The Farm Report: Sara’s Home In The Hills

      60 Comments on The Farm Report: Sara’s Home In The Hills

More than a year ago, my daughter Sara became somewhat obsessed with having her own little cabin on our land.  Her vision, which she shared with me over and over, was quite precise.

I’m going to sit on the front porch of my cabin on nice days and drink iced tea and read books, with the dogs curled up at my feet.

So your cabin has to have a porch, huh?

Yes, it has to have a porch.  With a railing.

I found her vision appealing, but (as I explained to her) there’s a word for kids who get everything they want just because they want it: spoiled.

You can have your cabin, I told her.  But you have to earn it.  I’m not buying it for you just because you asked.

So she and Chareva agreed on a list of indoor and outdoor chores that would pay in Cabin Cash, and Chareva printed a bunch of the new currency in various denominations.  I suppose it was fun to act like the Federal Reserve and simply create new money out of thin air.

Sara set about earning Cabin Cash by scooping up after the dogs, vacuuming, emptying trash, feeding the chickens and collecting eggs, and generally assisting with various farm projects.  She’d get busy with school and other activities and forget about the cabin for awhile, then wake up on a weekend and demand we give her a project to earn more Cabin Cash.  She finally finished filling her account with the required funds during the log-splitting weekend, when she worked alongside me for two long days.

Chareva ordered the cabin (a customized shed) from Yoder’s Dutch Barns.  They originally said the turnaround time would be four to six weeks, but when she told them Sara’s birthday is November 6th, they replied they’d get ‘er done in time.

The cabin arrived today while I was at work.

Sara got off the school bus as the cabin was being situated and reacted in her usual cool-as-ice manner:

She wanted the cabin in the side yard so she can get to it by climbing out her bedroom window. I wanted it in the side yard because she has plans to camp overnight in the cabin, and the side yard is within the area patrolled by our Rottweilers.

There’s hardly a flat spot on our land, and certainly none in the side yard, so the guy who delivered the cabin swung it around and used concrete blocks to level it.

The cabin has a couple of lofts inside, which Sara plans to convert to sleeping and lounging areas.  She also has plans to store food and water out there.  I’m not sure if it’s occurred to her yet that the cabin doesn’t include a bathroom.

Anyway, I expect to see her out there soon, sitting on the porch, drinking iced tea and reading a good book with the dogs curled up at her feet.

Enjoy, kiddo.  You earned it.

Meanwhile, Alana and Chareva are working on a new currency called Treehouse Tender.

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60 thoughts on “The Farm Report: Sara’s Home In The Hills

  1. Bryan Harris

    Very awesome indeed! Your kid reminds me of Ron Swanson, fictional character who got his first job at the age of 9.

    Reply
  2. Nads

    You don’t have tornados there do you? It is reminding me of Dorothy’s house on those stumps. Well done Sara! Your other girl will have to do chores for Sara if she wants to use it, for sure!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Unfortunately, tornadoes do move through this part of the country. But they don’t seem to go through the hilly areas like ours. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

      Reply
  3. Jana

    That is awesome. My parents talked of building a victorian cottage for me on their property so I could maintain the property while they went on vacations but then I went and got married and had my own kids. I still want my cottage on a spacious bit of land but it may take a little longer to get it.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      We were reasonably confident Sara wouldn’t run off and get married anytime soon. Good luck getting that cottage someday.

      Reply
  4. Bruce

    What the he!!????? You actually made you child earn something they wanted? And they had to work long enough to get it that it would be possible they no longer wanted it when they did get it.

    Call DCFS pronto!

    Good job. She had to wait and earn it. She will appreciate it (I think) and maintain it all that much more.

    Reply
  5. Bret

    Super cool! I love the cabin cash — I may borrow this idea in the future when my now two year old is mature enough to learn from it.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      We’re fans of Dave Ramsey, who believes parents should help their kids financially, but also require the kids to have skin in the game.

      Reply
  6. Lesley

    I wonder is she knows about the Tiny House movement….because they would be all over this. Tiny houses on wheels is this generations attempts at NOT getting locked into the high mortgage traps of their parents and friends and since the houses are on wheels it also circumvents the building and zoning restrictions set up by many cites and municipalities – also the Simple/Minimalist movement is a huge proponent of these tiny homes. Its all over the web now..
    Your daughter is ahead of her time!!! Good for her!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I saw one of those tiny houses on a TV show. Incredible how much living space they squeeze into those little structures.

      Reply
  7. Lynn

    Sweet . It’s wonderful Sara has supportive
    Parents who follow through with what they
    Promise. Good job Sara. You are industrious,and
    Persistent. You earned your reward.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      They both get an allowance for routine chores. Sara’s “cabin cash” chores were of the above-and-beyond variety.

      Reply
  8. Shirley

    What a lovely story! So nice to hear reasonable parents reacting in a loving and teaching way to their young ones! I’m sure you all are going to have some great stories and memories from Sara’s cabin!

