I have a lot of hobbies and, like most hobbyists, a lot friends that I share them with. The problem is, I've got too much going on to keep them all updated on my latest experimental brew, an old-time tune I just learned on the banjo, or the bountiful harvest of wild fruit that happens to be setting. Plus, I'm at that exciting stage in my life in which a lot my friends have just graduated and we are now dipsersing across the country (and world) making it even more challenging, and important, to keep in contact. As a result, I have started this blog so my friends and family can keep up with my projects, but also so anybody intrested in Beer, Banjos, Boats and Biology can find some ideas, inspiration or information from what I post.
Before I go any further, I should make it clear that this blog is not just about Beer, Banjos, Boats and Biology. These just happen to be some of my favorite hobbies but I'm always doing something different or trying new things so you can expcect a lot more. In fact, I'll post whatever random, topic comes to my mind but, you can bet that it will probably have some thing to do with nature (especially fish, herps, wild edibles or outdoor recreating), brews or music.
Now that I have got that out of the way, I'll tell you a bit about myself. I am a graduate of The Florida State University and proud of it. I studied biology, with an emphasis on ecology and evolution, and also took considerable marine biology coursework. The marine world around us is fascinating but I'm currently looking into freshwater ecology. So far, I have seen some amazing places and organisms while studying and working on ecology. I hope my work continues to take me to new places and if it does, I'll describe them here.
Working in biology does not pay well monetarily speaking, but the places you go and things you will see are payment enough. This elk rack was found while working in Wyoming. As state employees we couldn't keep the rack so it's still out there waiting for somebody to find it.
I am fascinated by beer. I'm not referring to just the euphoric feeling one gets while consuming it but also the knowledge, dedication, guts, and biological processes that are involved in crafting a unique beer. I love to try different beers from microbreweries but my favorite beer is the beer I make with my own two hands using traditional techniques and my own crazy ideas. I'll be posting about what I brew, and maybe even posting some basic recipies but... I'll be honest, you will not find my oatmeal stout or elder ale recipe on this page. I work hard to come up with my recipes, and I'm glad to provide guidance but, it is up to you to come up with your own unique creations. You will enjoy them much more if they are entirely your creations.
Sharing a glass of handcrafted homebrew is one of the many joys associated with homebrewing. Here, my roomate and I conduct some quality control tests on our winter ale.
I also love building things. If something can be built rather than bought, I'll try to build it. It doesn't always turn out well but that's how I learn. Two years ago I completed a fuselage style, skin-on-frame kayak (inspired by http://yostwerks.com/). I ended up giving it to my brother but I want to build another boat. I think this time I'll try a traditional Greenland kayak. When I get started, I'll post progress reports here. Other things I have built incude a grape press, a cigar box guitar, wine racks, etc. (see how all my hobbies are related)
A 15.5 foot skin on frame kayak I constructed from scratch, seen at Rock Island, a resting point on the Florida Big Bend Saltwater paddling trail.
Finally the banjo. For the past year and a half I have been trying to learn the banjo. I never played anything else before the banjo so I thought it would be a good challenge. I mostly play old-time tunes with a style known as clawhammer (or frailing...I'm not arguing banjo semantics with any fanatics out there). It is a much older style than the popular three finger or Scruggs style with a very different rythmic drive. I enjoy all banjo music though so I might try to pick up some Scruggs rolls.
Frailing some banjo in the back of my friends pick-up truck on the way to a canoe trip. The green thing above my head is a canoe.
One last thing. I am writing this for the benefit of others but I still hope to have fun. So, sometimes I'll post thoughts or ideas. I'll try to be knowledgable but I'm not going to go out and do weeks of research for a single post. I get enough of that as a hopeful scientist. So, I'm not going to post things that I know are false, but if I do post something, before you bet your life on it, do a little of your own research.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas contact me at imakemybeer(at)gmail(dot)com.