Upon his death, their dad left 1000 acres of pristine farm land to his children. Their initial thought was to keep the land and the farmhouse and make it a family retreat. But as the years went on, they realized that traveling from Colorado and Chicago to an area without a commercial airport was just a dream. Their children were adults now, and not interested in traveling to such a remote area of the country----especially without Internet, GPS, and cell phones. Yet, heart strings were tugged and the fact that this land had been in the family for over three generations stayed on their minds. Their father spent his life buying property adjacent to the farm, just so it would remain pristine and untouched. So what was the solution- how to honor their father and his wishes, yet be practical in this day and time. Finally, a solution was found. The state purchased much of the land to maintain because of a relatively rare species of plant growing on it. A local business man purchased some of the land to run cattle on, as it was also adjacent to his land. And the sister that really wanted to keep the farm, inherited a portion of land and the farmhouse.
After all this was finalized, we cooked dinner at the farmhouse and talked about family memories. ( how rare to chat for 4 hours !!! No TV, no Internet, no cell phone). Drawing upon my own experience from growing up in a rural area, I asked the sisters what foods and recipes were family favorites?? I didn't get a lot of answers from them- possibly chicken and dumplings and custard pie. I just couldn't figure it out- my family gathered every Sunday just to eat and my aunts fought over who made the best fried chicken!!. So what drew their family together - here in such a beautiful rural part of the country??? And I finally figured it out- it was simply "the love of the land". Their father was an architect and loved to design. He designed many of the buildings in town. All of his children inherited some of his talent. Jill's sister and brother are both landscape architects. Her sister, Patty, a designer, has created a beautiful garden at her home in Colorado. While Jill's career has been in retail, she has a keen eye for design and loves gardening and home design.
Jill's father constantly reminded his children that "there is not a more beautiful spot in the world" than this part of Missouri. And I have to agree-----
Sunrise from the back porch
Early morning fog
The old rose growing on the fence
The patch of irises that Jill's mother planted years ago.
The old swimming hole
The old mill where their grandparents took their wheat to be ground.
The state park where they played and picnicked as kids
Two close sisters digging up a few of their mother's irises to plant in their gardens back home.
Closing and locking that fence for the last time-