Saturday, July 14, 2018

A light in the forest

A light in the forest

A spot of light through the canopy ...

... of the Kirkwood Urban Forest Preserve, in Atlanta (Kirkwood), Georgia, on 12 July 2018.
Kirkwood Urban Forest and Community Garden is a seven and one-half acre plot, previously an illegal concrete scrap dump, purchased by the City of Atlanta in 2005 through the Georgia Greenspace Program and a Georgia Forestry Commission program. Classified as a conservation park, 'managed for environmental protection, but open for public access,' the preserve was created in 2010 by neighborhood volunteers and is supported by the local neighborhood organization with additional grants. Now, the urban forest features trails among mixed hardwood trees, spring-fed Hardee Creek, a butterfly meadow of native Georgia grasses, a fruit and nut orchard, a pond, a community garden, and a covered pavilion.
— Via Decaturish (25 November 2014) and Wikipedia.


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Saturday, July 07, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Butterfly & Sputnik

Butterfly & blossom

With a 20-millimeter focal length, the lens wasn't quite right to catch a closeup. But with its minimum focus distance of eight inches (and a bit of post-cropping) and with a moment of near-cooperation from the aeronaut: voila!

A butterfly pollinates a 'Sputnik' flower in Shadyside Park —one of six connected Frederick Olmsted-designed parks of the Olmsted Linear Park— in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, on 6 July 2018.

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Thursday, July 05, 2018

#VeggieDag Thursday: To eat an artichoke.

Simmer upside down for twenty minutes (an artichoke, that is), flip it and simmer right-side up for another twenty. Chew the leaves and wait for the choke!

PROCEDURE

Cooking an artichoke: Trimming the leaves.

1) Select a fresh artichoke. Select a fresh artichoke. (The top leaves of a fresh artichoke will squeak a bit when pinched.) Use a large, sharp knife and cut off the top third of the artichoke. Peel off the smallest bottom leaves, and use scissors to trim the sharp thorn tips off each of the remaining leaves. Use the knife to cut the stem off close to the bulb, making the cut as straight as possible so the artichoke can easily sit upright without tipping over.


Cooking an Artichoke: Simmer upside-down.

2. Fill a large pot with 1/2 inch of water and bring to boil. Reduce to a strong simmer. Place cleaned, prepared artichoke face down in the water. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer the artichoke for 20 minutes.


Cooking an Artichoke: Simmer right-side-up

3. Grab the artichoke with tongs and turn it right-side-up in pot. Re-fill stock pot to 1/2 inch of water and bring to boil. Reduce to a strong simmer, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Remove the artichoke from the pot with tongs and drain off the cooking water. Allow the artichoke to cool a bit. Squeeze the juice of a lemon between the leaves. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.


Artichoke, ready to eat!

5. To eat, remove a leaf from the artichoke bulb, dip in olive oil (or not) and scrape the meaty part of the leaf off with your teeth. Discard the rest of the leaf. (Once down to the inner part of the artichoke, the small, inner leaves should be tender enough to be eaten whole.)


Eating an Artichoke: Preparing the choke
6. At the center of the artichoke, remove the remaining tiny, spiky leaves. Use a spoon to scoop out the fuzzy hairs in the center of the heart (the "choke").

Eating the Choke!

7. Cut the choke into pieces. (Careful. It will be hot.) Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil (or not), and eat and enjoy.
How to 'pair' with a beer, and which? That choice is, bien sûr, up to you (although I might —gasp— grab a Chablis or unoaked Chardonnay).

VeggieDag Thursday
In communion with the fine people of Ghent, Belgium, #VeggieDag Thursday (DonderDag) is a series of occasional Thursday posts on an animal-free diet and the ecology.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

How much beer do Americans consume during their Independence Day holiday?

A lot.

4th of July Beer Sales
  • According to the Nielsen Company, Americans purchased $648 million dollars of "domestic premium beer" and $248 million of 'craft' beer in "off-premise channels" (in non-jargon, that's "in stores") during the two weeks around the 2017 Fourth of July holiday (from 25 June through 8 July 2017).

  • In fact, the four-week period surrounding Independence Day in accounted for 8% of the beer industry’s overall annual sales for 2017. It is unclear whether this figure includes package sales in independent shops and at breweries...and what Nielsen considers 'craft' to be. And the total amount of beer sold and drunk would be much higher if on-the-premises sales (aka restaurants, pubs, and breweries) are added in.

  • According to WalletHub, Americans will spend $5.3 billion on food (partly for the 150 billion hot dogs they will purchase), $1 billion on beer, and $568 million on wine.

  • The National Retail Federation has a higher figure. They forecast that Americans will spend $6.9 billion on food for the 4th (down from a record $7.1 billion in 2017).

I'll be trying to do my part. Happy Independence Day.

Flamingo & flag

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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

R.I.P., Brewer Mallon.

Proud Brewer Mallon This post will be updated.

I've just received terrible news about a great guy and brewer. Chris Mallon passed away on Sunday.

Chris was the original head brewer for Caboose Brewing, in Vienna, Virginia, which he shepherded from planning, in 2013, through its opening, in 2015, and until just recently.

Prior to that, he had been the Special Projects Brewer at Heavy Seas Beer in Baltimore, Maryland. Or, as he put it: "the Cask & Barrel Kemosabe."

Since leaving Caboose, he was said to be pursuing another brewery project in the area.

Rest in peace, Brewer Mallon.

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