at the little cafes and nightspots they frequent. Looking at this picture makes me want to drive down there tomorrow, and I would if it weren't for the Covid-19 and the merciless heat of the Florida summer.

Last of the MP15s

Posted 07/06/20

The MP15, built from 1974 to 1983, was the culmination of the EMD switcher line stretching back to the NW2 of 1939. The carbody styling remained strikingly similar through 44 years of production. Operational changes on the railroads finally curtailed the use of switch engines on the Class 1 lines, though short lines and industrial railroads still eagerly purchase good ones that come on the market.

Chris Toth's valuable site, NSDash9.com, lists two MP15s still on the active roster but stored, seven stored pending sale/retirement/disposition. In February 2019 I found two units switching the Walkertown Car Lot. A year later 2394 and 2430 were still covering the assignment.

In late March 2020 I saw them pass through High Point in a southbound local, cut in behind the road units. I don't expect to see a Norfolk Southern MP15 in service again.

Saharan Haze

Posted 06/28/20

I don't need much of an excuse to drive up to the Parkway, and the Saharan Dust Plume provided one. The talk had been that we might get intense sunrises and sunsets over the weekend. I decided that Doughton Park would be a good location for pictures.

Mark emailed me that Gretchen was going to a meeting and I should come over to drink beer and cook out. I counter-proposed that he join me on my photography excursion. He was game, so we headed west around 6:00.

We checked out some potential locations, starting at Basin Cove Overlook, proceeding to Wildcat Rock and ending up at the Bluffs Picnic Area. I got pictures at each. The Picnic Area turned out to be a popular spot for people from Sparta to watch and photograph the sunset. Several family groups were in attendance, with the kids riding their scooters and bicycles while the adults rested on picnic tables and rock outcroppings. There was a moderate breeze and the temperature was in the mid-70s, making for wonderful late-June conditions. We were told about the spectacular sunset the last evening; this one proved to be nice but not breathtaking. Nevertheless, worth the drive and a good excuse to get out of the house.

Looking northwest from Basin Cove Overlook. The dust aloft makes for diffuse, soft shadows and colors.
Ancient stonework at Wildcat Rock Overlook.
Sunset from Bluffs Picnic Area. All pictures, Fujifilm X-T20, Vivitar 19mm.

Best Time of Day to be on the Golf Course

Posted 06/26/20

Joe sent me this picture of the sunrise taken from the golf course. I don't know if he got 18 holes in afterward, kind of doubt it, but it couldn't have gotten any better.

With the Saharan Dust Plume blowing our way over the weekend, it may be a good time to get some sunrise/sunset pictures. I'm thinking about some potential locations.

A Lager that I Really Like

Posted 06/25/20

Ever since Roy Highfill introduced me to them several years ago, I have been a confirmed drinker of IPAs. But I have to admit, this Samuel Adams Boston Lager, which I bought to humor friends who haven't developed a taste for hoppy ales, is quite tasty. It has a stronger flavor than the insipid pale-yellow brews available from the big corporate brewers, while maintaining the carbonation that makes an ice-cold lager pleasant on a summer day.

OpenCPN on Land

Posted 06/23/20

OpenCPN is a sophisticated and capable open-source computer-based chart plotter designed for the navigational needs of the mariner. It works with free, downloadable NOAA raster and vector charts that are updated monthly. It serves its purpose very well, and is used by thousands of sailors. An aside - my friend Phil Lange was a member of the development team and wrote the original documentation. For the land-bound explorer, OpenCPN can also serve as a GPS mapping device for the car, or for that matter to carry while hiking, using downloadable USGS quadrangle maps as a base.

Bluewater sailors have long used faxes from weather services to get up-to-date weather information. One feature of OpenCPN is that it can use WeatherFax overlays so bluewater sailors can see the faxes right on their charts, rather than using paper printouts. The process of converting WeatherFaxes to .kap files is the basis for making charts from USGS quadrangles.

