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.

Monday, December 10, 2018

DECEMBER Walker Christmas Newsletter


Here we are once again at the end of another year. How the weeks and months whiz by. God has certainly been good to us through all the up's (a spot here in the Tennessee mountains that we can call home, full pantry & freezer, fresh brown eggs from the chickens, new hen house close to the back door, caring home health nurse & physical therapist that sees Dana weekly, children and grandchildren only a phone call away and always ready to help, wonderful pastor and church family, and a host of wonderful friends like you) and down's (Dana's two hospital episodes- in the spring when I was battling a flare-up of my RA- and later in July, three falls that thankfully didn't result in any broken bones, tick bites, black bears invading our property, another mini stroke that set Dana back, rat infestation in the hen house, having a wreck where no one got hurt, prolonged mouth bleeding from a pulled tooth, and Dwight's internal chronic back muscle bleed that continues to flare up) of life. Just skimming through my journal of the past months is enough to make me dizzy. I'm so glad that God is always by our side as we never know what another day will bring. Having the confidence of God's faithfulness in the past we can face what lies ahead in the future.

Halfway through November, we took Dana to the lung specialist, who was quite concerned about Dana's low oxygen level despite being on oxygen. She set up tests to rule out blood clots. So the day before Thanksgiving (the very day Dawn and her family were coming that evening) I had to run Dana back down to Cookeville for scans at two different places. They were able to do two of the tests, but couldn't do the third as they were unable to get access in a vein.  Dana's increased weight and fluid is making it difficult to do any blood work on him. Dawn brought lots of food with her- Randy smoked a turkey- and with all the baking I had done the day before we had a loaded table for Thanksgiving. What a joy having everyone gather around our table once again.

The next two days were a whirlwind as Randy, Dawn, Dwight, Annette, and William built a new pen and fixed up the small barn/shed turning it into a hen house. Saturday morning they moved all the hens in their new place.  While 6-year-old Katie Dawn babysat Grandma everyone else was a buzz of activity. I mainly stayed out of the way and kept food going. At one point, William was up on the roof sweeping it and clearing out the gutters as Annette ran back and forth to town on errands. What a joy to have Katie beside me helping gather eggs, learning to crochet, and baking cookies!

Winter has arrived here on the mountain with freezing temperatures, biting winds, and snow flurries that dust the ground. I stay busy keeping the wood stoves going- nothing like a cozy crackling fire to warm the bones- and making pots of soup to nourish the body.

Our wish for you in the coming New Year is for God's presence to daily surround you with the assurance of His everlasting arms to hold, guide, and strengthen you.

Dorcas and Family


Monday, November 26, 2018

November Walker Newsletter


Before the first frost came, I brought all my hanging plants and pots back inside. I even bring in my two window box containers and keep them indoors over the winter in my sunroom. That way I don't have to start from scratch each year and I still have lots of green and booms to tide me over when the snow is blowing outside. I cleared my enclosed garden path around the goldfish pond that each year keeps trying to get overgrown as well as digging up some blackberries that also love to stray from their spot beside the garden. The leaves changed color so quickly this year and now most have fallen to the ground.  With the colder temperatures, I'm busy keeping my wood stoves going, raking out ashes each day, and carrying in wood. I'm so thankful that although I shall turn 60 in a couple of weeks, I'm still able to keep things going. Ever since Dwight had the long internal shoulder/back bleed, I've been hauling- or rather dragging and grunting- 50 lb bags of feed as well each week for the animals. I have turned into quite the farm girl.

