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November 30, 2015

OG Thanksgiving, win some, lose some.

It was a smaller gathering this Thanksgiving. We called it the OG (Original Group) Thanksgiving.

amh thanksgiving art westlake  

deep fried turkey  

A turkey was fried. I injected one side with red Thai curry, duck fat and coconut cream, and traditional Cajun style on the other (mostly butter, cayenne and garlic). 

OG Thanksgving guys  

I think this was the last big bird fry with this particular burner. It gave us some trouble. 

fried whole turkey austin 

cajun fried turkey thanlsgiving austin 

The white meat (breast) turned out perfectly moist and flavorful. The dark meats (wings and drumsticks) were a bit over done. We saw some wild fluctuations in the cooking oil temp.  

turchetta turkey porchetta  

The real star of this Thanksgiving, the TURCHETTA! It's a porchetta styled turkey breast. I prepared it a day ahead of time. Dropped it in the sous vide for almost three hours and finished it in the hot turkey fryer.  

turkey porchetta turchetta  

So moist and flavorful.  

boy claims fried drumstick 

#2 son is a drumstick eater, just like his Mother. 


I also made my first ever Quiche now that I can't get it from St Philip (one of our favorite local restaurants abruptly closed recently). It also yielded great results. I'm looking forward to a second attempt on both the Turchetta and Mushroom Quiche.

PHP floatilla IPA austin 

PHP is almost too convenient. I've found an appreciation for their Floatilla IPA. #2 son comes along to get together with his Girlfriend. It's a win/win situation for us.


November 23, 2015

Lighting up around town and the elusive Yellow Rose by Lone Pint

easy tiger ping pong

We braved the sudden cold front to walk the Creek Show along Waller Creek. We also braved the cold for some sausages, table tennis (Ping-Pong), and beer at Easy Tiger.  

Lone Pint by Yellow Rose

I am so enthused by the Lone Pint Yellow Rose! This is one of the best beers I've had from Texas. It's super hoppy, but also has floral and citrus notes that create a nice accompaniment to the bitterness. Reminds me of the Heady Topper in Vermont. That's high praise for you non beer nerds.  

waller creek light project  

The Creek Show was fun.  

waller creek creek show 2015 floating the waller 

waller creek show the natural unnatural clark richardson 

austin architects clark richardson waller creek 

A beer nerd friend of ours that's also enthused about the Yellow Rose suggested we try the Electric Jellyfish at PHP (Pint House Pizza). It's fairly close to home so we met there Sunday afternoon.  

electric jellyfish php pint house pizza austin beer 

While it is an extremely hoppy beer, it lacked the floral and citrus notes... the result was a bit more challenging to drink. There is suspicion that they've changed the recipe on this most recent batch...  

PHP pint house pizza south austin 

PHP was fun, it's a great concept that was comfortable and extremely affordable. Their beers are only $3 when football is on. Finally I found good use for football. Thanfully they didn't blast the game over the PA system.

#2 son is always happy to spend time with his girlfriend.

We took all the kids to Mozart's Coffee Roasters to enjoy the Holiday Light show, every hour on the hour starting at 6 PM. 

mozart's coffee lake austin holiday light show  

mozart's coffee roasters holiday light show 2015 austin 

Hot Cocoa was enjoyed.  

November 17, 2015

Wurstfest and the downhill box issue.

schuster family goes to wurstfest


wurstfest 2015 

We took my Mom to WURSTFEST. She doesn't enjoy beer, designated driver!  

wurstfest sausage and turkey leg 

Wurstfest is about two things, Sausage, Beer and the Chicken dance. Notice the lady with the chicken hat behind Kat. she's doing the Chicken Dance!  

wurstfest beer 2015 

That's right! I'm not driving. Beer was enjoyed... 

wurstfest 2015 

We ran into friends at the Wurstfest.  

wurstfest kids 2015 

PROST! wurstfest 2015 



german dance at wurstfest 

All those years at Cotillion dance class paid off at Wurstfest. It was great to see #1 son enjoy a dance with his Grandmother.  

wurstfest dancers 2015 

wurstfest polka dance contest 2015 

I love seeing all the people dressed up for the event. These pics are from the Polka competition.  

wurstfest polka competition 2015 

wurstfest german hat 

I'm not much of a hat person, but I got swept up in the Germanity of it all. I ducked into the nearest photo booth to get a pic with my new purchase.  

heidi of the beer ticket booth wurstfest 

chicken dance scratch post at wurstfest

The ladies at the beer ticket booth have been making a scratch for each time the Chicken Dance is played. They do this for each year. This was the last day of WurstFest 2015 and the count was up to 53 by the time we left.  

heidi of wurstfest 2015 yoga pose 

wurstfest 2015  


craft beer area of wurstfest 2015 

Our friends introduced us to the craft Bier Garten. We'd never even been to this part of WurstFest.

