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Beer:30… Stone Brewing’s Old Guardian.

Barleywines are big beers, and in my household they are commonplace. There is nothing like settling down after a nice dinner with friends and enjoying one of these big beers over conversation. I feel that is what they are made for. Let’s take a look at Stone’s offering, and see how it stands up to some of the other brands. Enter the Old Guardian…

After warming the beer up for a bit, just during the course of dinner, it pours like a good barleywine should; a nice ruby coloration and sticky, foamy head that dissipates on it’s own time frame. The beer has a pleasant, faintly sweet aroma, which is also there in the taste. But that is not all. The beer has a great, familiar Stone hop flavor, mixed with some malt sweetness, and candy sugar flavors. Not over the top sweet like some barleywines, and also not over the top hoppy, this beer is a delight. The beer finishes up with a nice warm alcohol feel, that reminds you that this beer is big, 11% ABV big. Drink a few of these and you will feel like you have been banging your head against a tree, maybe like this guy:

Want to feel like a Piliated Woodpecker? Drink a few Old Guardians and see how you feel in the AM.

Again, barleywines are one of my favorite styles, and this beer ranks up with the best. I would put it, flavor-wise, in between Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot and Great Divide’s Old Ruffian. Definitely in the top tier of barleywines. This is a great beer that should be enjoyed slowly, or that 11% ABV will remind you that you are not a woodpecker, with their special adaptations to keep them from getting headaches. Regardless, well done Stone, always a pleasure!



Bird is the Word… Kea!

Photo from Wikipedia commons.

Coming from the mountains of New Zealand, the Kea (Nestor notabilis) are one of the most interesting and most intelligent parrots in the world. Listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, these birds have historically been persecuted for their intelligence and curiosity, especially by New Zealand sheep farmers. One look at this video and you can see why:

Luckily for us, Kea are actually omnivores. And luckily for the Kea they are protected, and interactions with hunters has declined since the bird became protected in 1986. Estimates for their total numbers now range between 1,000 to 5,000 in their natural habitat.

One of the Cincinnati Zoo’s Kea, during the Kea Encounter.

When it comes to finding Kea here in the United States, the Cincinnati area has it made. Most zoos, if they have them, only have a few, and sometimes not even on display. However, the Cincinnati Zoo has one of the largest colonies of Kea outside of New Zealand, which are on display during the colder months of the year in their Lorikeet Landing. Just this past year, a Kea Encounter was added, so zoo guests can interact with the colony and see firsthand how intelligent and amazing these parrots really are.

Another great interaction with Kea is happening everyday, this month during Zoo Babies. Every day at 11 AM, you can meet one of these guys inside the Wings of the World building:

Be sure to check these amazing birds out for Zoo Babies, and also be sure to check them out once the weather turns colder in Lorikeet Landing for the Kea Encounter. Definitely one of the most amazing birds that I have ever worked with!

Just Riding Along… Enter WordPress.

After using Blogger for quite some time, I finally hit the point where I needed to move on.  With their new layout, I could not get into the flow of things, and since I have been contemplating using WordPress for a while, the time seemed to be right to make the switch.  Thankfully, it has been a bit easier than I thought it would be.

Thanks for the start Blogger, it’s not you it’s me.  Well, actually, it is you.  But anyway…

Thanks for reading this far, please bear with me as I learn this new system.

Just keep spinning…



Bird is the Word… King penguin update.

This big boy or girl has now been taking supervised field trips to the exhibit to hang out with the other Kings. Still a youngster, but growing up so fast. Click HERE to see how quickly he/she did grow. Amazing animals!

Bird is the Word…King Penguin.

Here is what I have been working with lately, it is amazing how quickly they grow…


Day one.

Getting bigger.

Bigger still.

That pretty much sums this little guy/gal up. I plan on getting a few new pictures next week. Even bigger still, this morning it weighed around 11.6kg. Amazing, amazing creatures.

Emperor penguin chick!

Congratulations to the bird crew at Sea World San Diego on the 21st hatching of an Emperor Penguin! This is the first emperor chick for them in around 8 years!

Sea World San Diego is one of only two institutions in the world to display these amazing animals, alongside 4 other species of penguin in their state of the art Penguin Encounter. Emperors (Aptenodytes forsteri) are the largest species of penguin on the planet, standing as tall as three and a half feet, and weighing as much as ninety pounds.

Normally, things like this would not get me all that excited. But this case for me is a little different. I used to work for Sea World, and am lucky enough to know how much these people in the Aviculture Department care for these birds. It is such a great thing to see good people succeed! Great job! Hopefully I can get back to San Diego before this little guy/girl gets much older! Sea World

Photos from Project Puffin…

Just realized that I have not added any photos from my time in Maine….

Matinicus Rock

Atlantic Puffin


Razorbill chick

One of many amazing sunsets

Such an amazing trip, hope to go back someday!