Dana's oxygen levels remain low despite oxygen so he is weaker and more unstable. The other week I took Dana to see a new neurologist that we had waited to get in for six months. We would have arrived early as planned, but just before we left when Dana put on the smaller oxygen tank he realized it was almost out. That took him almost ten minutes to get changed out. Then it was raining so I didn't go at top speed, but still would have made it in good time. Lo and behold if the directions I copied off the internet wasn't correct and I turned in the wrong direction. I stopped to ask directions so by the time we finally got to the doctor's office we were running late. And of course it takes Dana five minutes or so just to get in or out of the vehicle while I get his roll-aider out of the back. When we got up to the desk to check in we were informed that the specialist wouldn’t see us because we were ten minutes late!!! Can you imagine? I had gotten up at 6:30 am and drove over an hour to get there. While I explained the circumstances to the lady at the desk- she went back and then said that the doctor had already left- a couple minutes later didn’t we see the specialist himself come in, get keys, and leave? We waited over an hour to see if the next two appointments would show up. They did so we drove back home after the clerk profusely apologized saying she would try and work us in as soon as possible. After three weeks, I took Dana to the local doctor, who couldn’t believe what had happened either and is working to get us another neurologist. Such a crazy time!

            Then I had an episode with a new dentist. I had two bad teeth that needed pulled right beside each other. Going to the dentist always stresses me out big time as I hate getting all those shots to numb you so I only go when things get desperate. When I arrived my blood pressure was real high so I had to wait. Thankfully my blood pressure came down enough the dentist could start. Halfway through pulling one tooth, he stopped and asked if I was on blood thinners, which I’m not. When the dentist finally got the tooth out he said he couldn’t understand why I was bleeding so much. Here I am with the whole side of my face numb and my mouth swelled up trying to tell him not to worry as I bleed more since I was a hemophilia carrier. When the dentist finally understood the word hemophilia he started freaking out. I had put it down, but somehow it never got put on the computer. He stopped and refused to pull my other tooth because he said I had lost too much blood- more than he had ever seen- while I begged him to yank it out while my mouth was already numb dreading the thought of having to make another trip. They really packed my mouth with gauze before I left. By the time I got back home after driving an hour I was feeling quite weak.  I ended up hardly able to get around for about a week or two. Slowly but surely my strength has returned again, although I still get worn out more quickly.  A couple years before when I had a tooth pulled I lost quite a lot of blood and they sewed it shut before I left. So it looks like I may need to get on a clotting pill before getting any more teeth pulled again either due to my blood pressure or my clotting level going wacky. Isn’t life grand? If it’s not one thing you can be sure it will be something else.

            My daughter and family will be coming to my house this year for Thanksgiving. I am so looking forward to having my family all here again for a couple of days. Now if I can just get some house cleaning done between doing up menus and baking- what fun!

            While I count my blessing, I pray you will have a blessed Thanksgiving season on your end as well.
            Till later~

Wednesday, October 24, 2018



Frosty mornings have arrived here in the Tennessee Mountains and soon all the leaves will change color. It is the weather for jackets and sweaters; also boots as we've had some more rainy days. I've picked the last of the garden tomatoes- even the green ones before the frost hit- to ripen on my kitchen windowsill and brought all the house plants indoors.  One day I harvested a big batch of lemon mint that I dried and use for tea.

My daughter loves autumn- personally I'll take spring any day when everything comes alive instead of dying.  As the temperature drops I have more increased bone pain, which slows me down more than I like. I do enjoy seeing and smelling the wood smoke curling up in the air and sitting beside a warm crackling fire in the wood stove when the weather is bad.

As the squirrels race around storing nuts for winter (and eating my bird seed) I too am trying to scurry around and get outdoor chores completed before it gets too cold. I've been transplanting raspberries, mums, ferns & hostas and doing some last minute outdoor painting a hunter green color on my clothesline poles, backyard swing, and backyard pots. That way I'll still have some green showing when everything is gone. One week I went around cutting sprouts growing on the trees- that should have been done months ago (just don't tell anyone)- and picking up branches all around the house to tidy things up. I even went over to Dwight's apartment in town one morning and weeded out the small space beside his door that nothing had been done to since he moved in and to me was a terrible eyesore (after all he is my son) putting in iris, lilies, mums- that I got from my flower beds- and daffodil bulbs that will come up and bloom all own their own. When I told Dwight what I was going to do, he smiled and shook his head at me. I'm sure Dwight has some hidden "green thumb" genes somewhere inherited like his sister and mother, who go crazy over plants. What a mother won't do- ha!

