Honeybee Update 2014

This post has two things — an update on our bees and honey but also a You Tube video that Mike came across that is funny. Please scroll down and watch the video.

Lots of neighbors and folks who read RiverCliff Cottage have messaged me about the availability of our honey.

Unfortunately, we will not have any additional honey in 2014. We have checked the hives to determine if there is enough honey to extract, and we found in most cases that the top “supers” had little to no honey. We must leave three “boxes” which are a combination of deep hive bodies and supers on each hive so our bees will have adequate food for the winter. Their health is our first priority, and during our first year, we took too much honey and starved our bees. On the upside, our bees look healthy and numerous so, hopefully, we will be greeted with healthy bees come spring. In the meanwhile, you can rest assured that if there is another Polar Vortex with -8 temperatures in Mendota, Virginia, I will be out there with bubble wrap, black trash bags, and duct table! Our hives looked strange for a few weeks, but they survived the brutal winter.


The above picture is an old one — I’ve lost my DSLR camera! How did I do this? I’m not sure. I’ll be off RiverCliff Cottage for a couple of weeks–at least the remainder of October– while I (1) finally find my camera or (2) purchase a new one. Ouch!

In the interim, while Mike has been researching kayaks and the potential to have Go Pro cameras for Adventure Mendota (yay) he came across this You Tube video which is hilarious. I hope you enjoy it was much as I did.

Have a great October and I’ll be back in November!! I’ll miss you!! (83)

Rainy Day Kayak Adventure

By now everyone knows that in the spring of 2015, Adventure Mendota will open renting very cool inner-tubes and totally awesome kayaks.  I’m messing around here with the early stages of a logo.  That is not a double-sided pitchfork.  It’s a kayak paddle in the middle of an oval.   Pretty rough, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Logo Work

Speaking of starting…..did I bother to tell anyone I’ve never been in a kayak?   Yes…moi.…conjured this up with Mike before I’d ever been in a kayak.    Until now.    Do I not look like a professional?  Even though the river is barely 4 ft. deep anywhere right now, I put on my life jacket!  I do not break rules!!

Eva Kayaking

Since I don’t yet own a kayak (that’s about to change in a BIG way), my sister, Pat, and I borrowed DeeDee and Eric Taylor’s kayaks.    “Float the Fork…we are on it, baby!”    Mike, who has kayaked before, is busy studying this to death.  He is into details and close to deciding what kind of kayaks we will offer.  Not just brands…but styles.   We are at a crossroads…do we want to order  “sit on top” kayaks or a “sit in” kayaks?   We are leaning toward the “sit on top” like the one below.    Do you have an opinion?   If so, please tell us!!

sit on topEveryone keeps saying that tubing will be the larger part of our business, but honestly, I with my vast knowledge acquired from today only, think that the kayaks will be the most popular!   Mike thinks 12 is the sweet number…I’m like..a MILLION!    I don’t know if I can wait until we place our kayak order…I may have to just go buy one in town NOW. Tonight.    All it takes is about six inches of water and they move along beautifully.  The North Fork was made for kayaking.  Here’s a picture I took of some friends last year.   Had I known how fun it is, I’d have ran out and stole their kayaks and took off!  This is in front of my house people!    Why haven’t we done this sooner!?


Kayak 4

My sister, Pat, is an experienced kayaker.   It was supposed to rain today, but when she and I talked, we decided it was not going to rain.  We are W. T. and Vivian Barker’s daughters, and we’re totally optimistic about things like this.    Pat, however, did have the good sense to wear rain gear and water shoes.   I wore a heavy, cotton sweatshirt (translate that into super absorbent), shorts, socks and tennis shoes.   Seriously…it wasn’t going to rain so why even bother with all that other stuff?

As we launched, it began to sprinkle.   The reason these pictures are not clear…it was raining!!  Hard!   I’m here to tell you when I got out of that kayak, I weighed about 30 pounds more than I weighed in this picture…that sweatshirt can hold some water!

Kayak Hard

It was so fun.  I got stuck on a rock once or twice because I wasn’t paying attention, but I just pushed off with my paddle.  Nothing to it.

It was raining so hard that we pulled out at the second Swinging Bridge…about an hour into our trip…and ran and climbed in the Big Loop Farm truck.  It was lightening and thundering.   Scary!!  We flew over to that truck praying it was unlocked.  It was. Thank goodness!!  Neal Faust did not know he was an angel (okay…he was an angel only for a few seconds).    I knew I looked really fine so I posed by the truck when the rain let up a little bit.   Even just standing on this big truck makes me feel…well..AWESOME!  I love heavy equipment!   Remember the late  Liz Taylor?   Her last and final husband, Larry Fortensky, was a heavy equipment operator.  I wondered about that relationship, but I’ll bet he let her drive the big trucks and stuff.   I now get it, Liz! 

