Mendota Rising

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 the answer.

It started, believe it or not, with our Mendota Cemetery Quilt sale.  We sold $2100 in tickets for our quilt.   For a large community, this might not be significant, but for Mendota…a community without even a store, this is impressive.   Was it just a pretty quilt?

Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2014 2

And there are other signs.   Literally.  Do you see two signs in the photograph below of “sprouts” of vitality in Mendota?    If you did, you missed one.

Three Signs

Gary Barker retired from the Washington County School System and opened a garage in Mendota.  The Kiser family operates a successful organic farm in Mendota.  The third “sign” is that corn in the background — that belongs to River Gate Farm — one of Southwest Virginia’s largest dairy farms located right here in Mendota.

I drove a little further and recalled the Pig Pickin’ on Sunday attended by well over 100 people.   I’m not sure how many were there, but there was a 250 pound+ pig and I didn’t get one bite, so it was definitely well attended.    Here’s a sign directing folks to the farm…

Timmons Farm

The Timmon’s family also operate a successful wedding business called Swinging Bridge Farms.     Receptions are held in the black barn with the quilt square…just down the road from Mike and me… in Mendota.  

Timmons Barn

Then…as I climbed back in the truck….interruption here to say I love Luckie and she and I roll in a truck!

Luckie in the Truck

Back to whatever I was talking about.….I looked over at Gordon Barker Jr.’s  farm and saw….more!    I recalled two years ago when Mike, Marc, Mary and the boys and I drove across Clinch Mountain to a pumpkin stand and tiny farm maze.  I asked the owner “where did you get your pumpkins?”   He replied “Gordon Barker, Jr. in Mendota, Virginia.”


Here’s some awesome news…I’m going to the doctor next week, and I’m riding my bicycle to get there.    HMG has reopened the Mendota Medical Clinic (pictured below).  The days are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  The phone number is 276.645.6710, and the beloved Dr. Andy Brockmyre is our doctor.     Great medical care right here in Mendota.   He bikes to work…we might just bike beside each other on the day of my appointment!



Katie had her store open last Saturday.  She’s percolatin’

Katie's Store

She had some cute pillow slip dresses and a stack of stuffed punkin’s…

Pix 2 Pumpkins

Here’s the dresses made with antique pillow cases…nice.

Pix 3 Pillowcase dress

There’s several folks that operate businesses from their homes….

Gray Guy

I know of three men in the valley who make beautiful jewelry.  Tom Ilowiecki made this bracelet.  It sells for $35.


Like a little table with barn siding?   Mike makes those.   Personal note:   are you happy Pat Statzer?  This is for you!!!   


So there’s all sorts of bits of optimism!  So…another thought for Mendota.   We could have our own Quilt Trail.   The Timmons’  barn has one, and look what is going to go up soon at RiverCliff Cottage!    Are there more to follow?

Sawblade Quilt Square

Next spring is going to be fun for Mike and me.  We are working to have our property on the North Fork of the Holston work for us.  There’s a business plan, there’s lots to learn and there’s a lot of work, and we’re still in the “almost decided for sure phase” of what we want to do.  I’ll share it with you as each step becomes concrete.   But I can tell you, we’ll be down at the shop often enough to make sure my flowers get watered.

Shop Window Box

In the meantime….we are keeping it all in perspective.  One step at a time.

I love Mendota




2014 Washington County Fair

Note: If you are visiting RiverCliff Cottage to view pictures taken from the Mendota Heritage Festival today, please visit the Mendota Community Events Facebook  Page.

The Highlands Beekeepers had a booth at the Washington County Fair, and I volunteered to work from 3 to 6 this past Friday.   This worked out great because I got free admission and a place to park!  Yay!  It was fun talking to people about the bees, but wow, it was so hot.  I was sweating like a pig.  Notice how my colors match the honeybee’s colors?    If I’d lost a little weight, I would have dressed like a bee.  Maybe next year.  

