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Apple orchards make fun outings

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Does anything taste better than a crisp, ripe apple fresh from the tree? Not really, and unless you have trees in your backyard, the only way to get a just-picked apple is to visit your local orchard and do it yourself.

Decide when you should plan your visit. Earlier is better — many orchards are picked clean before the official end of the season because it’s such a popular activity. You should also consider when different varieties will be available. Call your preferred orchard or visit their website to see if they have that information available. Most orchards are only open to the public on weekends, so don’t count on stopping by on a weekday.

Before you bring home more apples than you can possibly eat, consider how much you really want and what you might do with them. Are they all destined for lunch boxes? Is there an apple pie recipe or three you can try? Do you plan to cook a bushel down to make homemade applesauce?

When you head to the orchard, visit only the designated rows of trees that have been opened for picking. Look at apples closest to the outside of the three — those ripen first. The right color depends on the variety, and the orchard may provide pictures for reference. If not, just look them up on your phone.


When you start picking, lift the apple away from the branch and give it a little twist to release it. Don’t pull — you want the stem to remain on the fruit to help it last longer. Inspect the apple for any nicks or bruises, then place it gently (don’t drop it) into your basket or bag. If you pick an apple and then accidentally drop it on the ground, it’s still fine to pick up, but don’t collect any apples that were already on the ground.

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Selecting the right configuration to future-proof your laptop

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Selecting the right computer can be a difficult task. There are dozens of different models, but each model often comes in several different variations. No matter what laptop you buy, you’re likely spending hundreds of dollars, so you’ll want a computer that will last for years to come. Wondering how to future-proof your laptop? We got you covered.

First, there’s the processor. If you plan to buy a PC laptop, you’ll want a computer with a recent Intel i Series or AMD Ryzen processor. These processor lines offer enough power for most users. Sometimes you’ll see companies offering cheap laptops with mobile chips, but these basic computers often struggle even with simple tasks.

If you’re a fan of Apple and need a laptop for basic use, it’s hard to go wrong. All current generation Mac laptops offer at least 8GB of RAM, powerful “M” processors, and at least 256 GB of storage space. Right now, Apple’s in-house M CPUs rank among the most powerful processors around.

8GB RAM is enough for basic use, but 16GB is far more future-proof. And whether you use a PC or Apple laptop, if you’re going to edit photos and videos, you’ll want at least 16GB of RAM. Editing software uses a lot of RAM; if you only have 8GB, your computer may freeze up or crash.


Then there’s storage space. Most folks will need an SSD with at least 256GB of space. Some computers come with just 64GB or 128GB. If you’re storing video games, photos, or videos, you will use those gigabytes up very quickly.

Also, many budget laptops feature low-resolution 1366 x 768 screens. These displays look pixelated and can be hard on the eyes. You’ll want a Full HD (FHD) screen with at least 1920 x 1080. You could also get a UHD screen with 4K or 3.5K resolution. However, you’ll have to sacrifice battery life.

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Return of the flip phone: Are they worth the premium?

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For many years, foldable flip mobile phones were common. Then came the iPhone, and flat tablet-style phones have been all the rage ever since.

Flip phones offered some advantages, however. While folded up, they kept the screen protected and the footprint compact. Now, folding phones are making a bit of a comeback. But make no mistake, modern flip phones are far from retro.

The typical smartphone screen is manufactured from multiple layers of inflexible glass. You’d shatter the screen if you tried to fold such a phone. Early foldable phones got around the inflexibility of glass by using polymers or plastics. Plastic can be very flexible, but it’s also prone to scratches — say, from the keys in your pocket. Hence why, smartphones typically use glass screens.

In 2020, Samsung debuted the Galaxy Z Flip, which uses a very thin glass screen. Scientists figured out that the right types of glass could actually be bent and thus folded without shattering.


However, the glass layer must be very thin for this to work.

Further, old LCD screens use backlighting, meaning bulbs are behind the screen. These bulbs can’t be folded. However, many smartphones now use organic LED (OLED) screens, which aren’t backlit. Instead, the organic materials themselves light up once electricity passes through.

However, if you want a modern folding phone, expect to pay a premium. Folding phones typically cost at least a few hundred more than tablet phones with similar specs. That said, folding phones offer more screen space while still maintaining a smaller footprint. While folded up, the screen remains protected from coins, keys, and other hazards. So is a folding phone worth it? Ultimately, that’s up to the consumer, but these phones do offer considerable advantages.

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How buying local affects the economy

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Have you wondered how your choices affect the local economy as a consumer? Here are a few things that can happen when a small or medium-sized business in your neighborhood doubles its sales due to strong local support.

