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, November 19, 2022




Winter has arrived here on the mountain with a few snow flurries and lots of cold weather- some days barely getting out of the 30's and down in the low 20's at night. For a couple of weeks we had some warm 70 degree weather days when suddenly the temperature nosedived one afternoon.  Now having 50 degrees would seem like a heat wave. So, we are staying busy keeping our wood-stoves going. There is nothing like a crackling fire to warm one's bones on frigid days. Outside the world looks bleak with barren trees and the last of the hardy blooming flowers gone.  It makes one very thankful to have a warm cozy house.

The last few weeks, we raced around gathering buckets of branches for kindling and helping to stack pickup loads of wood with Dwight under the carport. Every sunny warm day found me with a paint brush or spray can of paint.  I painted the back step railing, bluebird houses on the fence, and trellis seats Dana made years ago in the enclosed garden.  I sprayed pinecones for wreaths and anything else I had forgotten that needed a touch of paint. I was hoping to get the arches and inside fence painted in the enclosed garden but ran out of time as I am much slower than I'd like.

I've also been collecting seeds from the garden to save for next year. There is always something fascinating to me about saving seeds to store back. It's amazing how one tiny seed can produce gorgeous flowers and veggies that in return make oodles of other seeds.  I also planted more bulbs to come up in the spring- one never can have too many flowers- and transplanted and divided other plants. I trimmed around the trees in the yard for a finishing touch and put up chicken wire around the spots where I am trying to get some shade gardens going where the trees are too close for Dwight to mow.  For some reason the ducks and chickens seem to think that the hostas, ferns, and other shade plants are a ducky and chicky salad bar grown for them and just when my shade gardens begin to take off they eat everything down to the ground. So, I am duck and chicken proofing my shade gardens for next year.

I also put out heating water bowls and buckets in the duck and henhouse and for Tex. Dwight rigged up a heating pad in the doghouse for Tex as for some reason he is allergic to straw like we always did before to keep him warm through the winter. I've closed up the beehive for the winter as well.  During the last warm days they were really going through the sugar water to finish filling up the last of the frames with honey to live on this winter.  The Canadian geese are arriving from up North for the winter and the birds that haven't migrated South are keeping me busy filling up the bird feeders.

Sending lots of Thanksgiving wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving season from my house to yours~


Saturday, October 22, 2022




Autumn is in full force here in the TN mountains bringing cold nights and frosty mornings with chilly days. The leaves have already flaunted bright colors of red, orange, and yellow at their height of glory- now slowly fading and dropping down to the earth to make a crunchy carpet underfoot. Winds whip the treetops sending acorns falling to the earth like mini pellets scattering everywhere. While the squirrels race around hiding nuts for the winter, I am busy trying to finish outdoor chores before it gets too cold to work outside. As usual, I am running behind on everything I'd like to get done.

Meanwhile all kinds of daisies, purple asters, marigolds, zinnias, and mums are blooming as the graceful yellow goldenrod stands tall among them. A few hardy roses unfurl their last delicate petals for the year.

The garden as well is finished for the year for me as I've not planted any fall crops after harvesting the mini pumpkins I planted. I plan on mucking out the duck and hen houses to put on my garden beds so I can lay new straw down for the winter. I've already tacked down plastic over the windows to hold in warmth for the ducks and hens at night and cleaned out all the cobwebs.

Each sunny warm day has found me busy painting the mailbox, wooden rocking chair in the sun/mud room, plant stands, the back steps going down into my enclosed garden and the workshop steps. I also painted the sun/mud room walls.

I did up a last batch of nineteen quarts of tomato juice and eight quarts of tomatoes to finish filling up the pantry. I always love seeing full jars on the shelves.

Before Stacy and her family arrived, I picked up branches and burned a pile of briars that I cleaned out along the hedgerow etc while indoors I did a major cleaning throughout the house that was long overdue.  The temperature dropped sharply so I ended up having to bring all my hanging and  house plants indoors too that I had hoped to wait until later as it entailed washing windows and sills.

