Saturday, December 30, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Outlier No. 19 Helms Deep Bierschnaps

Outlier No. 19 Helms Deep Bierschnaps

Tippling a dram
From a barrel of collaboration. 
Warming a winter's night.

In the tasting room at Independent Distilling Company: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 16 December 2023.
Our Outlier No. 19 Helms Deep Bierschnaps is a collaboration with our friends at Three Taverns Brewery (Decatur, Georgia). We distilled their famous Helms Deep Imperial Stout, then aged it in a used Hellbender Bourbon barrel for four years. Enjoy rich aromas of heavily roasted malts on the nose that translate, on the palate, into rich cocoa, lush dark fruits, hints of cereal, vanilla, and coffee, and dense oak. One in our limited Outlier Series: only 95 bottles produced. 42.5% alcohol-by-volume.

This series of weekly photos (which began in 2009) begins anew next week for a new year. As the final Pic(k) of the Week for 2023, I thought it appropriate to post an image of a good fermentable. To all my readers, I wish you a safe, healthy, prosperous, and tasty 2024.


Saturday, December 23, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Stille Nacht

Stille Nacht

Happy Christmas to all,
and to all a good night

Decatur Presbyterian Church
downtown Decatur, Georgia, USA.
22 December 2023.



Saturday, December 16, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Beneath Stone Mountain

Beneath Stone Mountain

Trees, deciduous and evergreen, stand on a northern bank of Venable Lake, 825 feet (251 meters) beneath the granitic summit of Stone Mountain. As seen from the Cherokee Trail, a five-mile walking trail that circumnavigates the base of the mountain, in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 14 November 2023.



  1. Stone Mountain is a quartz-granite monadnock:
    an isolated rock hill, knob, ridge, or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain, typically by surviving erosion. The word 'monadnock' is a Native American term.

  2. The transmission tower of WGTV can be seen at the summit.
    WGTV is a PBS (Public Broadcasting System) member television station licensed to Athens, Georgia, United States, a legacy of the station's early years as a service of the University of Georgia. Owned by the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission (technically under the Georgia Board of Regents, along with the University System of Georgia), it is the flagship station of the statewide Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) television network, serving the Atlanta metropolitan area from a transmitter atop Stone Mountain just east of Atlanta.

  3. There are only a few natural lakes in the state of Georgia. Venable Lake, at Stone Mountain Park, is not one of them. Created by submerging a former quarry, it is named for the past owner of the quarry, a segregationist leader of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century. In fact, the summit at Stone Mountain was the site of the re-founding of the Ku Klux Klan,'commemorated' with a cross-burning, on Thanksgiving eve, 1915.

Notwithstanding its historical connection to human atrocities, the physical beauty of Stone Mountain —rising abruptly over exurban-Atlanta and home to sui generis flora— can be quite dramatic. As witnessed, above, on a crisp autumn morning.



Saturday, December 09, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Fallen

The tree in gloom. 
Its erstwhile matins.

Dense morning fog in a woodland.
Legacy Park: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 2 December 2023.



Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Happy Samichlaus Day!

This image and post were originally uploaded to Flickr, in 2014.

Samichlaus Barrique 2013

Samichlaus —aka Santa Claus or, more 'properly, Saint Nicholas— is the Roman Catholic patron saint of brewers. His 'feast day' —St. Nicholas Day— is celebrated annually on 6 December.

Samichlaus is also the name of a potent doppelbock (dark lager) of 14% alcohol! Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg —a family-owned brewery founded in Austria in 1681— brews the beer once a year on St. Nicholas Day, ages it for nearly a year, and then releases it for sale.

Eggenberg also produces a special version of SamichlausSamichlaus Barrique, pictured above— which, in addition to a year's maturation, is aged five weeks in oak wine barrels. Those barrels come from the Anton Bauer Winery, also in Austria.

A happier St. Nicholas Day!


Saturday, December 02, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: October(fest) beer discussions

October(fest) beer discussions

Because a blog called "Yours for Good Fermentables" should contain images of such!

Beer discussions (Marvel vs. Munich?) at the S.U.D.S. Beer Festival, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 28 October 2023.

S.U.D.S. (i.e, Simply Us Doing our Share): "an afternoon of curated craft beer tasting, live music, local food options, and more in beautiful Legacy Park, minutes away from downtown Decatur. 25+ curated craft breweries, hand-selected by the founders of Brick Store Pub; quality local eats; live music from local artists; plus a collectors S.U.D.S. souvenir tasting glass. S.U.D.S. will help support ten non-profits at Legacy Park; we are a locally supportive, community involved, full-service festival.

