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September 26, 2011

truck left us stranded but we had a comfy safety net

 broke down in the road, dripping springs tx

saturday afternoon had running down to wimberley, it was hot outside and we were anxious to take a dip in the blanco river.  we had just gained acces to our private river park a few hours earlier.  then, mechanical failure.  the powerstroke diesel failed and we were dead in the water, in this case water is a metaphor for the busy highway intersection (290w/12).  we called tripple A, we know the routine.  they said 45 mins till we would be rescued.  thirty minutes later....

mr police finally arrives on the scene and he's not very impressed how we are in the middle of the busiest intersection dripping springs has to offer.  I assure him that tripple A will be on the scene any moment, he laughs.  "tripple A?!  you'll be lucky if they get here in three HOURS!"  he offered to help me push the truck to the shoulder, which is slightly UP hill, my turn to laugh.  "this thing is 8 thousand pounds!  you look like you've been working out, I'm willing to try it if you will...."  he paused to think and concluded it wouldn't be safe unless we had another patrol car to stop traffic.  I was happy we were not going to be crushed by the truck rolling backwards over us as we tried to push it up hill.

 he set his timer, said if my tripple A truck was not on the scene in 20 mins, he was calling the local tow guy, he wanted his intersection cleared so he could go home.  we ended up calling the local tow guy, tripple A finally admitted their truck was on the way to san antonio... and we were next; really. 

truck on truck action 

omg that thing is a beast!  so there we were, in dripping springs late saturday afternoon and all the rental car places are closed.  I called a friend for a favor.  he dropped everything and drove to dripping springs to take us home.  the rescue hospitality didn't end there, our dinner plans were now trashed as well so he invited us over and fed us...  it was the best rescue ever!  except for kat, she went home due to some work emergency, her weekend was completely flushed away. 

while I was treated to a home cooked meal and a bit of red wine, evening conversation turned to the failed blanco river soak.  "we would like to go see your blanco river park tomorrow if you still want to go", they offered.  I was now w/o transporation (530i bmw went in the shop on friday!)  this sounded like a great idea to me.  sunday came and they drove the kids and I all the way down to wimberley!  we had a small picnic there on the blanco.  after we looked at our ... barn...

wimberley barn

yep, barn!  kat's new (to us) victorian barn.  trust me, it'll all come together.  it needs a front door and I'll put a small porch and window on that big sore spot on the front.  it's very well built. 

however, I'm not sure the house can be fixed....  but we got it due to it's close proximity to the blanco river park!  if/when we get the truck back, I can probably just tie a chain to the front and pull the whole thing down.

our acreage in wimberley that is near the town center is on the market for $88k, includes the "storage buildings" with solar power.  click link above for info.

our private blanco river park:

wimberley blanco river

there was good water flow even in this extreme drought.

blanco river boy

cypress trees blanco river wimberley

I could see some deeper water a bit down stream, but I forgot my water shoes.  so I sat on a shaded rock and had some bock, shiner that is, cold, cold beer.  the park has a big grassy lawn area and the river is lined with beautiful cypress trees.

blanco river panoramic

click here for larger panoramic version of the river scene

1964 Airstream Overlander kitchen renovation:

1964 airstream overlander kitchen guts

it took a whole lot of wrestling, some sweat and even a bit of blood, but I got that furnace out!  it's not a good idea to use an old rusty gas furnace if you want to keep on living.  we gained valuable cabinet space in the process.  I also removed the oven and four burner cooktop, easily doubling our storage.  the sink goes back in after I finish the new countertops.  .

1964 overlander airstream kitchen with smev

we chose a smev cooktop once again.  not only is it much safer and efficient, it sits flush with the countertop so we gain work area when not using the burners (two of them)

September 19, 2011

tater tots with truffle oil get the thumbs up

we went down to wimberley this weekend and cleaned up scraps from around the cabins.  I also put down some base board and trim to give it a bit of a finished look. 

wimberley rain sept 2011

we had a much needed rain.  notice the water streaming off the roof outside the bathroom (outhouse)

big oak tree

this big oak was one of the reasons we located the cabins at the back of the property.  it survived the drought of 2011 and had a much deserved drink.

off-grid screen room view

view of that big oak from inside the screen room that separates the two cabins. 

etnry way wimberley off grid

the entry canopy received a little bench made from scraps we were cleaning up.  making the most of the waste also equals less work carrying it out through the woods.

koitastrophy II:

koi pond austin texas

we are now down to two of the original koi.  it was a real tragedy and I'm tired of burying fish, hummingbirds, rats and opposum (yes I buried all that in a weeks time).  for the past two years we have been topping off the koi pond water almost daily.  this last refill was too much tap water and we forgot to add water conditioner.... I came home to find ten floaters.

