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June 28, 2009

free range organic grasshoppers and duck confit


Hopper is our house guest for three weeks.  his humans are in naxos (greece).  he came with a bag of store bought crickets.  after those were gone, the daughter harvested some austinmodhouse free range organic wild caught baby grasshoppers from the back yard.  he has eaten two today.  I think he is happy to add some variety to his diet.

burke chairs are done!

I am done with my burke chair restoration.  funny how we got these chairs, we had gone to the parlor to see KINGAIR.  there is a bunch of vintage MCM shops in that little strip shopping center.  we saw one beat up sad looking burke arm chair in the window of hogwild, priced at $20, as-is.  it was late and the store was closed.  the next day kat was still talking about that chair, asked me to go back and get it if I think I could restore it.  I put it off for about a week and finally did go buy the ONE chair.  the shop owner told me he had two more but would only sell them to me if I bought BOTH.  I declined.

kat urged me to go buy the other two as well.  I put it off once again.  eventually, we did return for them.  we shopped the store a while before we approached the manager.  another customer came in and stood in line behind us, waiting patiently.  soon as we made our deal with the manager the other customer moved to the door.  shop manager apologized and assured him" I'll help you you in a second".  the guy responded "I only wanted to buy those chairs they just bought".  HA!  we nearly missed the boat on that purchase.  anyhow, I couldn't fit the two chairs in the bmw so I left them there for two weeks.  hogwild was happy when I finally did get them out as they were getting tired of people trying to purchase them.  I am very happy to have them in our chair collection (yes, I think it is a collection once we have more seating than we really need and start to purhcase chairs compulsively).

ribbon garter snake of austin, texas 

this snake has set up a home around our tadpole pond.  he is so used to us that he doesn't move when we come near.  he is a non venomous ribbon garter snake.  kat wants to end his life.  my daughter is happy about him.


found the track on the floor near the kid's rooms this morning and just liked the look of it. 

sun burned garden

we are having a heat wave.  103 most days and 113 with heat index.  despite me soaking the garden bed boxes each morning, the cukes and the toms have some sunburn.  the basil is loving it.

I dropped my daughter off at a birthday party.  I came back for the p/u and found her like this....

you can see they are not afraid of color.  their house is painted shades of green, mostly chartreuse.  yellow and orange stripes are also part of the motif.  I applaude their courage to stand defiant against the cookie cutter mcmansionism that is becoming common in rollingwood.

PEI mussels

made our second visit to our new favorite restaurant, fabi & rosi.

white wine sauce

the mussels from Prince Edward Island were perfect.  the white wine sauce is not wasted with us. 

duck confit

the duck confit is worth making a special trip for.  at only $16, we will keep coming back.

it reminded us of our favorite neighborhood restaurant back in baltimore; henninger's tavern (disclaimer, if you open that link for henninger's I have NO idea what is up w/ the pink elephants and flying saucers, but I'm all for it).  it was a regular event for us to eat their mussels, caesar salad and a bottle of cline zinfandel for dinner.  glad to see they have not changed the menu much.

self portrait

bathroom mirror self portraiture



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June 22, 2009


we have been frequenting this park just south of downtown.  still working on bike riding.  they have a water feature that was great fun as well.

el chile sangria margarita

sangria margarita at el chile

we ventured to the east side.  a coffee bar; clementine, was hosting a zaireeka listening party.  zaireeka was a concept album issued by the flaming lips in 1997.  four cd that had to be played simultaneously, requiring four separate stereo and four people to press play at the same time.  each disc has different sounds that when played together make that beautiful flaming lips music.


dj played for a while.

my coffee looks a lot like beer.

daughter was enlisted to be one of the four people to press PLAY.

unfortunately, they were plagued by technical difficulties.  we stayed for most of zaireeka, but somehow the first two songs were botched and we allowed some guy to share our table and after he sat down with us he proceeded to roll his own and smoke tobacco.  most other people who smoked had the compassion to leave the crowded area and smoke away from my wife and daughter.


the kids were excited to find this dragonfly that had just emerged from it's exuvia (seen just behind it).  did you know that a dragonfly lives for over a year?  much of that is spent under water, as a nymph.  we have many of those in the tadpole pond.  I've also noticed this pretty ribbon garter snake that is living around that pond.  likely feasting on baby frogs.

doppleganger? twins?

we were driving down s. 1st in 78704 (soco) area and noticed this guy.  kat said "don't you have a shirt just like that?  turns out I did and I was wearing it!  I parked the car and started to walk near this guy.  then I noticed we were wearing the same shorts as well!  we shop at old navy.

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June 15, 2009

plugging the floor in the MobileModHouse

removed the ugly nasty peel and stick linoleum tiles.  found a vent hole that had just been tiled over.

made a plug and braced it from behind with strips of 3/4 inch plywood.  used wood filler around the edges and the hole was gone.

new white VCT flooring done!

burke project

mostly done with the sanding on the burke chair bases.  I have the por 15 white coat so I start working on the shells next.

austin pizza BYOB

good times at austin pizza, about two blocks from our home.  it's BYOB and they have a lage playscape for the kids complete with fence.

more hail on the way

more EXTREME weather rolled through.

hail and lightening.