Beer festival in autumn (01)


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Washington W. King Covered Bridge

Washington W. King Covered Bridge

A historic covered bridge (open to light vehicular and pedestrian traffic) crosses a narrow channel of Stone Mountain Lake.

Stone Mountain Park: DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 15 November 2023.

The Washington W. King / College Avenue Covered Bridge was designed, engineered, and constructed, in 1891 (at a cost of approximately $2,470), by Washington W. King, the son of a freed slave. It is one of only four remaining structures of the many created and constructed by King. Several members of his extended family were prominent African-American businessmen for decades in multiple Georgia cities.

The covered bridge —using a 'Town Lattice' design that allowed the wooden bridge to flex, expand and contract with the seasons— was built by King in Athens, Georgia, to connect the downtown area with outlying farm lands across the Oconee River.

The bridge served Athens until two severe floods, in 1910 and again in 1963, severely damaged the bridge. Soon thereafter, the covered bridge was replaced with a new concrete and steel crossing, and the original bridge was set aside on the banks of the Oconee River.

In 1965, the Clarke County Commission donated the bridge to the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA). The bridge was partially disassembled and transported sixty miles to Stone Mountain Park, where it was re-assembled and re-installed atop new cement and granite piers. It now connects the park to Indian Island, a picturesque 17-acre island on Stone Mountain Lake.
Stone Mountain Park.



Saturday, November 18, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Verboten off-piste

Verboten off-piste

A trail heads off into an autumnal woodland. A trace of light kisses the canopy.

But...stay off, a sign cautions.
Nature Preserve Guide Hikes Only.
State Law 12-3-10B
Violators Prosecuted!

Why the ominous warning? The park's brochure reveals the answer:
Because of the rare species of plants that live on Panola Mountain, a guided hike is required to enter the conservation area and go on top of the mountain. While both Stone Mountain and Arabia Mountain are similar geologic features, Panola Mountain has never been quarried, making it one of the most pristine monadnocks in the southeastern United States.

So, respecting the environmental concerns (and the law!), I took this photo from the (legal) Rockdale River Trail, a paved hiker/biker trail that follows the South River for several miles in Rockdale County, Georgia (an outlying suburban and exurban county in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area).

But, oh, off-piste looked inviting!



Saturday, November 11, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: South River at base of Panola Mountain

South River at base of Panola Mountain

A bend in the South River, as seen from a pedestrian bridge at the base of Panola Mountain.

Panola Mountain State Park: Rockdale County, Georgia, USA.24 October 2023.

Linger awhile.



Saturday, November 04, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Tree in morning marsh

Tree in morning marsh

Morning light anoints a dead tree, yet standing on marshy ground.

Seminary Wood in Legacy Park: City of Decatur, Georgia, USA.
3 October 2023.



Saturday, October 28, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Wasted Potential @Porchfest

Wasted Potential trombone

The trombonist for Wasted Potential brass band performs during Oakhurst Porchfest, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 14 October 2023.


What is Porchfest?

In 2007, Lesley Greene and Gretchen Hildreth had an idea in Ithaca, New York: What if we had an afternoon when porches all over the neighborhood became stages and everyone just meandered from yard to yard, listening, hanging out, and connecting/reconnecting with their neighbors? Porchfest, the ultimate grassroots music festival, was born. 100% resident owned and operated, it’s been going and growing every year since. And in that time, other neighborhoods all around the country have taken the model and run with it.

The Oakhurst neighborhood in the city of Decatur, Georgia, launched its own Porchfest in October, 2015. The success that materialized that year — more than 130 performances in four hours — took us all by surprise and culminated in what Georgia's music tourism bureau called 'very likely the most diverse lineup of any festival' in the state. And, now, on Saturday, October 14, 2023. from noon to 7pm, we'll do it all again: 210 performances on porches and lawns, all around Oakhurst.
Oakhust Porchfest


Who are Wasted Potential?

Wasted Potential @Porchfest
Wasted Potential Brass Band is Atlanta's pop up party starter. Powered by tuba goodness, this brass band got their start playing on the streets of Decatur, Georgia. WPBB features a second line street beat, southern horn section, blues vocals and sousaphone as bass. Find them in Atlanta, Georgia, playing festivals and bars. They're what fun sounds like.