It was all down hill from there...  

wurstfest sliding down the hill in a cardboard box 

The kids opted to not get on the Ferris Wheel or any of the rides what would require converting cash to tokens and standing in line. They found some cardboard from a dumpster and threw themselves at the mercy of the hill.

wurstfest hill slide  

wurstfest stunt boy  

#2 son had some early success, but was unable to replicate proper downhill technique. Frustration did result.  

wurstfest stunt girl 

wurst fest  

Meanwhile, the other kids gave themselves to gravity with little stress or drama.  

wurstfest cardboard box hill slide  

wurst fest action shot 

wurstfest hill slide 

hill slide fail at wurstfest  

Time to head home....  

Mesquite Patio is DONE!

mesquite patio austin txI've finished my most recent home project, the new patio area we created around a Mesquite tree.  I started pruning it a few years back, the tree responded well. It used to be low and shrubby, now it stands tall. The area was a giant pile of weeds, stones and wood scraps from the initial land clearing for construction. I'd tried to hire a landscape company to level it and install the metal border, but the job was turned down.

Out of frustration, I pledged to move a square yard a day over the summer. I started each day before it got too hot. Eventually the area was level. The kids and I hauled stones up to create a retaining wall. I installed the 1/4 inch steel edging. Kat planted the succulents, I laid the sod. Kat, my Mom and I laid the giant (40x48) stone pavers and I hauled in 3k lb of pebbles, and a ton of sand.... We had a few friends over for the first evening spent in the new area.


mesquite patio west lake hills texas 

I also built a combination LP powered fire pit and ice box. One side is a wheel so it can easily be moved.  The top is made from granite, the sides are teak (all recycled) and the frame is steel.

mesquite patio westlake austin  

cerise de terre nathy.d ground cherry ice cider quebec 

I finally opened the Cerise de Terre (Ground Cherry Ice Cider from laconfiture.ca). TSA relived me of this delicacy on our flight home back in 2014. We returned to Montreal to buy it once again this summer. I can now say, IT"S GOOD! I enjoyed some with brie that evening, and a bit on French Toast the following morning.

#monkeytown6 dinner in the cube!

#monkeytown6 austin

Kat and I enjoyed an evening out at Monkey Town 6. Tickets include a five course dinner, wine, gratuity and tax. We dined inside a giant cube made from four screens displaying video art. It was a fun experience.  

The view from outside the cube (above), and from our table inside (below).  

monkey town 6 austin 



The food was all delicious but some courses suffered from being prepared in a cold warehouse kitchen. The steaks were flavorful, but slightly overcooked and arrived quite a while after they had been grilled, only slightly warm-ish. Still, no real complaints, we ate it all. 

#monkeytown 6 emily breedlove soprano  carolyn gould flutist 

The highlight of the evening, Emily Breedlove (Soprano) and Carolyn Gould (flute) provided a lovely musical accompaniment to the silent film portion.  

November 09, 2015

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015... was Fun(X3)

One of the benefits of living in Austin is the abundance of music talent and festivals. While ACL has grown so large and attracts people from all over the world, most locals will tell you Fun Fun Fun is better (and easier).

Scott and I did all three days, Kat joined us for most of that.

roger sellers fun fun fun fest austin 

Roger Sellers

the dwarves fun fun fun fest austin 

The Dwarves

parquet courts fun fun fun fest austin 

Parquet Courts 

peaches fun fun fun fest austin 

We didn't know what we were getting into at the Peaches show. About ten seconds into the show, Scott and I looked at each other in disbelief... but we couldn't stop watching. Definitely NOT family entertainment.

peaches vaginas at fun fun fun fest austin  

peaches fun fun fun fest austin 

Peaches: You know what'd be really cool? If I could smoke a joint up here, somebody get me a joint!

