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, May 23, 2022

MAY 2022 WALKER NEWSLETTER

 

Hello!

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~

Dorcas

MARCH & APRIL 2022 WALKER NEWSLETTER

 

Hello!

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!

FEBRUARY 2022 WALKER NEWSLETTER

 

Hello!

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~

Dorcas

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

JANUARY 2022 WALKER NEWSLETTER


Hello!

Winter has definitely arrived here on the mountain with freezing temperatures and six inches of snow, right now, laced with ice cycles. I'm so thankful for my warm cozy house and electricity so far. Here in the mountains, on our dead end road that doesn't get snowplowed, one always has to be prepared to get snowed in until the snow begins to melt in order to get up the hill and out to the main road or for the electricity to go out. Carrying in wood, taking out ashes, toting water, and making sure the animals are fed and warm each day keeps my protesting bones moving as I battle more RA pain during winter.  Thankfully I have two wood stoves- nothing like a crackling hot wood fire to warm the bones along with the perfect place to curl up and read a book on slow days.

Before each winter storm, I go crazy gathering dry sticks and branches in buckets for kindling, and raking up leaves to add another layer in the duck and hen houses for insulation, putting more manure on the gardens, and other last minute outdoor chores.

I was able to paint all the window trim in the guest bedroom, living room, and the master bedroom when I washed the windows and curtains, got the front door painted, and both arches to the dining room before Thanksgiving.

December I kept busy putting up all the Christmas decorations inside and out, which is always a joy even though it is a lot of work. Ironically, the month of December the weather was warm enough- in the high 60's- so I was able to hang out clothes on the line about every week. In fact, Christmas morning, I couldn't resist and hung out some clothes on the line. The weather reminded me so much of when we'd go down and spend Christmas with my mother in FL.

The Monday before Christmas, we got the shocking news that Dana's older brother, who had attended Dana's funeral just three months before, suddenly without warning died. It was quite a shock as we were already working through lots of memories with the loss of Dana at Christmas.

I ended up going to our church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service that is held each year by myself as Dwight was still battling a bleed with his shoulder.  This year I sang, “O Holy Night” in honor of Dana, who our kids grew up hearing their dad, sing every Christmas with his talented voice. Our preacher’s wife accompanied me dropping the music down within my voice range.

Christmas time was short and sweet as everyone (including Annette and Curtis) arrived the Monday after Christmas and headed back the next day. Once again the house walls vibrated with lots of chatter and laughter as we tried to catch up with each other within our limited time together. It was such a blessing having everyone here again as more memories were made to cherish and savor. This year Dawn organized everyone for a family picture- much to the fellow’s dismay. They always groan when Dawn starts ordering them around and sets up her camera.

Meanwhile as usual I’ve kept my indoor Christmas decorations, tree, and lights up to enjoy through the month of January’s short, bleak days. Instead of the twelve days of Christmas, I believe in thirty! After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I now can relax each night by the warm fire and fully enjoy the vibrant colors and twinkling lights.

Stay warm on your end~

Dorcas





Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2021 DECEMBER CHRISTMAS Walker Newsletter

 

Hello!

Christmas is here once again to celebrate our Savior's birth.  Little did I, and my family, realize that our last Christmas celebration would be the final time that Dana would be with us. We are still in the process of adjusting to not having Dana around. His larger-than-life personality leaves a big hole in our family structure; the house is much quieter now as forty-five years of memories flood our mind.  I'm so thankful though for the blessed hope- that Dana preached about often for several years- that we now can cling to. Christ's birth, crucifixion, and resurrection gives us the assurance that one day we will be reunited again forever.  What an awesome promise!

Meanwhile we have been busy painting and organizing stuff around the house that I wasn't able to get to before when taking care of Dana. With the stimulus checks we received earlier this year; we were able to buy metal for our roof that needed redone.  Dwight had to completely tear out the back sun/mud room roof that had been leaking.  It has been quite a project as Dwight can only work for a bit at a time.  The entire roof is thankfully three-fourths completed.

Dawn and her family came for Thanksgiving. Lots of changes have happened this year as Annette also got married the last of July, so she too was missing. Randy and William brought their guitars, and with Dwight, we had quite the music fest in the evenings between playing games in the dining room. During the day, the fellows put in three insulated doors in the sun/mud room, which is such a blessing. As usual our time together was too short.

