Retired nurse makes new life in the country
Twilla Baker of Lincolnville has lived on a 30-acre homestead just west of town since June 2010.
She and her husband, Lonnie, were excited to find their dream place in the country after a lifetime of work in the city. He was a retired federal air traffic controller and she was a retired registered nurse.
They made plans for what they wanted to do with the property. Sadly, he got sick in November and died a month later from diabetes complications.
Baker was devastated. Nonetheless, with the help of her two sons and friendly neighbors, she decided to carry out the plans she and her husband made together. She wants to make her place as self-sufficient as possible.
She has updated the 2005 ranch-style home. It has an open living area and three bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.
“It was nice when we moved here, but I wanted to make it my own,” she said.
A kitchen makeover includes new countertops and backs to replace the dark green ones, new kitchen faucets, and a new sink.
The house has a new heating and air conditioning system, and a new fireplace has been installed in one corner of the living room.
Baker’s most recent project was to remove the carpet that covered the floor in the entire living area — living, dining, and kitchen —and replacing it with bamboo flooring. Bathroom carpeting was replaced with tile.
Dyck Construction of Tampa did most of the work.
“They were nice to work with,” Baker said, “and if anybody asks for a recommendation, I would highly recommend them.”
She and her children plan to keep the homestead in the family in perpetuity. Two sons live in the Wichita area and a daughter lives in Alaska.
“They love it here,” Baker said.
Neighbors helped her clear out several large trailer loads of junk that had accumulated on the property. Many dead or dying trees were removed.
The 20-acre pasture was rundown when Baker purchased the property. She is allowing it to rest ungrazed until the grass is restored. She hired people to remove brush and trees, burn the grass, and spray weeds.
Baker has established several rock gardens in the yard around the house. One is planted to lavender, which eventually she hopes to use for making tea and essential oils.
“I’m experimenting right now to see which varieties will grow best here,” she said.
She also has planted an orchard, grape vines, and sand plum bushes. She uses big tractor tires as raised beds for a vegetable garden.
She spends a lot of time working outside in her flower garden and yard during the growing season. All year around, she enjoys sitting by her kitchen window and on her porch, watching the traffic go by on 290th Road. Baby Bear, her pet Pomeranian, keeps her company.
Baker occasionally travels to Wichita to take care of her 97-year-old father, but she always is happy to get out of the city and come back to her country home.
“My only regret is that my husband didn’t live to enjoy what he wanted for so long,” she said.
Last modified Feb. 25, 2015