USGS makes current and historic quadrangles available as .jpg files at their website, TopoView. Using the WeatherFax plug-in, these can be converted to .kap files and viewed on OpenCPN. Tracks can be overlaid and saved on these charts just as on marine charts.

Here is a current chart with a saved track. I drove into Winston-Salem from the southwest on Business 40/U.S. 421, exited at Knollwood Street, crossed Stratford Road and proceeded to Queen Street and Miller Park Circle.
Here is the same track using a 1951 quadrangle. Business 40/U.S. 421 had not been built, neither had Silas Creek Parkway. Hawthorne Road used to run north to West First Street (now Country Club Road), but was mostly overlaid by the Parkway. Miller Park and western Ardmore were already established. The Hanes plant and factory town were the main features of South Stratford Road.

I can see how the ability to use historic charts as a GPS base would be of value to researchers and historians. The USGS has some charts available from as far back as 1880. Any chart can be used in OpenCPN, as long as it is digitized and the user can determine the latitude and longitude of the top left and bottom right corners.

Classic Japanese Design and Workmanship

Posted 06/12/20

During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the Japanese went head to head with the great American and European consumer goods manufacturers to determine who held supremacy in design and workmanship. It is pretty clear who won, and Japan maintained its place for a couple of decades, until an aging population succumbed to younger, more vigorous neighbors.

Friends who enjoy going to yard sales sometimes run across photographic equipment, and I told them to pick up anything for less than $30 or so, especially if it included a lens. I would take it and reimburse them. My Fujifilm X-T20 will mount almost any lens ever made, and you never know when classic glass might show up in somebody's garage.

A good find was a box full of camera gear that included an Olympus OM10 and a Vivitar 35-135 f/3.5 zoom. The OM10 was introduced in 1979 as a comsumer-grade version of the OM1, one of the cameras that at the time were putting the final nails in the coffins of the German manufacturers - other than Leica, which has hung on making what I have heard described as "fetish objects for wealthy amateurs". Olympus specialized in compact, fine-lined, technologically advanced cameras of exceptional build quality, mounting some of the best glass of the era. The OM10 sported a few plastic pieces that would have been metal on the top of the line OM1, but for a low-cost SLR it was hard to fault. Mine unfortunately didn't come with a Zuiko lens, the Olympus brand, but the Vivitar 35-135 f/3.5 close focus zoom was quite a good performer for the day. Built by Tokina, it is a massive, heavy assembly. I might pick up an adapter for it one day and try it out on the X-T20. It is less likely that I will ever run any film through the OM10. There are film enthusiasts out there, and perhaps someday I will pass it on to one of them. For now, I like to take it out now and then and marvel over the quality of design and workmanship.

Olympus still makes cameras, in China and Vietnam. They are far advanced technologically over the OM10, but I doubt if they will last as long. I thougth about buying one when I first looked at DSLRs, but the company was in the middle of one of their periodic bouts with instability so I dropped them from consideration. My X-T20 has proven to be a good choice.

Indian Creek

Posted 06/09/20

Indian Creek heads up on the north side of Hanging Rock, flows over Hidden and Window Falls, and runs down through the park. This picture was taken just a few hundred feet short of its confluence with the Dan.

More United Jets

Posted 06/08/20

More jets parked at Smith Reynolds.

Butterfly

Posted 06/03/20

Planes may be grounded, butterflies aren't. I saw several of these great spangled fritillaries in a hayfield at Horizons a couple days ago.

Eugene's Beast

Posted 06/02/20

My neighbor Eugene drove this beast of a truck for the city until a couple of months ago, when he retired at age 70. Prior to moving to Winston-Salem, he was an officer for the NYPD, and before that a Marine Corps military policeman. Now he spends most of his time training his two dogs, Tupak and Laker, gruffly barking out orders like a drill seargent, which the dogs blissfully ignore. We're the two old men in our section of Miller Park Circle, and we stick together.

