Treasure Hunting in Gate City, Virginia

Hi there!   It has been such a busy time around here as we prepare for the first days of Adventure Mendota 2016.    Mike and I have also been on the fundraising merry-go-round for the Goodson Kinderhook Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Crossroads Christian Academy and the Washington County Public Library.   We’ve  bid in three silent auctions in less than 8 days.  I’ve ended up with a few dinners out, several tickets to the Barter, and a pretty wall piece.  We’re now broke.

Last night, however, we got into a bidding fever over these…apple crates from Chilhowie.

Crates from Gala

Mike bid….are you ready…$185 for these crates.   We want to use them to hold Adventure Mendota’s t-shirts.  We’re rural…they’re rural…it’s  a match.   If you are still reeling from the $185, the real shocker is that we didn’t win the bid.  They went for $200.     Mike was bummed, but I was secretly relieved.  Whew!   Close call!

However, as we went out to deliver Adventure Mendota rack cards today, I suggested that we stop in a few antique stores in Gate City to see if they were aware where we could find some similar crates.    We stopped in the old Hackey Furniture and Appliance Store.    I don’t know what it looked like “in the day” but here’s what it looks like today, and it is the home of Memory Lane Antique Mall.  Very, very nice folks.

Hackney Furniture Store

So, I went in…

Interior of Store

I left a pool of drool when I saw this.  It’s sold, and I’m kind of relieved.    It’s hard to explain to Mike why I want something chippy and blue and wonderful.   He does not get it.   Sorry for the blurry picture.  I took this with my iphone.

Blue Chest

This is all about hunting crates, but there is one more thing I want to show you.  This light fixture was $199.  I’m going to look at similar new ones and compare prices.    When I redo my dining room, I’m replacing the light fixture and this one would look very good.   They were asking $199.  I’m sure I could get it a little cheaper.   $150??

Light Fixture

But the real story here is the crates.   I cannot see things in stores like this.  Something in the way my mind is wired does not let me find that “needle in a haystack.”  If there is a lot of distraction going on, I am…well…distracted.  So I walked all the way through and started to leave and then I asked the salesperson if they had any old fruit crates with markings.

Here’s all the ones I passed walking through the store.   I’m so glad I asked.   This was just the start.  We bought 7.

Crate Crazy

Here’s a few of my favorites…starting with my #1’s from Saltville.  This box has so much history.  It’s really about the rise and fall of an industry and how it affected a town and the environment.     I’m honored to have it as a home for my t-shirts!

Soda Box

I’ve seen fake crates in stores.   I do not meant to sound snobby, but really…why get fake when the real think actually tells a story?   I’d rather do without than have a crate that doesn’t know how to speak!!!    My crates speak AP-PAH-LACH-UN!

Here’s another one…this is actually from California and doesn’t speak AP-PAH-LACH-UN very well, but I couldn’t resist it.    My XL tees will go in this one.

Mendota Melons

And finally…this little Canada Dry sings to me as well.    I think it’s singing “I want tank tops!”

Canada Dry

Yes, those are my feet.

New topic.   Guess how much the Adventure Mendota Basket went for at the WCPL A Tisket A Tasket Fundraiser…$120.  I’m thrilled!  Each basket is around a book.  My book was “A Day on the River” and if you can believe it, the little girl’s name in the book is….Eva!

Adventure Mendota Basket

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.  XOXO


Cleaning A Vinyl Fence

When we first built this house, we said “everything is to be maintenance free.” We were dumb. There is no maintenance free anything. While it’s nice that we don’t have to paint the vinyl fence, it does require maintenance. Each year following winter, we are greeted with black and green mold on the fence.

Fence Before

If the weeds in the beds were not depressing enough, here’s a close up of the nasty fence.

Fence before Cropped

And another…

Fence top before Green

I’d looked on Pinterest for some ideas on the very easiest way to clean the fence, and Magic Erasers came up again and again. They do work! However, I have a lot of fence and Magic Erasers are expensive and for some reason, they fall apart on me. The picture below is one taken from Pinterest of a fence as nasty as mine, and I have no doubt those Magic Erasers did the trick.

blogger 2

But, with my bigger vinyl fence, I reverted back to a tried and true method. A bottle of cheap bleach and an old Windex spray bottle. I filled the bottle with a 2/3 bleach 1/3 water solutions and sprayed the fence and then just wiped it down with a wet rag. Here’s the tools of my trade as a fence washer. All done for about $2 plus my labor which is priceless. probably a bargain.