It was such a joy to see Stacy, Justin, and meet Theo and Mae for the first time. What fun having small children once more in the house.  It had been years since I last saw Justin's father, Jeff, who I was in school with, and Rachel. Theo and Mae were excited to gather eggs, smash acorns, and play after another long day of traveling. All too soon we had to say good-bye.

Dwight got the sink installed in the kitchen- what joy- and I was finally able to put everything back underneath and clear off the dining room table in time to make a meal for Stacy and her family. I feel so blessed to be able to cook and bake in my new brighter/lighter kitchen especially as the days grow shorter each week.

Due to the very wet summer we had, the beehive closest to the hedgerow along the property that was in more shade, I was saddened to discover that moths had taken over and all the bees had died. So I dismantled the beehive and cleaned off all the boards storing it in the workshop until spring.  Meanwhile, thankfully, the other beehive is going strong. I’ve been feeding them sugar water as the flowers die out and there isn’t a large source of nectar for them to get. I plan in the spring to use this beehive to start another brood for the empty one.

God has been so good to help, watch over, guide, and take care of us in the year since Dana died. It has been a big adjustment, but He has been there every step of the way. I’m grateful each day for the strength He gives me and I have Dwight to keep an eye on me to make sure that I behave and not go too wild. There still is a lot to get done indoors that will keep me busy this winter.

So until next month- take care on your end and stay warm!



Saturday, September 17, 2022



Two months have already passed by again, but I am still alive and kicking.

If I don't get something out, I soon will have a book.

You can feel autumn in the air with the cooler nights breaking up the humidity- a welcome relief. Even though the leaves haven't turned yet, some are falling to the ground. August and September are the months where not a lot of flowers are blooming as the summer ones are all about gone and the fall ones are getting ready to start. I'm still picking some green beans and tomatoes from the garden.  The raspberries, blackberries, and grapes are over.

 I've canned 13 quarts of pickled beets, 28 quarts of green beans, 18 quarts of tomato juice, and froze 14 quarts of corn. I made 7 pints of grape jelly, 3 pints of plum jelly, and 3 pints of three berry (raspberry, blackberry, & grape) jelly.

In July, I checked my beehives later in the day as I forgot to earlier due to when we'd finally would have a sunny day, I'd be busy hanging out wash, harvesting veggies in the garden, working outside etc. I got swarmed and some bees managed to get under my hat & netting stinging me six times on my throat, which immediately began swelling.  I took Benadryl and put ice on my throat.  It was quite the painful experience and part of the hazard of keeping bees.  Thankfully, by the next day the swelling was under control.

My duck house large water barrel level kept going way down despite all the rain, so checking things out, I realized the gutter to catch the water that Dana had put up years ago was draining the other way. All it needed was a post put underneath to raise the sloping side up.  A fifteen-minute job surely.  I found my wooden post, but it needed cut and was too long for me to handle so I asked Dwight for help. That's when I had a hand on experience of how differently guys and girls think. Instead of simply cutting the top off, Dwight got the "brainstorm" of cutting it part way through so the gutter could rest on part of it- to stabilize it was what I was told. No problem. I had carefully measured the correct height with a tape measure, but of course Dwight didn't take my word for it. Instead, he made a mark on the wooden post. Lo and behold, the post with its nifty cut- out spot ended up about three inches short. So, while Dwight worked on raising the gutter and positioning the post, I scrambled around to find some large flat rocks to put underneath the post. An hour and a half later the job was finally done.

After two years, Dwight was finally able to finish putting on the rest of the metal roof. I am very thankful as now I don't have to worry about any leaks when it rains, and the dark blue metal looks so lovely with my yellow house. It really took it out of Dwight- it was amazing that he was able to do it all by himself- so he was down for some weeks afterwards as he really pushed it. So, my sink and the rest of the countertop still need to get installed. Dwight plans on working on it this next week. I got my lilac floral kitchen border up and painted my kitchen stools a lovely purple to match. I even was debating on painting the large black coffee machine- I’m a tea drinker- purple too when Dwight got the “inspiration” of building a mini coffee station right inside the pantry door wall.