Pat 1 Small

Discussion then began on how in the heck we were going to get home.  We did not “take out” where we had planned to.   We had Pat’s cell phone.    Naturally, it did not work.  However, we were able to pick up a little bit of a data signal.  So…we emailed Mike.   This just looks so sad…a cry for help.   I printed it off when I finally got home.

Little Emal

The email did go through, but Mike wasn’t at home.    We sat in the truck a bit….maybe ten minutes.  When the electrical part of the storm passed and it was a nice gentle rain, we set out walking home.    We had to hide the kayaks in the river bank brush.  I swear…I was starting to feel like an Indian movie where the Indians hide the canoes along the shores of the river from the white man.  In this case,  Pat and I were Indians…trying to be FOUND by the white man (Mike) who was hanging out with neighboring white man Jim Otis seeking firewood to keep the fort warm for winter.    Seriously…where is this man when I need him?

I was soaking wet.  My shoes squished.    See my loveliness..the wet sagging shorts…the sopping wet sweatshirt…the attractive vest…the hat that says “Dad Rocks?”   And how about those legs?

Pat Eva Kayak Paddle in the Air

We started walking.  We walked the 3/4 mile up the road in the pouring rain, got Pat’s car, went and got my truck, and then parked the car and took the truck down to get the kayaks.    Pat drove the truck and I sat in the back in the pouring rain anchoring the two kayaks.  What difference does a little rain make after you’ve been in the rain for hours?  She forgot I was back there and speeded up, and I was pelted with stinging rain drops.   Thank you sista!

What I can’t find in the pictures my sister sent are any of her (hmmmm), but I will share that at one point after we got off the river, she was covered in mud and had to remove all of her clothes except her shirt and underwear.   She was very confident that no one was around to see….it’s a weekday…lots of woods, very remote area.  Totally confident.  No worries.

I reminded her…”honey, it’s deer season.”     Whoops!  








Adventure Mendota – More Baby Steps

Eva looking silly Resized

This weekend Mike and EJ worked outside leaving me inside to work on Adventure Mendota items.     I worked primarily on clerical items but also selected the theme for the website.  I’d reserved the domain name several weeks ago.  It’s www.adventuremendota.com.  I’m not sure what you get when you put that in, right now, […]

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Prepared for ? and Another Dishtowel Giveway


There’s three things in this post.  The first, and kinda funny, is my dried onions.   Onion math is different than traditional math.  Two trays of these… Equal a 4 oz. jar of these… Not so many, right?   However, this was a learning exercise for me.  Now that I know how easy–although stinky–it is […]

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Adventure Mendota…Tiny Steps!


Last week I mentioned that we had plans for our shop.      If you’re not familiar with our property — there is the shop, the row of trees and black fence, the road, and then the North Fork of the Holston River.   The shop is getting a new use. We are in the […]

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Honeybees and a Black Squirrel Winter


Have you heard that the winter of 2014-2015 is going to be long and “bad”.   Perhaps “snowy?”   I have.   I have specifically heard it called a “Black Squirrel Winter.”  Sounds serious! At any rate, it means one thing for me in the coming weeks.   Sugar water.   Each time I speak […]

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The Mendota Landscape Changes

Granny's 7

When I grew up Worley and Lily Millard were my forever friends Lisa and Katie’s grandparents, but I called them Granny and Papaw because that is what Lisa and Katie called them.    If it bothered them, they were kind enough not to show it. They lived in a little house that sat in front […]

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First Day of Fall

Onions in Basket

Fall is here!!   While today is the first official day of fall, it’s been feeling “fallish” in Mendota, Virginia for quite a while.  I love the cool nights and the warm days with low or no humidity. This morning I went out to the garden and pulled up the remainder of the onions.  There […]

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Bristol Rhythm & Roots 2014

Downtown 1

When driving across State Street from Virginia as you enter into Tennessee, you’ll see the Chamber of Commerce and a giant guitar reflecting Bristol’s musical roots.  Now, there is something else!   There’s a countdown to something that many love as much as we love music — college football.  We don’t have a professional football […]

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Mendota Rising

The Store

There’s something different in the air in Mendota this fall.  For some reason, people are becoming optimistic that our little community is revitalizing.    I thought about this today and wondered out loud to Mike whether this was wishful thinking on my part or was it reality?   Perhaps you and I together can find […]

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