Mendota Festival 2017

The Mendota Festival for 2017 was held this past weekend.   We started on Friday night with our beloved local musician, Oscar Harris, followed by the Poor Valley Girls.  About 100 people showed up for the performance.  They got a great show.    There is so much “heart” in these small festivals, and that heart extended to getting the stage ready for the performance.   Oscar’s wife, Katie, took an old stage in an old building and transformed it into a front porch set up for just a little pickin’ on a Friday night.   

Every front porch has to have some flowers to pretty it up and ours was no exception.

On Saturday, we had a breakfast prepared by Liz Kiser and her gang of helpers.  I manned a General Store that had all sorts of beautiful creations.  Most were made by Katie Harris and Dottie Dye.  Here’s a few of them…


I loved this tiger tailed tutu.    The tutus are for ages 2-5.  I don’t have a 2-5 year old to buy this for, but I’d like to!  I can imagine a little cat face painted on with this cute little tutu.

She had every color.  The green one was awfully sweet.  Most have  hair accessories to go with them.  Sometimes a wand as well.

Another…if you want one of these.  I can hook you up but you’d need to pay shipping.

How about a lady bug?

Or Christmas outfit.

Feeling blue?

I bought this for the About Face Bootox event in October.

Here’s another one.

There was a Mendota history room that was set up…very cool.   I’ll take you through it.   Here’s a nod to education.  At one time, Mendota was a center for education.   There’s a thread here…”at one time.”   I want that to change but that’s another subject for another time.

Our rural, farming roots…tobacco basket, milk churn, patchwork quilts…a sign for the Mendota General Store.  History.

Arts…creativity…shopkeepers.   On the second shelf is pottery made in Mendota.  It is believed to be Mort’s Pottery.   You can Google Mort’s Pottery and get the history.  There were several potters in the area because of our clay.

Here’s a closer picture of one of the pieces… and right below it you’ll see a pair of stockings priced at 50 cents from Faye’s Gift Shoppe.  She was my cousin, but I was instructed to call her “Auntie Faye” because of her age.   I loved to shop in her store.

Faces of Mendota…


A nod to the North Fork.  Hmmm…where are the kayaks?

The Masonic Lodge which is no longer in existence…this whole thing is beautiful, wonderful and sad at the same time.   In the picture below, you’ll see an old jar and some items in plastic.  That is a jar that was placed in a corner of the old Masonic Lodge building back in 1917.  It was discovered last year.

Churches of Mendota…

And there was a corner devoted to music…Oscar Harris, Bill Clifton, Dale Jett, the Carter Family…all threads of our heritage.   It’s behind the beautiful fan quilt.

And this quilt tho… I want this fan quilt.

Here’s some history about the fan quilt.

And others…

And others…

A more recent one…

Dottie Dye and Katie Harris put this room together.  Pretty awesome.  I cannot thank them enough.   They have such an eye for beauty and respect for history.  We are fortunate that they invested their time, talent and energy into getting this together.

Concurrent with the festival, the Washington County Public Library hosted a book sale in what I recall being the 5th or 6th grade room at Hamilton.   I still hold a grudge over this neighborhood school being closed.   We bus our little ones a long way in Washington County…or we send them to Scott County which is much more convenient.  Or we home school.

Here’s the ladies who manned the booksale.  Thank you!

This festival comes at an interesting time for Mendota.  We are at a crossroads on many things.   Funds that were raised by the festival will go toward paying for a Preliminary Architectural Report which will tell the story of what is required to make the community center and library a safe, warm, attractive place for our community.  Or not.   Perhaps it’s better to start over.

We do not yet know, but we are not afraid to dream.



September 13, 2017 After The Kayaking

Hello!  It’s me again.   As small business owners operating only about 100 days per year, we give it a lot while we are open.  Once closed, it’s easy to just sit back and do nothing or surf on the internet and waste time on social media.  Guilty.   However, we closed on Labor Day and it’s been over a week and I’m ready to make sure that the fall and winter are productive — not just in doing projects around the house, but productive in that we enjoy ourselves.

But, today was productive around the house.   I cannot recall when we last really cleaned our garage, but this blog can.  It was June 2013.   That’s not to say that we didn’t sweep etc. but to pull things out and clean behind them, well, we’ve not done as well as we should.   It looked so good back then…

I did a pretty good job labeling and putting things in place.  Did I keep them that way?  For a while, I did.  However, this morning while Mike was at the dentist, I walked out and took a hard look at the garage.  It looked bad.  I took these with my ipad.  That corner…it surfaced as a junk spot.   I hate that.

In serious need of decraptification.   I went through and sorted everything.  I did this by myself while Mike was at the dentist.  He came home anticipating a nap.  Instead, he found everything but the freezer and the two shelves out in the driveway.   Everything.    In addition, the sky was dark as if it was getting ready to rain.  Ouch!  Thankfully, he jumped in and helped, and thankfully, it did not rain.   One truckload went to the waste disposal station.   The rest was wiping items and determining what to do with them.    At 3:43 pm today, we came back in the house with a much cleaner garage.

