Not your typical Iowa farm site

A young couple has chosen this beautiful rural Iowa farm as the setting for their “pre-wedding” event Saturday, Sept. 1.  On display for the guests, courtesy of a neighbor, will be three antique tractors: Two 1954 Farmalls and a 1951 John Deere.

Last summer a young couple from New York City was visiting family in Iowa and were driving down Hwy. 169 when one farm in particular caught the lady’s eye. “It was so picturesque,” thought Jiabei. “We weren’t engaged yet, but I thought to myself, that it would be the perfect venue for an Iowa wedding.” 


Sundae Morning Farm

    The farm she had eyed was owned and operated by Greg and Margot Hodges-Tinner. They, too had seen the beauty in the rural Iowa farm site, but instead of coming from New York, they had lived on the other coast in Washington State, before making their home in the Midwest.

    Greg and Margot’s only child, son Erich, was attending Iowa State University in Ames, studying veterinary medicine. Margot wanted to move closer, but not too close she was told. They had to live at least 30 minutes away was her son’s stipulation. “In addition to wanting to be nearer to our son, Greg was dismayed at the rate of commuters to the Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash. area into our farming community and establishing housing developments,” said Margot who had grown up  spending most of her free time on her grandparents’ dairy farm and still maintained a farm operation.  “Agriculture was being pushed aside and we were not happy with that. We wanted to live in a true, rural farming area. What better place than Iowa!”

    Finding the perfect location was quite a process. The property, they told the realtor, had to have an old farm house to renovate and a big dairy barn. In searching all around Central Iowa, the owners thought it ironic that the final three homes they looked at were located along Hwy. 169.

    Margot knew it was the house the first time they pulled up. But  their first offer was declined.  

    “A couple years later, the realtor called us (it was in the middle of the night for me as I was in Japan at the time) and asked if we were still interested in the Ogden farm,” said Margot. On Oct. 31, 2012 the second offer was accepted.

    As the house had been vacant for 15 years, much work needed done, beginning with a whole new geo-thermal system. Everything was handled long distance. They first reached out to Sherwin-Williams for a painter. “It was a chain effect from that point on,” explained Margot. “The painter then lined up the craftsmen. And it was all done ‘with a handshake’ over the phone. Everyone was so trusting. Welcome to Iowa.”

    The expansive seven bedroom, eight bathroom home was quite a project. Yes, eight bathrooms! According to Margot, the previous home owner had intended for the house to made into a bed and breakfast, therefore had converted closets into bathrooms, leaving a shortage of closet space. A whole new kitchen was in order as well. 

    The following August, along with five horses, their beloved Brown Swiss cow named Sundae, (for whom the farm is named), three cats and a dog, the couple moved to Iowa.

    Neighbor Marilyn Paulson gave her the first piece of advice after moving in - get a generator.  Apparently that area was at the end of the power line and was the last to have service restored after an outage. “So that was my present my first birthday in Iowa,” said Margot.

  Read more in the Aug. 29 issue of The Ogden Reporter.