• Expand services. The more money a small business makes, the more likely it’ll expand its product and service offerings and delve into new markets. For instance, your favorite local brand may set its sights on opening a new location in a nearby town.

• Improve the job market. When small businesses grow, they require more employees. A prospering local business can help create jobs in your area.

• Uplift other local businesses. Small businesses often look to local suppliers to support their growth and help each other prosper.


• Increase social involvement. Local businesses are active in charitable causes. For example, thriving small businesses often give back to their communities by donating to local organizations.

• Reap tax benefits. Small businesses that make more money also pay more taxes. This means more money is going back into your local government to help with infrastructure and social initiatives.

Buying local is an easy way to invest in your community. It’s a simple move that benefits you as well.

 

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October Celebrity Birthdays!

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Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?

Kim Kardashian, 42, television personality, Los Angeles, CA, 1980.

1 – Emerald Fennell, 37, director, actress (Call the Midwife), London, England, 1985.

2 – Kelly Ripa, 52, television host, Stratford, NJ, 1970.


3 – Alicia Vikander, 34, actress (The Danish Girl), Gothenburg, Sweden, 1988.

4 – Susan Sarandon, 76, actress (Dead Man Walking), born Susan Tomalin, New York, NY, 1946.

5 – Jesse Eisenberg, 39, actor (Batman v Superman), New York, NY, 1983.

6 -Stephanie Zimbalist, 66, actress (Remington Steele), Encino, CA, 1956.

7 – Vladimir Putin, 70, President of Russia, St Petersburg (then Lenningrad), Russia, 1952.

8 – Chevy Chase, 79, comedian, actor (Caddyshack), born Cornelius Crane, New York, NY, 1943.

9 – Bella Hadid, 26, model, born Isabella Khair Hadid, Los Angeles, CA, 1996.

10 – Ben Vereen, 76, actor (Sweet Charity), singer, dancer, Miami, FL, 1946.

11 – Cardi B, 30, rapper, television personality, born Belcalis Almanzar, the Bronx, NY, 1992.

12 – Kirk Cameron, 52, actor (Growing Pains), Panorama City, CA, 1970.

13 – Ashanti, 42, singer, actress (Coach Carter), born Ashanti Sequoiah Douglas, Long Island, NY, 1980.

14 – Usher, 44, singer, actor (Moesha), bornUsher Raymond IV at Chattanooga, TN, 1978.

15 – Tito Jackson, 69, singer, musician (Jackson 5), born Toriano Adaryll Jackson, Gary, IN, 1953.

16 – Barry Corbin, 82, actor (Northern Exposure), Dawson County, TX, 1940.

17 – Eminem, 50, musician, rapper, Marshall Bruce Mathers III, Kansas City, MO,1972.

18 – Freida Pinto, 38, actress (Slumdog Millionaire), Mumbai, India, 1984.

19 – Peter Max, 85, artist, designer, Berlin, Germany, 1937.

20 – John Krasinski, 43, actor (The Office), director (A Quiet Place), Boston, MA, 1979.

21 – Kim Kardashian, 42, television personality, Los Angeles, CA, 1980.

22 – Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 47, actor (Modern Family), Missoula, MT, 1975.

23 – Nancy Grace, 64, talk show host, Macon, GA, 1958.

24 – Drake, 36, singer, born Aubrey Drake Graham, Toronto, ON, Canada, 1986.

25 – Katy Perry, 38, singer, born Katheryn Hudson, Santa Barbara, CA, 1984.

26 – Ivan Reitman, 76, filmmaker (Dave, Ghostbusters), KomaÌrno, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), 1946.

27 – Matt Drudge, 56, journalist (The Drudge Report), Takoma Park, MD, 1966.

28 – Dennis Franz, 78, actor (Hill Street Blues), Maywood, IL, 1944.

29 – Winona Ryder, 51, actress (Stranger Things), born Winona Horowitz, Winona, MN, 1971.

30 – Kennedy McMann, 25, actress (Nancy Drew), Holland, MI, 1996.

31 – Letitia Wright, 28, actress (Black Panther), Georgetown, Guyana, 1993.

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Trees rooted in the ages survive still

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More than a thousand years before the oldest sequoia was a seedling, Alerce Milenario was growing in the mist and humidity, deep in a ravine in the coastal mountains of Chile.

It kept its mossy whereabouts a secret for over 5,000 years until it reached 200 feet into the sky, supported by a 13-foot-diameter trunk. And then, 50 years ago, a park ranger spotted the Patagonian cypress.

Its exact age can probably only be determined by taking a core sample and counting its seasoned rings under a microscope. Park rangers are unwilling to disturb the ancient tree. Most of the tree is already dead, and its living part relies on a fragile root system that human foot traffic could kill it.

