It Be Raining Salamanders Up In Here

I saw this fellow squidging ((This is the technical term used to describe the motion of salamanders. Really. Okay, so I might have made that up, but they totally squidge.)) across my patio the other night. This is the second salamander I have spotted out in the open in a month. Total number of salamanders I've spotted out in the open? Two. I'm sure this is a sign. Maybe it's a foreshadowing of the coming amphibian apocalypse? ((I for one welcome our new amphibious overlords.)) Or maybe I'm developing some sort of salamander spotting super power? In either case, it's too soon to tell. I'll be closely monitoring this cold blooded development with interest. As should we all, AS SHOULD WE ALL. ((You have been warned))

Drowning in a Sea of Hops and Malt

This Saturday we travelled down to Rogue Ale's hop farm in the middle of nowhere just outside of Independence, Oregon. The reason was to attend a little homebrewer event called Hop Madness. As far as I can tell, this has been happening for several years (although we only heard about it this year and it seems like it's still not a very well known event), but I think this was only the second time it was located at Rogue's farm.

Hop Madness is an annual celebration of the hop harvest. The event is open to homebrewers. The farm pulls a few hop vines from the field and folks are encouraged to grab some fresh hops either for brewing on site (they had an area set up for brewing) or to take home for later use. There was a homebrew contest, a bunch of raffle prizes, hop farm tours, hop games, and other merriment. Most folks camped out the night on the farm's front lawn, but we only spent the day.

We did end up brewing nice orange Belgian wit with about 7 ounces of wet Sterling hops (actually, Rogue's variety which they call Independent) over in the brew barn with a few other homebrewers. I'm very curious how it's going to turn out as this is the first

time we've used wet hops. I do know the was the wort was fantastic. We also came home with about 1.5 ounces of Rogue's variety of Cascades and 3 ounces of Sterlings. I've already dried, packaged and frozen these guys for later use.

And, if Hop Madness wasn't enough homebrewing goodness for one weekend, I also attended a more local homebrewing event in town Sunday evening, called Mashfest, as one of the guest brewers.

This event is orgainzed by the wonderful folks at my local brewing supply store, Bader Beer and Wine, as a way for folks to showcase their creations. I was the last one to get invited with just over a month to figure out what I was going to bring. Unfortunately (or fortunately), most of the concoctions we had bubbling would not be done in time for the event so I came up with a new recipe that could be finished in time.

What I ended up with was a Summer Ale with ginger, lemongrass and lime. I called it Shanghaied Summer Ale. The recipe can be found over at our homebrew site, Curiosity Brewing. There were a lot of fantastic brews offered up at the event. My favorites included a wonderful dopplebock, a lovely ginger saison, a delicious apricot/cranberry cider, and a tasty amarillo/citra double IPA. But, it turned out that Shanghaied was everyone's favorite and my recipe won both best overall and best for the experienced brewer category. Who knew, eh?

Phew... I think I need a long break from anything hoppy and malty. ;)

So, how was your weekend?

Sky Fish

Sky Fish Young salmon in an overhead tank. I know, that bit of information rather spoils the magic of the image, doesn't it? Sorry.

Looking at this, I realized it reminds me of the Dr. Who episode, A Christmas Carol. You know, the one with the sky shark. Quite a wonderful episode.

Ah, flying fish - I do so adore the concept. You?

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Technical Details Aperture Value: f/4.5 Focal Length: 70mm ISO: 400 Shutter Speed Value: 1/40 sec. Location: Seattle Aquarium, Seattle, Washington

Photo: Rainier

Rainier

I had nearly forgotten about this photo I took back in February. That's Mount Rainier in the background with Safeco Field in the middle and the port of Seattle in the foreground.

Andy and I went up to Seattle to meet up with some east coast friends at the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival. All in all it was an excellent event. I highly recommend attending for anyone in the area.

Technical Details Aperture Value: f/8 Focal Length: 300mm Exposure Program: Aperture Priority ISO: 200 Shutter Speed Value: 1/320 sec Location: Seattle, WA