I finally finished trimming all my hedges and overgrown enclosed garden but keep having a left hand/thumb bleeds off and on now for over two months now whenever I use my hand much.

I rode down to Nashville to the Hemophilia center with Dwight the other week, who was having a knee bleed, and stayed with my granddaughter, Annette, while Dwight was at his yearly comprehensive clinic. It was great getting to visit with her and Curtis for part of a day.  We also took wrapped Christmas presents- nothing like trying to buy and wrap Christmas presents in the middle of August- so that everything could get sent out by the end of August in order to reach Dawn and Randy by Christmas.  I packed some Christmas decorations- that I scrounged around for up in the hot attic- as it’s hard to say what will even be available over there in the Philippines. This grandma wants to make sure that they can celebrate Christmas no matter how hot it is outside when the Christmas season arrives.

My niece, Stacy, and her family, whose husband is in the Air Force and being transferred from CA to NC, is coming by to visit us on their move East sometime towards the end of the month.  So, I’m trying to get some projects accomplished before then. I’ve been painting the hallway and hope to get all the trim painted and finished this week.

Dawn and her family have gotten moved and settled into their house by the ocean.  Each Sunday they are going up to a mountain village to hold services where there is no church.  The people there had never heard the gospel until Dawn and Randy found them. Recently, William’s finger got swollen and infected and he had to go on antibiotics.  It didn’t get better so after a week he was put on double antibiotics and had to go every day to the hospital to get it treated and wrapped. Finally, after two weeks, his finger is now getting back to normal again.  Each Sunday evening, I call and usually am able to talk with Dawn for about fifteen minutes.  It helps so much hearing her voice and catching up on how her life is going as the mail still hasn’t gotten through that I have been sending for over two months now. At the rate things are going the stuff we ship by boat will get their first.  Mail from my house can get to Manila within two to three weeks, but from there until it gets flown down to the island and then makes its way down further to their village, things slow way down as there is no regular postal service. Dawn says that from week to week you never know what will be available when you go to buy food and supplies.

Next week will make one year since Dana died. Although it is hard to fathom that a year has passed already, God has been good to us. All the prayer support keeps us going each day.

I shall close for now on my end and get this out in the mail.

Until next time~


Monday, July 11, 2022




The hot and humid weather has arrived here in the TN Mountains with a vengeance.

 The lightening bugs are blinking again like mini flashlights all around in the evening dusk and darkness.  I remember as kids we loved to catch them and put them in mason jars, intrigued with seeing one of nature mysteries so close up, only to discover the next day that they looked like brown ordinary bugs.

The roses and lilies have been so gorgeous this year spreading their bright colors and perfume all around.  Most of the peas and lettuce have wilted and dried up in the summer heat while the green beans are flourishing.  There is nothing so tasty as fresh beans from the garden while waiting for the baby tomatoes to grow bigger and ripen. I've also been picking raspberries and now the blackberries are ready too.  Soon canning and freezing will begin in earnest to fill up the empty shelves in the pantry.

I had such an enjoyable visit with my sister, Lois, traveling with my granddaughter, Annette, and her husband, Curtis up to PA.  The week simply flew by too fast. While there, I got her herb garden- that Lois started- filled and organized, weeded out her front shade beds, began a cutting flower garden, and planted the garden spot. Lois isn't an outdoors person like me, so I was happy to whip her place into shape.  I even got the fellows working too. We also visited several greenhouses in the area. What joy!  I took a five-gallon bucket plant starts up and brought back more flowers and herbs with me.

Once back home, I got the rest of my flower seeds planted and began working on trimming my hedges. I do it all by hand so it is slow work that I do first thing in the morning, so I don't get too over heated- one day I did and landed in the recliner for the rest of the day. My left hand keeps wanting to swell up and hurt (that I've had problems with bleeding in the past) so I wrap it up in one of Dwight's old elastic bands to help support and protect my hand.. I finished the long hedge in front of the woods and almost all of my front yard- that spans the entire front of the property, but still have the smaller formal and enclosed garden hedges to do. I love all my hedges, but they do take a lot of work. Needless to say, I get plenty of exercise. Once trimmed they look so neat and tidy.

