Water Water But Not Everywhere!

Today has not been a great one here at RiverCliff Cottage.

Mike and I got home last night at 10:00 pm and the North Fork was lapping at the banks like a hungry fox. It was scary, and I was so thankful that we actually made it home. I’d tucked some clothes away in case we had to camp with my sister, Pat, or go to a hotel. We’d heard that water was on the roads, and while it was, it wasn’t yet on our road.

I got up this morning and in my pjs, I drove up the road to check out the river conditions. Just past the swinging bridge, the river was in the road on one side and water had filled a ditch on the other so the road was covered. I was undecided, but “Don’t Drown…Turn Around” played in my head.      I came back in the house, and thought that since I was uncertain if the river was cresting or still rising, I would take a shower and then I’d go back and check it again and if it went down a few inches, I’d head on to work.

So…I reach in the shower and turn on the water. And there is no water.   There is not a drop of water. Oh.No.   If you know me, you know that I’m always prepared for stuff, but it’s hard to prepare for not having water.   (Although in full disclosure,  I did have a case of bottled water and ten jugs of water stashed away.   Let me tell you…just having those jugs of water is so handy.  I emptied each one in the commodes, put some in the teapot, etc and then refilled them at my sister’s house.  Yay!!!)

We called friend and plumber, Darrell Statzer, and he was in Kingsport on a job. He said he’d come by after he got through–if water did not prevent him from doing so.  Darrell is aware of our well, and he’s like me — he thinks we’ll need a new well pump. You become expert at these types of things when you live in the country. It’s why I never make the casual statement that because we live in the country and we have a well, we get our water free. It’s a little more complicated than that!

So Darrell is going to come save the day–maybe if he can get through the water.    Except this started.

Winter Tree

Snow is not so bad, but this was more than snow. We had ice and sleet mixed in, and the roads became as slick as glass. Even going outside on the steps was dangerous.    Darrell barely got home himself so we all agreed the well could wait another day (and maybe it’ll be a little warmer).

With dirty hair, a flooding river, sleet and no water, I nixed any idea of going to work today.   However, about 4:00, Mike saw me getting ready to walk to my sister’s and shower so I could go to work tomorrow. I didn’t think the truck would make it down the hill without sliding in the river which was much closer to our gate  than it was a few days ago.

River Out

Mike, however, said he would put the truck in four wheel drive and keep a tire on the edge of the grass so that we’d have more traction than just going down the paved driveway, so we both went to my sisters and took showers and refilled the water jugs. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to live next to my sister.   It was the best shower.

So on the way home, while I had wet hair, I asked Mike to drive me around to see what the river was doing. It was going down! Yay!!  It had went down quite a bit!    Here’s the “lake” that is behind Gordon Barker’s house. I know the road crew that worked out here last year read this blog and they should be pleased to know that their giant culvert did help with the flooding on Barnrock.  The river had really went down in this picture.   See where the grass and snow meet?   That is where it had been earlier in the day.

Barker's Lake II

Here’s another…this is the Nordyke Bridge. Can you believe that in 2002 water ran over that bridge?

Nordyke Bridge

Water also ran over this swinging bridge in 2002. While a little scary to walk out with the fast moving water just a few feet down, it was nothing like 2002 when the bridge was washed out.

Swinging Bridge 2

I’m going to put another picture of that swinging bridge in here because I felt really brave walking out there.  Showing off a little.

Swinging Bridge 1

The river was making a rushing sound part of the day…I’m used to the lazy North Fork looking like this and hearing laughter…not rushing!

River BAnk

But everyone has to have a day where they speak up and demand a little respect..maybe a little fear…

Swinging Bridge Lower POint

And the North Fork did today!

Road Closed


Update on My Honeybees February 28

Hello!! I’ve missed you!! I hope you’ve missed me!!!

I have not been posting often because we’re working on the last minute details before we make our “pitch” at the Washington County Entrepreneurs Challenge. We’re attempting to win $5K for Adventure Mendota. If we don’t win, we’ve had a tremendously positive experience, but hey…I still am in it to win it. With working, keeping things done around the house, and attending one class each week, I haven’t been blogging. Plus…let’s face it. The subject in Mendota, Virginia has been focused on one thing! SNOW! This picture was taken last Saturday morning, and it snowed for many hours after the picture was taken.

