April News:

Saturday, April 30 - Fiddle Contest - Today was the big competition that the kids prepare for all year. The boys all won some money and played very well. Cimarron and Laredo placed first and fourth, respectively, in the 13 to 18 competition and Stockton placed third in the 12 and under division.

Several of our friends came to watch. Among them were the Phipps boys.

Kayla Alexander visiting with Aspen. Her brothers Trevor and Jacob were involved in the competition.

Afterwards they all came over for some hamburgers and visiting. As usual, the kids had a little dance practice on the front porch. Attendees were the Alexander family, the Phipps family, the Campbell family, the Boedeker family and their friend, Sheridan as well as our family and Georgia.

Video of the fiddle contest coming soon. . .


Friday, April 29 - Bob Wills Museum - This year is the 40th year that they have had the Bob Wills Day celebration in Turkey, Texas. The town's been working on fixing up the museum dedicated to this western swing legend for a while. The big kick off was today. The kids were asked to perform following the ceremony. We all went up two different times today to listen to them.

Various original instruments from the Texas Playboy's band were assembled at the museum on this small stage in one of the museum rooms.

Stockton even got in on the act.

Thursday, April 28 - Birthday Celebration - Nathan's mom has been visiting us this week. The kids are really enjoying their "Mambo" as they call her. Today was her birthday and Aspen baked her a pound cake.

Stockton kind of got carried away with the candles. We were probably in violation of the burn ban.

Singing happy birthday.

Mambo with "the children".

Here's a couple of pics of other fun times had this week.

Story time was likely to occur at anytime, day or night.

One of many games played this week.


Tuesday, April 26 - Clouds in the West - This is a sight we haven't seen in many months. An actual cloud built in the west and came over our house. A few sprinkles were even felt and cool fresh rain-scented breezes blew around a bit. This makes us even more desirous of a good rain.

Cloud Photo Gallery - Over the weekend I finally got some of my cloud pictures posted on the internet. There are some really amazing formations and some beautiful colors. You can see the Storm Cloud photo gallery here, and the Colorful Cloud photo gallery here. Just let your mouse hover near the menu at the bottom and you'll see a set of controls appear. Press the play arrow and give it a minute to get going. It should play on its own.

Bob Will's Day Practice - The boys have been practicing for the big fiddle contest this weekend. They've moved the contest up to 11:00 on Saturday in Turkey. Everyone's welcome to come!

Stockton gets a little help and advice from his big brother and sister.

Sunday, April 24 - Afternoon Ride - Several of the kids went riding with Nathan this afternoon. Cimarron was still not back from helping work cows with Joe Well's family in New Mexico.

Thursday, April 21 - Cousin Visit - Today we had a wonderful visit with Granny and Kristin and her girls, Maura and Clara Vee. Kristin brought a great lunch for us all and the girls and Stockton ran and played for hours.

Stockton, Maura, Carolina and Clara Vee petting the colts and trying to catch minnows in the horse tank.

You're probably wondering if their feet ever actually touched the ground...


Wednesday, April 20 - Springtime - Here's a little collection of pictures I've snapped over the last few days around here.


Playhouse Cleanup - To prepare for tomorrow's planned visit from the Dendy's, Stockton and Carolina got busy and cleaned up Carolina's playhouse and their playroom.

They were having so much fun playing in their newly cleaned house that they asked permission to eat their supper out there.

They even took the little TV out and watched a movie!


Tuesday, April 19 - Baby Chicks - Every day there are new hatchings around here. Aspen stays busy moving chicks around as they mature from one brooder to another.

These little balls of fluff will eventually be solid white with beards.

This little blue hen didn't need an electric incubator. She hatched out these babies on her own.


Monday, April 18 - Broken Toe - The boys helped Nathan work on a carport he's building in Turkey. A sudden wind burst caused a metal truss to slip, grazing Laredo's shoulder and hitting his toe. I think it's broke. He says it's really sore.


Sunday, April 17 - The Return of the Confederates - The kids ended up having some car trouble on their trip to Mexia. Nathan had to go pick them up today so he could bring my pickup back on a trailer. He made it in time to see the last battle and have homemade apple pie and hand-churned whip cream courtesy of the Covey family. They brought back some wonderful pictures and lots of good memories. See more pictures at our photo slide show here.

Laredo and Cim with new recruits: front row, Anthony and Grant Phipps; back row, Jacob Renfro, Caleb Phipps and Matthew Renfro.

Lovely ladies: Atlanta, Sophie and Clara Covey, Rebecca Roberts, Lydia Covey, Aspen and Isabella Covey in front.

Biscuits, sausage gravy and eggs for Saturday morning breakfast.

Cim got to be temporary Corporal for the battle. Here he is with his motley crew.

Battle scenes. The 7th Texas dismounted cavalry is in the right foreground.

Later they enjoyed a game of croquet on the beautiful Confederate Reunion Grounds in Mexia.

Who could resist dancing with any one of these pretty girls?

Sunday morning around the campfire.

The guys thought the girls needed to learn how to fire a black powder rifle. It made for some cute pictures.


The rebel forces forming up for the Sunday afternoon battle.

After battle pictures (with black powder stains where they ripped open their homemade paper cartridges with their teeth during the battle).

These boys (Matthew and Jacob Renfro) had a wild fire scare of their own. Right after packing up Sunday they got a call from their mom that a fast moving fire was just across the fence from their ranch south of Graham. It was several days before the danger was completely past for them.

See more photos here.


