Welcome to our family blog to keep you updated on all the happenings around the Walker cottage and "farm". Even though we live in a rural section of the Tennessee Mountains life is far from boring as you will see.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

February Walker Newsletter


Today the weather warmed up enough (close to 60 degrees) that I am hanging clothes out on the line. I love to see clean wash flapping in the breeze and sunshine. The wind still has the arctic chill to it reminding one that winter is not over yet.

We've had a couple skiffs of snow to whiten the landscape and one bad ice storm in January with temperatures below freezing that had me housebound for over a week. Dwight with his 4-wheel drive truck brought in Dana's meds, milk and bread for me as I couldn't get out.  The snowplow doesn't come down our dead end road and the hill out to the main road faces north so it is slow to melt off here in the forest of the Big South Fork.

My daffodils are already poking their heads out of the ground. It's so exciting to see tiny green shoots appear on the barren ground because it lets me know that spring is coming. Meanwhile I'll keep my wood-stoves going on rainy cold days.

We didn't get in as much wood as we would have liked for the winter and with January being colder our wood supply was running low. So a couple of weekends, Dwight cut up some dead trees in our woods to help tide us over. Case and I helped carry wood and stack it in the wood shed as well as replace wood on the porch and inside for me, which is such a blessing as I wear out quicker than I used to do. Meanwhile toting wood, cleaning out the ashes in the stoves, and carting water to the animals each day keeps me in shape. Cold days finds me cooking up mash as well to pamper the dear hens.

          I also love to bake, do up a batch of homemade bread, and make a huge pot of soup when wintry winds are blowing outside. I hate to leave the warmth inside and double up on my clothing to brave the frigid temperatures outside when it’s time to go feed my animals. But what joy to come back inside and toast my body beside a crackling fire with a cup of hot tea as a fat lazy cat curls up on the rug at my feet.

          During cold days I’ve been doing some much needed cleaning inside. One week I cleaned out my closet in the master bedroom. I couldn’t believe all the stuff I had stuck in there that needed sorting out. Doing a room each month helps me to keep more on top of things- at least that is my goal.  It’s amazing how dirt and everything piles up.

          This winter I decided not to start tomatoes etc on my dining room table. It takes a lot of work to set it up and then keep up with the growing plants. So I chose to take a year off of my indoor greenhouse. In the meantime I am enjoying the bright blossoms of my geranium and impatiens that I brought inside and are sitting on a sunny windowsill beside my computer along with the other blooming plants that I have indoors while freezing winds howl outside. 

          Stay warm on your end and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

(my five-year-old granddaughter, Katie)


To paraphrase a verse in Lamentations, "His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness."  What an awesome promise to begin the New Year with.

Winter hit with full force here in the TN mountains when it came. Our heat pump froze up Christmas Eve Sunday afternoon- thankfully we had our family Christmas the weekend before. Dana was able to go to church that morning for the first time in over three months. Christmas day passed by in a blur as for two days and nights I toted wood, emptied ashes, and filled the wood stoves every couple of hours sleeping on the couch at night in order to have heat.  Then last weekend, due to the continual frigid temperatures, the water in the radiator of our vehicle froze.  Dwight worked on thawing, draining water, and adding more antifreeze. So I was unable to get to church the first Sunday of the year. Such a crazy time!

On the farm end, besides still toting wood etc. I've also been busy keeping the heated water dishes filled each day and putting more straw out for the chickens and ducks to make sure they stay warm enough. I let the five half-grown guinea hen chicks out with the rest of the chickens in the hen house as I didn't have another heated water dish to keep their water from freezing and they are doing just fine. At first the chickens didn't know what to think of five small dark bodies racing around trying to snuggle under their feathers was all about. You could tell where the guinea hen chicks were by the hens suddenly squawking, jumping up in the air, and flapping their feathers, but things have settled down nicely once more.

So glad we are having a bit of a break from the arctic temperatures this week, but winter has just begun. 

Stay warm on your end and I'll keep the fires going on mine.


PS: We didn’t take a family picture at Christmas this year like usual as Dawn’s husband, Randy, was unable to come as he had to stay with his father, who is dying of cancer.  Here are the grand-kids, who are growing so fast. 

William, Annette, and Case with Katie in the back.

One of the half-grown chicks that was hatched out of an egg this summer.

  The half-grown guinea hen chicks.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017 Walker Christms Newsletter

