Pam Houser is never alone in her log cabin south of Exline.
“You wake up to the birds singing in the trees and go to sleep with the coyotes singing over the hill,” she says. Her cabin is in the Ponds and Prairies. Situated on land that has been owned by the Cline family for almost 100 years, Houser’s cabin sits at the end of a lane and overlooks a large pond.
“The cabin is cozy with the smell of a cherry wood fire in the winter and breezy in the summer,” she says.
“Looking out over the pond from the wrap-around deck I could spot a bass that was just waiting for my hook.”
Houser graduated from Centerville High School in 1972 and from the University of Iowa with a bachelor of music degree in 1976. She was a high school band director for 32 years.
“When I announced my retirement from teaching, my family wanted me to move back to Centerville,” Houser says. “I finally agreed to look at some realty listings. I saw a post for Ponds and Prairies, and I was hooked. Within a couple of weeks I had sold my condo on East Lake Okoboji and purchased the small cabin.
“I loved living next to Gary Cline and his wife, Micki, in the neighboring cabin,” she says. “Gary is also a retired teacher, and we would share teaching stories as we fished. In his teaching days Gary was a fine girls’ basketball coach. He encouraged me to walk and run the trails at Ponds and Prairies and eventually I worked up to running a half-marathon in his honor.”
Houser’s vocation for the first year after retirement was fishing.
“I fished in the morning and at night,” she says. “By October the freezer was full.”
Unwilling to try ice fishing, Houser turned to another passion, photography.
“I took my first photo at the age of 5, and I have been hooked ever since,” she says. “Living in the cabin offered me the opportunity to take photos of anything from daisies to a deer just outside my bedroom window. The loft of my cabin soon became my digital workspace, and I set up my framing shop in the garage and the basement.”
Houser is currently in Santa Fe with her Yorkshire terrier Satchmo Louis while she attends the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.