Saturday, October 21, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Into the Privet Woodland

Into the Privet woodland

The gentle gloom of a dense thicket, in a 120-acre suburban Piedmont forest, during an end-of-summer's light rain.

Mason Mill Park: DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 14 September 2023.



Saturday, October 14, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Tree at summit of Arabia Mountain

Tree at summit of Arabia Mountain

Amidst a yellow riot of autumnal, native Porter's sunflowers, a wizened tree stands alone on the craggy summit of Arabia Mountain.

DeKalb County (Stonecrest), Georgia, USA. 29 September 2023.



Saturday, October 07, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: The Final Out

The Final Out

Let me sit in the ball park
cap turned backwards and
praying for a rally. I need
the sun and sweat to remind
me how much I love the game,
how each year it comes down,
to the last inning, the final out.
 — Baseball
(Simon and Schuster, 2018)

Baseball's playoffs began this week; the World Series championship is to be played later in the month. It's autumn. The wait-for-tomorrows of spring and summer are no more. All that remains is the "final out."

No baseballs were harmed —or staged— during the shoot.



Saturday, September 30, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Arabia Mountain 'daisy'

Arabia Mountain 'daisy'
"We call them yellow daisies."
— Arabia Mountain park ranger

A native 'Porter's sunflower' wildflower —one among thousands blooming in early autumn on Arabia Mountain— in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 25 September 2023.
Every year in September, an explosion of yellow flowers covers granite outcrops such as Arabia and Panola Mountains. These are yellow daisies (Helianthus porteri). Related to sunflowers, they are one of the fall wonders within the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Found in only 4 states —Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina— the flowers are most common on the granite outcrops of the Georgia Piedmont region, thriving in fragile solution pits —often dry, sandy vernal pools— found on bare rock faces.
Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance.

Literally growing from the granite outcrops of Arabia Mountain, the blossoms are a riot of yellow, a marker of autumn's arrival in Georgia. But...are they true daisies?
Helianthus porteri is a species of sunflower (Helianthus) —commonly known as Porter's sunflower, Stone Mountain daisy, and Confederate daisy— native to the southeastern United States, particularly Georgia and Alabama.

Helianthus porteri grows on thin soils on and around flat rock granite and gneiss outcrops. It grows up to 40 inches tall (100 cm). One plant usually produces 5 or more small flower heads, each containing 7 or 8 yellow ray florets surrounding a central disk of 30 or more yellow florets. A summer annual that blooms in the fall, Helianthus porteri drops seeds that grow the following year.

The term 'daisy' is imprecise because the species is a sunflower rather than a daisy (Bellis and related genera). Likewise, although the plant grows on Stone Mountain, in Georgia, its range extends beyond. The connection to the Confederacy is through Stone Mountain which contains a confederate monument, although the connection is tenuous as the species was named before the Civil War, in 1849, in honor of Thomas Conrad Porter, a Pennsylvanian minister and botanist who collected the plant in Georgia.


Arabia Mountain 'daisies' (04)


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Squirrel at edge of forest
The autumnal equinox arrived on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at 02:50 A.M. EDT in the Northern Hemisphere. The autumnal equinox is an astronomical event that marks the start of autumn (or “fall”). In the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox occurs in September; in the Southern Hemisphere, it occurs in March.

During an equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. On the equinox, day and night are roughly equal in length. After the autumnal equinox, days become shorter than nights as the Sun continues to rise later and nightfall arrives earlier. This ends with the winter solstice, after which days start to grow longer once again. The word “equinox” comes from Latin aequus, meaning “equal,” and nox, ”night.”
The Old Farmer's Almanac

The photo was actually taken in late spring, 13 June 2023, shortly before the summer solstice, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. The star attraction was, of course, a squirrel: in this case an eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), native to eastern North America. Even then, she was foraging for nuts.



Saturday, September 16, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Wary weather watcher

Wary weather watcher

A storm approaches;
Warily, the dog watches.
Beach life.

St. Augustine Beach, Florida, USA. 9 September 2022.


Saturday, September 09, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Avondale reverie

Avondale reverie

Sitting on a bench on the shore of Avondale Lake, a gentlemen enjoyed a quiet summer's Sunday-morning reverie (quiet, other than the honking of Canada geese, off-camera).

