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April 23, 2012

wimberley butterfly festival, kiddie acres, eanes ocean show

this past week had had a months worth of events. 

kiddie acres boat ride

kiddie acres is way north from where we live.  it's way outside my usual boundary.  but his teacher talked me into going along.  the place, is made up of aging worn out kiddie rides.  to adults, it's a bit pathetic.  but to these kids, it is the BEST place in all the world!  he's talked about it every day since.  he did refuse the pony ride, I can't blame him.  I'm also skeptical of riding some beast that is larger/smarter than I am.

train ride at kiddie acres


the wimberley butterfly festival was HUGE this year.  they had so much more to do and many more people did come out for the event. 

emily anne theater butterfly festival

kat took the kids to the festival while I worked at the river barn property.

wimberley butterfly festival

#1 son was so careful to be a good host to the butterfly that chose his wedge of "camp-a-lope".  for half an hour he walked slowly to protect the butterfly.  he made it into the truck with it when I picked them up.  then, marvin (the bastard dog) jumped up on #1 son and stomped on the butterfly.  he cried for quite a while and it was heartbreaking, but I'm sure there is some sort of life lesson in there.  we did slaughter about 500 butterflies last week on our trip back from palo duro canyon, the whole front of the truck was covered with them.  I know, it's not the same. 

eanes ocean show is put on by mrs. wright's class every year. 

 eanes ocean show wright 2012

eanes ocean show

pre show goofing around.  the ocean show is a big deal, it's AWESOME!.  the kids dress in all black and use a bunch of props to simulate an underwater adventure with a jacques cousteau theme.  it is great fun and they all put a lot of work into it. 

ocean show set eanes elementary wright

the set before the lights go out. 

eanes elementary ocean show

mrs wright's class takes a bow eanes elementary ocean show

the soundtrack for the ocean show is recorded in advance in a professional studio.  a few nights ago kat asked me "didn’t we see the heartless bastards during sxsw?  I heard a song by them on the radio?"  I was showing her my favorite HB song on youtube when I recognized the studio!  it's the same one where we recorded the ocean show!  spoon has also recorded there as it’s owned by drummer Jim Eno.

boy with green apple

caution: asian driver

leaving the school I saw this funny sticker "CAUTION ASIAN DRIVER".  I didn't get a chance to see who the driver was. 

van has been moved to a hotrod shop

after MONTHS of hassle. I finally got the transmission shop to fix the tranny leak.  promptly had it towed to a shop that is used to working on hotrods to address the electrical problems. 

NUDE BEER on the blanco river and 275 gallon IBC water tote

free nude beer blanco river wimberley texas

hmmmm, I wonder if we will see a spike from new visitors today... we found some nude beer (unopened) in the abandoned house.  these came with a scratch off bikini top, this one was removed and there is another that is partially scratched off.  I guess if you've seen one nude beer pair you've seen 'em all.  sell them on ebay? (click for NSFW version)

275 gallon IBC water tank

I purchased a 275 gallon water tank.  cleaned it all out with bleach water, strapped it to my utility trailer and filled it about 80% of the way.  it probably weighed nearly 2k lbs.

I dropped kat the kids off at the wimberley butterfly festival.  how to get it off the trailer?  how would the egyptians have done it? 

ibc water tank trailer wimberley

I strapped the tank to an oak tree and PUNCHED IT!

off grid water tank.

OK, so maybe it wasn't that graceful and maybe it did fall on it's face and maybe one of the strap hooks is now straight... but it worked.  we have water for flushing the toilet.  although we have noted that the toilet takes 3 gallons to flush and it's a lot of work hauling the water per flush. 

oh yeah, there is a real bathroom and toilet in that spooky house.  of course a spooky house always has a spooky bathroom.  we bleached and scrubbed that bathroom with an incredible assault of chemistry.  I ran a 12v bulb/fixture powered via solar/battery and now....  it's still spooky but bright!

