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September 24, 2012

cedar ch-ch-choppin! and cipollina for ARW

#1 son got a new ipad, not used like we had originally planned.  so, he has a bit of a balance to work off even though summer has ended.  the daughter's ipad is provided by her school.  not just for use at school, but it's hers to use at home as well.  they even provide her with a nice leather case. 

child labor lumberjack cedar chopper

it was hot out again.  I have gone back to attacking the cedar trees at our wimberley place.  I cut limbs off with the chainsaw and #1 son drags them away.  he did a good job with minimal complaining. 

wimberley cedar removal

we (kat and I) also worked in the yard at our home in west lake hills ( west austin).

blue agave babies harvest

we trimmed cedar trees, dug holes and planted some shrubs and thinned the agave herd.  the blue agave we planted 4-5 years ago is now HUGE and was being crowded by its own babies.  we abducted some, took them down to wimberley... more holes to dig. 

blue agave wimberley fischer

glass tile table top

I made a metal table frame that folds flat against the wall when not in use.  we laid glass and stone tile on it.  yes, it's heavy but I have a plan for that... along with that hole in the middle. 

glass tile stone tile table

#2 son saw the improvements and said "this barn is now as nice as a regular house".  kat and I stopped, thought about what he'd said, we looked at each other and smiled.  it's a great compliment when it comes from a child. 

glass and stone tile counter top

lookin' good!

and that was it... we worked, worked and worked harder this weekend.  no fun at all!  wait, that is not entirely true.  we did run over to pease park to catch a free show from the very awesome Mother Falcon.

mother falcon music austin 


mother falcon pease park austin parks and recreation summer music series

mother falcon pease park austin

and we did sneak in a date night for the first evening of Austin Restaurant Week (fall 2012)

cipollina ARW austin clarksville

Cipollina has a $15 corkage fee so I grabbed one of kat's favorites, '08 bien nacido (X-block) syrah from Bonny Doon

cipollina scallops austin restaurant week

the scallops were PERFECT!  however, the salad (arugula, gorgonzola, blackberry) was salty.  I mean it was REALLY salty like sea water.  it was hard to get any other flavors over the saltiness.  it was so bad that kat complained to our server.  the greens along side the crepes with pork shoulder (seen behind scallops above) were also too salty. 

we had each of the two desserts offered (included in the fixed price of $27).  one was "Chocolate Pecan Brownies".  it was a brownie that was good enough, with ice cream on top...  it was just as you'd expect but nothing special...  sort of what you'd expect from a chain restaurant.  I think I will seek out ARW participants that offer three savory courses (no dessert).  I usually don't finish my evening meal with a big plate of chocolate/sugar.  I love chocolate, but not right before bed time. 


September 21, 2012

ARW austin restaurant week 2012

Austin Restaurant Week starts Sunday, they invited us to a kick-off party. Free food, free drinks... you know we went.

it was held at swift's attic.

swift's attic austin austin restaurant week party

kat usually avoids standing close to strangers, but this guy was holding a tray of delicious appetizers and she moved in close real quick.  they were that good. 

swift's attic austin

that ONE free drink went down real fast and easy.  and, the free apps were so good, we decided to ask for a menu and next thing ya know, we were buying food.  bait and switch?  nah, the food was all delicious.  kat really appreciated the blistered shisito peppers.  the shisito has made its way onto menus all over austin, but these were among our favorites. 

bahn mini swift's atic austin foie gras and pork belly

bahn mini were delicious!  foie gras and pork belly on a toast with some jalapeno and something pickled (if memory serves correct)


other eats and happy hours near home:

trace restaurant austin w hotel

Trace at the W hotel hosted a Boucherie (new orleans styled pig roast). 

zydeco band cajun new orleans trace restaurant

live music by the vermilionaires. 

boucherie trace ben hightower w hotel austin

the meal was served buffet style.  kat loves a buffet as she can try some of everything. 

boucherie trace restaurant w hotel austin pork belly chef ben hightower

I'm not a fan of buffet.  I don't like big portions and the way to get your money's worth at a buffet is to eat a lot.  all you can eat pork belly.... the portion above was a bit more than I could easily eat.  I mean I like a bit of pork belly... but c'mon! 

two thumbs up, trace restaurant w hotel austin

#2 son approved of the sweet section of the buffet.  as soon as he swallowed that beignet, he asked, "can we go up and see our room now?".  he had assumed that since we were having dinner at the W hotel, we must be staying the night.  he was very disappointed to find we were going to sleep in our own beds at our own home, tough customer. 

