Tropical Farm

One of my favorite shows on television is International House Hunters on HGTV.

I don’t like the domestic house hunters show because I feel like the Americans looking for new digs are way too pretentious.

There’s only three bathrooms?
But four of us will be living here and we can NOT live without five bathrooms.

We just can’t!


We are a family of four who cohabitate nicely with one bathroom.

Sometimes you just have to cross your legs a little longer.

And that’s okay.

The families on the HGTV show looking for homes in Europe or in warmer climates really interest me.

Oh, what I would do to relocate the farm and wake up in a climate every day that’s warm and tropical.

Where I can have my front door open all day long and where shoes are an optional accessory.

Or, reliving my days of city living, how exciting it would be to live in the city centre of Brussels or Paris with my family.

Where I can open my front door and walk to the shops on ancient cobblestone streets to get the day’s groceries.

A tiny European fridge in my house?

That’s fine.

I could live in an environment where I would head to the market every few days to get ingredients (usually always locally made) for family dinners.

But, I’m here on a small hobby farm in Central Illinois.

The homestead that I have may be really interesting to others.

I get that.

I am blessed to live where I do and I don’t forget that.

I mean, It could be a bit warmer.

But, the woods in my backyard…

The barn full of the furry and feathered kind…

The solitary nature of looking out my front door and not seeing any other houses…

The blue sky, the unobstructed views, the birds chirping, the pool to cool off in in the hot summer…

I try not to become complacent here.

I try to live each day enjoying what I have and enjoying the people that I live with in this 100 year old farmhouse.

This farmhouse used to be much bigger.

My great X4 uncle built this house and there was a dairy farm on the premises.

But, my grandmother Dorothy (who both grew up here and lived here as an adult) tore down the upper floors in the 1960s.

I believe it was because only three people lived here (her and her husband Vern and my dad, Bobby Dale) and it helped to cut back on the heating bills.

So, we only have two bedrooms.

And my daughters share a bedroom.

And we have been told that this isn’t fair.

Especially to the eldest daughter.

Getting cancer at age 5…that’s not fair.

Sharing a bedroom with your sister…sounds pretty reasonable.

It’s been suggested that we should improve our home to suit their needs.

To add on the upper floor again.

Which, of course, we would love to do.

But, that would be expensive.

We don’t have a mortgage on this house.

Never have had one since we were given this house as an inheritance…I think we paid $10.

If I remember, we had to pay something as a transfer of the deed so that my grandfather Vern (who was in his early 90s and had moved to an assisted living facility) wouldn’t be punished with his taxes and what he paid to live in his new home because we moved into his old home.

And, we don’t have the best credit.

Because we have had a child with cancer.

With astronomical medical bills.

And when you have a child with cancer, one parent must always be there for that child.

You can’t both have a job outside of the home.

It’s (I’m not exaggerating here) impossible.

So, bills don’t get paid.

They are late getting paid.

And your credit is damaged while you save your child’s life.

Getting a new car is hard.

Forget about getting a loan to add onto your home.

We don’t have a mortgage and we want things to stay that way.

Now, if we win the lottery…

Well, that’s a dream and our home would get what it needs.

And we would be guests on International House Hunters as we look for our new home.

But, back here in reality, my kids share a bedroom.

And they aren’t complaining.

They are comfortable in their space together.

I joke with them that I’m just preparing them for college.

When they will have to share a room with someone they don’t know.

At least now, they know each other very well.

They have their own beds, yet I often find them in the same one in the morning.

I find that this whole bedroom sharing deal will ultimately make them closer.

It will remind them who and what is important.

It’s not to punish them.

I want them to be best friends.

I want them to learn to have their own experiences and I want them to figure out how to deal with another person’s idiosyncrasies.

I want them to learn patience and how to soak in someone else’s energy to enhance their own.

I want them to talk to each other as they fall asleep.

I want them to giggle and snort until they can’t breathe.

I want them to dream about what THEY want in the future.

I want them to grow up and have children of their own.

And hopefully they will remember how it was to live so closely with each other and they will want to share those experiences with their own children.

Maybe they will live in Europe in a three bedroom apartment with three kids in tow.

Or on quaint farm in a warmer climate where chickens run around the yard and their kids are best friends.

Like they were.

And they will remember the closeness they shared with each other.

Because their mother had a dream for them…







7 thoughts on “Tropical Farm

  1. So Loved it Jennifer…..Your Children Family thoughts and Dreams…..And If I Hit the Lottery you would definitely get a house Remodeling. ….Deal….Love Aunt Glenda….Keep Writing OK…


  2. Pingback: Simple Living versus Excess (or How Not to be Insufferable) – Sycamore Stories

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