Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Bandera Labor Day

A cowboy parade, rodeos and honky-tonkying? Now that's a Labor Day celebration! Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World, puts on a great weekend of festivities over Labor Day weekend and Jon and I were so thankful for the extra long weekend to join the Catlins and Blues at the ranch. Though Jon likes to spend 90% of his time at the ranch "working" with Jason, we were able to tear the guys away from the chainsaw and 4-wheelers long enough to see the festive parade and art vendors in town. The parade kicks off with a massive Longhorn cattle drive down Main Street followed by several Western riders with bedazzled horses. Despite the insanely hot temperatures, it was such a fun sight, that leaves one thinking.... "only in Texas."

Bandera parade

Bandera parade
Bedazzled patriotic horses
Hangin' on the courthouse steps 
Posing in front of the Palamino brigade
Jason and Jon with a "Miss Rodeo" winner
Later that afternoon, Margaret and Brandon drove up from San Antonio to spend the evening with us at the ranch. We had a blast catching up with them again and after dinner, decided to show them the nightlife around Bandera. We introduced them to the iconic Arkey Blue's where we enjoyed two-stepping (much to some old cowboy's amusement) to Western oldies. 

Honky tonky-ing at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon
Though this was Conan's second time at the ranch, he was much more active and involved this go round. He loved spending time with his cousins and meeting many of the ranch habitants. Leader of the donkey pack, Rambo, even made a special visit to the back patio just to meet Conan. And of course, Conan had to visit Goldie and Buddy and have his first "ride" on a horse. 

Conan and Boulan - best friends in the making
Conan, meet Rambo

My Goldie

Conan's first "ride" on Buddy
The time went by way too quickly, as it always does, and before we knew it we were back in the car for our 8-hour trek to Norman. Though it is by no means close, we are so grateful to be this much closer to one of our favorite spots in the world. We can't wait to be back at Thanksgiving!

Until November, Hix Ranch!

Conan's First Camp Meeting

Bloys Camp Meeting holds a special place in my heart. Having attended since birth, it was even more special this year to introduce Conan to this incredible week of the year. Each August, over 2,000 people come together for one week to worship the Lord in the beautiful Davis Mountains of west Texas. Bloys was started in 1890 to provide church services for cowboys working the sparsely populated ranches of west Texas. Today, some of the families of those first attendees still come and join together during a week I like to describe as church camp, a family reunion and vacation all rolled into one. 

Unfortunately, for the 6th year in a row, Jon was unable to attend due to work, but Conan and I enjoyed lots of time with the Catlins, Hicks and our many friends. 

Conan and Boulan
Laurel and the Blue Boys
Having missed the past two years myself, I was so thrilled to return to Bloys and catch up with many friends and spend lots of time with my dear cousin, Macy.

Macy, Laurel and me

Conan and his "Bumpa"

Conan and his "Cha"

Conan at 3 months

Lunch at the cook shed

One of my favorite aspects of Camp Meeting is being surrounded by the gorgeous scenery. I enjoyed lots of sunset walks, bouldering, and even a sunrise mountain climb.

Davis Mountain sunset

Davis Mountain Sunset

Davis Mountains

A climb rewarded with excellent views!

A climb rewarded with excellent views!

Davis Mountain Sunrise
View of Camp from the mountaintop

One afternoon, we trekked to the nearby town of Marfa to browse the shops and explore this adorable, artsy town.

El Paisano Hotel 

El Paisano Hotel

Welcome to Marfa, Conan!
It was a wonderful week to get away from TVs, telephones, computer and all other technology and simply enjoy family togetherness and most importantly, focusing on God's many wonders. I'm so happy  that we'll be able to attend more frequently now that we're Stateside again. Until next year, Bloys!