Saturday, May 27, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Open road, in town

Open road, in town
Popping the top,
Into the center of town
Rode the Galaxie 500.*

In the United States, this weekend, Memorial Day weekend —although astronomically a few weeks short of summer— signals, for many, the calendrical start of the summer season.

Coincident with it is a wave of vacation travel. The lure of the 'open' road —and its traverser, the automobile— has long been a quintessential American motif. A popped 'ragtop' —hair, free in the breeze— can only add to that.

Image taken in the town of Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA (in 2018), where, even if nowhere near Route 66, the urge remains as impelling.


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Pic of the Week: Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Pils, on draught

Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Pils, on draught
The Rothaus Tannenzäpfle 1 is the absolute classic among our beers - and has been since 1956. That is why it is also the namesake and figurehead of the Gäpfle family. The best aromatic hops from Tettnang and the Hallertau as well as local malt made from summer barley and the purest spring water from the Black Forest give Rothaus Tannenzäpfle its uniquely spicy and fresh taste.
Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus 2 (Baden State Brewery Rothaus)

Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Pils — served out-of-doors on a spring afternoon, on draught in a brewery serving glass, on the pub patio at My Parents Basement 3, in Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA. 7 May 2023.


Yes, but how does the beer taste?

For having traveled so far, the beer was in good form. Brilliant clarity under a long-lasting white collar of foam. Slightly grassy nose; subtle cracker-wafer malt; hints of honey and green apple; subdued tree-sap and mowed-grass hops; dry, slightly sulfury finish. A glorious German pilsner. Delightful.

A series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, May 13, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: How green was my valley

How green was my valley

Idyll beyond pavement,
How green was my valley
In vernal raiment.

Beyond its paved southern terminus, the East Decatur Greenway (DeKalb County, Georgia, USA) extends, unpaved, about one-third mile northeastward. Continuing through a wildflower garden, it crosses Cecilia Creek via a small pedestrian bridge (pictured here), and concludes alongside the eastern bank of the creek.

15 April 2023.


Saturday, May 06, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Mood (white) indigo

Mood (white) indigo

Tall, upright white wild indigo wildflowers are among the first native plants of the spring season to bloom in the Trailhead Community Park.

East Decatur Greenway: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 15 April 2023.
Baptisia alba —commonly called white wild indigo or white false indigo— is a herbaceous, perennial plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, native to central and eastern North America, growing in grasslands, favoring moist soils, and typically 2 to 4 feet tall (0.61 to 1.2 m).

White, pea-like flowers occur from a long spike inflorescence [cluster of flowers arranged on a stem], and bloom from April to July, earlier in the southern part of the range. Leaves have an alternate arrangement, and are trifoliate [three-parted], narrow, and oblong. Clusters of large, black seedpods often remain attached to the naked winter stems. Bumblebees pollinate the flowers.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

North for mating season (from its winter habitat in southern Florida, Mexico, and Central America), a yellow-crowned night heron perches in swampy marshland in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA, on 21 April 2023.

Unfortunately, I 'blew out' some of the highlights (such as the heron's yellow crown) and 'cut off' one of its feet. Nonetheless, I was excited to have photographed this fine fellow in the wild.

Thank you to a passing birder who identified this yellow-crowned night heron for me (and congratulated me on my new "lifer": birdwatching lingo for spotting a bird you’ve never seen before).

Fortunately, I did not forget to thank her (or, silently, the heron).


Saturday, April 22, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Vernal rising

Vernal rising

Up, they jumped,
Winter sprites,
Vernal rising.

Happy Earth Day!

22 April 2023
Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by, including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.The official theme for 2023 is "Invest In Our Planet."


Saturday, April 15, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Goose going Postal

Goose going Postal

A Canada goose (Branta canadensis) gracefully winters on Postal Pond, in Decatur Legacy Park, Decatur, Georgia, USA, on 4 March 2023.

I've always called this elegant waterfowl, a Canadian Goose. I've only just discovered its 'correct' appellation. Despite its name, the Canada goose's year-round habitat extends south into Georgia1, 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) from Canada.

