Saturday, September 24, 2022

Pic(k) of the Week: Live Oaks at night

Live Oaks at night

Even (especially?) at night, southern live oaks can be dramatically magnificent.

St. Augustine Beach, Florida, USA. 9 September 2022.
Quercus virginiana —also known as the southern live oak— is an evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States and the lower coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico. Though many other species are loosely called live oak, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South.

Depending on the growing conditions, live oaks vary from a shrub-size to large and spreading tree-size: typical open-grown trees reach 66 feet in height (20 m), with a limb spread of nearly 89 feet (27 m). Their lower limbs often sweep down towards the ground before curving up again. The southern live oak has a deep taproot that anchors it when young and eventually develops into an extensive and widespread root system. This, along with its low center of gravity and other factors, makes the southern live oak extremely resistant to strong sustained winds, such as those seen in hurricanes.

The bark is dark, thick, and furrowed longitudinally. The leaves are stiff and leathery, with the tops shiny dark green and the bottoms pale gray. Although live oaks retain their leaves nearly year-round, they are not true evergreens. Live oaks drop their leaves immediately before new leaves emerge in the spring.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

Pic(k) of the Week: O'zapft is!

O'zapft is! *

A refreshing draught pint of Oktoberfest lager is served in the beer patio at Odd Story Brewing, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.
Oktoberfest/Marzen lager is a beer rich in malt with a balance of clean, hop bitterness, similar to the Vienna lager. Toasted bread or biscuit-like malt aroma and flavor is to be expected. Originating in Germany, this style was traditionally brewed in the spring (“Marzen” meaning “March”) and aged, or lagered, throughout the summer. A stronger version was served at early Oktoberfest celebrations and became known as Oktoberfest. Today, the festival’s version of an Oktoberfest is quite a bit lighter than what American craft brewers consider an Oktoberfest. 5.1-6% alcohol-by-volume (abv)


Oktoberfest in Munich

After a dry, two-year absence, the 'official' —and original— Oktoberfest returns today to Munich, the capital of the state of Bavaria in Germany. Since 1810 —when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I organized the first Oktoberfest in Munich to celebrate his nuptials with Princess Teresa of the duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen (now subsumed in the German state of Thuringia)— there only have been only twenty-six occasions on which the Oktoberfest festival has not been held. Of those, the most recent were last year and 2020, both cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twice before that, disease also aborted Oktoberfest —in 1854 and 1874— but then because of cholera epidemics.

Munich's Oktoberfest —often referred to as the word's biggest party, with in excess of six million vistors expected— usually runs for sixteen days, counting backward from the first Sunday in October. Since the 1990s, however, if the sixteenth day falls before 3 October (which is the German Unity Day national holiday), the festival continues until and including the 3rd. Thus, this year, Oktoberfest comprises seventeen days: 17 September through 3 October.

Munich's name, by the way, is derived from the Old German term "Munichen," meaning "by the monks," referring to Benedictine monks who founded a monastery in what would later become the city. Trappist monks —a stricter, offshoot of the order— became known in 20th-century Belgium (and, in the 21st-century, elsewhere as well) for their eponymous wine-like ales.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

Pic(k) of the Week: Sunday morning Adirondack

Sunday morning Adirondack

Sunday morning light.
A sense of summer's close.
Have a seat.

Decatur, Georgia, USA.28 August 2022 (8:40 am EDT).


Saturday, September 03, 2022

Pic(k) of the Week: Butterfly & zinnia

Butterfly & zinnia

In a summer garden, an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly pollinates a zinnia flower.

DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 11 August 2022.