Archives for September 2012

Repurposed Serving Dish

I have not been productive this weekend. At.all. In fact, so the weekend was not a total loss of productivity, I decided to clean the teeniest, tiniest room in my house, the “powder room” (basically commode and sink) and I could not even find the Windex. It was lost! Laid aside due to lack of use.

I did make one fun thing. I could not sleep last night, and at 2:00 am, I decided to work on a little project to pass the time. I’m not sure if I showed you my latest Salvation Army find for $3. It is a little silver-plated serving dish.   Kingsport’s Salvation Army on Stone Drive rocks!!

It was a little dull, and I bet that is why it was at the Salvation Army. I tried to brighten it.

While this copper cream works well on copper, it worked only marginally on this.   However, no fault found–it does say copper cream after all!

Once cleaned…what to do with it?    I decided to try and paint the center and use it for an inspirational quote.  A very short inspirational quote, but still….

I had no idea if this would turn out.  It either was going to work or not going to work!!

It’s drying in this picture.  It took two coats.  This was the type of chalkpaint that you brush on which is about $9.50 at Lowe’s (my True Love).

Keep in mind…all this is going on somewhere between 2:00 am and 3:00 am. I was trying to take my mind off the fact that I was so hot!!! (Women of a certain age will understand this.)   Watching the paint dry made me sleepy.

Here ya go!   I’m working on my calligraphy and I’ll probably redo this or fix it a bit.  If you are thinking of learning calligraphy, don’t contact the Washington County Public Library to get any books…I went online last night and reserved them all.  They are headed from the Main Branch on a roadtrip to the Mendota Branch.


Sammy Update

Sammy the Cat came home this afternoon feeling so much better than when he went to visit Dr. Steve Dotson at Bristol Animal Clinic. His abscess has been drained and he’s been pumped full of antibiotics (as there is no way I could get a pill down that throat). We’ve been trying to keep him in the house, and he’s been fairly pleasant, although he’s swung at me with his paw, bit at me and growled. I will admit, however, that some of those were in play.

After spending $170 on this little devil, I don’t want to let him out. However, about two hours ago he slipped out. I’ve been calling and calling.

I went and got Mike up and told him Sammy was gone…probably eaten by a coyote.

He went out on the porch with me to call and look for Sammy. He looked up toward the pergola and guess what he saw?

He won’t come down. I’ve held out ham and cooed at him. He just looks at me like I’m a small bug.


Sammy The Cat

Sam the Sinister Cat went to the vet today. He normally gets very sick in the car, but he felt so bad that he did not eat this morning, so he was “running on empty.”  He wasn’t very sinister either.

The lump that seemed so hard and didn’t seem painful when I first discovered it turned out to be an abscess.  It was opened today by Dr. Dotson and he is spending the night at the Bristol Animal Clinic.  I know it is scary for him to be caged and at the vet clinic overnight, but  I’ll bet he is much more comfortable  there than he was at home last night.

Since I’m working tomorrow, Mike will be picking him up.

I miss that mean little face tonight.  I’m the only one he likes!




Mendota Daily September 26

We’re in about the 4th day of fall, and the nights are getting very cool here in Mendota. I love sleeping in on these cold mornings.

Tomorrow I will not be sleeping in. As I mentioned in the post earlier this week, Sam the Cat has a lump on his little neck/jaw area. I did not think it was bothering him. I just found the lump on Monday while petting him, so I made an appointment for next Monday. Sam is a challenge to drive to the vet, and I wanted to be the one to drive him. Since I’m working on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, I felt Monday was best since he did not appear to be in any discomfort and was eating normally. Now, however, he is in pain, and I’ve left my vet a message that he’ll have to see Sam tomorrow. Sam was abused as a kitten and he’s really a mean cat. He’ll have to be sedated before the vet will even be able to touch him. He also gets car sick. Poop pee puke. You get the picture.    I hope you weren’t eating when you read that!