Saturday, April 16 - Trip to Lubbock and Wild Fire Scare - This afternoon we planned to spend a fun time at Misty's house visiting with Audrey (Misty's oldest) and husband, Joe Hyland and their new baby, Stanley (that I've been dying to see) and the rest of the family. We got to Lubbock around 4:00 p.m. and went to mom's to drop off some coffee and co-op stuff that she and Sunny had ordered. We loaded back up and headed for Wilson. We didn't even make it around the block before my closest neighbor in Northfield called and said there was a new wildfire between us and Matador with the winds pushing it our way. So, off we went back home again. You never saw two more sad kids than Stockton and Carolina when they learned they were going to miss playing with their cousins and weren't even going to get out of the pickup. We made it home in record time and saw the huge plumes of white smoke rising in the distance as we approached Matador. Thankfully, the volunteer firemen were able to get out in front of it and set a backfire that worked exactly as they were hoping it would. It was under control by the time we got home.

Friday, April 15 - Mexia Reenactment - The four oldest kids left again this morning to attend a civil war reenactment in central Texas. The three oldest Phipps boys went with them.

From left: Atlanta, Cim, Laredo, Aspen and Grant, Anthony, Caleb Phipps

Cold, Cold North Wind - What an unusual day we had today. Not that windy weather isn't a normal spring occurrence in west Texas, but the wind is not normally out of the north this time of year. We had wind gusts up to 67 miles per hour according to the weather service. I had to feed all of Aspen's chickens out at the barn since she was out of town and ended up eating a lot of sand as it blew off the wheat field north of the house. There were a lot of fires in Texas today, too, that were fueled up with the high wind speeds. Here's a satellite picture that was posted on the internet showing the smoke plumes in our part of Texas.


Tuesday, April 12 - Smokey Sunset - There's been a lot of smoke in the atmosphere lately. The grass fires south of here, although horrible for those directly threatened, have nevertheless given us some beautiful sunsets. Here's what I saw tonight.


Monday, April 11 - "British Colonial" Inspired Bedding Set - For those interested in our online shop, here's a new bedding set we've created for the new Canopy bed. You can visit our shop here.


Sunday, April 10 - Renfro Ranch Visit - Before returning home Sunday, the kids were invited to spend a few hours at the Renfro Ranch in Graham. The Renfro boys are new friends that have been at several of the dances and events that the kids have attended lately.

Laredo and Aspen with Matthew Renfro on a walk through the ranch.

Relaxing on the deck of the ranch cabin.

Saturday, April 9 - Home School Cotillion -  Atlanta, Cim, Laredo and Aspen drove to Decatur today to attend an event with our friends, the Roberts, and their home school group. They enjoyed a fancy meal and a very interesting dance.

Atlanta and Rebecca Roberts taking a break.

Aspen and Cimarron

Matthew Renfro, Atlanta and Laredo


Thursday, April 7 - New Chicks - Aspen has been busy incubating some hatching eggs that she purchased from other breeders and received in the mail. The day finally arrived when the first ones were due to hatch.

It's hard to believe this little guy is from an egg which was laid in Indiana. It's a breed and a color she doesn't have, a lavender ameraucana.

These are some buff orpingtons from Aspen's flock.

Wednesday, April 6 - Visit from Granny and Peggy - We had a nice visit today with Granny and one of her "walking buddies" named Peggy. As is usual when mom is here, I start enjoying my visit so much I forget to take pictures:( Granny brought sacks of goodies and estate sale finds and the kids had a great time showing Peggy all their "stuff". Everyone had a fun day.

The Peacock Eggs - Actually, a peacock couldn't lay an egg, only a pea hen, but I digress...Sunny has a friend who has pea fowl and offered to share with Aspen.  Granny picked them up and brought them. Aspen also received a package of hatching eggs in today's mail. She ordered them off the internet. Everything went into the new incubators this afternoon.

Check out the size of this pea fowl egg.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the eggs Aspen received today.


Tuesday, April 5 - Museum Dress - Atlanta was fortunate enough to be chosen to make a display dress for a museum in Jackson, Mississippi. It will be a part of a small Civil War museum that is in a restored historical home. This has been an ongoing project that has been in the works for a while. It finally all came together this week.

Beautiful purple background with tiny flowers; this material is a civil war reproduction design.

Lots of hand gathered ruffles on this dress. The back buttons up with antique glass buttons.

The lace was some that had been around the museum for a long time.


Monday, April 4 - New Incubators - Aspen was offered a great deal on a couple of used commercial incubators. The Macha's had a relative that had purchased them at an auction. Aspen and Windy ran to Plainview this morning to pick them up. Aspen couldn't wait to put them into use.


Saturday, April 2 - The Great Air Soft Battle - The boys finally had their big air soft day. The Phipps boys and the Hernandez boys and Joe Wells came over for the day with all their gear and battled it out for most of the day. They got pretty hot, and they got a few whelps, but overall, they stayed safe and had fun.

You've got to admit, they're intimidating. Pictured from left: John and Peter Hernandez, Stockton, Daniel Hernandez, Grant Phipps, Cim, Joe Wells, Laredo, Caleb and Anthony Phipps.

After lunch they all loaded up and spent a little time down at the creek.

Even the girls were invited. Desarae Phipps and Atlanta don't miss the opportunity for a little outdoor fun.

Peter Hernandez and Joe Wells get better acquainted.

Caleb Phipps, Daniel Hernandez and Laredo pause for some water intake.

John Hernandez...ready for predators.

From left: Aspen, Anthony Phipps, Joe Wells, Peter and John Hernandez, Caleb Phipps.

Stockton tries to catch a fish.

Desarae Phipps, Atlanta, Grant Phipps and Daniel Hernandez.


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March News

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