Sourdough

Posted 06/02/20

A technique in bread-making is to hold back some of the finished dough from one batch and use it in the next batch. The old dough is held in the refrigerator between batches. Initially it works like a pre-ferment, but in time it collects wild yeast, sours, and becomes what is known as a sourdough firm starter. Once the firm starter is developed, it can be fed the day before use with a cup of flour (mixed whole wheat and bread flour) and 1/2 cup of water. Then, half is used and the other half is put away for the next batch. It will keep at least three days between feedings. If it isn't needed in three days, half should be cut off and put in the freezer and the other half should be fed. The frozen firm starter can be the basis for pizza dough.

A cup of firm starter is added to two cups flour, one cup water, salt and a pinch of diastatic malt to make a loaf of bread. The firm starter should be cut in pieces and thoroughly kneaded into the new dough. The yeast in the starter will be enough to rise the bread but it will take a long time. The pictured loaf had a bulk ferment of five hours and a final rise of two hours.

I have been experimenting with putting cooked brown rice into my loaves as a partial substitution for the whole wheat flour. This loaf was made with a quarter cup brown rice, three quarter cups whole wheat, cup of water, tablespoon flax seed meal, cup of bread flour, teaspoon of salt, pinch of diastatic malt, cup firm starter. The whole wheat flour and flax soaked in the water overnight, then in the morning the other ingredients were added, the dough was kneaded for 12 minutes and set aside for bulk ferment. Five hours later it was formed into a loaf and placed in a cast-iron loaf pan where it rose for two hours. Then it was placed in a 450 degree oven. The heat was allowed to gradually decline until it was at 350 degrees 45 minutes later and the bread reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees. The bread was removed from the pan and allowed to cool completely before being put away. It turned out moderately sour with good flavor, fairly open crumb for the proportion of whole grain used, easy to slice, excellent for toasting.

Grounded Jets

Posted 06/01/20

United narrow-body jets mothballed at Smith Reynolds.

Bethania Trails

Posted 05/30/20

Walking in Bethania yesterday, I found the Black Walnut Bottom flooded. The Graveyard Trail was wet and muddy but hikeable.

The Great Wagon Road

Posted 05/29/20

A remnant of the Great Wagon Road, which ran from Philadelphia to Carolina during the 1700s, passes along the edge of the Upper Field at Bethania. Reportedly Cornwallis and his army marched through here February 10th, 1781 in pursuit of Nathaniel Greene's patriot army. He caught them at Guilford Courthouse where he achieved a pyrrhic victory which left his army so weakened that he retired to tidewater Virginia. This resulted in his army being boxed in at Yorktown, beaten by the Continental Army and ejected from U.S. soil, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.

Air Filter

Posted 05/29/20

I didn't come up with this, I read about it in a woodworking magazine. But I know a good idea when I see it. 20" x 20" is a standard box fan size, and also a standard HVAC return duct filter size, so why not pair them to make an air filter for the house or shop? Just strap a filter onto the back of the fan, making sure the airflow is oriented correctly. Then whenever the fan is running, it will pull dusty air in the back and blow clean air out the front.

Train Watching

Posted 05/23/20

Norfolk Southern GE Dash 9-44CWs 9634, showing unmistakeable signs of an engine room fire, and 9773 back their consist into the Walkertown car lot yard to pick up a slug of empty auto racks to fill out their short north-bound train. Looks like a right-hand hinged door got damaged in the fire so they grabbed a left-hand one off a salvage unit, flipped it over and put it in place. That's the only explanation I can think of for the upside down and backwards lettering just forward of the burned section.

Stored at Smith Reynolds

Posted 05/22/20

Eight United Airlines planes in storage at Smith Reynolds Airport. Alaska Air has parked a number of their planes at PTI.

Yadkin River in Flood

Posted 05/21/20

The Yadkin runs high and muddy beneath the new bridge at Shallowford. The old through-truss bridge, built in 1927, was replaced by the current structure about 1985, if I remember correctly. Prior to 1927, wagons and cars crossed the river at the ford. A minor battle was fought here during the Revolutionary War.

