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May 28, 2009

square up the sink and suck up the sun

in the pic below you can see how the old sink compares to the new.  the base of the old didn't even fit on the counter top and the lip was too high, just generally didn't fit.  budget is a constant concern here at AMH and I am surprised that we were able to purchse two sinks, two faucets and two drains all for $325 (including shipping).  I did all the labor so I think I deserve a nice beverage this weekend.

also swapped out the towel hooks

austin energy has changed the way our bill reads.  we now get a clear understanding of how much electricity we are generating from our solar array.  last month we GENERATED MORE ELECTRICITY THAN WE CONSUMED!!!  some of you may be thinking that we might get a check or a credit from the electric company, but not so.  here is how that deal works, since the local utility company paid for a large majority of that solary array, we pipe the electricity it generates directly to the grid and it has it's own meter separate from the house.  we sell electricity at a wholesale rate.  the house has it's own meter and we buy electricity from the utility company at a retail rate (actually slightly higher than retail as we have a contract to buy our electricity from wind farms in west texas). 

the end result is that we still had a small electric bill; $36.  but it felt great knowing that our PV panels are working great and we are part of a solution.  now if we just had a nice electric car for running errands...


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May 26, 2009

meanwhile, back at the ranch...

we spent the holiday weekend at a friend's ranch.  it was somewhat of a reunion of the olden days.  except now we have wives, mortgages, kids etc. 

 

larger image here

a good summarization would be, lots of good food, good wine/beer (maybe a touch of the sotol), fishing, swimming and lots of trail riding.

he just loved this little rocking chair that was just his size.

we all sat down together for a huge feast every evening.  I love those marinated crab claws from fairfield grocery.

nintendo boys

I eventually had to put a limit on the nintendo time.  with more than 500 acres to explore they can save the electronic games for the ride home. 

she was glad to catch it, but somehow she was still thirsty for a bigger fish.

six miles of trails. 

bell mountain winery

John and I visited the winery we could see from the back porch, bell mountian

we asked to purchase a bottle of pinot noir.  they had run out so the gentleman who was giving us tastings had to run back to the warehouse.  the thirst returned during his absence and we had to take matters in our own hands.  don't mind if I do.

flying kids

John was clearly impressed with Cammie's ability to move those hoops around.

uh... somebody needs a helmet.

enchanted rock up to the left, getting half sun.

highest point in the county.

feeding the longhorns some fingers

she wore her fanciest ATV dress for the occasion

texas longhorn feeding

turtle rescue

she took this turtle back to one of the ponds.  it was in the middle of the trail.

she really has her casting technique mastered.

she was rewarded with TWO bass.

the weather was just pefect.  not too hot for the day and just cool enough at night for some beverages etc on the back porch.

 

 


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the deer gave us a green tomato

ate some ethiopian food.  #1 son insisted on forking it.

our server warned us this dish was likely too spicy for children as it had fresh jalapeno in it.  clearly, he was wrong.  he even sucked the juices off the plate.

the deer have found our garden.  first, it was a few leaves from the bean plants.  but now... they have even started to trample what they don't eat.  we lost a large bell pepper and found this green tomato was on the ground where they sampled the vine.

I made bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato sandwiches that night.

kat made a deer barrier to protect our good eats.

the steps up to the dining/kitchen area from the entry/living room were very shallow.  the inspector had told me I need to add a miniumum of one inch lip.  after much head scratching and several different methods considered, we chose cedar 2x6.  I tapered the bottom and beveled the edges.  this extends the tread by almost two inches.  we like the way the wood looks and once we carpet the top of each step, it should also help with our noise travelling issue.

LED puck lights were also installed.  we often worry about somebody falling late at night.  this made a nice difference.

koi

our koi are growing nicely. 


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May 17, 2009

Asian night at AMH- sushi teamwork

teammate holly worked with the veg (avacado and cucumber) while I worked the fish (unagi and tuna)

the side dishes included pickled daikon and bamboo shoots.

holly has pledged to show me how to make sushi rice "the right way".  this is where I will benefit from the teamwork.

spicy tuna action

spicy tuna roll

myself in sake box

I have my own sake box (image of me in the bottom).  we had a bit to celebrate the plating of the sushi.

after the sushi was plated I worked on the hot items.

asparagus with oyster sauce (left) and swiss chard with lap cheung (right), vegetable gyoza are not shown but were enjoyed as well.

water catcher

water catchment device

sake box sucker

monkey see, monkey do

amh sushi team

さようなら - sayonara

再见 Zai Jian (Zay je-an)

Adiós and goodbye!

thanks to kat for taking most of the pics while my hands were coated in sticky rice and eel/oyster sauce


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May 12, 2009

santa cruz visitor finds antidote for swine flu, king air and an elfin girl

home project!

new sink / old sink

the round vessel sink on the right was a last minute purchase.  we needed a sink asap.  it was purchased at lowe's and was not the first choice and we were sort of stuck with it for a while.  you can see the front if it doesn't even fit on the counter (the front bottom lip hangs off).  we have finally purchased new sinks that fit better.

I just learned that our home had an article written in Innovative Home Magazine.  I've not seen it myself.

our 6kw PV panel array is working.  last month we produced more electricity than we consumed!  because the local utility company paid for 75% of the PV array and installation, we sell it's electricity to them.  we sell at wholesale rate, buy back at a retail rate.  so, even though we made more than we bought, we still had to pay at the end of the exchange.  it was nice to know we are helping offset any carbon footprint and our bill was meager at $36.

matt from santa cruz

our friend Matt came to visit.  he lived across the creek from my mom in the santa cruz mountains.  good margaritas at guero's

 

happy hour at fino.  they have an antidote for swine flu there. 

swine flu antidote

yes, that was the first cocktail I've enjoyed that had bacon as an ingredient.

getting cured

it fixed me up good.

king air

King Air played at a local pizza parlor that is also part time rock emporium.  pizza was good, the beer flowed freely and the band rocked nicely.

kingairmusic.com

larger size image here

hula hut cazatini

took matt to the hula hut. 

I got the girls tickets to see Cindarella by Ballet Austin for mother's day.  it worked out great!  while the girls found culture at the Long center, we quenched our thirsts at some of the area options.

mulberry austin beer wine food

went to mulberry for a quick brunch before ballet. I have cut my meat consumption down to very little, but if I have to eat pork sausage, it was good with blueberry pancakes at mulberry.  this is one of my new favorite places to snack and take in liquids.  they are downtown but located in a dead end near a small park.  so as we sit outside doing our thing, we can send the kids to play with rocks and such and still keep an eye on them. 

paul and the elfin girl at la condesa

found an elfin girl at La Condesa.  their classico margarita got high marks from us.

then back to amh for salmon, wine and a belgian beer tastings in the screen room.  it was the best mother's day I ever had.  looking forward to next year!


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May 04, 2009

mudbug weekend

another great encaustic show at bay6

the treachery of others

musical entertainment by The Treachery of Others

mudbugs

we found that our local grocery store had a weekend special on crawfish, $1.29 per lb if you buy a 35 lb bag. 

they were a lively bunch too.

sarah is from lafayette louisiana.  she was a huge help in hosting this last minute crawfish feast.

the service at this joint is fantastic!

she color coordinated with rody horse.

the spring time ritual of jacked up watermelon juice

after the crawfish were all eaten (and we did eat the entire 35 lb) we cleaned up and went to bistro 88 for dinner.

we set an example for his table manners.  he loved the broth.

chilled cucumber noodle soup.

he also enjoyed the noodles

squab

kat was a little disappointed with the petiteness of her crispy quail.

red yucca flower

our red yucca is blooming.


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