Archives for June 2012

Mendota Daily June 29

Thank you to everyone who has asked about my sweet girl Luckie.  She is doing better today.   Still quiet but she’s eating and keeping it down.  I felt so bad for her, and I wanted to do something, so I drove to town and bought a bunch of expensive dog food and treats.   This doesn’t make any sense, since we are having to leash walk her to prevent her from eating deer poop as indiscrimate eating is part of her problem!   Obviously, she doesn’t care where her food comes from if she’s eating poop and we know where that comes from.   It makes me feel better though.

While I was out getting Luckie’s food, I was on the Gate City Highway, turning left at the signal light toward the Bristol Mall when I saw the Google car!   First thing I thought about was rolling down the window so the camera could see me (my debut); and the second thing I thought about what — I want that job!

Back in Mendota, things are moving along.   The guest house bedroom now has hardwood.  Even with help from our friend Mark at the onset of the project, it was a very large job for Mike with an artificial knee and bad back and neck, but by doing a little each day, it’s almost done.  I LOVE IT!   Still needs paint and toe molding, but here it is:

The work on the hardwood and Luckie being sick gave us a late start on changing the dining room from red to terracotta.

But we have started!

In this picture, we’re brushing the corners and around the trim.  I’m loving the paint color.    It’s the same color as our Virginia clay.  However, what is happening as this dining room is being painted is that I’m realizing the decorative painting doesn’t look right.  It probably will have to go.

Yesterday we were supposed to have “Farm Day” at the Mendota LIbrary as part of the Summer Reading Program.  It was cancelled, leaving the Farm Girls who had planned on bringing goats, chickens and horses to the library with nothing to do.   So…we decided to paint…ourselves!

Margie made me into a butterfly.

Lisa’s beautiful daughter, Danielle with her favorite flower on her arm…

Sunflower Girl

Lisa and Danielle…scheming…

And the magnificant Margie…she can paint anything!

We’ll be visiting Margie and Lisa’s place soon…lots of critters!

I’m keeping cool this weekend…staying inside working on projects!  How are you staying cool?

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Daily Mendota June 28

I took Miss Luckie Beaule to the vet this morning after a long night of her throwing up and feeling miserable.  Dr. Steve examined her and took an x-ray.  She did not have an obstruction but there appears to be an enlargement in the area of her liver or her spleen.  We will be going for an ultrasound on Tuesday of next week.  Since she was dehydrated, he injected fluids through her skin.  She didn’t like this and snapped at him.    I was speechless.

She’s home now and he gave her something for nausea and asked us not to give her food or water until tomorrow evening.  I’ve broke down and given her 2-3 dog treats and a sip of water just to moisten her mouth. She has also stolen the cat’s food and drank out of the commode.  It is hard to obey the rules.

Since Luckie was worked in for her visit with Dr. Steve, we dropped her off so she could be seen “in between” other appointments.  This left Mike and I some time to kill in Bristol.  We could have shopped together, had a nice lunch, but this didn’t work out because we had Gracie the Golden Retriever with us.  I could not leave her home alone.

I also could not leave her alone in the truck even with the air conditioning running, because if the air conditioning failed, it would be terrible with the high temperatures we’re having.  So…this resulted in Mike running in and out of stores and me sitting in the truck with Gracie.  I learned something.  All of these places have wi-fi!  I had my I-pad with me so I played Words With Friends at Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, and “The Lost Sock” laundramat where we washed doggy bed covers (talk about a stinkin’ problem).  I just hopped on and off the wi-fi’s as needed.  Sometimes I had two to choose from!  Really changes the whole experience of being stuck in the truck!  Technology rocks.

I love this little face.  Dr. Steve–are you sure she snapped at you?   She’s so sweet.  

We need rain in Southwest Virginia.  Several weeks ago when we had the first cutting of hay, I noticed that the farmer’s got their hay in with a sense of urgency.   The hay was cut, raked, rolled and gone.   I recall thinking….they know something.  Farmers are more watchful of weather patterns than others.  They know the signs of pending drought.   Maybe they have developed a sixth sense.    At any rate, they valued the first cutting and worked day and night getting it in.   This were smart to do so, as we need rain. 

In churches all throughout the valley on Sunday morning, pastors will discuss the prayer requests.  Every church will have someone raise their hand and say “please pray for rain.”   I could not live anywhere else.