Decatur, by the way, is a small city (population, 24,928) in —and the county seat of— DeKalb County, Georgia, part of the Atlanta metropolitan area.2 Legacy Park is a 77-acre oasis within it.


Saturday, April 08, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Bayou morning

Bayou morning

Wetlands of South Fork Peachtree Creek: a 'bayou' morning on Beaver Pond.

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve: DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 19 March 2023.
When rain falls into the beaver pond/wetlands at the preserve, the water goes into the south fork of Peachtree Creek. From Peachtree Creek, the water flows into the Chattahoochie River and then into the Gulf of Mexico. The areas that drain into the Chattahoochee River (including the preserve) make up the Chattahoochie Watershed.


Friday, April 07, 2023

Happy National Beer Day, 2023!

Happy National Beer Day 2023!

7 April 2023: It's National Beer Day ... in the U.S., that is.

Then, again, is not every day, "beer day"? Ah, but there's more to the 90-year-old story. Read more at: YFGF.


Now, as to those two lovelies...

  • Deathstill (left)
    • "German Style dopplebock." 8% alcohol-by-volume (abv).
    • In Dune —a series of science fiction novels (and films) by writer Frank Herbert and his estate— a deathstill is a "device used to extract all moisture from a living or dead human or creature. This is traditionally done to reclaim precious water from the dead, who no longer require it; but in Children of Dune the device is used as a method of execution."
  • A Night on Ponce (right)
    • "American IPA with Citra, Palisade, and Magnum hops." 7.5% alcohol-by-volume (abv).
    • Ponce de Leon Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Atlanta, named for the eponymous 16th-century Spanish conquistador, who searched for the legendary fountain of youth in Florida. Atlanta natives simply refer to the street as "Ponce."
Both beers brewed by Three Taverns Brewery, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. Both beers enjoyed, al fresco, on the brewery's beer patio, 11 March 2023.

A series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, April 01, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Pear tree in winter

Pear tree in winter

Invasive but lovely, a Bradford pear tree winter!
Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’) is a spring-flowering tree that has been widely planted throughout the eastern U.S. in the last few decades. It is a popular tree that is frequently seen in nearly every city within its growing range. The species is a native of China, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam.

The Bradford pear grows 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide. It has a wider and more erect, branchier canopy than other species of Pyrus calleryana. A rapid grower, it has a short to moderate life span (15 to 25 years). The most attractive feature of this thornless tree is the showy white flowers that appear before the leaves in the spring. Early spring flowering may last two weeks. The flowers, unfortunately, have an unpleasant [rotting fish] fragrance. Small, round, brown fruit then appear but are hidden by the leaves. Fruits are about the size of a marble and are often eaten by birds. In the fall, the Bradford pear is one of the last trees to have colorful leaves, mahogany-red and sometimes bright orange-red.

Pyrus calleryana and cultivars are considered invasive in southeastern US. Although the ‘Bradford’ pear was originally bred as sterile and thornless, it readily cross-pollinate with other cultivars of callery pears and subsequently produces viable fruit. The ripened fruit is eaten and disseminated by birds, which results in very thorny thickets of wild pear trees. Callery pears also have thorns ranging from ¼-inch long to over 2-inches long that can cause extensive damage to equipment [and humans].

Seen alongside the East Decatur Greenway in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA, on 17 February 2023.


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Mayapple blooms in March

Mayapple blooms in March

It may have been 0 °C in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA, on 19 March 2023, but the native plant restoration was blossoming in the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve.

Podophyllum peltatum is an herbaceous woodland plant in the family Berberidaceae —with common names of mayapple, American mandrake, wild mandrake, and ground lemon— widespread across most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada.

The mayapple grows only two leaves and one flower, which appears in the axil of the leaves (where the leaf joins the stem). The stems grow to 30–40 cm (12 in to 16 in) tall; the leaves grow up to eight inches in diameter (20–40 cm) with three to nine deeply cut lobes. The flowers are white, yellow or red, one to two inches in diameter (2–6 cm), with six to nine petals, maturing into a large, fleshy, lemon-shaped berry, one to two inches long (2–5 cm).