One of the primary uses of this garage is storing my canning jars.  I did not can this summer, but I’m not giving it up.   Home canned items are tastier, and there is a special feeling in opening them up and thinking “I made this.”  Also, in a world where disasters are more common and sometimes the food supply chain is interrupted, it makes me feel safe.   So tease me and tell me I’m a prepper wannabe.  You are probably right!   At any rate, I have have lids, rings and jars on hand for next year.

Here’s how things ended up looking after all of our work.   Have you ever seen so much toilet paper?  I didn’t realize I’d got a little cray cray over toilet paper.   I like to have toilet paper and paper towels on hand at all times and I shop the sales, but I’m at over 50 rolls now.


Some things in the garage organization project of 2013 that really work well –using Sam’s Club boxes to “house” like things.

Another thing is the chalkboard.  We could never recall when the Waste Disposal Station was closed or open.  This works out so well.  Plywood, chalkboard paint, and four yardsticks!

Another thing that I love is having peg board to hold my grocery store bags and laundry basket and clothespins.  (I still dry clothes on the line in warm months.)    I assume most people like to use their own bags, but it’s very difficult to get out of the house without forgetting them.  Since I have them hanging right by the car door, it’s simple to grab and go.   The left side of the garage catches recycling, keeps cat litter easy to store and has my grocery story bags.   That has worked very well.    Mike wishes the floor looked better. I’m like…”it’s a garage.”  

So as I slide back into being busy after a week of being lazy, I’m going to bed with a clean garage.  Feels good my friend.   I felt so out of sorts this past week, but finishing something as reinvigorated me.   Did I tell you I no longer have honeybees?  Yes that is a bit of a loss.  I came across some honeybee stuff in the garage and felt a little sink.

Not having my little flying friends is a loss, but I think the thing that matters most to me is that life is full and has meaning.  I’m 61.   I don’t have to impress everyone or be liked by everyone, but I need to like myself.   And I do.  

My fall and winter is going to be focused on doing some work for About Face, going on several mini vacations with Mike, continuing to organize and clean my house, getting the guesthouse ready to operate as an Air B&B next summer, updating this website and my Adventure Mendota website, finishing up a quilt I recently started and learning some new things.   Since I get more done when I blog, I’m going to blog even if no one reads it!

And in the late spring, well, it’s be all about this again…




Muffin the Cat Before and After

Muffin the Cat has been with us for almost two years.  He’s turned from a mostly feral cat into a pet.   Here was a picture of him from the early days when he would allow us to pet him but never pick him up or touch his back.   It was from an old post on […]

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Spring in Mendota 2017

Following the flood two weeks ago, it turned cool.  Then, it turned even cooler as we entered what is called “Blackberry Winter”.   It’s called Blackberry Winter because it always turns cool when the blackberries are blooming.  Here are a few in bloom behind my house. Mike wanted to go to California to see his […]

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Mendota Flooding Part I

We have had two full days of rain following an already rainy week here in Mendota, Virginia.   The North Fork of the Holston has “just had it” and is getting ready to flood.   I called this Mendota Flooding Part I because no doubt when I wake up tomorrow morning, the river will be in the […]

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Progress Report – 2017 Mendota Cemetery Quilt

Each Friday, provided someone doesn’t get sick, the machines start whirring and the iron starts heating as work continues on the 2017 Mendota Cemetery Quilt.      A few weeks ago, I posted and showed you the center of the quilt.  The colors are intense and vibrant, even though this picture doesn’t look that way.   I love […]

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Home Chef

For the past two years, I have often seen advertisements from Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and so forth for food that is fresh, proportioned and ready to cook.    My friend, Monica, posted pictures on Facebook from Home Chef, and I messaged back and forth with her about it.   I decided to give it a try. […]

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Mendota Cemetery Quilt Week Three

Well, I had taken my blog down and decided not to renew the hosting.  My plans were (and still are) to update the blog so it reflects me today — not me five years ago.    However, I logged on and found  emails from people wanting to know about Mendota, wanting to know this or that, […]

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Where Are We and What Are We Doing?

Hi there! I logged onto RiverCliff Cottage’s admin site and realized I had messages from readers from quite a while back.  Sorry!  I haven’t been on here lately.  I am going to redo this blog with a new theme, but I want to do it completely by myself and I need to take a couple […]

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Hidden Valley Lake

About ten miles away from our house is a sign that says Hidden Valley Lake.   For me to get to Hidden Valley Lake, I drive up State Route 802, Mendota Road, turn left on Highway 19 and very soon I’ll see the sign on the right.   Mike and I decided to go exploring today.    We […]

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