Here’s a picture of the North Fork right in front of my house.  This is what we call Mendota Beach and it’s where I learned to swim.  It’s very low for June.

I’m watering my green beans as I write this.  We have a deep well but it’s risky.

Not one cloud, and it’s blazing hot.  It’s not just that we need clouds to appear for rain.   The lack of clouds makes me uneasy.  It’s like I can’t hide.   The picture below is the “knob” behind our house.  In Poor Valley, we have the mountain and then the smaller ridge that runs through the valley which is called the knob.  No clouds above the knob.

The picture below faces the mountain.  No clouds anywhere.   

Let’s go to another subject, although a familiar one.   Guess what we had for dinner tonight? 

This is not a complete picture of the ingredients for my squash casserole.  I forgot to include parmesean cheese…you know…the one in the giant green can from Sam’s Club.  

This would be a great time for me to include a picture of the finished product, but I forgot about the blog and we ate it.   I’ll make again in a day or two and post the recipe and the yummy finished casserole.

We stalled today doing our projects.  Luckie kept us in town all day.

 

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Daily Mendota June 27

Today I cleaned the house.  I just want to make that statement before going further.

There were some good things that occurred today in the midst of the cleaning.  I pawned off ten crookneck squash  on Margie, my neighbor.  She only wanted a few, but I assured her that others would want to try some.

Onions which I’d pulled from the raised beds on Friday needed to be taken care of.  They are supposed to be hung in a cool, dark place with air circulating.  I hang them on my back porch which is not cool or dark but the air does circulate.

I put the onions, unwashed, into small bunches and tie them with strips from old nylon stockings.   I then attach the bunches on hooks or whatever I can find on the back porch.  I hung over 50 today. They’ll stay there until, one by one, I’ve snipped them off and used them.

I don’t have a lot of hooks on the back porch so I had to get creative.  See the small onion bunch on top of the hanging basket?

And then I attached some to the windchime….

Here’s how your windchime looks — with onions tied to each of the frogs that used to chime!  This took some work as there is a wasp nest right at the top of the windchime.  I think we can co-exist though — I’ll be extra careful when getting these onions.

In the middle of the cleaning and onion hanging, Luckie got sick.  Here’s a picture of her from last week.  She is not as fat as she looks.  The camera really does put 5 pounds on you — even if you’re a dog!

I don’t know what is wrong with her.  She hasn’t been herself for a few days.   She threw up all over her Orvis doggy bed.  Later, she threw up all over Gracie’s Orvis doggy bed.   She’s drinking water which is good.   She’s 12, so I worry anytime she feels badly.     We may have to make a trip to see Dr. Steve (Dr. Steve Dotson, Bristol Animal Clinic).  I love her.  Do not want her being sick.

Here’s a happier moment…

My zinnias are up.  Aren’t they pretty?

 

 

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Mendota Daily June 26

We got up this morning and the first thing out of Mike’s mouth was “Wanna go to Lowe’s?”     Who was he kidding?   Of course, I wanted to go to Lowe’s.  I love Lowe’s.  Lowe’s makes me frisky!     A few days ago we  had some very nice young men help us with trimming our shrubbery around the house.  It was a jungle–out of control.  They did a great job, but in the process, they cut through three of those long, thick orange extension cords!  Instead of buying new ones, Mike wanted to go to Lowe’s and  buy only the new ends so that our existing cords could be repaired (although not quiet as long).   We headed to the Bristol, Virginia Lowe’s store, made our purchase and returned home.  Round trip 34 miles and it wasn’t even 9 am.    When we got home, he discovered he’d bought three males when he needed three females.   Are you getting this?   If we proceeded with the repair using the males we purchased, we would have three extension cords with the prongy plugy things on each end.   We had to go back to town.

So on this trip we headed to Gate City, Virginia to a local hardware store called Quillens and got some females.  Round trip another 34 miles and not 12:00 pm.  I’m not sure where I’m headed with this except to say that now our extension cords are now repaired and all sexually appropriate for conducting electricity.  Shocking.

It rained very hard on Friday and it was just the boost our garden needed.  Here’s a view of the garden from the guest house deck:

The corn is just doing great.  I have three rows of green beans that will be knocking at the door in the next 10 days.  Cucumbers doing nicely.  Sunflowers and zinnias on deck.  Zuchini and squash getting out of control.   Gourds looking happy.   Potatoes are pleasing.   Please do not notice the tomato plants that were not staked.  Embarassing.