Here’s the instructions:

1 Bucket filled with water and about 2 cups of bleach
1 Rag
Double Gloves. Trust me.
1 Gallon of Bleach
1 Empty Windex House Spray Bottle which you then fill with the 2/3 bleach 1/3 water solution

Working in 10-12 ft. sections on a sunny day, spray your fence. After spraying, wipe with a wet cloth. You are done. Finished. Yes!!    I hear my mother’s voice when I do things such as this “you can be poor but there is no reason to be dirty and nasty.”   She hated dirt.  I’m not that way, but I do want things to be cleaned up every once and a while!  On the really dirty parts of the fence, I pulled the plastic “posts” right out and washed them.

Cleaning the Fence

But the fence looks great. Especially now that it’s weeded and composted. Ready for planting some seeds and flowers for spring.


Sparkling white fence and all those weeds are pulled. I’ve been in weed hell, people. Our friend, Jenna, came and helped so there was solidarity. We dug and dug and dug like moles. Piles of weeds. I put newspaper down underneath the compost in the worst parts where I have had weed problems in the past.

Here’s the “before” once more..

Fence Before

And the after.

Fence After

It has been 8 days since I quit my job. Someone asked what I was doing with my time! While it’s true that I haven’t missed many episodes of Ellen, I have scrubbed the fence, pulled about a million weeds, helped move the compost around, took Muffin for his transformation into a more domesticated, neutered male kitty, done a very small amount of housework and made chili for 14 (which now resides in many containers in my freezer). Oh…and I also came in 1st place in the Existing Business Category and won $5,000 in the Washington County Business Challenge for Adventure Mendota! It’s all been good!


Mendota in the Past – Sand And Silica

Sand Tram Crisp

I have always had an interest in the sand and silica mining that took place in Mendota long ago. My grandfather mentioned it here, and later, when I worked for AGC Glass, I was taught how important sand was in glass making. I kinda sorta knew where the mining took place. I finally got to […]

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Are The Bees Alive?

Bees Spring 2016

We have heard from everyone that this was a bad winter for bees, but thankfully, it appears my three hives survived.  See for yourself.   I started feeding them today.   Their enclosure is a mess…I’m going to clean it up and plant flowering seeds out there. Here’s what I plan to plant…”Black Eyed Susie Vines”. They […]

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Copycat Wendy’s Chili Recipe

Chili soup

In Mendota, we didn’t think winter would ever arrive when we were lounging around in 70 degree temperatures in December.  Whoops!  Were we wrong!   It’s here! We had a weird little snow last night that left things very slick so I took a serendipitous holiday/vacation day from work.   I was about to change my mind and […]

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A Queen No More….Navy Bean Soup


It’s January.   Winter of 2016 is here.  Looking to the left from my front porch… Looking to the right from the same spot.. Definitely is God’s country.   However, there is almost a foot of the “devil’s dandruff” covering everything, and we’re stuck.  River, my beloved Little Man, has not ridden in his truck for days.  Can you imagine?    […]

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First Real Snow of 2016

Icey River 2

I love snow.  It’s magic.   We had a little magic this morning!    Al Archer, the weather guy for WXBQ, said we’d have about one inch of snow.   We had anywhere from about two to five inches throughout the Tri-Cities.    I went into work and decided to leave at 10:00 am, because I was concerned about […]

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What’s That Higher Ed Building On Lee Highway Anyway?

Backside with Two Tanks

Did you play the Powerball Lottery?  Did you win anything?  I did.  One of my numbers was 10, and I won $8.   Here’s what I bought with my winnings.   I’m good with this prize.   I’m watching a tribute to Willy Nelson as I type this and wondering if he’s sick or something.  He’s getting such […]

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Boom! Ears Are Pierced!

Eva with Earring

I gathered all my courage and went into Epic Ink Tattoo today.   I asked for Scottie as I was told he was the best piercer around, and my 59 year old ears deserved the best.     These ears had seen a little action when I was 12 or 13 when Lisa Benfield Edwards […]

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Where Are They Now?

Pip All Grown UP

Do you remember this past summer when a cat that I named Lilly showed up and had five kittens?   I posted about those kittens off and on for eight weeks and then I stopped.    Something rather tragic happened to this mother cat that captured my heart… Three days after the last kitten was […]

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