Hello to all our family & friends!
After a late short autumn we are having a milder winter so far.  We enjoy the wood heat and crackling fire when the temperature dips down to freezing at night.  We are blessed to head into winter and the coming New Year with a full pantry of canned stuff from our garden and a freezer filled up as well.
It's been a busy year here at the Walker farm with our two ducks, five Guinea hen chicks that are busy growing now out of the brooder and under the nests, who hopefully will help the two older ones keep the tick population down once they are grown, two golden half grown chicks one of my hens hatched out for the first time this year, and four large buff roosters- that were supposed to be hens- who strut around the chicken yard and crow loudly early each morning. The hens continue to give us brown eggs every day. Our Texas heeler, Tex, who turned a year old this summer is convinced he is the boss of all.  He helped me chase two black bears that got into our woods and with his boundless energy keeps guard over our place. Texie boy ate the strawberries, blackberries, and ripened grapes almost as fast as I could pick them. Thankfully he left my green beans and tomatoes alone. Never a boring moment with Tex, who we are working on training.
Besides the regular upkeep around the place, this year I white washed the hen house and shed inside and out this summer. It was quite the undertaking, but looks so nice now that it is done. I also painted the back steps and rails along with the outside window frames of the sun room.  There is always plenty to do to keep one in shape. I'm so thankful that for most of the year I was able to be up and around.  There is much satisfaction in completing ones tasks.
Dana continues to be on oxygen most of the time now and even with physical therapy he still is weak.   He barely is able to make it to church once a month anymore so I only am able to go when Dwight can be here. Thankfully with increased and new medication, most of Dana’s seizures are now under control. If he exerts himself much it will set one off so Dana is mostly housebound. Every time we turn around another medication is added, which keeps me hopping to keep up with it all.  The eye doctor kept adding to Dana’s prescription eye drops until I was giving Dana twelve eye drops a day besides his four insulin shots and other meds.  Can you imagine? Some days I feel like I am going around in circles.
Dawn is doing better with her monthly shots and was able to do four VBS’s this summer even traveling out to Idaho. Annette is driving, plays the piano & violin, and loves to cook. Right before Thanksgiving she had to have gallbladder surgery. William, who is taller than me now, is the farm boy taking care of all the animals. He plays the piano, guitar, and banjo. Katie started kindergarten this year. This little tomboy sings with the family, loves to feed and pet the chickens and goats on their farm. They got two guard pups to train this past year.  Dawn’s family also came out twice to work around our place doing jobs that were beyond me.
Dwight continues to work at the body shop when not slowed down with a bleed. Right before Thanksgiving he scared us when he got a shoulder bleed that filled up his chest making him short of breath. It slowed Dwight down for a couple of weeks as he was weak with the loss of blood. Case continues to come every other weekend. His biggest thrill was getting a dirt bike for his birthday. He is growing, still full of energy, and almost as tall as me. Can that boy ever put away the food!  Every time I turn around he is hungry.
It’s always such a joy when my children and all the grand-kids come home. Our house rings with laughter and chatter while the walls vibrate with all the bouncing energy. Thankfully there is plenty of room to run around the Walker farm. The last couple of times William, Case, and Katie played “tag” with Tex. It was a tie who got worn out the quickest.
This Thanksgiving Lois, Ted, and Kyle drove down from Pennsylvania for the day.  It was such a special time. Lois and I hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years. Of course we never did get caught up talking- ha!
God has been good to our family this past year. We are truly blessed!
May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas season
and a
Happy New Year!
Dorcas & Family

November Newsletter

This is the time of the year to give thanks- something
I try to do every day as there is always something to be thankful for. No matter how bad our situation if we look around we can find someone a lot worse off. And you, my family and friends, are at the top of my thankful list this month. I am so blessed to have you in my life even if we don't get the chance to see each other often.
We had a late autumn season with barely enough time to enjoy the colorful leaves before they were gone. Today a thick fog has settled down on the mountain with colder weather headed our way. A couple good hard frosts killed my beans in the garden. I've harvested about all the seed I plan to save this year. I have planted bulbs for next spring, transplanted some of my flowers, and trimmed hedges.
 I've had fire in both of my wood stoves during the cold spells.  Nothing like hearing the crackling of a hot wood fire and feeling the heat to warm up one's aching/hurting bones. When it is freezing at night, I love to sit in my recliner close by the fire with a book.
After several days, I finally finished white washing the inside of my hen house barely getting it done before it got too cold. I first painted the wall opposite the nests so as not to disturb my laying hens in the morning. Wouldn't you believe it though that afternoon when I was up on the ladder to do the wall above the nests if four hens didn't decided to sit in a nest anyway?   So while I leaned over white washing four chicken heads watched my every move. Even when their head's got splattered they still sat. Unless we get a warm spell I may have to wait to white wash the inside of the shed until next year.  I also painted the steps and railings going down into my enclosed garden out back and the arch inside. Everything looks so fresh and new with a coat of paint.  When I get a paint brush in hand it’s hard for me to stop.
We had shock a couple weeks ago when I found my youngest black and white cat dead outside from no apparent reason. I figured when my long haired calico, Sarah Annabelle, and my house dog, Lucy Lou, who are both old, finally gave up the ghost I’d still have Elsie Mae as I only had her for four years.  Thankfully the two chicks that were hatched earlier and the five guinea hen chicks (one chick drowned) are still active and growing. I have the guinea hen chicks under a heat lamp in the brooder to stay nice and warm when it gets cold out.
Dawn and her family came up for a work day repairing two roofs, cleaning out gutters, putting up two lights/fans in the study for me, etc. A week before a couple in our church came, mowed, and weed-eated around the place as our riding mower isn’t working. It was such a blessing. Then Dawn and her family came up for a quick surprise birthday visit for Dana at the beginning of the month and ended up doing more work. I declare if they stayed for a week this place would look like new. It is wonderful seeing all the grand children helping and working right alongside their parents as Dwight brought Case too each time. Fifteen-year-old Annette, who needs gall bladder surgery, is quite the cook and loves helping in the kitchen. Five-year-old Katie loves helping me in the hen house while the boys work outside- between playing “tag” with Tex. If I could only harness some of that energy for myself! In the evening there is 4-wheeling. It kept us girls busy feeding all the fellows, although we sat on the porch for breaks whenever possible.
Even though the weather has gotten cooler, Dana’s oxygen hasn’t improved. He stays worn out most of the time, although the physical therapy did help some. My sister, Lois, who I haven’t seen for a couple of years, is coming down for Thanksgiving.  I am quite excited. Since Dawn is having a houseful herself they are coming up the weekend before to celebrate Thanksgiving with us as Dana isn’t up to traveling anywhere.
Wherever you and your family meet, may you all have
a blessed Thanksgiving season!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Hello everyone!