eleven plates westlake davenport village austin happy hour $5 ceviche

the pic above is from a couple weeks back.  eleven plates and wine happy hour offers this tasty ceviche plate for $5. 

blue dahlia westlake austin happy hour

the best bargain in the neighborhood is still the blue dahlia happy hour.  we can have food, wine and a cake for around $30.  sort of discourages meals at home!

blue dahlia westlake flourless chocolate cake

van section of the blog post:

polished vintage van econoline guage plate dash

picked up a polished gauge panel for the 1964 ford falcon DCW (deluxe club wagon (fancy econoline van)). 

September 16, 2012

in the gutter, down the spout and into the barrel

forecast was calling for rain. I ran down to wimberley and slapped some gutter up.

fiskars rain barrel filter

I didn't want to cut the overhang so there was no real fascia board.   I had to rig up a cheap but functional gutter attachment board.  it works and this is the BACK side that is seldom seen (I didn't even paint it, ran out of paint)

 flowering vine wimberley cabin

the true enjoyment for kat is she is now comfortable putting some landscaping/plants in the ground down there.  all the water I promised to collect was the push she needed.  this flowery vine should enjoy climbing on the front porch.

no trespassing landscaping wimberley

she even arranged some rocks and planted flowering shrubs by our NO TRESPASSING sign.  you can just barely see the blue cabin from the street. 

MCM midcentury modern fireplace

I have a few finishing touches for the stovepipe.  but it's ready for fire. 

kru 82 vodka tito's starlite texas

we'd stopped by spec's and a promotional girl sold kat on a new local vodka.  starlite was promised to be better than tito's.  that is a BIG claim as tito's is pretty much the best.  we decided we'd do the blind side by side taste test.  we also bought a bottle of kru 82 (comes in a reusable stainless steel bottle).  the daughter poured the glasses while we left the room.  we ranked them #1 (best) to 3 (worst).  then  we guessed the contents and we got them all correct.  tito's is still the best and the kru 82 comes in a cool bottle.  starlite was also very good, but we prefer Tito's. 

kids enjoying happy hour at wimberley

earlier in the week, #2 son told me "I want happy hour in wimberley".  that's why we stopped at spec’s, to pick up some more scharfe maxx cheese for happy hour while at wimberley.  #2 son selected some saint arnold's root beer as his HH beverage.  the kids love this part of our trip, we all stop working, sit down together, relax and enjoy some fruit and cheese, and spend time in the pursuit of happiness. 

cheers from fischer wimberley tx

temps so cool it was jacket weather.  it's usually cooler in wimberley than austin. 

rain barrel filter working

and in the morning it rained, and it rained and it rained.  I'd hoped to do some lumber jacking, but we found indoor work instead.  the fiskars rain barrel filter kit worked well.  leaves wash through and clean water was routed to the 55 gallon drum.  two drums have already filled. 

rain collection barrel in wimberley fischer texas

September 10, 2012

a plucky pen-pal

mail from the pluckers henhouse gift card 

an email from a friend claimed there was a pic of #2 son on the plucker's FB page, sure enough there he was.  they featured a pic of him (that I took) celebrating his birthday at his favorite restaurant; Plucker's.  they sent him a gift card as a thank you.  when the GC came, he was very excited.  he studied his name on the front of the envelope, his own mail!  and then he saw the plucker's gift card and was eager to return. 

pluckers austin chicken wings birthday

pic above is the one on the plucker's FB page, also seen on a previous blog entry

it hasn't been easy going back.  we are in the habit of going saturday or sunday, but we don't follow football schedules.  the first attempt to take him back to plucker's failed, the wait was over an hour, football season had just begun.  this time, I called down to ask the hostess about the football schedule.  we figured out the best possible window for us to get in with minimal wait.  they had games at noon, 2:30 and 7 PM (a UT game).  we were able to get seated at 5 pm with minimal wait. 

letter to pluckers

#2 son was so excited about the mail from the henhouse (pluckers office) he wanted to return the favor, as best he could for his age.  he wanted the front to say "HUMMING BIRD"

waiter at pluckers austin mail call

mail delivered. 