Eva Sweating

Speaking of pigs…we met Piggy Sue. Piggy Sue is a therapy pig. She’s very clean and friendly. She wasn’t sweating nearly as much as me so I take that “sweating like a pig” remark back. She actually was very, very clean.

Piggy 3

Here’s another…

Piggy and Sue Kissing

Yes, that picture above was my friend Sue kissing Piggy Sue. On the way home, she asked me if I wanted a sip of her lemonade. Nope!

I loved the country decor of our fair.

Roll in the Hay

Mendota and Benhams were well represented. Mary McCroskey and Terri McCroskey cleaned up. Girls — I am going to take you on next year!! Here’s Mary’s chair which got Best of Show. She also had a fern which was loitering around with a Blue Ribbon!

Best of Show

And Terri’s green beans…

Terri's Green Beans

It’s all about agriculture at the fair…here is the Virginia Extension Office display.

Va Extension Display

Some more canned goods…

Veggie Jar

This was one of the more strange things. The man from Bathfitters kept getting in his bathtub and driving around. That tub could move!

Bathfitter 2

Cute, country stuff…


$5.00 got you a ride on the bull. This young lady had just finished clogging and she took on the bull with such grace. Ahh…to be that young. She has the world by the tail.


Do you have a county fair where you live? (36)

Dishtowel Giveway (Another One!) + Fall Wreath

Dishtowel giveway

I have another dishtowel to give away!   Eight readers commented on my blog on the dishtowel post, and I put their names in a bowl.   I drew Patsy Carrier’s name and she now has the dishtowel. Yay Patsy!! This one is a little brighter.  It came from target.  I like it  because it […]

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The Mendota Cakewalk

Diaper Cake

Fifteen years ago when we decided to buy this property in Mendota, it was partly because of things like cake walks.   If you live in the ‘burbs, how many cake walks do you attend in a year? So we’re having our Mendota Heritage Festival on Saturday, September 13, and I’ve been asked to provide […]

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Mendota Villager September 2014

Thought some of you from Mendota or with ties to Mendota might enjoy The Villager. It’s a peek into life in our rural life. Margie Dean puts this together for our community.   If you like seeing this on this blog, please leave a comment so that I’ll know.  I could do it for our […]

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Fall Wreaths – Easy Sassy and Cheap!

Fall Wreath Front Door 2014

I had big plans for a geo mesh wreath that went no where fast, so I started thinking on how I could just “fix up” my grapevine wreaths and reuse them. Enter blocks, scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, letters and hot glue.    This one is going on the guest house door. Here’s another one…I was […]

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Fall Around The House

Fall 4

Fall is my favorite time of year. This morning when Mike and I made our trip to the Rally Mart (two eggs over medium, buttered toast), he noted that it was 63 degrees. Nice. I’ve got a friend coming to stay for a week so I’ve been doing some cleaning and decorating for fall. Last […]

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Fall Dishtowel Giveaway

Faith Family Friends Towel

I love fall. While I was at the Family Bakery in Gate City, Virginia LAST YEAR, I saw these fall dishtowels. I bought an extra one thinking I’d give it to someone who reads my blog. I never got around to it. Here’s the Family Bakery… And here’s the dishtowel I purchased… If you would […]

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Cumberplunge and Downtown Bristol


Today was the Cumberplunge in downtown Bristol. I am so chapped. I would have got a Mendota group together to take the plunge, but I thought it would be too crowded. I was wrong! It would have been perfect. Here’s the actual Cumberplunge slide… What was fun…and what I would have wanted to do…is to […]

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Trash To Treasure Candlesticks

Ballister in Chair

You need to add something to this picture. Like imagination. Imagine that the candle stick is painted. Imagine that the candle is a creamy white. Imagine that the flower and the leaf are something that someone thought about for more than a second…if you do all these things, you’ll love this candlestick! Our neighbor, Cookie […]

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