we took the opportunity to completely drain the pool and I did find a leak!  we bought some tiny baby koi to start over.  we were not amused to see that twelve inch koi are $110 and up at the store.  so I buried more than two thousand dollars worth of fish this summer....  anyhow, we have the problem fixed and our new baby koi can enjoy the good life with two remaining big fish.

the pic above is the temporary tank they lived in for a week while I patched the big pool with a liquid rubber liner product.  we also got some comet and shebunkin


truffle oil tater tots

#1 son had a rough day of school this past friday.  we decided that some happy hour fun might cheer him up.  the first place we went did not impress him.  he said "this food is pretty low quality, I'd give it one star", then he turned his back away from the table and watched traffic.  we figured we'd bump it up one notch and went to gabriel's cafe on the UT campus.  He approved of the sweet potato fries but we all loved the truffle tater tots.  this place is has the same exec chef as carillon, between the two restaurants he must buy truffle oil by the barrel. 


it was ACL this weekend and we could hear kanye west LOUDLY till about 10:30 the first night as we sat out on the screened porch enjoying kat's martini drink she adopted from the carillon 256 bells drink.

not 256 bells martini

we didn't have acl tix this year.  that didn't equal no live music for us.  monday night had kat and I at the saxon pub for bob schneider.  we arrived early to find only two tables were not reserved.  I left kat the camp and I left on foot (didn't want to lose my parking space) to find food.  found take out pizza and came back to enjoy the show.  we also found that some girls bought us drinks if we would share our table with them.  we would've shared anyhow but a free pint of shiner made it all the better.

bob schneider at the saxon pub monday night

I was familiar with his music, but we were happy to find he is funny as well.  good entertainment.  next time we have friends from out of town, we'll try to get them to go see bob.  it's an austin slanted thing for sure.

acl aftershow...

yim yames stubb's austin

the daughter came along with me to catch yim yames (jim james from my morning jacket ) play an acl after show with local hero iron & wine.  YY played the whole show on a bass guitar and pulled it off well.  sam (of iron and wine) addressed the crowd as "neighbors" and said this about the acl festival "there is a bunch of boring shit going on over there".  I'm not sure it was all boring over there, but I was glad to be at stubb's last night.  I&W did a dance/rock version of boy with a coin that reminded me of yo la tengo (my personal opinion) that had the whole crowd jumping.  for an encore both singers got together and did a sort of medley of some old classics, clapton's wonderful tonight and stuck on you (lionel ritchie?)

September 12, 2011

it needs a focal point, and some grout.

I spent most of the week racing back and forth from the wimberley project.  when we added the translucent panels to the front door and surrounding face, it flattened the whole wall.  I didn't like the look.  it was not obvious that there was a front door.  and really, we built the cabins to open up to the majestic tree.  but it was the front door that you approach first and it needed something.


off grid wimberley cabin with entry awning

I have a few details to button up, I'll put a small shelf and some coat hooks there by the front door, to hang umbrellas for all the rain we are due.  I also wired in some orange LED porch lights.  

glass and stone mosaic tile 

I raced down one day to hang tile, then returned the next to grout.

off grid vessel sink wimberley

I relocated the 12V fuse box and battery.  also wired the long cabin and installed some LED rope lighting along the edge of the ceiling in an aluminum C channel.

waterless urinal and composting toilet wimberley

waterless urinal is connected and mounted to the wall.  most of the bathroom walls are now closed, just a few panels left to cut, then paint.

September 04, 2011

drought be gone! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

drought is killing everything

many trees have turned color, not because fall is approaching, it's due to the drought.  the bananas, horse tail plant (equisetum), some of the trees we planted when we first moved in and the buffalo grass.... all dead or near dead

heat and drought austin tx 2011

we set the all time record for consecutive 100+ temp days this summer.  and no real rain!  the field above is normally filled with wild sunflowers, we had just a couple this summer.  and now we have very large wildfires all around the austin area. 

chinese hawaiian ice shaver

kat helped hydrate the kids with her ice shaving machine.

blue hair for blue hawaiian shaved ice

five frog orgy austin

the toads are prospering in the lower koi pond, FIVE seen above.  at night they make a lot of noise, calling for mates.  the pond is filled with eggs and toads locked in pairs (or sometimes tripple)

carillon ut campus at&t conference center happy hour

we returned to carillon for happy hour, met some friends and went to foreign and domestic.

phalic brioche from foreign and domestic austin

interesting brioche was a gift from the chef. 

fried ribs, gift from the chef

the chef also gifted us some ribs.  the chef liked us, but I got the impression our waiter did not. 

mixologist at tigress pub

we closed off the evening with fancy cocktails at the tigress pub.

manly cocktail in a fancy glass tigress pub austin

cheers!  I hear the hot temps are about to break and hopefully we'll get some rain soon.