“Miss Jana” is one of the owners of a really fabulous business called Little Sugar Farm. It’s a “glamping and gathering” retreat that opened recently as an extension to the farm’s vacation rental space. We’ve heard great things!
Here’s more about Jana and the farm, in her own words:
Kids’ names and ages: Katelin age 27, Adam age 24, Leah age 20
You have a really cool job. Can you tell us about it?
My husband and I decided to add glamping to the family farm after our last child left the nest and went off to college. For years the farmhouse has been a vacation rental so unique lodging was something that we felt we could do well. The Little Sugar Farm has been in my family for generations and we love the outdoors and Ozarks so we finally settled on this business knowing it would be distinct and fun to share with others and bring them out to a place that’s been very special to our family and that connects people to the outdoors and heritage.
We also are wanting to be involved in this community and what better way to support the area than by creating something that helps the people that work for us but also gives us a chance to share our heritage with others.
What inspired you to turn the family farm into a business?
When my sister and I inherited the farm in 2006 from our grandfather the biggest challenge was how to actually keep it in the family and sustain it for future generations. We have around 375 plus acres and a lot of our property is leased out to a cattle ranching family but the farmhouse needed to sustain itself so in 2010 we renovated the farmhouse and turned it into one of the first vacation rentals in the area so not only could we sustain the farmhouse but people could enjoy the farmhouse and farm as well as we could visit whenever we wanted while raising kids in Texas. [Note: Little Sugar Farm is officially in Jane, Mo.]
What’s a day in your life like now that you’ve added the glamping business?
Each day in this business is different and a lot of it depends on the weather. In the summer I wake early to mow, clean the tents from the weekend and repair, clean and tend to plants all before it gets hot. I am right now the jack of all trades and am the social media person, creative planning person and guest contact point person so between all the activities of keeping the tents up and running I am marketing, running errands, ordering supplies, and keeping up with expenses and contacts.
When it rains is when I stay inside and catch up on my computer work, plan upcoming events and make lists upon lists of what needs to happen in the the next week. My husband works about 50 hours plus a week remotely and it’s hard for him to get away during the day to do a lot with me that needs to be done before the sun sets so I hired one of my friends who’s worked for us for years to be the grounds keeper for us. This life is a lot of work but absolutely I wouldn’t trade it for anything having come from the city and fences. We have so much space to enjoy and the Little Sugar Creek is beautiful and every day I take a moment or two to enjoy what we’ve created here.
What is it like to be the mom of “older” children?
Being a mom of older children has actually been wonderful. All three of my kids are close to each other and the girls and I talk almost every day. They all live in different places so we all 5 are not together often but when we are it’s full of games, talks and laughter.
Each has their own success in life which has truly been a joy to see them create. Our son is a sailor and strange enough when he’s on his ship we hear from him more than when he’s home gallivanting around with his friends, it’s so good to hear his voice after a month of sea time. As a mother though of older ones, I still worry and am nosey with what’s going on in their lives. They sometimes get miffed at me but they know if they need anything I am always here for them and would help them with anything they need.
What are some of the traditions you started when they were young that you still continue?
We have a Christmas tradition when we get together of opening presents, playing games and being together and sharing with great food and drink but we’ve had to shift the dates a bit in regards to our son’s job. One of the biggest things I’ve told the kids since we all live so far apart now is that at least once a year we need to get together and last year we were lucky it was on my Birthday and at Christmas, we know that celebrating is not a day on a calendar but the day we get together.
Name 3 things you have with you at all times:
My phone (gosh the last 10 years), sunscreen (living in the country and being outside all the time I have to have it) and scissors (I keep these in the truck for everything).
One thing I have been meaning to do is:
Explore the area around the farm more so I can tell guests exactly what amazing things exist here in this area from personal experience. We work so much here it’s hard to get away from our day to day activities but this is one thing my husband and I are putting on the list to do every week this year. I just wrote this so it has to happen.
What would your Spotify (or Netflix!) account tell us about you?
Well taking both of those into consideration, plus the books I read, is that I enjoy a good fantasy, ethereal magical kind of entertainment.
What’s something your friends might not know about you?
When I was a younger mom I was passionate about volunteering for international interests and I managed to do some amazing things that people still talk about here and there, all while managing three young kids. I look back on it and am amazed because the later volunteer work I did in the school district where my kids attended grade school was small potatoes compared to what I did when they were younger.
What did you want to “be” when you grew up?
It’s strange I never wanted to be any specific one thing when I was younger. I was that wild child who flew in the wind trusting my ability to land wherever I wanted. My Grandmother (interestingly the one who’s family owned the farm from the early 1900s) was my rock when I was younger she always said to me, “you can do anything you set your mind to” and she wasn’t making a statement she’d seen me do it from an early age and I’ve always done that, whatever I’ve set my mind to.
If you could snap your fingers and have a new talent, what would it be?
To sing, I’ve always wanted to be able to sing. I am a horrible singer but I love to sing.
What’s your favorite way to chill out at the end of a busy day?
I love to read. I find that over the last year I’ve re-discovered reading because so many of the shows now are repeated story lines. I love fresh creative books that make my imagination soar.
One word to sum me up:
Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious (I asked my husband and this is what he said. Makes sense because there’s not one word that works. ) LOL!!