we had the idea to buy some land near wimberley several years back. while hiking around some land for sale, we found this GIANT oak tree. it was in sad shape, cedar trees were choking it. we bought the land, saved the tree.
I started near the tree and slaughtered cedars, also cut a driveway... it was a lot of work with the chainsaw. we needed a safe place for the kids to play while we played lumberjack.
I drew up the little screen room below using sketchup.
(scan of old print) kat approved and I got to work...
and at some point, we decided to make solid walls instead of screen...
one was built and it was good, so we decided that if one was good, two would be better. kat made the drawing above. but after we got the pier and beam foundation we decided to make the second cabin longer (no porch). and then we built a bathroom with composting toilet...and attached a tool shed... everything worked according to plan, but it was a case of cabin sprawl. it wasn't a cohesive design. that, and the lot next door now hosted a mcmansion complete with pool. and, swimming pool often hosted pool parties with loud thumping dance music... it was no longer the peaceful country retreat we sought. in fact, the wimberley city limit had moved and we were now inside city limits. so we moved out.
pics from our last night at the wimberley off grid cabins.
rewarded ourselves with a trip to the leaning pear.
the saturday night special is always good. an over zealous plate clearer took kat's meal before she was done. she had taken #2 son to the bathroom and returned to a plateless setting...
bandera county quail, chicken fried!
daughter loved the chicken pot pie and it's puff pastry hat.
the best part of the meal came last! kat said that was the best cheese cake she ever had and I sure loved the spicy ancho chocolate terrine.
daughter is enjoying her "teen skills" class at school. making a bag for her iphone or nintendo 3ds
the stars are SO bright out there. we laid on the porch and stared up for a while, for the last time. we'd seen flyers for a "barn party" that night and we could hear the live band till nearly midnight. the band sounded good, but just secured our decision to move out to our other wimberley property, that is really out in the country.
kids enjoyed sprinkle donuts from wimberley donut company. the asian family that runs the donut shack took a keen interest in my family.
we've had to spend a great deal of time on paperwork, contracts and such. I often say "I didn't marry an attorney so I can read fine print". we have a routine, she reads, makes notes, scratches out lines etc. I make my own notes and patiently wait till she says "sign here and initial here..." example of my contract notes below.
cabins are sold and we've moved on and out of town.
#2 son had a birthday. while shopping for a bike for #1 son, #2 son fell in love with a yellow bike. talked about it non-stop. so of course we got him the bike for his birthday.
AUSTIN RESTAURANT WEEK: eleven plates wine bar
ok, so I'm a cheap bastard and I planned accordingly. we made reservations for JUST after happy hour, and we showed up a few minutes early (before happy hour ended). bottles of wine are $11 off for happy hour and there is a full HH menu of $5 cocktails and apps (bargain!!). the klinker brick zin was a delicious wine that was easy on the budget.
beautiful hill country and 360 bridge view from their balcony deck.
salads were huge and really good.
72 hour short rib was enjoyed by the wife
I loved the roasted arctic char.
some leftover sxsw 2012 pics I found on the other camera...
I recall when the daughter was 10 days old or so, we took her to see the iguanas. but she doesn't remember.... so we caught a refresher course.
the chicken sliders were good, real good. but the wait was way too long and they were out of many things on the menu (no waffles, no mac-n-cheese).
too busy to post pics. moving out of cabins and into blanco river barn this week. took a moment to enjoy spring on the river (above). #1 son demonstrated how he can play clocks by coldplay at 255 beats per minute; fastest setting on his metronome (below)
our friends from Blade Studios came back with their big tour bus/mobile recording studio. while here for sxsw 2012 they recorded sessions from citizen cope, suzanna choffel, holly winter, honky, lance lopez, josh bell, little children...
we found an assistant on the bus when we arrived. we were informed brady was gone, we had sent message that we'd be stopping by so we decided to wait. then zach (assistant) had to run and we were left on the bus. we had two hours before our next appointment so we killed time playing with a guitar laying on the sofa. I even sang a song, "BRAAY-DEE! where are you BRAAY-DEE" (played to the tune of galaxie 500: tugboat). then scott rushed on the bus (to see who he'd heard was left in charge). scott said "brady IS on the bus!" we were confused. scott then pulled back a curtain to reveal a sound asleep brady blade. he'd just come back from europe, playing with melissa ethridge, he hadn't heard a word of my awful falsetto singing. we were a bit embarrassed all the same.
scott crompton noodled on his guitar.
jet-lagged and all, brady is always quick to issue that big smile of his.
