Today, JoAnn Chavis lives in a quiet Hesperia home, perhaps too large for her own needs. But when she was a child, her family crammed into a house built by her father's own hands in rural Kentucky.


"We had no road, no electricity. But we lived really good."


The family of Henry and Fanny Burchett was removed from city life, but there was plenty to do. Living on a large spread in Buffalo Creek, the nearest town was miles away in Pikeville.


"We'd go to the woods and tap maple syrup. We even made our cornmeal. We had blackberries and raspberries. We never had to buy anything."


The family had a cane mill for processing sugar cane. The resulting molasses was thick, sweet and delicious.


And her father maintained a smoke house, which saw regular use as needed.


"He'd kill three big hogs every winter. You'd have to round the hams out. That's how we were raised."


In fact, Chavis says, "I could kill a hog now and do it up."


Chavis' mother certainly did her share.


"She'd can stuff and sew our clothes."


Despite all the hard work for the large family the Burchetts had 11 daughters and one son they made time for other things of importance. The entire family played bluegrass music. One sister, Jean, was so talented that she was a veritable one-girl band.


"She's like Barbara Mandrell. She plays anything she picks up, guitar, banjo, autoharp, dulcimer. And my brother Bill plays banjo."


Sometimes friends would walk to the Burchett home and listen to the sweet sounds.


"We'd set on the porch and play music. They said it was the best music they'd ever heard."


The family would walk five miles every Sunday to go to church.


To accommodate all of his children, Henry Burchett built eight bedrooms, five upstairs and three downstairs. He also built the china cabinets and many other amenities.


He also helped build a small school house next to their property.


With nearly a dozen daughters, he certainly had his hands full.


"Everybody knew we had a house full of girls. He always had a shot gun set behind the door."


Eventually her family sold the home and moved to Ohio. Many of her siblings followed. Some went to near Michigan. Chavis married a serviceman and moved to Southern California, Hollywood at first. Then Hesperia 35 years ago.


"I'm the only one here."


Over the years, family members would think back to their old Kentucky home. Last August they visited Buffalo Creek.


"The house is not there no more. It burned," she said. "My sister cried. It was so sad."


While the home is long gone, the memories certainly aren't.


"I'll tell you we had a good life growing up there."