Instead of ring cores, tree scientists have used statistical modeling, using cores from other nearby alerces. They think the tree is 5,484 years old.


That would put it well ahead of the oldest sequoias in California, which reach an age of more than 3,600 years.

If correct, the alerce would still be older than the gnarled Methuselah tree of the White Mountains in California. That ancient bristlecone pine germinated 4,800 years ago before the Egyptian pyramids were built. As with all the ancients, its exact location is secret to protect it from modern well-wishers and vandals.

Bristlecone pines are thought to be the oldest living individual organisms and now live on protected federal lands.

Methuselah has contemporaries still living today. There is Sarv-e Abarkuh, an enormous cypress in Iran, and the Llangernyw Yew in Wales, both thought to be 4,000 to 5,000 years old.

If you consider the root systems of trees and not the age of the trunk, none of these ancients comes close to the 100 acres of quaking aspen in Utah, called the Pando. The 47,000 trees in the Pando are stems growing from a single root system, which is certainly tens of thousands of years old.

In Sweden, Old Tjikko, just 16 feet tall, has a root system believed to be 9,500 years old, although the trunk is only a few hundred years old, according to Science magazine.

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Making sense of UCLA and USC’s move to the Big Ten

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Close your eyes and envision the Midwest. You might see rolling crop fields, beautiful lakes, dense forests, and the bright lights of Los Angeles — wait, what?

In a seismic move, the University of Southern California (USC) and UCLA announced that they were joining the traditionally Midwestern athletic conference, the Big Ten.

Originally, the Big Ten was made up of schools from the Midwestern states near the Great Lakes. Back in 1993, Penn State joined the Big Ten, stretching the conferences into central Pennsylvania.
Penn State quickly found itself at home, a large land grant university with rural roots. Then, in 2014, the University of Maryland and Rutgers joined, expanding the Big Ten’s footprint into metro Washington D.C. and New York City’s doorstep.

So what’s driving the expansion? Money, and more specifically, TV contracts worth lots of money. Los Angeles is the second largest TV market in the USA, and the “B1G” now has a presence in the three biggest cities: L.A., Chicago, and NYC.


When new media markets are added to the Big Ten, the conference can push for its TV network, the Big Ten Network, to be added as part of the basic cable package, drumming up mountains of cash. The Big Ten Network is already in 80 million American homes, paying out up to $49 million to each university in 2021. With the Big Ten coming to California, these payouts may increase.

Currently, there are five “power” conferences in college sports: the Big Ten, the SEC, the Big 12, the ACC, and the Pac-12. Many analysts predict that soon there will be just two Power conferences, the SEC and the Big 10. If so, these two power conferences, made up of the biggest college athletics programs, will likely enjoy the most lucrative TV contracts and ever-growing coffers.

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Upcoming Events

Oct
2
Sun
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sk... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sk... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 2 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. During Fall Farm Days’ Nature Weekend, get in touch with nature and explore a managed landscape rich in biodiversity. Discover native flora and fauna, learn the craft of beekeeping, the importance of various[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 2 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]
Oct
5
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 5 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Oct
8
Sat
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 8 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Come back to the family farm at Sky Meadows. Explore the park’s sustainable farming practices, visit the barred plymouth rock hens, learn about our cattle operation in partnership with the Department of Corrections’[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 8 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]
Oct
9
Sun
10:30 am Bethel Life Revival 2022 @ Bethel Assembly of God
Bethel Life Revival 2022 @ Bethel Assembly of God
Oct 9 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Bethel Life Revival 2022 @ Bethel Assembly of God
Please join us on October 9th at 10:30am and October 10th-12th at 6:30pm nightly for a special series of services with Johan Bruwer. Johan is from Bloemfontein, South Africa, and will deliver a very inspiring[...]
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 9 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Come back to the family farm at Sky Meadows. Explore the park’s sustainable farming practices, visit the barred plymouth rock hens, learn about our cattle operation in partnership with the Department of Corrections’[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 9 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]
Oct
10
Mon
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 10 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: Life on the Farm @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Come back to the family farm at Sky Meadows. Explore the park’s sustainable farming practices, visit the barred plymouth rock hens, learn about our cattle operation in partnership with the Department of Corrections’[...]
6:30 pm Bethel Life Revival 2022 @ Bethel Assembly of God
Bethel Life Revival 2022 @ Bethel Assembly of God
Oct 10 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Bethel Life Revival 2022 @ Bethel Assembly of God
Please join us on October 9th at 10:30am and October 10th-12th at 6:30pm nightly for a special series of services with Johan Bruwer. Johan is from Bloemfontein, South Africa, and will deliver a very inspiring[...]