Some things take that personal touch to fully enjoy...
I have been home brewing my own beer about as long as I have been an avid birder. Each time I successfully bottle the finished product I feel an immense sense of accomplishment. You may say and ask, "I'm sure anyone can probably brew their own beer Birdstud. What makes home brewing so special for you?" My answer is, "It just is." For some reason the two diverse activities delight me in their own unique ways; variety, unpredictability, and the requirement of a modicum of expertise and yet a pinch of (on the fly) invention. These ingredients make up the top four reasons I gravitate towards any activity.
Bird watching for instance provides a person with all of these by the virtue of - Chance guided by Intuition and Experience. Beer making is exactly like that too. Take a simple recipe and all of the necessary ingredients, carefully combine them and wait for the results. Do that a couple of times and soon you are tinkering and experimenting for just the right end product. Similarly, bird watching allows the novice to have an equal opportunity for success as the veteran might. How many birders have been in the presence of a new-bee bird watcher who scores something really cool when the old-timers totally missed the encounter? Probably all of them at one time or another. The more often you participate in something people, the better you get and the more experience you take to the task next time. Birding is (for me) all about the randomness of the sightings based upon getting myself into a position of potential success. Brewing beer is the same thing. Each require a certain mimimum of "equipment" too...enter the ingenuity of invention.
As anyone knows who ever began a new hobby, there are plenty of businesses out there more than willing to provide you with the tools and doo-dads that are "must-haves" related to that activity. This can be a bit problematic in terms of financing (and some times in the spousal-appeasing explanations of family funding spent aquiring said doo-dads) Here exists a perfect opportunity to "create" more thrifty solutions. Make your own "digi-scope" from a cheap digital camera, a segment of cardboard toilet tissue roll, and an inexpensive spotting scope...(thank you Laura Erickson) or making your own wort chiller from a roll of copper tubing bought at Lowes saving over fifty dollars from the "store-bought" model. This appeals to modern man (or some women) at the basic "I can do that" level and equally demonstrates just how clever you may be to your peers. Totally a "win-win" setting. After all, who doesn't like talking about a found (or created) bargain?
HERE'S more detail on my latest brewing experience if you care to check it out. I wish to thank my new friends at Northern Brewer for their concise basic instructions and to point out the images attached to the document are mine, added to enhance and assist the novice brewing enthusiast.
So folks, this upcoming holiday season, appeal to your crafty, thrifty, adventurous, hobbyist nature and try something unexpected, a true challenge, and good for the soul: Brew beer or start birding. These hobbies (and others like them) will last a lifetime and provide amazing fodder for story upon story told both on the feather trail, or around the campfire holding a cold frosty bottle of pure pride.