12v off grid light fixture

personal stuff left by previous owner

kat has started to sort, organize and clean the crap left by previous occupants.  a new copy of Angela's Ashes! , pulitzer prize winning literature...  and a bunch of junk...  but who left all this stuff?  the cooktop must have quit working at some point.  they had hauled in an electric stove and just pushed it up against some cabinets.  I suspected those cabinets had not been opened in a long time, and held more (crap) clues to the people who left this place....

mystery pic found 1990's grunge era?

found this pic in there (among many other treasures) looks like early 90's to me.

strange construction methods

the place has inspired many questions.  why are those pieces of all-thread up there?  and who would attach a shelf bracket over the miniblinds putting a shelf across the front window...?  ah screw it.  let's start ripping it down. 

A-frame interior wimberley

it was dark around the spooky bathroom.  less spooky now that I removed the drywall on a few walls and let the light in. 

spooky abandoned house wimberley fischer

he's not supposed to be up on the deck, he's testing his limits. 

cedar tree slaughter.  I hate cedar trees!

I worked pretty hard cutting and dragging cedar trees.  you may wonder why I hate cedar trees so much.  well, besides the whole cedar fever thing, cedar trees operate a bit like this...

baby cedar tree snuggling with mature oak

notice the cute baby cedar tree getting all cozy with the mature oak tree.  seems innocent enough, right?  NO!  it's a KILLER!

cedar tree deprives oaks of precious resources

(dead oak on the left, Cedar tree in the middle) the fast growing cedar consumes much more water and quickly chokes its oak tree host.  soon the area is thick with cedar trees and the oak trees are now being deprived of sun light and water...

  cedar tree takeover

as seen on the unmanaged lot next to ours, the cedar trees soon cover everything.  several hundred year oaks are being threatened by a sizeable cedar army. 

stereogum cayene sauce sxsw 2010

while I labored with the chainsaw outside, kat was busy cleaning and making lunch.  although it was put together from food I previously cooked it was greatly appreciated and delicious.  it was a nice change of roles, she usually goes to work and I cook and clean.  I imagined this was more like my farming grandparents lived.  he'd go out in the field and work till lunch, come home to a meal and go back farming.  but then again, he died out in that field so maybe I'm putting rose colored shades on it.  but that salmon with stereogum sxsw party sauce was delicious, as was the HUGE salad, the garlic herb cous-cous and ruby redbird.  later that afternoon, we walked down to the river.

blanco river wimberley fischer store road

canoe and kayak on blanco river

a group paddled by on kayak and canoe.  the weather was just perfect!

blublockers on the blanco river

he wanted to see how it looks while blocking the blues.

father and daughter happy in wimberley


April 14, 2012

the grand enough canyon, palo duro tx state park lighthouse trail

kat has always wanted to visit the GRAND CANYON.  we've talked about it several times, but it never works out.  then I read that palo duro was the second largest canyon in the US and right here in texas.  so we camped at caprock canyon (6 hours from austin) and made the 90 minute day trip over to palo duro. 

canyon view palo duro texas state park

BIG you really have to see it in the big version, we were impressed... go ahead and click the pic, that canyon is quite impressive.  pics can't really do it justice, must be seen in person to truly appreciate it.  but we'll try.

palo duro canyon visitor's center view

the drive down into palo duro canyon

a series of switchbacks get you down the side of the canyon.

a family of eager hikers about to take off for the lighthouse trail

eager to make an attempt to reach the lighthouse formation.

palo duro lighthouse trail hike

lighthouse trail palo duro canyon tx state park

but #2 son slowed us down.  I sent my mom ahead with the two older kids.

statue on the lighthouse trail palo duro canyon

he has refused to have his pic taken.  the workaround is to ask him to be a statue.

lighthouse trail palo duro

lighthouse trail palo duro canyon tx state park

we were so slow, we eventually took turns carrying him.

shade shelter on lighthouse trail palo duro canyon state park tx

a short shade and water break.

lighthouse formation palo duro texas state park

after about two miles of hiking, we could see the lighthouse formation!  and soon after, my mom and two older kids were on their way back.  we sent #2 son along with them as I knew he could not make the final climb up. 

