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June 23, 2015

Franklin BBQ 2015

We knew what we were in for, and we came prepared.

Arrived at 7:05 and we were near the front of the line. About a dozen people ahead of us (not counting children).

Franklin BBQ Austin line at 7 AM 

By 8:15 the line was out to the parking lot.

franklin barbecue austin line 8 AM 

We had a few heavy downpours and people who were less prepared were experiencing discomfort. We were under the awning, reading books and magazines. A steady stream of trucks and cabs unloaded people and their coolers. People who didn't think to bring a cooler of beer made the hike over to CVS to buy 12-packs of Lone Star or Shiner. By 10 AM a lot of beer had been consumed by the BBQ Pilgrims.

Door was unlocked at 11AM and we made it in with the first wave of customers. Samples were passed back around 11:15 and we had our first large chunk of the world's best brisket... that's why we came.

franklin bbq austin cutter 

franklin bbq austin brisket by the lb 

frankling bbq austin draft beer big bark live oak 

We ordered five LBs to go, and a half LB to eat then and there.

franklin bbq ribs austin 

We also got a rack of ribs and ten links of sausage. Ribs were not as good as last time. We took it over to my Mom's house for a family feast.

franklin austin bbq ribs sausage brisket 


Cousin time

Summer is traditionally a time for travel while the kids are out of school. My sister brought her girls down so they could get some cousin time. They had a blast at playgrounds and water parks.  


cousin time

Oh, and we showed them our neighborhood brewery too.   

strange land brewery tasting room 

saint philip's bakery austin  

We also had a great family meal at St Philip. We loaded up on baked sweets on the way out the door. I broke my usual rule of no sweets before bed time. I paid the price by with an inability to sleep, so worth it.  

June 15, 2015

Quiet Company music video taping at the North Door with Lorrie Gallardo

Our friends in Quiet Company played a show at the North Door. They were filming a music video for their German Label. It was a great show. They really have this live performance thing down solid.

Laurie Gallardo with Quiet Company 

Laurie Gallardo did the intro.  

quiet company austin north door 2015 

quiet company is a band from austin texas 2015 

taylor muse guitar austin quiet company 

taylor muse matt parmenter tommy blank quiet company austin 

quiet company band austin  

We were thankful for an early show, one that allows us to be home before Midnight. We expressed our thanks at the merch. booth.  

Ford Falcon DCW (Deluxe Club Wagon) Econoline van

Have you ever had had an automobile that had a hex on it? I did, it was a love/hate relationship.

1964 Ford Falcon DCW 

The Ford Falcon DCW is one of the rarest of the vintage Econoline van series. When I found one for sale in San Antonio at a fair price, we rushed to buy it. The seller spoke no English, he had a friend that I would speak through. We had to arrange all three of our schedules for phone calls or time to see the vehicle. We eventually worked out the details, I was assured the van was a driver.

ford econoline falcon deluxe club wagon

I arrived to check out the van, and the dudes were not there. An older woman who spoke no English did her best to let me know I should wait. So I waited in the front yard for about five or ten minutes. Then I saw it round the corner, driving down the street. He slowed down, signaled and pulled into the driveway. The English speaker from the seller side explained they'd just gone to the gas station. The older guy who owned it kept pulling his shirt up to show me a massive scar where he'd had a recent surgery, apparently this was the reason he was selling his van he'd owned for many years. Everything I had been told about it appeared to be true, it was a driver, that dude had a nasty scar. I knew I didn't want him pulling his shirt up any more.

We did some haggling, I got a little off the asking price, and offered to buy it if they can get it up on to the car hauler when I returned. I rented the trailer, and dude with scar turned white as a ghost as he climbed in, or lighter than he was, probably not ghost whiteness. The van started easily and he revved the engine as he faced the ramp up the trailer. His eyes were as large as saucers. His English speaking friend urged him on and relayed to me that the old man was scared. It took him a couple attempts, but he got it up, on, and stopped. I gave the cash and was on my way.

Hours later, I found it was not easy to replicate the old guys success when moving the van. I could get it started, but getting it to move required high revs, popping clutches and much patience. So, the project dragged on. We eventually sent it to one mechanic who promptly ran up a high bill without clearing the amount with us. When I picked it up from that shop, the owner said "You're driving it home? It's gonna be interesting!" and he laughed... I was lucky to make it home alive. I didn't return to that shop.

Mostly the van sat in the driveway. Eventually I sent it to a different mechanic, twice. We finally had the van in driving condition, and stopping too (new clutch and complete new brake system). But the van still just sat there till the point we decided to let it go. We had figured the van would make a profit if we spent another year and an additional few thousand dollars. We'd already lost interest in the project. We agreed to let it go at a loss if necessary (something I usually don't do).

As I set out to take new pics and video to list it for sale, the keys were nowhere to be found. I spent a whole day searching for the keys. I'd moved it recently, along with four other vehicles that day. All the keys were accounted for, except the Falcon DCW keys...  I searched in the van, around the van, and while doing so, I rammed me knee into the bumper. I writhed and twisted around on the ground in pain and realized I was the victim of a San Antonio Hex. The van was obviously cursed and the old man with the scar across his chest had used some bit of magic to make it appear to be in good working order. In a fit of anger and frustration, I listed it on Craigslist anyhow. Two days later, I had a buyer.