Andy Vandette from Masterdisk on the bass guitar
#1 son had some time in a local private studio for a class project:
I will NOT forget ear plugs for sxsw next year. ears still bleeding from this show.
I often say, "if your band's drummer sucks, your band is gonna suck too". now I can add, if one awesome percussionist is good, three will surely kick ass!"
I love that moment, when the band realizes the show is going well. the sounds is good, they are playing well together, the crowd is responding and we are all creating a great memory together. it’s great to see a band that seems to enjoy performing to a live audience.
then we headed downtown for some drinks and eats.
kat enjoying her vintage top she got from the yelp sxsw party.
had some apps at garrido's then we had reserveations with friends at a new cocktail bar...
this place is not easy to find. they did remove the "Midnight Cowboy MODELLING oriental massage" sign. the long lived brothel was finally shut down. and some quick thinkers turned it into an upscale cocktail lounge and kept the same name. this lounge is by reservation only, and there is no real bar. just a few booths and a private room. entry is gained after finding the unmarked door and ringing a buzzer.
we had the private room.
the place is only 11 ft wide. looks like they only have 8 booths (four on each side) and the one private room.
we had a curtain for privacy, and a switch that illuminated a red light to indicate when we needed service.
some of the drinks are mixed (performed) table side via this rolling bar cart and mixologist.
the room itself is dark (also very very humid and muggy)
the oriental massage and girls are gone, but we brought our own oriental models. we entertained ourself with photography and using an iphone flashlight app as the light source.
it was after ten when we jumped back onto sixth street. I've never seen it so packed and lively!
and kat found her best wurst cart.
and this band set up in the middle of 6th street. they had a HUGE marimba... laser light show over the street... it was wild.
we spent three days at the urban outfitters party, we even took the kids. easy parking, not too crowded, good bands, free stuff and free beer with a great sale on clothes going on... it was a good time. I don't recall what this guy was saying, but his HD helmet cam and safety gear made me assume I should toss him over the crowd, but kat talked me out of it.
Eleanor Friederberger (of the fiery furnaces)
kat found some good stuff from the urban outfitters clearance racks while the kids played.
gift from the chef
mussels were perfect, kat demonstrating correct mussel extraction technique below (using mussel shell)
they split the linguine with clams for us, it was good. and I got a tiramisu for my birthday, thanks!
we had a LOT of fun at the yelp sxsw party.
hey marseilles was greatly enjoyed. we bought some merch from them.. even picked up a 7" vinyl.
yes, cory DID grab a hula hoop and get at it in front of the band. I laughed!
the big sleep
they had vitamins in every possible flavor. no lines for beverages! you know we took advantage.
the st germain w/ grapefruit and mint was good!
after a few drinks, people thought it'd be fun to get some new hair color (like green)
we'd been there a few weeks back, we explained that the buttefly wings are available for test drive... and they got passed around and I took pics...
more enchanted vodka cocktails? sure, why not!
get it cory and alicia.
hunter.gather.style had a fabulous pop-up store. they were a bit stressed b/c their credit card machine was iphone based. iphones usually are worthless for sxsw. can't get a signal. kat found some good stuff and we made them a "cash offer". they took us up on the opportunity.
we went to haddington's after the yelp party.
the deviled eggs were really good.
the duck meatloaf with cherry bbq sauce and pistachio pesto was REALLY good.
shaved ham with fig (I think that was it)
GSD&M Industry party SXSW 2012. it doesn't get much better than this! friends, open bar pouring the good stuff, free taco dinner and some up and coming bands that gave great performances.
if your band is planning to come to SXSW, make sure you come ready to give your best. the other bands surely will. these guys really issued a top notch effort.
we were up against the stage. I like to watch the personalities within the bands, and how they solve problems. the bass player for heartless bastards turned to the guitar player, "I'm all out of whiskey". guitar player smiled, "it's OK. you can have some of mine" whiskey problem solved, the show went on.
we made many new friends too:
I saw this girl was not wearing much, dancing and appered to be a bit tipsy... next thing I know she was all over me. it was like I was the test dummy at a TSA training facility. she told me the GA sticker was "scratch and sniff". she said a bunch of other things that I will not relay, to keep it slightly safe for work. I did mention "ya know, my wife is right there..." it was about then that my wife had started to take photos of my sticky situation.
then we hit sixth street for some street food.
we saw a new street food vendor down on 6th street. skewers with chicken and white bread, grilled then drizzled with a variety of sauces.
kat saw them and had to have one. then,...
an asian girl ran over, very excited. "where did you get THAT?!" you like asian chicks? get a chicken bread skewer kabob thing and they will come running.