One week this month the temperature was up in the high 60's so I went crazy hanging out wash, putting leaves in the duck and hen houses for insulation, spreading manure on another garden plot, and transplanting strawberry plants on the bank that have spread around Dwight's workshop.

Since then, I've had to break ice in the outside water buckets for Tex, the ducks & chickens, haul ashes and wood, and keep the wood stoves going. I'm so grateful for my warm house here in the woods when the winter winds blow.

Everyone, including Annette & Curtis, is coming up to celebrate Christmas the Monday & Tuesday after Christmas.  So needless to say, I am in a dither trying to get all the Christmas decorations up, finish the Christmas shopping, and then wrap gifts, cook, and bake before everyone comes- not to mention giving everything a good cleaning. Just where does all the dirt and dust come from anyway?

After Christmas I plan on remodeling my kitchen and some other major areas of the house. I'm going to go room by room painting and upgrading things. I've got a list of things needing a loving touch or rather a paintbrush. I'm so thankful for the strength I have, even though each year I seem to slow down rather than speed up like I'd prefer.

Dawn and Randy are still planning on going to the Philippines when the door opens. Curtis and Annette are pastoring the Madison church in Nashville.  Dwight meanwhile stays busy designing and making pocketknives between doing projects around the house.

I know that God will be faithful to take care of us and meet our needs as He has in the past; so I can trust Him for the future. Although Dana is gone, his legacy still lives in our children and grandchildren.

Have a Blessed Christmas Season!

Dorcas

2021 NOVEMBER Walker Newsletter

 

Hello!

The blaze of brightly colored autumn leaves have faded and fallen to the ground leaving bare tree limbs here in the TN Mountains as cold winds bring freezing temperatures.  I've had my wood stoves going to keep the house warm.  Even the hardiest of the fall flowers are fading away. Warm and sunny days are getting fewer and farther apart as the earth tilts and the days grow shorter.  As the squirrel's scurry around storing nuts, I'm also scrambling to get much needed projects finished outdoors.

The biggest project was and is our sun/mudroom that was leaking and went from bad to worse. Dwight had to completely tear off the roof and replace it- stopping finishing metaling the rest of the house roof like planned.  We also put in new linoleum, which Dawn and Randy helped to lay. You can't imagine the amount of stuff that was stacked and stored in such a tiny room- not to mention all the plants that I over winter there as well. I was dearly hoping to get it painted and everything back in place for Thanksgiving, but like so many remodeling projects it is going slower than planned so stuff is still sitting around the dining room to my dismay.

Meanwhile I've been busy brandishing a paint brush. I have totally repainted the back bathroom, front door, the outside bird feeder, and clothesline so far. Between painting, I've hauled two wagon loads of manure up to the garden and filled six large garbage cans with leaves to help winterized the duck and hen houses. On rainy days, I've been pulling out, sorting through, and organizing stuff under the beds & closets.

Here the other week I ran into one of my former piano students that I had given lessons to when she was just a small girl. Now she is a mother of three children and a nurse like her mother. She asked if I would be willing to give her daughter piano lessons. So, out of the blue, I am now teaching a second generation the joys of playing the piano- not that I am getting old (ha!). What fun!

The first week in November I had a rough week over what would have been Dana's 65th birthday.

I kept waking up at night as memories flooded my mind and cried during the day.  Grief is a process that one must work through as you adjust to the loss of your loved one.  During that week I planted spring bulbs I had bought telling myself that even though they looked dead right then, they would come back to life again and beautify the earth with their flowers. I'm so glad that the grave is not the end. As Christians we have hope of being reunited again forever in a much more glorious place than anything here on earth.

Dawn and her family are planning on coming up for Thanksgiving, which I am looking forward to.  It will be a time of making new memories over the holidays while cherishing the past.

Dorcas

Sunday, October 24, 2021

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER WALKER NEWSLETTER

 

Hello!

Sorry that I am running so late in getting a newsletter out.  I was just getting ready to do the Sept newsletter when my life completely turned up-side-down.