City of Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA. 27 August 2023.



Saturday, September 02, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Heron in morning pond

Heron in morning pond

In early morning, a juvenile great blue heron (Ardea herodias) was fishing in in a large city-park pond. I tried not to disturb her.

Postal Pond in Decatur Legacy Park: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 1 August 2023 (8:12 am EDT).


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Against traffic

Against traffic

A bit of 'busy' street photography for this week's Pic(k) of the Week.

Pedestrians fill the streets, during the Decatur Arts Festival, in the City of Decatur, in Georgia, USA. 6 May 2023.

Was he going the wrong way?


Saturday, August 19, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Independent fermentation room

Independent fermentation room

Independent Distilling Company, in its new digs in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 10 June 2023.

The fermenting 'wash' is in the foreground; in the background are the copper pot still (center) and condenser (right).


Saturday, August 12, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos

Looking north at daybreak, along the Matanzas River, at the Castillo de San Marcos.

In downtown (!) St. Augustine, Florida, USA. 7 September 2022.
The Castillo de San Marcos (Spanish for "St. Mark's Castle") is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States; it is located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, built by the Spanish to protect the city. The Castillo is a masonry star fort made of a stone called coquina (Spanish for "small shells"), which consists of ancient shells that have bonded together to form a sedimentary rock similar to limestone. Construction began in 1672 and was completed in 1695, though the structure would undergo many alterations and renovations over the centuries. Native Americans from Spain's nearby missions did most of the labor, with additional skilled workers brought in from Havana, Cuba.

In 1924, the Castillo (then named Fort Marion) was declared a U.S. National Monument. In 1933, the National Park Service assumed responsibility. In 1942, the original name, Castillo de San Marcos, was restored.
National Park Service pamphlet.

St. Augustine is a city on the Atlantic coast of northeastern Florida. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in what is now the contiguous United States. The city served as the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years.


Saturday, August 05, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: St. Augustine Lighthouse, at morning

St. Augustine Lighthouse, at morning

Missed it by thaat much! Only two days earlier, the 'Buck' moon had been a full 'supermoon.'

Here, on 5 July 2023, the now waning gibbous moon sets, at sunrise, near the St. Augustine Lighthouse, in St. Augustine, Florida, USA.
The St. Augustine Light Station is a privately maintained aid to navigation and an active, working lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida. It stands at the north end of Anastasia Island and was built between 1871 and 1874. The current lighthouse tower, original first-order Fresnel lens and the Light Station grounds are owned by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, Inc., a not-for-profit maritime museum.

The St. Augustine Light Station consists of the 165-foot (50 m) 1874 tower, the 1876 Keepers' House, two summer kitchens added in 1886, a 1941 U.S. Coast Guard barracks, and a 1936 garage that was home to a jeep repair facility during World War II. The site is also a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

The tower, however is the second lighthouse tower in St. Augustine, the first being lit officially by the American territorial government in May 1824 as Florida's first lighthouse. However, both the Spanish and the British governments operated a major aid to navigation here including a series of wooden watch towers and beacons dating from 1565.


Saturday, July 29, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Paddleboard morningtide

Paddleboard morningtide

A woman paddleboards in the golden light of an early summer morning.

As seen on Salt Run, off Anastasia Island, in St. Augustine, Florida, USA. 5 July 2023.
In 1940, the St. Augustine Inlet was created by dredging a new inlet of Matanzas Bay. Then, during the 1940s, the severed land mass that was south of the new inlet channel merged with the intertidal shoals of the original natural inlet. This created what is now called Conch Island, which includes the ocean shoreline of the Anastasia State Park. The old inlet closed at its southern terminus leaving the lagoon, now called Salt Run.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection


Saturday, July 22, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Turtle, surfacing

Turtle, surfacing

A native red-eared slider turtle blows bubbles as she surfaces.

Seen at a wildlife sanctuary pond in St. Augustine Beach, Florida, USA. 3 July 2023.
The red-eared slider or red-eared terrapin (Trachemys scripta elegans) is a subspecies of the pond slider (Trachemys scripta), a semiaquatic turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. The red-eared slider is native from the Midwestern United States to northern Mexico, but has become established in other places because of pet releases, and has become invasive in many areas where it out-competes native species. The turtle gets its name from the small, red stripe around its ears, or where its ears would be, and from its ability to slide quickly off rocks and logs into the water.