    Reply
  9. Lindy

    Love the cabin and the way it was earned. I need a couple of these to have on hand when our grown children & spouses come for a visit. The grandkids can stay with Grams & Gramps!

    Reply
      1. Erica

        Two words: composting toilet. Nothing fancy or expensive, just a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat and another bucket of sawdust. I’ve heard they don’t smell and you could compost the human waste in a separate pile from kitchen waste. (Wonder if you could add the Rotties’ to that? I’m sure you’re doing poop patrol in the yard, right?)

        Reply
        1. Galina L.

          No, sawdust is absolutely not enough to prevent smell from a human waste. It is a wide-spread solution in Russia in a country-houses, it helps, but there is a smell. No suitable to keep inside a house, however, it could be used for peeing only at night. I remember reading some bio-mixes were developed for campers to work efficiently on human by-products .

          Reply
  10. Jeanne

    Saving money to buy my horse was a defining moment in my life. Great that you’re giving Sara the same kind of experience.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Sara, if you’re reading this: NO HORSES!

      (Geez, the way otherwise loyal readers keep trying to undermine my parental authority on the horse issue …)

      Reply
  11. GK

    Hm, what are those foundation blocks sitting on? The cabin may end up settling a lot and ruin its level if the ground is not hard…

    Reply
  12. James H

    Uh boy, you’re in for it now; child slavery is wrong. Hillary, Michelle, or even Dear Leader himself will no doubt sic those child protective folks on you. Y’all apparently haven’t received the word that instant gratification helps build children’s self-esteem.

    When you and Chareva are executed, I’ll say a prayer over y’all’s graves.

    Reply
  13. Drew @ Cook Like Your Grandmother

    I guess I’m the third or fourth person to express concerns about the blocks it’s on. I’d sink some 4x4s or even 4x6s below the frost line and create a sold base.

    Rent the post-hole digger of course. I dug one by hand this summer. I won’t dig multiples that way.

    Reply
  14. Namu

    “I suppose it was fun to act like the Federal Reserve and simply create new money out of thin air.”

    Haha, not at all. You were issuing money to tally real wealth being created by Sara. Moreover, you were doing it inside a single per-to-peer relationship. And in the end, you balanced the credit relationship back to zero between you two, by bringing real wealth the other way around (the cabin), and destroyed the money that was no more needed to express the credit offset between you and Sara.

    You, Tom, were simply building your very own Ripple connection ! Nothing is more different from central banking than that. If that intrigues you, you can learn more about it by googling Hawala, social network credit, or Ripple.

    Reply
  15. AndreaLynnette

    That is so cool! That’s the kind of thing that your kid will love and use for YEARS. I still tell stories about the fort my dad built in the backyard for me and my brother, and that was a solid 20 years ago.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      She spent part of yesterday (gorgeous day here) in the cabin with the dogs, happy as a clam. Did my heart good.

      Reply
      1. AndreaLynnette

        I had a thought: if she’s planning to make a bed of some kind out there, it’d be a good idea to get urethane foam and cover it in waterproof canvas. The foam is really dense, so it resists mildew, mold, and bugs, plus it can be hosed off if it gets dirty. We use waterproof canvas in a lot of outdoor stuff. Tents, furniture, etc. The canvas runs about $10-15/yd these days. The urethane foam would probably cost about $100-$150 for a big enough block to make a twin mattress. Look for a sale online or in your fabric store.

        Reply
  16. Marc

    Tom,
    not only are you a wonderful man, but simply a terrific father. ( and I don’t even personally know you)

    The post brought tears to my eyes.
    Thanks for the beautiful example of the right things In life… Especially as it relates to raising happy people.

    Marc

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thank you, Marc. I had the advantage of becoming a father later in life when (we hope, anyway) we’re a bit more clued in about what’s important.

      Reply
  17. Nancy Smiley

    What a wonderful post, and the pictures of Sara are priceless. I can’t wait to see her in situ – toilet or no. Love and congratulations on being wonderful parents. Grandma.

    Reply
  18. Paula

    I was shopping with my mother in Good Will years ago when I was a young girl. I saw a very old book that I just had to have titled, “Two Little Women and Treasure House.” The story was about two young girls who were friends and their fathers got together and built them a tiny house for the two of them to share. It even had a working fireplace! I was enthralled with the idea and never forgot the book. The little girl in me is so jealous of your very lucky daughter! Hopefully, she’ll never grow up to be a middle-aged woman who is envious of a young girl she’ll never meet…lol! Great job, Tom! You’ve given your daughter much more than her own “house”…you’ve given her a happy memory that no one will ever be able to take from her!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      When she kept working towards for it for more than a year, I knew this wasn’t some passing fancy — this was her childhood dream. And yes, it did my heart good to make that dream come true.

      Reply

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