The title says it all – Welcome to the Jay Place! This old little farmhouse has been home to my husband Brennan and I since September of 2018. Our sixth home in four years of marriage. After living in a multitude of small apartments and old houses from Mississippi to Idaho, we finally decided to put down some roots and grow our family in our home state of Mississippi. This was not a decision we came upon lightly. After a few years of living out west we came to realize that, as cliche as it sounds, there really is no place like home. We wanted to give our future children a life where they see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins more often that not. Where they can run out the front door and we don’t have to worry about cars driving too fast. Where they can make mud puddles and tree forts and pick blueberries off the bushes their great-grandaddy planted years and years ago.
Although technically, the Jay Place wasn’t “home” to either of us. It’s actually probably the very last place I would have guessed we would end up. This piece of property is just a few miles down the road from the home my grandparents built. “The Jay Place,” as it has been called as long as I’ve been alive (and much longer, I’m sure) was originally owned by, you guessed it, the Jay family. My Grandaddy bought this place after he retired from his farming career and spent the majority his golden years over here raising cattle, planting gardens, and working in his shop. I have many many memories of riding over here when my family came to visit and drinking a grape soda out of his shop fridge while playing with some of the many barn kittens he kept around.
We aren’t sure exactly how old the house is, but it was probably built sometime in the early 1900s. The style of the house is called a “dog-trot” house. A markedly southern style of home, this house originally had an open breezeway off the deep front porch dividing the house in half, where a dog could trot right on through if they so pleased. This central open-air hallway helped the house stayed cooler in the hot ole’ Southern summers!
As I mentioned before, my Grandaddy planted tons of blueberries that now provide all of our family and friends with more blueberries than we know what to do with each summer. My husband calls this part of the farm “the orchard” as it’s covered in rows of blueberries, pear trees, and muscadine vines.
*My pregnant self picking blueberries until my feet were so swollen they could barely get out of those boots*
These muscadines, or scuppernogs as they’re known around here, are a type of grape that grows really well down South. They are a green variety that, when ripe, taste to me like sweet tarts. Sour and sweet and oh so delicious. They have much thicker skin than the grapes you can buy at the grocery store, along with large seeds, but they make some of the most delicious jelly you could ever slather on a homemade buttermilk biscuit. Promise.
Some of our little farm kitties. Most likely some descendants of the barn cats my Grandaddy cared for in his later years. They like to keep us company on the front porch and out in the gardens.
We’re lucky enough to have family with tractors and an eagerness to garden, so although we didn’t get around to starting our own big garden this year, we had some familylovingly tend the old patch of dirt out in front of the house where my Grandaddy used to grow his garden. It’s now tall with corn, and covered in an assortment of sprawling watermelon vines, big squash plants, butter beans, and deer tracks (of course.) I can’t wait to get her hands on a big juicy watermelon later this summer. There’s just something so satisfying about watching tiny seeds turn into these beautiful plants that produce some of the most flavorful food you can find. Summertime in Mississippi may be suffocating at times, but it’s also incredibly abundant and unlike any other time of the year.
And finally, meet our very first little farm animals! We have four chickens, two of which have turned out to be roosters. We’re hoping to continue to develop our chicken operation next year and hatch some little babies to add to the flock. It’s been so much fun to watch them grow from the tiny little chicks Brennan brought home in a box after work one day to big teenage chickens scratching around in the dirt. No eggs yet to speak of, but it will all come in good time. As long as they all don’t turn out to be roosters….
In all of the years of coming to visit this place, it never even crossed my mind that this was where I would end up settling down and starting my own family. But life is funny sometimes and things tend to have a way of working themselves out in ways we never could have guessed.
We have endless plans and dreams for this place, from chickens to goats to huge gardens and who knows what else. But for now we’re just taking it one day at a time, waiting for our first little farm helper to make his or her way into the world, and mostly sitting on the porch and taking in the beauty of this little place we’re lucky enough to call home.