Maybe the Last One

Posted 05/21/20

The bridge on Valley Road over Mill Creek may well be the last one-lane span in the city of Winston-Salem. The citizens of Old Town are possesive of their relics and have a lot of clout with local government. That's the only reason I can come up with for this product of the State of North Carolina, Project 742, built with Federal Aid in 1922, to still be extant.

Tired of IPA?

Posted 05/18/20

I never get tired of IPA but I do enjoy tasting the various beers in the breweries' sampler twelve-packs. Highland Brewing Company of Asheville packaged a milk stout in their recent sampler. I like stouts and porters, so I was game to give it a try. It poured foamy, and, being used to weak-headed IPAs, I overran my mug by a few drops. Once it settled down, I took a sip and was pleasantly surprised. Lagers are sour, IPAs are bitter, but this beer was sweet.

A little research revealed that milk stouts have a tiny amount of lactose sugars added. Lactose does not convert to alcohol, so it is retained in the finished brew. Originally, milk stout was designed to be a more nutritious beverage for the "swarms of laborers in English cities, the vast majority of the beer and ale-swilling public." Mackeson was the first to commercialize it, claiming that “each pint contains the energizing carbohydrates of ten ounces of dairy milk.” The British authorities looked askance at this claim and eventually banned the marketing of beer as "milk stout". In other jurisdictions it is perfectly legal, which is why several independent breweries in the U.S. proudly sell milk stout.

All this arcane beer history comes from an article from All About Beer Magazine aptly titled "Milk Stout". In truth, there is all kinds of interesting stuff about porters, stouts and their offshoots. As to what distinguishes milk stout, there is only one thing to remember - "there has been an addition of sweet and unfermentable lactose".

Renfro Mask

Posted 05/16/20

The only way to get Covid-19 is for somebody to give it to you. So it follows that the best way to avoid getting it is to avoid people who are likely to give it to you. Masks won't keep you from getting it, but they do help people keep from giving it. So stay away from people who don't wear masks, because they are more likely to give you Covid-19.

The Renfro mill in Mount Airy makes socks. In coordination with Dr. Satterwhite and his crew at Wake Forest School of Medicine, the company developed a knit mask that sells for a reasonable price and helps people keep from giving Covid-19. The first few 100,000 went to the city of Winston-Salem and local non-profits and were distributed by Lowe's Stores and Forsyth Seafood Restaurant for $2.50 apiece or free. That was to seed the process and get people aware of the need to wear masks. Since then, Renfro has started producing these things by the millions and wholesaling them to corporations to hand out to their employees, and to municipalities that want to do mass distributions. Renfro is a manufacturer, not a retailer, and doesn't really have the expertise to do small scale sales, but it has set up a website where individuals can order small quantities of masks. I bought four, at a cost of $8 apiece including tax and shipping, which seems reasonable for a washable, reusable mask. Renfro suggests that the masks can be washed and reused at least 25 times, so the per use cost is about 30 cents. That compares favorably with paper masks, which commonly cost 50 cents to a dollar apiece if you can find them.

Evening Star, May 15th 2020

Posted 05/16/20

Venus follows the sun down in this picture from along the Parkway near Basin Cove Overlook. The planet's magnitude was so great that it was visible for a good half hour before stars began to appear. Afterward I went to Wildcat Rock and watched the International Space Station come over. It rose in the WSW at 10:50, came almost directly overhead and set in the NE after a transit of six minutes.

Miss Nancy's Rose

Posted 05/14/20

My neighbor Nancy used to keep a nice border along the front of her building, a mix of small shrubs, perennials and annuals. She doesn't have the mobility to garden any more, but a few of her plants are still producing blooms, including her red rose. Nowadays I frequently see her sitting on her front porch knitting. Her church group collects toboggan hats for the homeless. Nancy has made over 1,000 of them.

All photographs by Paul M. Clayton unless otherwise noted.

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