We had a short cold snap where I brought my hanging plants inside, but no frost yet. It warmed back up so my plants are back outside. I've had my windows opened too.  I love airing my house out and letting the breeze blow in the windows along with hanging out the wash on sunny days. I also swing on the porch swing or out on my back swing whenever I can grab a break during the day. The leaves have begun to fall so I stay busy sweeping off the porches and sidewalk each week. Usually by now the birch tree leaves along the driveway  have turned yellow, but they are still mostly green. It seems that autumn is slower coming this year.

My second batch of beans that I planted this summer are ready to harvest.  So happy to have fresh beans to eat again. Otherwise I am mostly gathering seed for next year. I also picked rose petals & pips and lemon mint leaves to dry for tea. I dry them quick using my microwave them store them in one of my many tins that I collect in the pantry.

I planted mums and spring bulbs outside my picket fence to add color to the blooming small white & purple daises, yellow golden rod & black susans, along with my stately row of multicolored marigolds.  Only a few roses bloom here and there.

Something got into my chicken house- I think a snake- and only two of the five baby chicks are left. It made me so mad. I went around plugging up holes. So far the two baby chicks are doing great running all over the chicken yard, scratching in the dirt, and growing.  Right now on my dining room table I have twelve guinea hen eggs that are ready to hatch out. Such fun! The two guinea hens that survived are full grown and are quite at home with the chickens. Hopefully by next year I can let them out to run so they can    eat ticks and other bugs. I cleaned out the duck's little pool and refilled it with clean water that didn't stay clean very long. The two white ducks love diving and splashing in the water. They get quite excited and quack around whenever I fill their pool or water bucket during summer dry spells.

                My biggest project though by far was white washing the hen house/shed.  Dana built it with wafer board several years ago and it is not weather proof and had begun to peel so I knew I had to do something before it all fell apart. So like the old timers I mixed up a brew of white wash with a little white paint began to roll. It was slow going especially when I had to get up on a ladder as I’m not as steady as I used to be. I’d paint one day and be down the next then get back at it again. Inside the chicken pen the crazy birds huddled around my feet so I could barely move.  Both they and I ended up with a fine spray of white wash all over us, but it didn’t deter the chickens for trying to figure out what I was up to. The hen house looks so nice and white. Now I want to get the inside painted before cold weather hits.

            Between all this I took Dana down to Cookeville two times to see different specialists. Physical therapy is coming twice a week along with the home health nurse. One morning we had the physical therapist, a lady from Buckeye to measure Dana for his diabetic shoes, and the home health nurse all the same day. By the time they left Dana was quite worn out.  He scared me the other Sunday morning when I heard something falling in the kitchen when I was back in a bedroom. I ran out to see what was going on and there was Dana flat on the floor passed out. I was beginning to think I’d have to call the ambulance when he finally came too and then after a bit was able to get up and with his walker over to a chair. Dana's oxygen level is staying down in the 80’s or low 90’s even with air.  He has put on 31 lbs, which I'm sure also affects it. So he stays out of breath, dizzy, and not too steady even with is walker.  Dana was able to make it to the homecoming at church this past Sunday, but went to bed as soon as we got back home. I never know from day to day how Dana is going to be.  When I’m working outside I keep running back inside to check on him every little bit along with keeping his insulin shots going and his medication.

 Dawn and I worried.  Last week they went down inside her throat and up her colon. Three days later she was still weak and not picking back up like she should have. Dawn took her to a local clinic and here if Annette didn't have strep throat too. So she is on antibiotics. Dawn is keeping a food diary of the foods Annette is having problems with for when they go back to the specialists in three weeks. He wants to do another test on her gall bladder.  He did find that Annette's esophagus was real irritated and scarred like she was having bad heartburn down lower so he put her on a high dosage of antacids. So we do appreciate prayer for this girl as she is only fifteen.

            Well I need to close my lengthy epistle about life out here on the Walker farm. Time continues to fly by so quickly. I hope this finds you having a good day wherever you are.