So as I was looking at the garden, I glanced to the left and saw every gardener’s nightmare.   He (I hope it’s a bachelor and not some young mama) is just to the left of the fence post in the center.

I spoke with Luckie about her responsibilities to our family.

Luckie, have you completely retired?  We are glad about the skunks you’re no longer chasing, and we understand the miss on the possum that was in the rhododendrum–the hissing was scary and its teeth did look sharp.  However, is there any way you can look into this Groundhog Situation?

Where is that darn groundhog?

No success on this visit to the groundhog’s hole, but it’s on notice.  There is a sheriff in town, and her name is Luckie.  

Update: I actually wrote this post on Saturday, and it’s now Tuesday. While Luckie did not kill the groundhog, she certainly reminded it that she was present. We have not seen it since, so I’m hopeful that it moved deeper into the woods.

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Dining Room Project – Before

There won’t be a lot of DIY specific projects or recipes on this blog for a bit.  We are still in catch up mode!   We’re eating microwave popcorn instead of cooking and focused on the essentials–cleaning, organizing and freshening our house–room by room.   During the last two weeks,  we’ve worked in the foyer and in the yellow guest bedroom.   Today we started on the dining room which has remained the same since 1999/2000 when we first moved into our house.  “We” is my husband, Mike and me.  Retired Man.  🙂

My dining room is a good example of a room that is exhausted tired.  Good grief!  It has been bleeding dragon’s blood for over 12 years!!   I’m so not liking the red.   I recall how hard it was to get that exact look (Ralph Lauren Barn Red).   Here it is in all of its glory along with meaningless accessories:

To my comment on meaningless accessories, this room speaks so much to something that was just purchased and stuck on the wall.   My thoughts on what makes a well-decorated home have changed.  Ten years ago, I felt I had to fill up empty wall space.  Today, I wait until I find something that speaks to me.  The plates I like but not just stuck up there with the picture.  They are going to get a much needed rest.  Inside the hutch.

Here’s a good spot to explain the messy dining room table.  We’re doing projects all over the house!!  Just in this view, there is a bolt of fabric (guest house window valance), a Bible (getting ready for VBS at the end of July), an open laptop (blog), a closed laptop (work) and just the least bit of camera bag.    Feel like sitting down and eating a good meal?

Back to the room.   Below the chair rail, there is a trailing vine.  Here’s a picture (ignore my computer’s power cord).

It’s the Virginia creeper vine painted by the very talented Bristol artist, Lisa Snead.  I want to keep this area the same.  I live in Virginia and love most, if not all, things Virginian, so I’m wanting to keep the Virginia creeper vine.

The red paint will change out to one of Benjamin Moore’s Affinity colors called Moroccan Spice which is actually a  terracotta color.

See all of the paint chips?  I told Mike that I thought Moroccan Spice was the best choice and sent him out for what I thought would be the $3 sample paint pot.  He returned with a ~$50 can of paint.   I was shocked!  Even if it didn’t work, I’d have to use it.  However, it does work.  Sigh.Of.Relief.   Also, with the brushed spot, I noticed how good it covered the red so all’s well.

Back to the room again…I realize I may have a problem with wanting too many painted pieces of furniture in a room that I’ve also got artistic painting on the walls.   I’m living with that.

Here’s a piece I really enjoy:

This is the first piece of furniture Mike and I purchased.  We bought it in Nashville, Tennessee, and it was part of a breakfast set made by Pennsylvania House.  We thought we were high up.  Later, as our family moved, evolved and changed, we gave the table and chairs to our son and daughter-in-law, and they later gave it to their son.  I’m not sure where it is now, but it may well be something that went to Goodwill and was then snapped up by some DIY blogger with a quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and is living the good life again!

More about the hutch.  Did you think I was going to tell you I did the artistic painting?  I wish, but NOT!!   Holly and Jim Thomas of Meadowview, Virgnia did this for me about 12 years ago.  They included some of the things I enjoy as part of my rural life including my wonderful kitty Miss Molly.   Loved her so much.  She lived to be 21.  Here she is reaching up to a bird’s nest:

 Might as well show you the top of the hutch above Miss Molly.

 I’ll probably have this hutch until I die.

Here’s something else I have in my dining room.  It’s a repurposed cabinet that housed a radio at one time.  Now it is….ta da….a wine cabinet!