This past Sunday, Dana was able to make it to church finally for the homecoming after not being at church for over three months. Since his last mini stroke, Dana's oxygen stays low, it is harder for him to get around, and he has had a couple of seizures again. Then to make life interesting, his insurance decided not to pay for his increased prescription of insulin. Can you imagine??? So we were busy on the phone with the pharmacists, who gave us four boxes of insulin to tide us over while he and the doctor dithered around with the insurance company. Thankfully after a week they agreed to pay for Dana’s insulin. It should be outlawed that an insurance company can up and quit paying for something a person needs to live without warning. Such is life!

Then I had a scary experience heading to town one rainy morning. I had a wreck- something that never had happened to me before in almost 60 years. My vehicle went into a skid around a curve on a side road. Thankfully no one was coming, I missed a pole at the last minute my vehicle flipped around, I skidded backwards over a ditch, and landed on a wire fence that kept me from flipping over while I prayed and hung on. I had to climb out and over the passenger’s side to get out. The cop said it was a bad morning as another girl on a curve completely flipped her car down an embankment. I called Dwight, who was able to pull the Durango out with his pickup. I was quite shaken. Dwight told me to go back home and he would pick up whatever I needed in town. I was very thankful to pull back into my own driveway again in one piece. The next couple of days I had to increase my pain meds. Needless to say I’m avoiding that side road, whose curves are bad for wrecks, and driving extra slow when it rains.

The next week I took Dana down another very curvy road to see a specialist. The very next day when I went into town at the first stop a fellow told me I had a flat tire. To my shock the tire that had slid into the bank/fence was completely flat and sitting on the rim.  So I called Dwight again and was able to air the tire up enough to get me to the shop. Like the fellows thought mud had gotten in-between the rim and tire causing a slow leak. I had noticed that morning that my blinkers weren’t working so asked Dwight to check them for me as well. Lo and behold if not only my blinkers, but the brake light was out. The guys spent a couple of hours trying to run down what was causing the problem while I kept tabs on Dana via the phone. I left with all the lights working feeling quite grateful that on the day before the Lord had watched over me when I drove long distance keeping my tire aired up and the lights working. I’m so thankful to have a Heavenly Father watching over me!  What would we do without the Lord???

Oh yes, Dawn and her family came up for quick visit one weekend and along with Dwight and our two neighbors, with two chain saws going full steam and our log splitter three large trees and a smaller one was cut down, split up, and stacked in one day to clear space for the new chicken yard! Everyone was busy as bees- even the grand-kids. Six-year-old Katie Dawn helped me in the kitchen, gather eggs from the chickens, and run water and snacks to everyone else busy with the trees. What fun having the little Miss beside me for the day.

And did I tell you about sweet Princess (the only chick that survived from the batch of chicks hatched out this year) that I was sure was a hen, has turned into a rooster? Life stays crazy here on the farm. Well I need to close and get this out in the mail before another month goes by.


Saturday, September 22, 2018



The dry humid hot weather has continued with having to water stuff outside to keep things from drying up and dying. Due to the hurricane hitting the East coast we are finally getting some much needed showers up here in the Tennessee Mountains. When it is hot outside it's hard to imagine needing a fire, but we know that by next month the temperature will start dropping as autumn arrives. Dwight's friends from the body shop came and took the wood-stove to the shop where Dwight welded a new heavier piece of steel to the top of the fire box to get it ready for winter.  We've also been getting wood in as well to try and fill up the wood shed before winter.