climbing up the lighthouse formation palo duro canyon tx

there it was, steep and slippery.  some of it had to be done on all fours as there was nothing to grab onto and the ground was sandy.  but we pressed up and onward. 

the base of the lighthouse formation palo duro canyon

a bit hot and sweaty and dirty... 

palo duro canyon tx grand canyon texas

and after I took a few deep breaths (don't like heights) I made the big step up to the flat area between the two lighthouse rocks.  steep drops on both sides afford fantastic views of the canyons below. 

lighthouse panorama palo duro canyon tx


from the lighthouse formation palo duro canyon tx state park


airstream camping happy hour caprock palo duro canyons

 happy hour four cheese craker quatro fromage

then back to the airstream at caprock canyons for alpine style cheese happy hour.  #1 son made four squares of different cheeses to top his slice of caibatta. 

airstream overlander happy hour with the family caprock canyons

I know it's not in focus, but it's rare to get a pic of the daughter looking like she likes me.  I think she's figured out I'm a jack-ass and normally wants little to do with me.  keeps her distance and almost never smiles at me.  it was a special moment, my favorite of the whole trip. 

sunrise on the airstream caprock canyon tx state park canyons

easter egg hunt caprock airstream

and we had our easter morning egg hunt there at caprock canyon state park. 

easter egg hunt caprock canyon

airstream easter egg hunt

biking through caprock canyon

 vintage airstream overlander at caprock canyons state park


the drive from austin was a little over 6 hours.  but well worth the effort.  probably the nicest texas state park we've visited. 

caprock canyons campsite

the kids LOVED it.  there was a playground next to our campsite and the boys made "new friends".

 #1 son came back all excited and got his bike, told us about the "NEW FRIENDS!"  I watched him ride over to the playground, get a stick that was much taller than he was and started to beat it onto the ground.  he made a "ROOOOAR!!" sound as smaller twigs broke off.  the big stick eventually broke in half.  then he threw himself onto the ground and started to roll around and flap his arms into the red dirt.  he continued to make animal growling sounds as a cloud of dust rose above him.  a small crowd of "new friends" had gathered in a circle around him to watch.  they were clearly impressed.  I went over and put a halt to his demonstration at that point.  I hope that was the grand finale and he didn't have bigger/more impressive moves in the works.

little explorer at caprock canyons texas

caprock canyon panoramic


caprock canyon canyons tx st park

caprock canyon texas


caprock canyon portrait

vintage airstream at night caprock canyon

canyon rim trail caprock canyons state park tx

the next morning we took our bikes on the canyon rim trail. 

canyon rim trail bike caprock canyons

baby passed out on mtb trail caprock canyon

my passenger fell asleep on the bumpy off road trail. 

biking cycling at caprock canyon

kat and I planned to hike the eagle point trail.  we were going to lock the bikes up at the trail head and take off on foot.

downhill bike trail eagle trail caprock canyon

then kat said "let's see how far we can get on the bikes.  worst case scenario, we just walk them out of the canyon".  and she was off...  her city bike skinny tires and all speeding down the canyon trail.

bike trail uphill caprock canyon

downhill sections were followed by steep uphill workouts. 

geoolgy at caprock canyon

near the bottom of the canyon

doofus at caprock canyon

pushing the bike uphill at caprock canyon eagle trail

we did walk it a few sections near the end of the trail.

end of the off road canyon trail caprock canyons eagle

we made it all the way to the other side.  and then we noticed the 16% grade on the road going back... (both up and down)

caprock canyons texas state park tx canyon

paul schuster caprock canyon texas

it was a good ride, about ten miles in all.  we rewarded ourselves with afternoon happy hour in the airstream.  it was great to get out of the wind. 

airstream cheese happy hour

#1 son enjoys making new creations with the happy hour spread.  he has a slice of ciabatta, blue cheese, cherry tomato slices and moroccan green olives pieces. 

gochujang chicken kabobs

grilled both salmon and chicken with the oj/gochujang marinade.  the food was satisfying and everybody is getting good at grilling their own dinner.