Downtown New Orleans party at Lucky Lounge:
we cleared the guest list but the lucky lounge was PACKED by the time we arrived.
I love that the bass player was using his iphone to take pics of the show during the show.
hostess laswanda and big sam
I love it when random people jump into the background of pics. I didn't even notice them when I took the photo. and here their friendly faces are, smiling at me the morning after.
and free food/drinks always mix well with friends
kat loved the shiitake soup and I really liked the pork belly sliders. I could probably be a full time vegetarian, if it weren't for bacon/pork belly.... yum.
notice the stack of free drink tickets and other loot!
went to shangri la and redeemed some free drink tickets. we still have some left.... it's gonna be a good week.
we love this stuff. it's korean fermented hot pepper paste. I mix it with orange juice and brown sugar, marinate salmon for about an hour and then grill.
weather is cool but nice. ate dinner in the screen room with a nice fire and hibachi going as well.
kat was so excited. this is her favorite way to make the salmon.
everybody, including kids, got to grill their own salmon.
#2 son also enjoyed the cook yourself hibachi salmon fun.
they used their iphones as a timer for when it should be flipped. about a minute per side, four sides.
it comes out so tender and a bit sweet and spicy.
kat kept repeating, "IT'S SO GOOD, OMG, I LOVE IT! IT'S SO GOOD!, OMG....." we laughed and I asked her (sarastic) "kat, how is it?". she couldn't help herself from starting it all over again, "OMG, IT'S SO GOOD!, I LOVE IT!, OMG...."
kat and I had made a quick run down (in the pouring rain) to san antonio. we scored 400+ sq ft of cork flooring for under $200 to use at the wimberley cabin/barn. while were there, we stopped at the cove and the CIA cafe. surprised everybody with sweet treats. they were GOOD. also a ten year old tawny port was enjoyed by the fire.
I've been working on a porch for kat's red barn. I needed extra hands to get it up, vehicle problems, weather problems and schedule problems... it finally worked out.
tried to use the big circ saw but my power inverter is not sufficient. at least we got it up.
getting to the barn and cabin requires driving to the end of a long private dirt road. we've had a lot of rain recently. the blanco is flowing but the road is in very bad condition.
we went to gourmand's for domingo's 50th birthday. he looks pretty good for 50, must be the preservatives and vitamins.
kids enjoyed the wifi
domingo and son played some ping-pong.
25 years I've known Domingo... wow.
there were several other great bands playing later, but we decided to get home at a reasonable hour.
and in other news...
we also enjoyed some eats and cocktails at Takoba, pisco sour shown above with ceviche in the background.
we went to the buttefly bar (behind vortex theater) on the east side. cozy and fun place. kat made good use of the butterfly wings, and passed them on.
these two were fun. reminded me a bit of myself, before marriage and kids and house...
we finished up the equisetum/horse tail planter box.
a hungry family on the move. the weather was perfect for a day at the park, flying kites. so everybody did. the festival is from 11 to sunset, we had no firm time to get there. kat was working on her landscaping project, I figured we'd go to the park when she was ready to quit that. but her plan was to keep working until I told her to stop... she worked until she got real hungry... waiting for me to tell her when to stop. and so it went.
after walking for a long time, we arrived at the park. we were not surprised, it's like this every year.
trying to find your friends in this sea of kites, kite pilots and picnic spreads, dogs, hippies... so many people that text messages or phone were not working. but we managed to find our group. it was a kite festival miracle.
stephen always catches his shark via fishing pole. otherwise we'd have never found them.
quickly ate our chipotle burritos and got our kite assembled. this is the first year I bought us a real kite. we usually get a cheap plastic kite that is more of a single use kite.
and it was the first year #2 son had a firm grasp on this kite flying gig.
and the new kite was a success!
all the string was out. the bee was a good flyer.
the older two kids relaxed.
the real hazards are from other kites. there is always a good chance that the picnic or our heads will be dive bombed by a stray kite. and tangles are a constant battle.
he rewarded himself with a weinhard's rootbeer.
sean got his big bird kite up and quickly reached the end of his string.
the trees are decorated with kite failures by afternoon.
our bee kite survived!