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lost maples

tx Farm to Market 16

we let the GPS chose the route.  we used "shortest distance".  this took us down TX FM 16 most of the way.  this may have been shorter but it added an hour to our time.  the roads were STEEP and TWISTY.  kat said it was worse that CA HWY 17; her old commute between santa cruz and silicon valley.

watermelon shaking action

watermelon shaker helped us to settle into the campsite after we arrived hours later than we planned.

she just wanted to read her book inside.  the airstream really is a nice home on wheels.


we hit the trails the next morning

some wildflowers along the trail.

lost maples pond panoramic

click to see larger

crystal clear water

that water is so clear you can count your toes.

lost maples waterfall

we didn't hike all the way in due to the extra weight (toddler son #2).  we settled on these smaller water falls and turned back.  a few miles was plenty for this trip.

a nice stop at swimmin hole #2

third swimmin' hole

swimmin' hole #3 for the day.

watermelon squishing boy

trying to make his own watermelon shaker

cheese and craker boy

he loves that strong and gooey blue cheese

the green sausage is chicken, spinach and feta.

the bomb

THE BOMB white pepper helped to season the basmati rice.

chicken kat

connect four

look how smug he is about dropping in that piece to seal his victory at connect four.


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June 08, 2009

riding, roping and ribbing

nothing beats home grown tomatoes.  they are now ripening faster than we can eat them, as are the basil.  also harvested some home grown onions.


daughter didn't care for the seared tuna.  so we used the opportunity to see if sauce would improve it.  she did NOT like it with wasabi, the sriracha was an improvement but both she and kat agreed that the Maille whole grain mustard was the winner.


I smoke ribs once a year.  it is an all day process so I do lots and share.

smoked baby back ribs

the day before ribfest, I remove the membrane from the back and apply a dry rub (2 to 1 brown sugar/kosher salt and lots of galric powder,chili and spices). the next morning I apply three hours of oak, pecan and hickory smoke.

then I wrap each rack and braise with a half chicken stock, half savignon blanc solution.

braise for three hours in the oven.

I drain the liquid from each package and reduce it down till it is almost syrup.  then I brush that back on the top of the ribs and give them some time under the broiler till the top is bubbling and carmelized.

lots of kids in the pool.

we have put up shade cloth curtains on the south and west facing screen room walls.  this has made a dramatic difference in temperatures.  last summer it was way too hot to enjoy a meal out there between 4pm and 11pm.  the sun would heat up the floor, it was unbearable.

I have the bases for the burke chairs all stripped and have started the sanding.

I also stained and coated some stumps with a glossy UV resistant marine grade clear coat.

one goal for this summer is to get the kids riding bikes.  I promised them each a new bike if they learn.  shortly after the pic above was taken, she lost control and completely forgot about brakes.  rode into a rope like the one seen behind her.  it caught her in the throat, knocked her off; clothes-lined!

we were all so proud that she seemed to have no hesitation about getting right back on that bike the next day.  we worked on braking. 

new bikes.


kids and I took a gallon of old fry oil to dieselgreen and then filled the tank with biodiesel at ecowise.

west lake hills sunset


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June 01, 2009

single grit sand paper

school is out for summer.  the kids would be happy to just sit around and play video games or watch tv.  that is not gonna happen.  I have some big projects lined up so I have told #1 son he is going to be my helper.  even if that help is just stand there and hand things.   

we were working on airstream polish and I was on the ladder.  I asked him to hand me the nuvite aluminum polishing compound.  "NO, don't lift it by the lid, get the bottom! grab the bottom!" 

I was too late.  the lid was not screwed down and the bottom fell to the ground.  that stuff is not cheap.  I tried to salvage what I could.  resumed my polishing and then I noticed the squiggly line I had applied to about one sq ft of aluminum.  yep, picked up a rock.  this is what 1 grit sand paper looks like on aluminum.  I got out some wet dry 2000 grit and worked my way through the compounds... still there.  some day I'll try starting at 500 grit.  but for now... we have squiggly lines.  it is a small patch between the door hinge and window.  at least it won't be seen when the door is open.

burke chair restoration x3

my burke chair restoration project has trippled.

we are getting the outdoor items ready for summer fun.  kat applying some 2000 grit wet/dry sanding action to the stainless steel cocktail cart we got from a hospital salvage operation.

I sanded the deck lounge chairs.  the wood was looking rather sad. 

above: sanded chair on left, unsanded on right

then we applied a stain.  I spent this morning applying a UV resistant marine grade clear coat.

#1 son and I put up the shade sails.

then we started our summer fun!  the pool is open!

 watermelon shaker - the amh summer cocktail

the signature AustinModHouse cocktail; the watermelon shaker, is still good!

kids were on their best behavior...  lost in the nintendo world.

daughter caught a frog that has not yet moved out of the tadpole pond.

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