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December 28, 2009

a white christmas... in texas? rare.

some last minute work on wimberley before we left for christmas.  we now have 7 elliptical pavers poured along the path to the cabins.

one 60lb bag of concrete equals one paver.

he fell in love with this plastic chair we found at the asian food store.  he relocates it often, here he is in the kitchen.  he also thinks I should hold this chair so he can sit in the chair instead of me holding him (without chair).  he first insists I pick up his chair, then lifts his arms for me to pick him up.  then he gets upset when I put the chair down to pick him up.  complicated mind of the terrible two'er.

we visited the wimberley trail of lights this holiday season

wimberley trail of lights

at the end of the trail, near the stage for the emilyann theatre, they had a bonfire with free hot dogs, hot coacoa, marshmallows and apples.  all the equipment was also provided.

christmas traditions:

three generations of schuster guys working on the traditional shrimp salad.  grandma schuster would save all year long to afford a can of shrimp to make this dish each christmas.  seafood in nebraska of 50 years ago was a real luxury.  we continue to make this salad each christmas.

and grandma schuster always made date pinwheel cookies for christmas.  and they are still delicious.

it snowed in the DFW area on christmas eve.  we stayed in dad's rock star bus.

santa did deliver the nikon camera.

"clothes?",  he said in a moment of pure disappointment, and he promptly closed the box and set it aside, searching for the pokemon related presents.

kat was excited to find she now has a hawaiian ice shaving machine, just like she remembers from her childhood in taiwan.

my father's christmas tradition; cajun fried turkey

cajun turkey flavor injection

turkeys are injected with a spicy brine.

cajun fried turkeys

then submereged in HOT peanut oil.  they come out juicy and not one bit oily/greasy.  dad did two turkeys this year.  the result was an extra bird.  we took half a turkey home with us, kat enjoyed a wing on the drive home.  cajun fried turkey is the real highlight of the christmas feast at dad's.

abundance of food and christmas cheer.


December 21, 2009

almost there....

what started out as two seperate small cabins is now like one structure.

about time for a full day of debris capture and removal.

 this ipod stereo with it's rechargeable battery has served us well for a few years now.  has been a great companion for off grid construction music.  most often played for building seems to be The Fall and Elliot Smith.

mr pharmacist, ...

holiday runza party

this is a good idea for a headache.

went for  hike down along the green belt:

we started from my mom's house in lost creek. 

barton creek

barton creek has benefited from all the rain we've had in the past two months.

typical winter in central texas.  a few rainy days, a few cold days and about half the days are sunny and nice.

the boxer was quite hesitant to cross that waterfall.  he slipped a few times but managed to make it over.

we had a gift exchange last night.  before my mom took off to nebraska for the holiday. 

christmas cactus

kat is very proud of her christmas cactus bloom. 

December 18, 2009

fast food with phoenix

my dad comes through town quite regularly.  he has always done a LOT of business travel.  at one point he must have grown tired of hotel stays and he bought himself a new commuter bus/home away from home (below).


he has his favorite camp site in the area and drags a car along to unhitch upon arrival.  this was one of his business trips and he accompanied another work vehicle...

turbo chef truck

the turbo chef mobile culinary institute

dad served us up some fillet mignon on blue cheese crostini, pumpkin dump cake, pizza...

a charlie trotter recipe, poached cod with roasted heirloom tomato.  the magic of this high tech oven is that it takes meals that might normally take hr+ and cooks them in minutes.  the oven has it's own USB port where you can download and install OS updates and new cookbooks.  so when you select a recipe that is part of their database, the oven sets itself.  sort of like being in the future.  we'll be playing with his turbo chef oven over the christmas holiday

later that evening, kat and I met some friends at Ranch 616 for eats and drinks.  kat enjoyed their gilled frog's legs.  then we all made it over to la zona rosa to see Phoenix.  the show had sold out long ago and scalpers were getting premium prices for tickets ($100 per).  we are tankful for friends who had secured ours the morning they went on sale.  thanks!