fried twinkie pluckers austin

fried twinkie, how could he NOT love this place.  we ate some fire in the hole wings (SPICY!!!!)  kat ate most of them, she loves that adrenaline rush.  but, since it was sunday eve on a football filled weekend, they had run out of many of the draft beers.  the temps were fall-like enough on the patio, we had samuel adams octoberfest instead of our usual wing beverage (fireman's #4)

vintage van econoline falcon windshield replacement ppg

I scheduled a windshield replacement for the falcon DCW van more than a month ago.  it didn't go well.  the installers broke the first windshield.  they returned a week later with another but were unhappy with the fit.  then a few more weeks went by and several phone calls from me...  they came back on a saturday and spent some time getting it to fit best they could.  1964 ford falcon DCW van econoline vintage

it's not perfect, but it's time to move forward.  turns out I need to find some windshild wipers. 

red bud island austin swim rope swing

took the kayaks down the street, put in at red bud island.  paddled a bit on ladybird lake and went to our usual tree and rope swing.  #1 son was a bit hesitant, but soon got into a swinging groove.

ladybird lake town lake austin red bud island ropes swing

rope swing austin ladybird lake red bud island

morning temps have been cool.  dropped the top on the e30.  went for an early sunday morning kolache run. 

fall weather bmw convertible top down bmw e30 kolache run


September 04, 2012

labor day, fall is creeping its way on to us

1972 hotrod bmw 2002 austin

we took this car off the road almost a year ago, it had some body damage to the rear and general ugliness was starting to cover the whole of it.  we stripped it and I tried to paint it myself.  it looks better, less ugly and all.  I don't think I will soon attempt a metalic paint again.  I have it mostly back together, still needs some buffing and trims put back in.  I threw a new battery in and it started right up, took it out for a 30 minute drive around the neighborhood. 

water transfer tank wimberley

the blue barrel is still my 50 gallon transfer device for water to the off-grid(ish) cabin down near wimberley. 

wimberley cabin barn paint

mom came down one day to help paint.  I did one more sand and joint compound application and mom primed it all.  I HATE drywall work.  it's dusty. 

amazon prime free two day shipping boy in a box

we have amazon prime and the free two day shipping is dangerous.  it's so convenient to just click on things and wait for the UPS man instead of actually going to a store.  you can get just about anything shipped right to your door....

schlitterbahn new braunfels tubenbach lazy river

while we said we'd probably NOT go back to the new section of schlitterbahn, they gave us an offer we could not refuse.  a chance to return this year had us back on labor day weekend and it was not very crowded at all.  we had fun!  it was great to see the daughter swimming like a fish in the giant circular wave pool.  she must have made 25-30 revolutions.  we were all exhausted by the end of the day. 

lazy river alligator schlitterbahn new braunfels lazy river

schlitterbahn new braunfels tubenbach kiddie pool pirate ship water cannon

boogiebahn schlitterbahn new braunfels boogie board wave

we also spent some time on the blanco river...

blanco river fischer wimberley labor day weekend 2012

it really is starting to feel more like fall, less like summer. 

reading a book in the shade along the blanco river

the daughter read a book under the cypress tree shade. 

solar powered LED lights wimberley cabin

I wired up a LED light fixture I made to help illuminate the table.  the 120v light we'd been using was TOO bright.  our lighting in the screen room is now 100% solar powered. 

walnut led light fixture solar powered

kat and I applied a good effort to remove all that nasty drywall dust.  the nasty old barn is really starting to feel more and more like a vacation home. 

we filled our utility trailer with books and VHS tapes left behind by previous occupants.  I noticed a Hunter S. Thompson book had been tossed on to the GOODWILL pile.  I picked it up and kat said "yeah, that one may be worth something".  I opened the cover to see the inscription below...

signed hunter s thompson book

yep, it just might be worth something awright... 

we stopped at trudy's four star between austin and dripping springs on the way home from wimberley/fischer.  they were having a hatch chili roasting event.

trudy's four star hatch chili festival

everything was delicious, even the hatch chili margarita.  and, they sent us home with a free bag of hatch chilies.

hatch chili roaster trudy's austin

#2 son is being a "statue",  still not cooperating for pics....

trudy's four star dripping springs austin hatch chili carnitas relleno

hatch chili carnitas chile relleno (top) and hatch chili chicken fajita enchiladas

hatch chili roast austin dripping springs trudy's

#1 son helped operate the chili roasting machine.

hatch chili fire roasted trudy's austin dripping springs