I coveted it in an antique store in Middleburg, Virginia.    It was $750.  It might as well have been a gazillion dollars, because we could not afford it at that time.   When I finally got my husband to agree to consider buying it as a Christmas gift,  he went to the shop, and it was gone!  However, he learned that it had been there on consignment and after not selling, the cabinet had been taken to the artist’s house in Manassas, Virginia to be readied for auction.  A trip to Manassas and $300 later, it was mine.  I loved it in my townhome in Leesburg, Virginia (where we lived at the time), but I’ve never found the right place for it in this house.   I’ve stuck it in the corner of the dining room where it will probably stay for a while longer.

The dining room table which is piled with junk in this picture I’ll talk about separately on another post.  By the way, I do clean the house, and it is not usually this junky, but as I mentioned above, while we’re working on painting and sewing, I’ve not been very neat.  Sorry.    The only things I’ll say regarding the table at this time is that my husband made it for me and it is very special.   Definitely worthy of a separate post.

Window treatments are now down.   The room is taped and ready to go.   Surely it won’t take us a week to finish this paint job.

I’ll keep you posted:

 

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The Crooknecks

Remember a few days ago (here) when I mentioned that we were being visited by Mrs. Squash and her gang.  They are still arriving.

We drove up and down the road this evening looking for people who might not have squash in their garden and might possibly, hopefully be in the mood for  some squash.  We finally spotted Johnny Wolfe directing traffic at the Carter Family Fold.   The Fold had a big crowd, and Johnny felt he could find someone who would want some squash.  Whew!  I thought they were coming back home with us!

There was a book written a number of years ago that referenced a small farming community with a bumper crop of tomatoes.   Neighbors were sneaking and leaving bags of tomatoes on other neighbors doorsteps because they didn’t know what to do with them.  This could be Mendota and our squash.  Folks, we are having a Squash Situation.   The Mendota Police Blotter, if we had one, might read like this:

When interviewed, Mrs. Eva Beaule said she witnessed the onset of the Squash Situation while attending Mt. Vernon Church on Sunday, June 18.  Immediately following services, there was increased activity as women ran to their cars and pulled out bags of squash and passed them throughout the congregation  Vickie Fulkerson, Pastor of Mt. Vernon, could not be reached for comment and was thought to be one of those actively participating in the Squash Situation.    Will Washington County’s Sheriff Fred Newman develop plans to squash any additional crookneck and zuchinni activity in the area?  Stay tuned….

I am now thinking about the book where the tomatoes were passed about among the neighbors.    Do you know the name of the book?  Was it by Fannie Flag?   I believe it was Fannie Flagg.   Click on the leave a reply at the bottom of this post and let me know if you can think of it.

 

 

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Yellow Guest Bedroom Done! Finally!

A few days late, but the yellow guest bedroom is finally done.  Just a quick before picture:

Yellow Guest Bedroom Before Photo

If you’ll recall from my earlier posts, the room had become a place for us to put things that were in transition or we didn’t know what to do with.   Also, the window treatments were very cheap ones I’d got from Target.  Target has great stuff, but these looked bad  from the start.  Why did I leave them up for over 5 years?  They hung crooked and didn’t hide the blinds that are pulled behind them.   The blue and white checked duvet cover and Euro shams were fine, and I’ll use them again.  However, the cat threw up on the duvet and since it had to be removed anyway, I thought it was time for a change.    I always dread putting on a duvet.  It’s like wrestling a mean cat.

Enough of the past…let’s move to now!   Do you like it?

Minor changes, since I don’t have a lot of money to spend on this, and I still like the room.   It’s a cheerful room that, if I were a guest, I’d enjoy sleeping in.    I had the white battenberg duvet cover, the Euro shams and the quilt (which is now included in my Quilt Project Page.)    I still love the Sherwin Williams “Light of the Moon” paint color.   The only purchase I made was the $8.95 per yard fabric for the valances.

Here’s another view of the room.  Notice the very sweet little birdhouse table beside the bed?  My husband made that for me.

Yellow Guest Bedroom After Photo Corner View

My next projects will be in the dining room and kitchen.  Retired Man is still installing hardwood in the guest house bedroom, so I’ve lost my good help until that is done.  He has an artificial knee, bad back and achy neck so he isn’t going to move on that project very fast.  A bit each day.