Then in the afternoon, I've been painting in the kitchen thankful for air conditioning.  The headboard and all the top cabinets are finished inside and out, and everything put back in place. It's amazing how bright the kitchen looks. I was planning on finishing the bottom cabinets last week, but a youth group of volunteers came and painted my enclosed garden fence so I was busy trimming the huge overgrown bushes back so they could get to the fence.  The white fence now looks lovely and brand new.

A couple weeks ago my pastor asked me if I would begin a youth class again at church.

 It's been years since I did VBS, youth and children's camps, and taught Sunday school. But now that I am free to get to church each week, I agreed.  So, this grandma is entering back into the teen world and re-catching up on how the youth think today. What fun! You might need to say a prayer for me and the teens both. Years ago, we had the teens paint the youth room as a project. It seems like home going back and teaching there again.  The folding metal chairs though hadn't aged well over the years, so I got some spray paint and painted seven chairs last week- an all-day project. One never knows what doors the Lord might open up, so I always want to be willing to do and help wherever I can.  Shaping young lives is such an awesome and important task, especially at this vital stage of life.

I kept planning on getting a newsletter out all during the month of June but would end up tired and exhausted by the end of the day trying to finish the tasks I had set, that before I knew it the month had already passed. I’m not complaining, as I’m very thankful and feel blessed to be able to accomplish the things needing done- even if it takes me twice as long now-a-days. I hope when in my 90’s that I will still be able to be outside working and puttering around. Thanks for your patience waiting on me.

I hope you have a wonderful summer. Stay cool on your end!



Monday, May 23, 2022




The weather has finally turned nice and warm after a cold spell and snow flurries the week after Easter- the blackberry winter (what the old timers call the seven cold spells during spring here in the mountains), which usually comes before Good Friday.   Most try and have their beans planted by Good Friday.  Since I was running late, I didn't feel too guilty when the temperature dropped back down to freezing again.  I have since got my beans planted, cleaned out my raspberry and blackberry patches, have transplanted some bushes, and flowers.

Everything is green once again here in the mountain with azaleas, wisteria- that didn't get nipped by frost, money plants, lilacs, and iris are blooming. My crabapple tree blossoms and half of my wisteria was killed by one of the cold spells.  The air is still perfumed by the fragrant wisteria and lilacs making the bees and butterflies go crazy. The hummingbirds are back- a sign warm weather is here to stay. Hanging out the wash is such a delight surrounded by so much beauty and life.   God has created a wonderful world for us to inhabit and enjoy here on earth.

Inside we have begun renovating the kitchen.  All my dishes are out of the cupboards under a sheet on the dining room table.  Dwight sanded down the cabinets for me as my hands weren't strong enough to hold the sander.  After caulking all around, I got the ceiling painted. I was quite exhausted by the time I was finished, but it looks brand new. Now for the headboard and cabinets. Yesterday, I ordered the new countertops and sink.

This Monday I am going to be traveling with my granddaughter, Annette, and Curtis up to PA to stay with my sister for a week while they attend a wedding. I am so excited to be able to spend some time with my sister after losing Dana, my BIL, an uncle, and our brother so close together. It's been years since I was able to go to PA. While there we plan to also go and visit my one aunt as well.  This will be a special time for my sister and I.  God's timing is always perfect.

Dawn & her family are adjusting quite well to life in the Philippines. I love all the pictures Dawn sends showcasing their world. We are excited at all the doors God is opening for them to minister in.

Meanwhile, Dwight keeps me and the place going here at home.

Have a wonderful day~





I can't believe that two months have passed by already since I sent out a newsletter.  My life has been in one upheaval after another, even more than usual. Hopefully smoother days are ahead. I'm so thankful to have God to lean on when our world is turned up-side-down. Meanwhile I know I can trust Him.  What a blessed assurance!