All the parts of the plant are poisonous, including the green fruit, but once the fruit has ripened and turned yellow, it can be safely eaten, as the ripe fruit does not produce toxicity.

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is a citizen-run, 28-acre park, located in an urban area between the cities of Decatur and Atlanta, Georgia.

A few years ago, the preserve brought in sheep to eradicate (i.e., eat!) an infestation of invasive plants in the park. Species such as English ivy, Chinese privet, and kudzu were out-competing and ultimately destroying native plants that local pollinators and the native ecosystem depended upon.

As the invaders were vanquished, the natives began to return. Such as the mayapple.

Here's another view: top-down and pre-bloom.

March Mayapple


Saturday, March 18, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Sweet Betsy in bloom!

Little Sweet Betsy in bloom!

Look down! There, on the forest floor! It's a native wildflower, a "Little Sweet Betsy" trillium, blooming in late winter. Notice the yellow specks of pollen. Spring is coming.

Seen on 9 March 2023, in the Glenn Creek Nature Preserve: a small community-maintained city park in Decatur, Georgia, USA.
Trillium cuneatum —commonly known as the little sweet betsy— is a species of flowering trillium, native to the southeastern United States. The plant has three broad, mottled leaves surrounding a banana-scented, sessile [blossom lacking a stalk] flower. The petals are erect and either maroon, bronze, green, or yellow in color, flowering from early March to late April. It is the largest of the eastern sessile-flowered trilliums.

The preserve appears to be a haven for these native wildflowers. Here's another Little Sweet Betsy trillium, but snapped head-on.

Sweet Betsy in bloom! (02)

Trillium —also known as wake-robin, toadshade, tri-flower, birthroot, birthwort, or, sometimes, 'wood lily'— is a genus of about fifty flowering plant species in the Melanthiaceae family [also called the bunchflower family]. Trillium species are native to temperate regions of North America and Asia, with the greatest diversity of species found in the southern Appalachian Mountains of the southeastern United States.


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Sylvan grotto

Sylvan grotto

Not really a grotto, but, in cold winter, the sylvan feel of the creek and its surroundings exuded Arcadian seclusion.

Crooked Creek flowing from Mountain Lake, in Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, near Stonecrest, Georgia, USA, on 26 January 2023.

We tarried awhile.


Erich Korngold's Violin Concerto, 1st movement: a guilty pleasure, perhaps, but nonetheless suggesting a musical 'feel' of the scene.


Saturday, March 04, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Nature contemplation

Nature contemplation
The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

On a spring-like winter's afternoon, a gentleman was sitting still on the banks of Glenn Creek, seemingly contemplating its simple beauty.

Glenlake Park: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 20 February 2023.


Saturday, February 25, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Peachtree rapids & riffles

Peachtree rapids & riffles

Rain-filled rapids and riffles on the South Fork Peachtree Creek, in a 120-acre urban Piedmont forest.

Mason Mill Park, in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 9 February 2023.


Saturday, February 18, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Thicket tunnel

Thicket tunnel

Thicket tunnel or allée over the trail?

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve: DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 8 February 2023.


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale

Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale

Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale is an English Trappist beer, brewed by Trappist monks (precisely: the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, a Roman Catholic monastic order) at Mount St Bernard Abbey, located in the town of Coalville, in Leicestershire, England, UK.

The monastery was founded in 1835. Brewing only commenced in 2018, when the abbey's small-scale dairy farm had become non-viable (vs. large agribusiness). Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale is its only beer.



Short answer: delicious. Long answer:

In color, Tynt Meadow is burnished-copper; clarity is good. The beer is well-conditioned, pouring with a long-lived, off-white head and some nice lacing down the glass...possibly because of bottle-conditioning (with live yeast). That also may have contributed a measure of oxygen-scavenging (i.e, active protection against staling). The beer tasted fresh, despite its trans-Atlantic voyage.