I’m continuing to learn how to use this blog. I’ve learned that I should include my site name on photographs so I’m learning to using picmonkey.  I wasn’t sure if “rivercliffcottage.com” should be centered or on the corner.  I think it’s better on the corner.    Thanks for staying with me while I’m learning all of these new things.

It’s Saturday afternoon here in Mendota, and it is blazing hot.  I’ve got two snoring dogs beside me who I’m certain are wanting me to join them for a nap!

 

 

 

 

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I Hate Miss Fentriss

My sister, Pat, and I lived in Norwood, Ohio briefly in the late 1960’s.  We attended Sharpsburg Elementary, and we each took Home Economics.  Pat was in the 8th grade; I was in the 6th grade.     Girls were required to take Home Economics and boys were required to take Shop.  It was the 60’s.

Anyway, there was an especially enthusiastic Home Economics teacher named Miss Fentriss.  I have no idea if she was a Miss or a Mrs. but it seems, in my sister’s recollection, that sewing was the most important thing in Miss Fentriss’ life so I am making an assumption that she was married to her Singer sewing machine.

I had a bit of hyperactivity (Mom called it energy)  in the 6th grade–I barely remember  Home Economics.  I do recall making a blue apron that had a very poorly installed zipper pocket in the front.  I gave it to one of my 6th grade boyfriends to give to his mother for Mother’s Day.  I can only imagine what the surprised woman thought when she received the gift.   “Was the poor child who made this blind?”

My sister took the class seriously.  I still member the very fashionable navy and yellow polka dot culottes she made.  (Now there is a word you don’t see often…culottes).   She knows how to sew and enjoys it.   Later in life when she attempted to teach me to sew, Miss Fentriss’ name began to enter our conversation.

My sister would say in her most school teacherish voice, “Miss Fentriss would do it this way,” or “Miss Fentriss would always clip her threads” as she smugly clipped her threads and ensured her lining wasn’t slipping,

If you have read my previous post (here), you know that I planned one day for making the most simplest of valances and cleaning up our yellow guest bedroom.  It did not go well.

However, I have not been lonely during this process.  Nosiree!   I’ve been besieged by Miss Fentriss’ presence.  She hovers, loiters and whispers “tsk…tsk…what a mess!”   She is especially upset that I did not line the valances.  I started to line them, but I found that the drapery fabric was 54″ wide and the lining fabric was 48″ wide, so I’m short lining fabric, and I live 20 miles from the store.  Forget it.   I’d like to smack whomever made that rule about varying widths.

It’s 9:40 pm.  I went and picked up the fabric this morning but I didn’t get started on making these valances until late this evening.   I’m close to having two valances (unlined) made but the room is a wreck, and Chrissie the Cat is trying to knock stuff off the table.   And I hate Miss Fentriss.

I’ll post the fixed up yellow guest bedroom tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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Yellow Bedroom Redo Mess

Ughhh….. I will not have the curtains done for the yellow guest bedroom today.   I have had some minor setbacks…all of which are my fault.

1)  It took me about 45 minutes to remember how to thread my machine.

2)  Following the threading of said machine, I googled “making a valance with a rod pocket.”

3)  Following reading said instructions, I determined that 2.5 x the width of the window would make awfully bunchy valances, and I opted to use a single width of 54 inches for our standard window.    Very.Big.Boo.Boo.

It looks like this:

Now, I will have to return to town and buy another two yards of fabric. I’ll ensure that the pattern matches up and start from scratch. Tonight, I’ll get the lining ready. In the meantime, I have to leave out the sewing mess.

I hate it when I do things like this.  I have also got a cold if that can be used as an excuse.

Also, if you are reading this, would you mind leaving me a comment?    I need to make sure my comments are working and the new view counter is working that was added last night.

Thank you.

 

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Yellow Bedroom Redo

Here’s our yellow guest bedroom. I wanted to give you the real picture before I got started.  It has become a junk repository. I will be replacing the very cheap Targe’ window treatments with some blue and white valances I’m making. I’ll remove the duvet and use a white battenberg duvet in its place. I’ll add one of my favorite quilts at the foot of the bed for warmth and color. This project should not take more than a day, and the cost is the fabric which I purchased for $8.95 per yard at Short Sheets Fabric in Bristol, Virginia.  I already had lining fabric and touch up paint for walls, as well as the bedding.

Hope to have the reveal/after picture tomorrow evening.

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