Ford Falcon Econoline DCW van 1964 


Jay, I hope it causes you less pain and suffering than it did me. It's an awesome vehicle, but it fought me and I gave up.

Van anecdote #2: Years ago when we lived in California... I found a 1961 Econoline. A recent widow just wanted it removed from the property, I paid $1 for it. I abused my AAA free hundred mile tow plan to get it moved from Sunnyvale to Santa Cruz. It was filled with stuff, mostly junk. I sold what I could from the inside. One item was a REALLY old tube radio broadcast unit. I found a buyer for it in Spain! He explained he was curating a radio museum and I had helped source the first item.

I later sold that van before I got it running. The new owner had a record store in Marin County. He gave me cash and let me pick out CDs from his store. I'd stop in when I was in the area and he was always glad to see me. He would pull up a pile of CDs he'd set aside for me that he thought I might like. I still play the Ladybug Transistor CD he gave me. Dreamland Records has gone the way of most CD and Record stores... it's gone.

Last night I watched Star Wars Episode Six A New Hope with my family. I recalled that the record store owning, old Econoline buying friend had told me he worked as an Ewok in the movie as a child. How cool is that? One of those little Ewoks was my van friend. So I have that a good Econoline story to counter the Falcon that nearly broke me. I contacted Jay to make sure he made it home after he bought the Falcon DCW. He was still alive, a new hope.

cactus flower soup  

I'll close with a picture of this flower that bloomed from a cactus on my bathroom balcony. Kat boiled it with a few oyster mushrooms. The flower let out some starch and it made a nice soup... I had no idea.  

and now for some Ladybug Transistor...

June 08, 2015

Barton Creek Greenbelt party is on this summer.

Life around the house has been dominated by manual labor type activities. The kids and I have been making daily runs to the dump, hauling away the cedar that was chopped down. We took some time this weekend to visit the Barton Creek Green Belt near our home. Several hundred other people had the same idea. It was quite the party.  

barton creek green belt austin 2015

swimming in the barton creek greenbelt austin 2015

barton creek greenbelt 2015

greenbelt austin barton creek 2015 

paul schuster austin texas

The Whole Foods Flagship store near us is an easy option for cheap and fun dinner. You can buy whatever you like from inside the store (Pizza for us) and your beverages to enjoy on the rooftop patio and playscape area.

whole foods austin lamar playscape rooftop

whole foods flagship store 

So far, Summer weather has not been too hot to enjoy the outdoors. It's actually been quite nice.  


whole foods austin rooftop

#2 son has been hinting that he's ready to start taking guitar lessons. He gave us an air guitar performance to drive the point home.  

air guitar hero 

Another easy meal option has been smoking in the BGE (Big Green Egg). We bought some pastured organic birds from WF because caged birds have a bitter aftertaste of depression. I loaded the smoker up at ten in the morning and removed birds, ribs and sausages later that evening for a feast.  

smoked chicken

(bird portraiture courtesy of Nina H.) 

jorge chinatown sushi westlake austin 

We also joined some friends for a celebration at Chinatown. Jorge (sushi chef) is really talented. I find the best sushi is not from the menu, I let him chose what to make and it's always good.  

June 01, 2015

Mente Clara CD release party/show

These guys are no slackers, they have toured and returned to the studio to make yet another album.

Thankful to have such a talented Jazz Piano man (Owen Summers) to help our kids with musical endeavors.  

owen summers austin jazz mente clara 

Remember when, our lake had no water in it and we had no local brew scene?

Well those days are gone!

maifest austin saengerrunde hall 

We attended MAIFEST at Saengerrunde Hall. Local breweries poured German varieties.

schuster oktoberfest steins maifest austin

We wore our traditional German attire and brought our own steins to hold our beer between sips. My father brought these back from Munich (Oktoberfest).  

german beer festival austin maifest 

We arrived late and did not get to use all our beer tickets, although we put in a good effort for such a short time. Brave Combo played while we enjoyed sausage from Smokey Denmark

sunset at strange land brewing co austin westlake 

No brewery tour would be complete without a stop at our neighborhood suds shop, Strange Land

Strange Land Brewing Co Austin Westlake  

pizza coma 

We had pizza delivered, he thought it was pretty good.  


Soda water on tap.  

westlake brewery austin 

Another great sunset.  

sunset at strange land brewery austin west lake hills  

The lake?....  

oasis brewing company lake travis 2015 

It's just about FULL!. It's been a few years since we've gone out to see Lake Travis. It hasn't been much of a lake for a few years. Now it's got water in it, and a brewery at the Oasis. The temperature was moderate and a gentle breeze was flowing... it was just about perfect.  


lake travis june 2015 oasis 

lake travis june 2015 from oasis 

jenga lake travis 

big green egg smoked chicken eight hours 

I'm getting back into the groove of smoking. I brined the bird overnight and had it smoking by 10 AM the next morning. Took him out of the smoker at 6 PM (eight hours) and it was perfect; tender, moist and flavorful. I'm ready to do it again. Maybe next time I'll double up on the birds so we can share. I did recalibrate the temp meter on the BGE, that seemed to help get the temp where I wanted it.