The principal flavor is dark fruit with lesser motifs of bitter chocolate and treacle. Interestingly, the monastery does NOT use Belgian yeast (which is the norm for most Trappist ales) but an unidentified English yeast-strain (in addition to English barley and hops, both also unspecified) that is noticeable in a fruit-cake flavor. The ale finishes smooth (I detest the illogical neologism "drinkable"), although the alcohol does seem to create a strong presence in the aftertaste. 7.4% alcohol-by-volume (abv).

Imported bottle (330 ml / 11.2 fl.oz), tasted in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 20 September 2022.



Based upon their Cistercian adherence solely to prayer and work, the monks of Mount St Bernard Abbey literally produce only enough beer to pay their bills and support their charities. They quote Psalm 104:
You make the grass grow for the cattle and the plants to serve man’s needs, that he may bring forth bread from the earth and wine to cheer man’s heart.

I say, beer is liquid bread. So, please, "give us this day our daily bread."

A series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, February 04, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Arabia buzzards

Arabia buzzards A pair of turkey vultures scope the carrion scene, atop a pine tree near the summit of Arabia Mountain.

The turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), also known as buzzard or turkey buzzard, is the most widespread of the New World vultures, ranging from southern Canada to the southernmost tip of South America. It inhabits a variety of open and semi-open areas, including subtropical forests, shrublands, pastures, and deserts. A large bird, the turkey vulture has a wingspan of 63-72 inches (160–183 cm) and a length of 24-32 inches (62–81 cm). The body feathers are mostly brownish-black, but the flight feathers on the wings appear to be silvery-gray beneath, contrasting with the darker wing linings. The adult's head is small in proportion to its body and is red in color with few to no feathers. It also has a relatively short, hooked, ivory-colored beak. The turkey vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It has very few natural predators.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area: Stonecrest, Georgia, USA. 27 January 2023.


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Ephemeral rapids

Ephemeral rapids

Arabia Mountain is a monadnock —"an isolated small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain"— located just over 20 miles southeast of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Primarily composed of granite-like migmatite rock, the 'mountain' is 955 feet (290 m) above sea level, rising 172 feet (52 m) above the surrounding countryside.

Here, ephemeral pools, recently overfilled by rain, empty down its exposed rock face. The hillcrest in the image is some distance from the summit.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area: Stonecrest, Georgia, USA. 26 January 2023.


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Light as storm passes

Light as storm passes
i am afraid of what happens
when it stops storming this way round
when the clouds have blown,
and all that is left are me and my prayers for rain.
i'm trying to enjoy the thunder while it lasts,
but it's hard not to miss a storm before it leaves.
Ryan Jones
a bop for rayden

Poem seen in Georgia Poetry in the Parks. Sunset seen after a violent storm in Decatur, Georgia, USA, 12 January 2023.


Saturday, January 14, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Full Wolf Moon

Full Wolf Moon

The setting Full 'Wolf Moon,' waning gibbous (at 99% illumination), on a cloudy, early morning, as seen over Decatur, Georgia, USA, on 7 January 2023 at 6:43 am EDT.
The first full moon of the new year, January's Wolf Moon, rises on Friday night (Jan. 6). The moon will be on the far side of Earth and close to its farthest from the Earth, around 250,000 miles (around 400,000 km), making it a 'micromoon,' the opposite of a 'supermoon,' when the moon is closer to the Earth. The moon's orbit around Earth is a flattened circle, or 'elliptical, ' so there are times when the moon is closer to Earth and times when it is farther away. However, 'supermoons' appear only around 14% larger than 'micromoons,' a difference virtually imperceptible to the naked eye.

The Old Farmer's Almanac states that the name for January's full moon —the Wolf Moon— arises due to the fact it was seen at times of the year when wolves could be howling outside villages as a result of hunger.