Snow Day on Saturday back view

I didn’t have to work that day and it was so pretty. I really enjoyed it. There’s the shop at the base of the hill. I thought of it way too late but we should have blown up some of the Adventure Mendota tubes and went snow tubing. Oh well.

Snow Day on Saturday

We drove over to Asheville today to meet Mike’s son and family for our annual late Christmas get together, and I noticed how little snow pack was in the NC mountains compared to Washington County, Virginia. Even today, we have quite a bit left. As my sister Pat said, farmers are licking their lips thinking about how sweet the hay will be in Mendota this spring. I can just smell it now.

Sticky Snow

So what about those honeybees? My bees have been outside under all this snow and bad weather with temperatures far below zero. They’ve been wrapped in bubble wrap and tarped–loosely tarped–so that ventilation could still get into the small upper vent hole. Still…confession…I’ve been worried about that tarp being too close to the ventilation hole. Very worried.

Bee Tarp 1

But today, I got some good news. Mike went out to put wood in the woodboiler, and about 100 bees were drinking water from melting snow. He did not tell me in time to get any pictures, but I knew where those bees came from — my hives!! Happy dance!! I’d pulled the tarp back early today, because I knew warm sunshine beating down on the hives would be welcome. I went back out this evening. Here’s one of the hives. Do you see that little black dot in the snow just outside the hive? That is a dead bee. This is actually a good sign. There were about 20 dead bees outside of each hive. These bees were not there this morning, but the worker bees are moving about inside the hives, and they are removing the dead bees.

Small bee

It will be a miracle if all three hives survived. I am hoping. I can’t wait to see if Gerald has seen any bee activity as well. He did not get to tarp his, and that is actually a helpful thing. We can see if I’m wasting my time or if it has made the difference in temperature inside the hive–just a little higher–so that the hive could survive.

If it continues to warm up, I’m going to give these guys a little treat of sugar water and Honey Bee Healthy in about two weeks–just a little sip to tide them over in case they are getting low on honey.


Update on Muffin the Cat

Hut Hilton

In a recent post, I mentioned that Mike and I had been “guest hosting” a feral cat that we’d named Muffin. The cat showed up for a day or two and then was gone.   It then appeared again about 10 days ago, and that’s when the weather started getting colder.   It hung out […]

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A Perfect Day


Yesterday was an almost perfect day for me.   I have a few friends who will get this completely.   I stayed home and worked on “home stuff.”   My house was a wreck.  Our dining room table had been a “catch all” for months.   Now it’s dusted and gleaming and everything is put […]

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Snowed In and Okay With It

Dig For Victory – Grow You Own Vegetables

Hi…I took a vacation day today.   I haven’t been on the job 90 days, but I woke up and **knew** it was going to snow and a few additional inches would be added to the 8 inches piled up and not melting.    It was not a day I wanted to be out.  I’m […]

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What To Wear???

Apparel 1

This week, it’s what to wear, although not to work.  It’s what to wear at Adventure Mendota.   Here’s a few of the items we’re looking at which the staff will wear as well as have for sale. (The staff?  Well, it just sounds good. ) I’m really “feeling” the white hat above, but we […]

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Crooked River Farm – Early February

CRF Barn Light

Because so many people have asked how “that big barn” is coming along, I stopped and took a few quick pictures today as I drove by the Crooked River Farm.    The Crooked River Farm is a wedding and corporate event venue just past the Scott County Line in Hiltons, Virginia. Lots of progress is […]

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Luckie….The Best Dog

Luckie Don't Forget

In 1999, we built our house and near Thanksgiving of that year, we got two Golden Retrievers. In the summer that followed, another little dog showed up. I was walking by the river, and a skinny little black and tan dog touched the back of my calf with her nose. When I turned around, she […]

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Chicken Houses of Mendota Part III

Chicken House 1

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I’m sitting here mesmerized with the reality show Southern Justice. How about those police dogs? They really earn their keep and talk about liking your job!!! It is gray outside and supposed to be a wintry mix tonight and tomorrow. I’ve got potato soup in the crockpot for dinner. Having […]

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Drone Down in the Fork – Help Solve the Mystery!

Dustin Reedy's Drone

Update on 1/26/15 – Drone Down…Drone Found. The downed drone belonged to Adam Barker and was lost June 2013 and found in 2014 by Dustin Reedy. Adam and Dustin have now hooked up!! Dustin Reedy was fishing on the North Fork of the Holson on “the Mendota section” on Swinging Bridge Road.   In the […]

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