Hi, I’m Jenna. A musician, teacher, dog owner, wife and amateur family genealogist. I live in rural Iowa where I work solely in music: as a teacher and performer (though I mostly end up “performing” at funerals with a few orchestra and community theatre productions thrown in…so…don’t get too carried away with that description, this is rural America after all).
This blog started as an outlet for my writing, but quickly changed direction. You see, my paternal grandfather was a quiet man that Tyler and I visited whenever we could. He loved swing music, dancing, doing yard work and drinking coffee all day long. He was also quietly hilarious and had subdued excitement (as he never was visually over excited for anything) for Tyler and I to find our acreage and make our home-something he always wanted for his own family. Then in 2013 he passed away.In 2014, after four years of renting in our small community and visiting nearly every acreage and house built before 1930 up for sale, my husband and I bought the “unbuyable” house that had been on the market for years. A little acreage, just past the historic district, with a gravel road a bunch of weeds and the most pitiful looking house you have ever seen.
I started writing about the tiniest details of the house (which we gutted and began restoring one day after taking ownership) because I so wished I could still speak to my grandfather about all of this. And so, the blog became about our project and sometimes about the other twists and turns in life…The reality of living in a rural community when you yourself don’t drink or smoke or frequent bars, are childless, have serious concerns about organized religions and political parties, and work all sorts of strange hours can make for a somewhat strange existence, but never a dull one.
One of the joys of our lives has been the addition of our dearly loved Large Munsterlander, Gus. (That’s a dog and no, don’t worry, hardly anybody has ever heard of the breed). Gus is the light of my life. He is goofy, and anxious, and cuddly and my best pal.
And then there’s Tyler. The fella is one of those rare people who has stayed true to his life’s desires and wishes since he was quite young. In seventh grade he announced he was going to take over his hometown high school band director job…and he actually did it. He’s loyal, has the strongest sense of work ethic and integrity of anyone in the entire world (this is really not an understatement) and is one hell of a musician and teacher. Fortunately, he’s just as old fashioned as me. I’d say we make a pretty good team.
So feel free to join us one our journey through homestead restoration and life as musicians in rural Iowa. And if you are ever in town, stop by and visit…that is not a polite request…we really do want you to stop and visit. I’ll put on the coffee and get out the zucchini bread and we’ll all laugh about the work-in-progress that is the homestead.
*Portraits by Kaitlyn Rose Photography, all other photos by me.