Saturday, January 07, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Vernal Dreaming

Vernal dreaming

This unnamed mural is painted on an outside side wall of Twain's Brewpub & Billiards, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. Often obscured by employee vehicles, it was in full view this winter morning (11 December 2022).

For its title, Vernal Dreaming, befitting the dank day, would be my conceit.


Wednesday, January 04, 2023

2022 Pic(k) of the Week Rotogravure

Festive Twain's

Pic(k) of the Week

Since 2006, I have uploaded 24,601 photographs and images to the website Flickr. Every Saturday since 29 August 2009, I have culled through those images and selected one as my Pic(k) of the Week.

Here's a retrospective collage of the fifty-two images I selected for 2022. Clicking on the thumbnail will take you to the full image.



The Kiss Wild Heaven Craft Beers Brewery Glenn Creek Falls (04) Snow Falling on Magnolias To fell a tree
From barley comes beer Steps to the Dene A welcome sign Watch for baseballs!
Look out! Winter white (but not snow!) Tractorial innards Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz (02)
West on Eastside BeltLine Bird on a vine Blue vetch Rare Sarracenia oreophila, blooming Keeping clave time!
Morning moon (and avian astronaut) Sidebench-ers Eclipse of the Blood Moon (16 May 2022 12:43 am EDT) White violet, close up
In the limelight Mother and Child A woman, her dog, and her beer The Guide at night Pink coneflower
Beer bubbles closeup Crocosmia in Georgia Brown thrasher, foraging Flamboyance of flamingos
Calm at crepuscule Promenade on high from low at the High Strip mall sunset Zen'd by jazz
Butterfly & zinnia Sunday morning Adirondack Oktoberfest at Odd Story Live Oaks at night
Wood stork, perched Tiny-gnomial ¡Cuidado! Moving Day Evanescence
Morning mist on the beach Little Red Riding Hoods Close encounter of the arachnid kind Dead in fen (02)
Train approaches bridge (02) Red no. 2 & yellow no. 5 Mallard whirlpool Super Cold Moon rises (03)



☞ Of my fifty-two selections in 2022:
  • Only 7 (or 14%) were fermentably related.
  • Thus, 45 images (or 86%) were NOT of a fermentable or comestible, or brewery/winery/distillery, or related subject.
  • 29 images (56%) were of 'nature.'
  • 10 (19%) were of structures, objects, vehicles, or signs (not including breweries).
  • 10 (19%) were focused on people, primarily or tangentially.
  • 7 (13%) were of art or culture in one form or another.
  • 6 images (11%) were in black-and-white (but none were beer-related).

☞ That compares to 2014, when:
  • 45 (or 86%) were fermentably related.
  • Thus, only 7 images (or 14%) were NOT of a fermentable or comestible, or related subject.
  • 6 images (11%) were of 'nature.'
  • 2 (4%) were of structures, objects, vehicles, or signs (not including breweries).
  • 28 (43%) were focused on people, primarily or tangentially.
  • 1 (2%) was of art/culture in one form or another.
  • 1 image (2%) was in black-and-white (but not beer-related).
(The figures don't reflect a sum, as a category may be a subset of another.)

☞ Examining the images of the previous nine years, 2014-2022, here's more of how my selections have changed. The trend is undeniable. My 'general photography has grown at the expense of beer-related photography.

2022202120202019 20182017201620152014
Beer 2n/a 12 10 1228343426
Brewery/Pub 3n/a 8 12 58162034
Cask ale 0n/a 1 1 250108
Wine/Winery 1n/a 0 1 01034
Whiskey/Liquor/Distillery 2n/a 0 0 10021
Food/Restaurant 0n/a 1 2 34855

(As above, the figures don't reflect a sum, as a category may be a subset of another: such as breweries also appearing under beer, food also under brewpub/brewery, etc.)

☞ Here are links to the image retrospectives for the years 2014 through 2020. (I did done for 2021.)


The cycle begins anew.

There were 53 Saturdays in 2022. So, the first Pic(k) of the Week for 2023 was posted on 31 December 2022. See it at Flickr: here.