The week after I sent out the February newsletter, I went to my local doctor to get some of my prescriptions filled. A couple days later, Dwight had to take me back to the doctor as I was sick. I realized it wasn't an ordinary head cold/flu when I started having trouble breathing.  My doctor tested me for strep throat and influenza, which were negative, gave me two shots & two prescriptions, told me to get a covid test, which also was negative- so much for the accuracy of that-, and to watch my oxygen level as it had dropped. I was quite sick for two weeks having to sleep elevated to help me breathe. It took me another two weeks to regain my strength back, with relapses, as I slowly got better. Dear Dwight took over taking care of the animals, cooking, and cleaning.  I told him he was doing such a good job, I'd hire him as my housekeeper. For some reason Dwight declined my proposal.

While I was getting my strength back, Dwight was hunting down a mid-size car for me to replace the Durango, which drank gas like water, was way too big for what I now needed, and wasn't in the greatest of shape. I'm very color oriented so while Dwight was concerned about the motor under the hood and things like that, I was more worried about the color. I turned down a black, white, and tomato red car telling Dwight I needed something more me.  He found a gold car and asked me if he brought it home if I felt up to taking a ride to check it out. So, I bundled up and Dwight drove me down the road.  The car was just my style.  It was a 2004 Buick Century, one owner that didn't drink or eat in the car so it still looked like new, and got 30 mph to the gallon. Best of all it was in the low price range of what I could afford. Talk about a major answer to prayer! Dwight bought it, a fellow helped him get it home, and that evening Dwight sold the Durango and it was gone- all without me even lifting a finger. Three days later, I finally got to drive my car- with Dwight sitting beside me, as he wasn't convinced I was up for driving yet.

The beginning of March, my sister and I found out that my brother, only a year older than me, was terminal in stage four with a fast growing cancer. It was quite a shock. Every six months or more, out on the road while driving truck long distance, my brother would call me. I had tried to be in more contact with Nathan over the years, but every time I called, he was usually too busy to talk. Sadly, after Nathan graduated high school, my brother rebelled and left home. He married and has an adult daughter still living at home. I called and prayed, but realized I ultimately had to leave my brother in God's hands.  Two weeks later we got the news that Nathan had died. It was a lot to process realizing how quickly life can change and end as we mourned the loss of our brother.

Halfway through March, feeling stronger and more like myself, on a warm sunny spring day, I went outside to paint my four Bluebird boxes. I was up and down the ladder doing just fine, until walking over a dirt pile to reach one birdhouse- left over from the other summer when Dwight was digging new line for the sewer- I tripped over a root and fell flat on my face again. I couldn't believe it. By evening, my shoulder was hurting me and my left hand had swelled back up again.  So back into the recliner with ice packs I went again.

            The next week, Dawn and her family came by for a quick visit on their way up to IN, to say good-bye as in two weeks they were heading to the Philippines. It was thrilling to hear how the Lord had opened so many doors where they were able to rent a one bedroom apartment over a store in a small town from a sister here in the states- which gave me peace of mind knowing they would at least have running water and electricity- and also another lady from the Philippines, who now works in a bank helped guide them through the financial end of things.  All too quickly I was requesting prayer as they flew out from Nashville on the 30th of March down to GA, and then for fifteen hours to South Korea.  From there they got another flight down to Manila arriving in the Philippines 24 hours after they left.  We are thankful that their entire luggage arrived with them. I was so relieved to hear Dawn’s voice calling me from the hotel to let me know that they were there. This past Monday, they flew from Manila down to the island of Negros, where their final journey was a two hour bus drive to the town of their apartment.  They are still battling exhaustion from the time change- our daytime is their night- and adjusting to the culture shock of being in a foreign country. We know that God will continue to lead them and open the right doors needed. Randy took Dana’s sermons and told me he plans on preaching some of them while over in the Philippines. Randy will be preaching and Dawn will be doing children’s work. It is so wonderful to see another generation following us in the ministry.  Our granddaughter, Annette, who got married this summer and is helping her husband pastor their home church, is taking care of the finances for Dawn and Randy while they are overseas. She is now playing the piano at church (fourth generation) and doing children’s work like I and used to.