I know we hear it all the time, bands exclaiming how austin is their favorite place to play and has the best audiences etc.  "you have NO IDEA how HAPPY we are to be HERE tonight!!  this is our favorite place to play".  sure, maybe some bands had said the same thing to the audience in el paso or midland/odessa the night before.  it was easy to see the sincerity of Phoenix.  they all sported the sort of smiles that make cheeks hurt the next day.  they chose to end their tour here and even posted their feelings about austin on their BLOG.  there was a great deal of mutual admiration going on last night and Phoenix did not disappoint. 

one highlight of the show had phoenix frontman, Thomas Mars, evacuting the stage as he made his way THROUGH the audience.  like a modern french moses parting the waters of the red sea.  he came right towards kat and I as he went all the way to the back of the room.  He trailed a long red mic cable and sang from back there while the band continued to play on stage.  our friend matt can be seen holding up the mic cord in the pic above.  a happy kat next to Thomas Mars (photo below courtesy of matt kuhn, possibly taken by leyla ramos)

additional pics by our friend chad wadsworth can be found on the austinist


December 14, 2009

I now pronounce you.... cabin and cabin.

and with one single piece of lumber....

the two cabins have been married.  two small cabins will each contribute to a single union.

for the most part, I spent the week doing nothing, due to feeling run down and a stretch of cold, wet weather.  only spent a few hrs in wimberley this week.


marvin came along to witness the ceremony (bottom right).  I got some more siding up on the blue cabin section and also replaced a cedar column for the porch area.

made a concrete curb along the path through the woods.  this will now be a step down and hopefully divert some of the rain water.  we found that under heavy rain a great deal of the run off was coming straight down through our cabin area.  the result is a great deal of mud. 

nutcracker '09

the girls attending the nutcracker at the long center has become a bit of a holiday tradition.

tradition dictates a big cookie during intermission.

austin skyline december 2009

the evolving austin skyline.  up, and up we go.

December 07, 2009

25 degrees out and off-grid winter event

we decided it was time to actually celebrate the dry in portion of our wimberley project.  I had worked all day wednesday, thursday (in the snow) and friday.  often in cold and breezy conditions.

saturday was a day for fun (not work) in wimberley.  our first stop was market day

wimberley market days kettle corn

kettle corn being made.

kettle corn being consumed. 

no market day would be complete without a stop at the marble store.

kat is assembling the black friday-home depot purchased heat source.


most of the hardie siding is up on blue cabin.  blue cabin was made larger and will have two rooms.

roaring fire in the truck brake drum/fire pit.

wimberley high school marching band

the square in downtown wimberley was hosting a winter celebration.  some great food, wine, santa claus and the wimberley high school marching band too!

wimberley santa

she asked for a "nikon camera"

he rattled off about four items related to pokemon/nintendo and bakugon.

I found a 41k BTU patio heater for $99 on black friday.  this was able to offset the 25 degree farenheiht temps.

campfire kids

kids love to play in the fire.

the baby was all warm in my lap... he kept me warm too.  kat, the three kids and I stayed the night in the small (very well insulated) cabin and did stay warm despite the 25 degree temp outside.

friday had been the daughter's turn to be the school tv station anchor.  they earned a wacky friday so the morning news included costumes and crazy dances.

eanes knbc

friday evening had us at an art event for our friend caroline wright

the event was hosted by toquigny.  definitely some of the nicest office space I've seen.  and the drink provided by dripping springs vodka did not disappoint.  dripping springs is about halfway between austin and wimberley.  I have been driving through DS several times a week lately.

the drip and the line

the art between kat and caroline will be making it's new home here at AMH.

from the 17th floor

the frost bank building was the tallest building in austin when we moved here.  not so any more.  a new building; the austonian, is near completion and claims to be the tallest residential building in texas