The battle with the rats continues in the hen-house despite consistent putting out rat poison. When Dawn and Randy was here they with Dwight discussed the situation at length and decided as the hen-house isn't worth repairing, the wire-covered chicken yard is larger than we need and its sagging makes it difficult to maintain, along with the fact that I am getting older (surely not) they are worried about all the steps I have to go up and down since I have fallen a couple of times, that we need to move the chickens and tear down the hen-house. There is a small barn shed close to the house that I've wanted to convert into a garden shed, but ends up being filled up with all sorts of stuff that would be perfect for the chickens. So I've cleaned out the shed- it was quite the job- and moved my gardening stuff to the workshop, which I can then focus on getting more organized and has plenty of room. So another unexpected big project is underway. The next step is cutting down two large trees to make room for the smaller chicken yard when Dawn and Randy come back in a couple of weeks. I declare we shall get so organized around here until I won't know what to do with myself.

I pulled the  bush green bean stalks as yellow bugs had gotten most of the plants and the beans were nearly gone- gardening is not for the faint hearted for sure between too much rain, being too dry, or battling insects that love to feast on your veggies, but then that goes for life in general. I'm harvesting pole bean seeds for next year and thoroughly enjoying picking ripened tomatoes each week. Talk about pure bliss to sink one's teeth into a warm fresh tomato from the garden! No store tomato can compare with the taste of your own home grown tomato.

When I took Dana to the local doctor, he was concerned about Dana’s continuing weakness on his left side so scheduled an MRI and ultrasound to be done. Early one morning after getting Dana out to the vehicle- he is so weak he had to sit down before he even got out the door- we headed to the local hospital. For the MRI we were put into a small room (think large closet) where there was barely enough room for me to help get Dana undressed.  Since the MRI would take about an hour, I planned to pay a couple of bills and pick up milk & bread. Unfortunately, his roll-aider was too big to sit around as they were using a wheelchair so I rolled it out to our vehicle and load it again. I came back unloaded the roll-aider and pushed it back into the hospital only to discover that the MRI machine had broke down and we would have to reschedule for the next week. I got Dana back to the vehicle loaded up the roll-aider once again and drove home where for the final fourth time I unloaded the roll-aider. I had planned to do some chores once I got back home- after all we were only going for a short hospital visit- but by then I was so exhausted loading and unloaded Dana’s roll-aider (Dana weighs around 336 pounds so his roll-aider is extra large, not only bulky, but heavy as well) I ended up in the recliner for the rest of the day feeling like I had loaded sacks of feed all morning. Who needs a weigh set with barbells when you can heft a roll-aider about as big as you around? The next week I had Dana take his fold up walker he used in the house instead of the roll-aider to save my back. Lo and behold this time although the MRI machine worked, they couldn’t get Dana’s head and shoulders into it to take an MRI! If nothing else we got our exercise for the week.

One hot afternoon I got the hose and gave Tex a bath- at least that was the original idea. It turned out to be a romping rodeo with me using one hand on Tex’s collar while the other one aimed the hose at Tex to get his fur wet, dropped the hose and scrubbed his body with soap, and then danced around until I could get a hold of the hose again to rinse the dear fellow off. By the time I got done we both were soaking wet.

This past week I did up and froze 10 dozen ears of corn, which made 12 quarts. It was quite the job, but I love frozen corn. My grandson, Case, does too. He declares my corn is the best tasting ever. I love seeing my pantry and freezer fill up with food for the year. I realized one day one does the deep knee bends when having to squat down and pull out the blender from under the sink when cooking or canning. I used to be able to pop right back up with blender in hand, but now I have to sit the blender down and use both hands on edge of the sink to slowly get my body upright. According to the health magazines, I should be the healthiest person around.

While there are days I battle not becoming overwhelmed with all the tasks facing me, overall I am very thankful for everything I am able to do- even if I am slowing down way faster than I would like to and things take longer to get done.

I shall quit for now. It always amazes me how quickly the days, weeks, and months fly by and how much is crammed into each week. Meanwhile y’all take care until next month.