             I ended up missing a month of church. It was so good to get back this past Sunday and worship with my church family playing the organ and singing. I still have to be careful with my shoulder and hand not to overdo it, but at least I can use them.

            Meanwhile here in the mountains, spring has definitely arrived despite some cold days and snowstorms in the month of March. Birds are busy building nests; already I’ve seen some butterflies, the round masses of froggy eggs in the pond are getting larger- soon tiny tadpoles will pop out.  This week I was out in my garden in the dirt planting potatoes, beets, brussel sprouts, and sweet peas.  The next warm sunny day I plan to plant peas, leaf lettuce, and spinach.  The daffodils, crocus, forsythia, cherry, and pear blossoms are mainly over while wild violets, pansies, phlox, and tulips are beginning to bloom. I love the bright spring green of tiny leaves unfurling as the grass greens up dotted with dandelions.  Yes, spring has sprung.

Wishing you a blessed Easter Season!




Spring is coming here on the mountain even though winter is trying to keep a tight grip. Despite more snow and below freezing temperatures, my daffodils have poked their heads out of the ground and the Eastern Bluebirds have come back to begin building nests again.  Today I noticed a male goldfinch's color beginning to brighten back up.  Soon he will be bright yellow ready to charm all the girls.  Meanwhile I have enjoyed the vivid red of the cardinals, the bossy blue jays, and red-headed woodpeckers among the other birds at my bird feeders. You always can tell when another snow storm is coming by the amount of birds suddenly flocking to the feeders.

I had five people at my house (Dana's younger brother and family) the weekend of Dale's (Dana's older brother that died right before Christmas) memorial.  That Tuesday my Uncle up in PA passed away as well. While the Walker clan was at Dale's memorial, I was able to see on my computer, my Uncle's funeral and hear my sister play the piano. After midnight, Richard, his wife, and granddaughter came back.  They spend the day with us Sunday.  That evening their granddaughter began feeling sick and decided to sleep on the couch instead of in my bed. Around 10 pm Lexy started throwing up. About midnight she began having diarrhea.  I ended up with her until 2 am. After they left around 9:30 am, I crashed back in bed totally wiped out.

A day later, Dwight came down with the same intestinal flu that left him weak and in bed.  Thankfully, I didn't get as bad an episode as he and Lexy.  Needless to say, life really slowed down while we regained our strength back.  We're grateful though that with all the covid virus and it's variants going around, we haven't had that.

The next week, I canned 20 quarts of pinto and black beans that I had saved up. There is nothing so cozy as canning in the kitchen while snow is blowing outside. I wish I could do all my summer canning in the winter as all the heat from the stove helps to warm up the house with the fires.

Just as I was speeding back up, I ended up with a left thumb/hand bleed, probably from all the wood and gallons of water I carry each day to the animals. Feeding and watering the animals, toting wood in (especially when Dwight's shoulder flared up again and the bulk of bringing in all the wood fell to me) and hauling ashes out takes a big part of each winter day.

It's amazing to realize just how much one uses their other hand when one can't. My pastor called and asked me to sing a special this past Sunday as several others were sick. I didn't know if I could play the organ at all with my hand, but figured I could sing and let his wife accompany me so I agreed.  You’ll never believe it (unless you know me- then it will be no surprise), but early Sunday morning, my pastor called, his wife was sick in bed and he really needed me to play the piano. So I ended up at the piano- now wishing that I was at the organ as it can make a fuller sound with lesser keys played- with an ice pack on my lap for my hand in between songs, and for the first time ever played the piano using only the little finger of my left hand for the bass.  At least my right hand was working, although it took concentration. Even then, by the time I got back home, my hand was hurting pretty bad.  I went back to living with an ice pack day and night to try and get it under control.  I am very thankful I can now use my left hand some as the pain has subsided, although it still is swollen.

I shall hush up- while I am still in one piece and Dwight can help bring in wood- as I want to get this newsletter out in the mail.

Take care and stay warm on your end~