The last I said about Dana was that he was in the hospital and I had gotten to visit him.  Little did I realize that would be the last time I would see Dana alive. I was getting ready to go down and visit Dana again, when upon calling him, I found out he was being transferred up here to Jamestown to the local nursing home for physical therapy. I was happy that he was getting closer to home. The nursing home put Dana in isolation for two weeks to make sure he didn't have covid so I couldn't see him, but we talked every day on the phone. Dana was getting physical therapy, was getting stronger, sitting up in his wheelchair, and going to the bathroom on his own. The day before getting transferred to a regular room, Dana suddenly tested positive for covid. I was shocked. How could he get covid while in isolation? I called the kidney specialist and they wanted Dana taken to the ER down to Cookeville to be able to keep a close eye on his kidney function. Instead of being admitted like I thought he would be, lo and behold when I called, Dana had been transferred back to the nursing home because he tested negative for covid! When I finally ran my husband down- How do you lose a fellow in a wheelchair?-, the nursing home had put Dana on the covid ward. I was totally confused. Why was Dana on the covid ward if he didn't have covid? The nursing home said because he tested positive they had to put Dana on the covid ward. I was quite frustrated. Within a couple of days, Dana definitely had covid whether he had it before or not. Then to my shock I discovered that they had quit giving Dana any breathing treatments (he was getting three breathing treatments a day) so they had put his ox level back up high to help him breathe. Needless to say I was making all kinds of calls as by now Dana was too weak to even talk to me on the phone and I had to depend on trying to reach the staff to get any updates. After a week, I finally got it where I would be updated at least once a day, when I got a call early on Sat morning that they had rushed Dana to the Crossville ER as they couldn't keep his oxygen level up. I got dressed and rushed down to the Crossville ER only to be kept waiting in the overcrowded waiting room to talk to someone.  A nurse finally came out, but refused to let me back to see Dana even though she was wearing the same type of mask as me, told me that Dana was in serious condition, they were doing blood work, and she would call me and let me know when the labs came back in couple of hours. I waited in Crossville for a couple of hours and called to talk to the nurse, but they would only let me leave a message. I went back home and for the rest of the day and up into the night every three to four hours I would call, but still couldn’t get anybody to talk to. Sun morning I called the hospital and was informed that Dana had been transferred to the ICU. I then called the ICU and talked to someone, who said all the nurses were busy.  They checked Dana’s lab work for me and said that his kidney function was doing better and he was stable. I was relieved feeling that Dana was out of the woods and would get better. Sunday afternoon I got a call from Dana’s doctor, who to my shock, told me that he advised me to change Dana’s full code to DNR as his kidneys, his heart, and his lungs weren’t working except for medication. I couldn’t believe my ears and told the doctor that the last I had heard Dana was stable and his kidney were doing better. He was very kind, feeling bad that the ER doctor hadn’t updated me to Dana’s true condition. It was then that the reality that Dana was actually dying hit me.

On Tuesday afternoon with Randy and Dawn beside him, after getting special permission, Dana peacefully left this world. Thursday evening, after almost a month had passed since last seeing Dana alive, I saw his lifeless earthly body. It didn’t seem possible that Dana was really gone. Friday afternoon, at our home church, we had Dana’s funeral with five preachers speaking.  Our pastor preached from Dana’s favorite text he had preached so often before: John 3:16.  Our grandchildren sang Dana’s favorite song in three part harmony: Amazing Grace. It was very hard to say good-bye to Dana’s earthly body even with knowing that he was so much better off not confined to a wheelchair or roll aider to get around. Now Dana, with full lung capacity, is singing- something he couldn’t do after his stroke- with his talented voice and preaching strong as ever before.

I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that Dana is gone and doesn’t need me after taking care of him for ten years and four months. Meanwhile my ducks and chickens keep me going each day. There is plenty of work to do as I’ve not been able to paint and do things inside that need a lot of work for the past several years.  So I am staying busy painting inside and working outside as usual, which helps me sleep better at night.  I’m so thankful for all the prayer support that has kept me going through this major upheaval in my life.  I’ve also been blessed with lots of beautiful cards arriving in my mailbox each day for the last couple of weeks.

Next month I will hopefully get more back on schedule and update you on everything going on around the Walker farm.

Until then~

Dorcas