Wreathmaking in Mendota 2014

This weekend  Mendota had a wreath making event at the Holbrook Farm.   Helene Holbrook hosted about 15-20 neighbors for a cookie exchange, wreath making, stories, and music…just your typical Mendota get together.   Lots of food…naturally!    Helene always has chips and salsa.  Why is it good at her house and just so/so at my house?

Food at Helene's

There was greenery for natural wreaths, but the demonstration focused on the mesh wreaths.  I’ve tried this before and made a mess, so I was interested in watching Mary McCroskey do it.  I know she’s made several.  In Mendota, we say “she’s a Millard…they can do anything with their hands.”   It is true.

Mary and Margie

Mary bunched the mesh and tied each bunch with plastic ties.   I’d tried this using pipe cleaners and while they blended with the mesh nicely, they weren’t very tight and it affected the fullness of my wreath.   It would have been a great Pinterest flop.  Have you ever seen Pinterest flops??   Here they are.   Hilarious.

Here’s the right way…back and forth.  She’ll cut those ties off when she’s through.

Mesh Wreath 1

Here’s how it looks on the reverse side.

Pretty Red Wreath

Mrs. Taylor peeking through her red wreath.  It looks a little crooked here, but when she hangs it up and pulls on it, it will be “right as rain.”    Where did that expression come from??

Red Wreath

Helene purchased this mesh at Sam’s Club for $5 per roll which makes one wreath.  Check this one out–it’s so hard to have the right wreath for January–it’s not Christmas but it’s sure not spring either.   This wreath is perfect.  I want it.

Snowman wreath 1

And we had storytime.   Don, who is many, many months older than me is someone I honor due to his advanced age and good taste in the selection of his wife, read a Christmas story.  Here’s Don.  How come he is so much older than me?  


His daughter, Lizzie, who is 23 but cherishes her childhood in Mendota asked him to read this book, because it reminds her of Christmas in Mendota.     We sat in Helene’s warm, sunny living room and listened to Don’s voice.   Don is an ordained minister, and he understands how to speak to his audience.  He read sincerely and effectively.    I shut my eyes…and I saw the story unfold.

Christmas in the country

My mother read to her children every day.   We all knew how to read before we attended school.  We learned from following her finger with our eyes as she read the words.    Apparently, the love of being read to has stayed with me, because I thoroughly enjoyed this time.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage and following along in my rural life.   Leave all that shoipping in the ‘burbs behind and come to the country! (39)

The Crooked River Farm December 2014

First, it was this awesome fence.  Mike admired it when we drove by.   “That is one nice fence.”    Like everyone else, we wondered “what’s next?

Crooken River Fence

And then we learned….

Crooked River Banner

So it was great fun to go down today and meet David and Annette, owners of the Crooked River Farm.     With about a mile of riverfront property near the Scott County line…just down from Mendota…a few miles above the Carter Family Fold, they are working on Annette’s dream.   It’s about preserving the natural beauty of our valley and sharing it with others.

Here’s where it starts…

Crooked River Event Barn

This barn began its life in Ohio…it was a mill!   It was disassembled and moved to Waco, Texas, where it was almost sold twice.   Something happened with each sale.  This barn was meant to come here.    It’s found its forever home in Poor Valley. 

In the picture below….I believe Annette said that this is the area where there will be an indoor/outdoor fireplace.   Can you see the glimmer of the North Fork?   Every direction is a view of Clinch Mountain or the North Fork of the Holston River.

Crooked River Event Barn 5

Inside the barn, there will be a mezzanine, restrooms, a warming kitchen and the gathering/seating area for receptions, meetings, etc.   Right now, however, it’s blue sky, wood and a bit of steel to ensure support.

Crooked River Event Barn 4

I love these pictures of the framing and rafters looking up into the sky.  Here’s another one.

Roof of Crooked River Event Barn

As you look outside the rear of the barn, there’s a winding road that leads to a second barn and curves around to the river.  Also, the area in the left of the picture below will be a truffle grove (or will be in about five years).

Truffle Grove

Here’s the second barn (below).   I like the angle of this picture as it shows how tall the barn is.   I took this picture from the winding road pictured above.    This old tobacco barn is being “skinned” with hemlock which is a rot-resistant wood.    I use hemlock in my raised beds for the same reason.

Crooked River Barn

This barn will have two bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen/living area.   If there is a wedding, this is where the bride will get ready…or maybe where the honeymoon couple spends their first night.    They will love the views.  Or maybe they will be too busy to notice!

View from Barn 2

Here’s Annette and David.   I liked them immediately…they are not afraid to dream.


Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage and going with me to the Crooked River Farm.     We’ll go back!!    Please  follow Annette and David on their journey–like them on their Facebook page and let your friends know about the Crooked River Farm!


Adventure Mendota is Approved!


It’s official! Washington County rocks!  Tonight the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Adventure Mendota! Mendota rising!  Ecotourism is arriving! Thank you to everyone who is supporting us! We’ll work hard to “do you proud!” (86)

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The Copper Dog on Nordyke

If you have driven out of Mendota, you may have seen the copper-colored dog that someone has abandoned on Nordyke.  I saw it tonight and tried to call it.   No luck.  It is probably so psychologically damaged by now that it would never make an acceptable pet.   However, if there is someone out […]

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William Lee and Eva Winnora Sproles

Happy Thanksgiving!    I hope your Thanksgiving was everything you wished for.  Mine was good. My sister, Nancy, and her family joined us for Thanksgiving, and at the close of the meal when we were talking about what we are thankful for in our lives, Nancy read something she’d put together from collected memories of […]

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Luckie Update From The Staff at Adventure Mendota

Brochure Draft

Here’s the Luckie Dog update as she went to the vet today.  Dr. Steve thinks she has a bacterial infection.  He gave her a couple of injections, and we have medication for the next week.   She’s feeling better but she’s still not out of the woods.   We’re just treading water with Luckie.   […]

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It’s Official!

luckie beaule (2)

Hi…thanks to everyone who keeps coming back to see me at RiverCliff Cottage.   I continued with about 4700 views in the past 30 days and since I’ve been less than diligent about updating the blog, I am very thankful.    This is actually not a very large number, but it’s larger than I ever […]

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Cold November Day in Mendota

Bee Hive in the Winter

It’s a nippy 24 degrees today in Mendota.   I washed an old quilt that Luckie wallows on and hung it on the clothesline.  It took it almost all day, but it came very close to getting dry.   Miracle!    Yesterday I removed the sugar water feeders from our beehives.  I also changed out […]

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Our Annual Trip To Peterstown, WV


Mike and I made a quick trip to Petersburg, West Virginia today.  We make this trip every year to get a part or two for the woodboiler.  We have a heat pump, but as the deeper cold of winter approaches, we transition to the woodboiler.   We bought one a few years ago that was […]

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Last Day Feeding The Honeybees

Summer Flowers

Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything and a season for every activity, but yikes…did winter have to come so soon?  It was just a few weeks ago that my mums looked like this… They looked so happy!  Did they know what was ahead?    I pruned everything in our yard a few weeks […]

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