(somebody from the audience promptly supplied one, Peaches lit it and hit it) 

peaches crowd joint fun fun fun fest austin  

peaches fun fun fun fest austin giant penis 

peaches signed my  

We stumbled on a Peaches Meet and greet. I asked her to sign my Rooster (I used a different word for it). She said "OK, hey, my onesy is scratch and sniff" 

peaches fun fun fun fest 

cheap trick fun fun fun fest fff 

Cheap Trick 

cheap trick fun fun fun fest austin fff 

late night dinner at TRACE W 

Scott and I walked to TRACE for a nice dinner before Skinny Puppy. Kat met us at TRACE.

skinny puppy fun fun fun fest austin moody FFF 


Skinny Puppy had a real guitar player and drummer on stage and they sounded better than ever. Babbler Dabbler, Cyclops Overload etc.  

skinny puppy austin 

skinny puppy austin fun fun fun fest moody fff 


Day Two:  

fun fun fun fest shiner beer garten prosit 2015 

archers of loaf fun fun fun fest austin fff 


Archers of Loaf, it'd been almost twenty years since I last saw them. They put on a great show then, and they put on a great show at FFF Fest.

archers of loaf bass #fff  



archers of loaf fun fun fun fest austin #fff 


ride fun fun fun fest austin fff 


jane's addiction fun fun fun fest austin #fff 

Jane's Addiction 

jane's addiction fun fun fun fest austin fff 

jane's addiction dancers fun fun fun fest austin 

Perry had his wife Etty along to provide additional entertainment during the show.... 

jane's addiction etty farrell fun fun fun fest austin #fff   

etta farrell  

chad wadsworth show photographer jane's addiction austin fun fun fun  

Our friend Chad was an official photographer for Fun Fun Fun. He was thrilled to be shooting Jane's Addiction. Here is a picture of Scott taking a picture of Chad taking a picture of the audience..  

jane's addiction fun fun fun fest austin jane says


jane's addiction girls hanging from their flesh 

and at the end of the show, they strung two girls up from piercings in the flesh... they writhed over the stage for the last song while hanging from their skin... is Nothing Shocking?  

Day Three: Kat ALMOST didn't make it for day three.

Afrika Bambaataa Fun Fun Fun fest austin fff 

Afrika Bambaataa: Peace, Love, and Unity! Remember those three things and we don't need any government, if you just do the right thing people!

true words of advice. 

afrika bambaataa fun fun fun fest austin 

cafe bustelo fun fun fun fest 2015 

We were lucky enough to secure one of two table and chair sets outside the Café Bustelo promo tent. We sat there for hours... it was glorious. We took turns fetching beers, food or making trips to the bathrooms. We didn't see a lot of bands on day three, but the weather was great and we enjoyed the festival itself.  

cafe bustelo fun fun fun fest austin 

We stayed and watched the sun set from our café table.  

austin skyline from fun fun fun fest 2015 


austin skyline dusk fun fun fun fest 2015 

mstrkrft EDM fun fun fun fest austin  

MSTRKFRFT are knob twisters... four hands and a bunch of knobs to twist made EDM. We were staying to catch Future Islands. The crowd was getting thick and Kat found herself near several cigarette smokers. She had enough... we left early. We took the opportunity get a nice dinner before heading home.  

It was all FUN FUN FUN.

The clouds made a nice pattern in the sky above the house when we arrived home.  

austin modhouse at night 78746 


November 02, 2015

Mesquite Halloween

Halloween with friends.

red angel girl, pirate girl, mime guy

The daughter is happy to use her tri-fold hat she purchased in Quebec.  

harpy fairy 

#2 son had a solid plan this Halloween. He decided some time back that he would be a Harpy (some sort of feathered and multi-colored fairy). It's what he really wanted, so we made it happen. He was confident in his fairy suit. He really attacked the trick or treat plan and ran up to each house and confidently collected his rewards. #1 son decided it was OK to go trick or treating with NO costume. We won't let that happen again next year. No dressing up, no asking treats.


west lake hills texas owl 

Enjoyed a dinner at some friends back yard when this owl casually flew over and looked down on us.

Back Yard Project update:

A few years back, we hired a professional tree trimming crew. I watched carefully, made mental notes (I've got plenty of unused room up there). I bought myself a tree trimming pole and have been curating the trees myself. This mesquite was sort of bushy back then. The branches drug down to the ground. After several years of pruning the lower branches, it's turned into a focal point for our new patio space.

As the project nears completion, we took the opportunity to have a family sketch.  

austin mod house back yard mesquite patio 

Everybody turned in a version of the Mesquite. In no particular order, each submission is offered below. 

texas mesquite drawing one 

texas mesquite drawing two  

texas mesquite drawing three 

texas mesquite drawing four 

texas mesquite drawing five