smores at caprock canyon

s'mores too. 

caprock canyons smores

monkey on a bicycle at caprock canyon

he rode that bike for HOURS.  we came home with thorns in four flat tires. 

buffalo bison at caprock canyons state park tx canyon

they have free range bison (yes, I snapped that pic as I drove by, I had places to go)

birds of prey caprock canyon tx

Doris Mager of S.O.A.R.S. gave a raptor demonstration with her birds of prey.  she was as insteresting as her birds.  she travels around the country with four birds in a van.

bird of prey lady caprock canyon tx

you've heard that saying about how people and their pets start to look alike?

doris mager birds of prey raptor caprock canyons

caprock canyon tx st park ranger manager owl bird of prey

April 05, 2012

crawfish sale feast of 2012

as it usually goes, kat noticed that crawfish were on sale for the weekend @1.99 a lb if you buy a whole bag.  so i did.  weather was warm so we cleaned/filled the pool and had some friends over.  no big planning or whole house cleaning...  just spicy boiling water, beer/wine and crawifsh

28 lbs of live crawfish westlake austin west lake hills

28 lbs of fiesty tiny lobster like mudbugs

seasonings for crawfish boil austin westlake

seasoning the boil

eichler the boxer enjoys crawfish austin west lake hills westlake

shared some crawfish with eichler

sweet tea vodka lemon jello shots

those are lemon rind sweet tea vodka lemon jello shots.  as dangerous as they are good.  mom even tried one, her first ever jello shot. 

crawfish received pardon austin koi pool

we pardoned a few crawfish.  I don't think they lived, maybe the koi pool water is too clean or has too much amonia.  notice the abundant tadpoles... (one can be seen just above the top claw)

westlake crawfish boil austin west lake hills

doofus dumping the crawdads.

kids playing in west lake hills pool party austin

kids had fun swimming. 

shot gunning the coors yellow bellies

it was suggested, "if you're going to a crawfish boil, you should take yellow bellies! (coors)"  then it was later suggested, "if you're gonna drink yellow bellies, you oughta shotgun them"  and so they did. 

piper brut champagne and crawfish

I enjoyed some piper with my spicy crawdads.  not that I really eat crawfish...  kat usually peels a few for me and feeds me.  they were spicy!

suck the head crawfish eating austin

an example of growth spurt

yes, the daughter is now adult sized... 

ambhar tequila swag yelp party elite

we also attended a yelp elite party at sully's side bar

yelp elite austin sully's side bar ambhar tequila

the yelp elite party was also sponsored by ambhar tequila.  the fermented agave juice cocktails flowed fast and free.  that was GOOD tequila.  many people have had some past bad experiences from tequila, and it's usually from a cheap tequila.   if you are gonna drink tequila, drink the real stuff.  don't do shots of cheap nasty stuff and later label all tequila as evil.  always check the label to ensure your tequila is made from 100% blue agave.  if it doesn't say that, it's a probably mixto-tequila and has sugar added. bad mojo that cheap tequila is. 

lit at the yelp elite party austin ambhar tequila sully's side bar

yes, the party was very illuminating. 

grilled gochujang salmon austin lost creek

we grilled some more salmon with the #5 gochujang korean fermented chili paste.  good times...

electrician driving copper ground rod into the earth wimberley

hired electricians to hook up kat's barn to the grid.  still no power, but getting close...

eanes chess club tournament

#1 son competed in a chess tournament with his school chess club.  he was there for 7 hours, said it felt more like one hour it was so much fun.  his team didn't do a lot of winning...  he said "all these other teams have been to like, at least, THREE other tournaments!  this was our first".  I'm just glad he had fun.  I saw those other kids were VERY serious about their chess.  he was far more interested in the ipad/kindle fire/ninentdo fest that was going on with his team's table while they waited between matches. 

I also did TOO much lumberjacking here at our west lake hills home (amh).  found two dead oaks, called the city arborist and she issued me a permit and told me to take them down asap.  she later confirmed it was NOT the dreaded oak wilt.  likely a result of the drought of 2011.