Saturday, July 15, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Red Rover, Red Rover, send Red Clover right over!

Red Rover, Red Rover, send Red Clover right over!

Wild red clover. It's a gorgeous and valuable 'weed.' At least to the eyes of a particular observer.
Trifolium pratense — commonly known as red clover— is a herbaceous species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae. It is native to Europe, Western Asia, and northwest Africa, but has been naturalized in many other regions, such as North and South America.

Trifolium pratense grows 8 to 31 inches tall (20–80 cm). The flowers are dark pink with a paler base, 0.5 to 0.6 inches long (12–15 mm), produced in a dense inflorescence [cluster of flowers arranged on a stem], attractive to bumblebees.

Tolerant to drought, Trifolium pratense is widely grown as a fodder crop, valued for its nitrogen fixation, which increases soil fertility and promotes protein rich growth, and enables it to support a wide range of wildlife including deer, turkeys, and rabbits. Its flowers and leaves are edible.

This specimen, I encountered, on 28 April 2023, in the Trailhead Community Park of the East Decatur Greenway in Decatur, Georgia, USA. The plant isn't limited to parks, however. Fecund and often ruderal, red clover doesn't discriminate over location.


Saturday, July 08, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Wild garlic on the trail

Wild garlic on the trail

Pungent aroma and brilliant color, but...a weed?

Wild garlic, blooming, in Legacy Park, Decatur, Georgia, USA, on 27 May 2023.
Allium vineale —commonly known as wild garlic, onion grass, crow garlic, or stag's garlic— is a perennial, bulb-forming species of wild onion in the genus Allium and family Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis). It is native to Europe, northwestern Africa, and the Middle East. The species has been introduced in Australia and North America, where it has become a noxious weed.

All parts of the plant have a strong garlic odour. The underground bulb is 0.4 to 0.8 inches in diameter (1–2 cm). The main stem grows 1 to 4 feet tall (30–120 cm), comprising a number of small red bulbils [exterior bulbs] with a few pinkish-green flowers, 3⁄32 to 3⁄16 inches long (2.5 to 4.5 mm).


Saturday, July 01, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: May dragonfly

May dragonfly

A dragonfly, at rest, momentarily, in late morning.

Postal Pond: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 27 May 2023.


Saturday, June 24, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Mockingbird on stop sign

Mockingbird on stop sign

A northern mockingbird stopped on a stop sign. And, then, she sang...and sang...and sang!

Mockingbirds are highly intelligent (although not on the level of crows) and have an extensive vocal repertoire and mimicry ability (although not to the extent of brown thrashers). But don't be misled. They have a nasty temperament!

East Decatur Greenway: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 14 May 2023.


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Winking Hawk

Winking hawk

A juvenile red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) winked at me. Or, maybe, she was covering her left eye with a nictitating membrane.

Decatur Legacy Park: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 6 June 2023.


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Hazy sunrise over Arabia Mountain, Georgia

Hazy sunrise over Arabia Mountain, Georgia

Haze from the rampant Canadian wildfires has reached northern Georgia, where a 'Code Orange' air pollution alert has been issued (if nowhere as severe as in the US northeast and mid-Atlantic).

Sunrise over the summit of Arabia Mountain, in Stonecrest, Georgia, USA, at 6:40 am EDT, on 8 June 2023.


Saturday, June 03, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Hops? ... No!

Hops? ... No!

Convergent evolution?

The fruits of American hophornbeam trees closely resemble the seed cones of hop plants (which are used to flavor beer). But hophornbeams, despite a similarity in appearance (and name), are NOT hops...and, indeed, would not be particularly pleasant in a beer!

Seen in Sycamore Park, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 13 May 2023.
Ostrya virginiana —commonly known as the American hophornbeam, eastern hophornbeam, hardhack (in New England), ironwood, and leverwood— is a species of Ostrya (deciduous trees belonging to the birch family Betulaceae) native to eastern North America.

Ostrya virginiana is a small deciduous understory tree growing to 59 feet tall (18 m) with a trunk 8-20 inches in diameter (20–50 cm). The flowers are catkins (spikes) produced in early spring, at the same time as the new leaves appear. In early summer, pollinated female flowers develop into small hop-resembling fruits, 1⁄8–3⁄16 inches long (3–5 mm), changing from greenish-white to dull brown as the fruit matures.


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(k) 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 from southern Florida, through Mexico, into 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.