We’re still working on projects and getting ready for winter. This weekend, I worked on the beehives.   I worked and took these pictures just as it became daylight as I wanted the bees to be inside their hives and not hanging around the entry way as they do during the day. 

Here’s Hive #2. If you look  at the base of the hive, you’ll see an opening going across the width of the structure. We leave that open during the “honey flow” so the bees can get in and out easily. If all is well, these hives have many thousands of bees bringing in pollen and nectar, and traffic can get quite congested. It reminds me of Federal Express in Memphis during take offs and landings.   Quite fun to watch as they zoom in with their little pockets full of pollen. 

As the weather cools and the bees become less active, we close this off. We do this to keep out cold and pests such as mice.

Here’s a picture of the same hive after I inserted a spacer.  Look at the bottom now…

When it gets much colder, we’ll close this off to a very tiny opening which is much smaller than what you see in the picture above. I’m very worried about my bees and how they’ll do this winter. They are positioned so that they don’t get strong wind, but they also are in the shade.   I’d really like for them to get the morning sun and the evening shade but it’s reversed.  If we know in advance that there is extreme cold this winter, we may bubble wrap the hives to help hold in warmth. The bees will cluster around the queen and keep her at about 85 degrees.  In summer,  they fan her  to keep her cool.

It is also time to remove the vents from the top of the hive.  In the picture below, I’ve removed the cover, and I’m getting ready to remove the vent.  The dark brown that you see under the screen are a few hundred bees. 

The vent is very useful in the summer. Just like in your house, the hot air rises and the vent allows the heat to escape. If you have attic vents, it is a similar principle.


In the picture below, I’ve removed the vent and placed the heavy block back on the hive to keep the roof in place.  I left the vent on the side of the hive so that the bees will be able to get back into their hives.   On the day following, I picked up the vents and took them home.  I’ve now got to ask Gerald how I clean them up to store it for winter.  We’ll be using these vents again next summer.

I really enjoy these bees. I was up at the hive this evening swapping around Mason jars of sugar water for these little guys. They’ve got used to my being there every day and are paying little attention when I make the swap. For some reason, one got up my sweatshirt sleeve (I wasn’t wearing the protective clothing). “Yikes,” I thought..”I’m going to get stung.”  Wonder of wonders…I did not!! Thank you little bee (who by the way would have been dead tonight had he or she stung me.)

 There is so much to learn and so much to risk if you do something wrong.

I will be so happy if next spring I have four hives of healthy bees.

To those who buy our honey, we greatly appreciate it.   We are working hard to provide a quality honey and to to our part in restoring honeybees to Southwest Virginia. 


It’s Punkin’ Time

Happy Monday! We were so busy partying it up at “get togethers” in Mendota that I didn’t get to work on my house projects. Most are UFO’s. Unfinished Objects. Check out this dining room table which has been where I’ve been stashing things.   I did clean it after taking this picture!

My day started with a bit of stress as I found a big lump on Sam the Cat. He has a large, hard lump on the left of his jawbone. I’ve called Dr. Steve Dotson and set up an appointment.   He’s such a bad cat but I don’t want anything to be wrong with him.

This picture was taken about 10 days ago.  Don’t you think his mean little face looks a little swollen on the left?   I’m hoping it’s just a tooth, and it can be a quick fix.   I don’t like my animals to be in pain, so it’s been on my mind today.  However, it still was a good day.  

I wanted to make some cloth pumpkins. I’d seen these online and they looked simple enough to make.   It’s gotta be SUPER SIMPLE EASY for me to make something with cloth and thread!   I needed something round, and the largest round thing that came to mind was a trashcan lid.   I decided that the driveway was as good of place as any to work. 

Here ya go!

Time for a break. Had to leave my little work space and hang out with Luckie Dog for a minute. The dogs are enjoying these cool days. I love this little dog.

I just left my pile of fabric on the pavement.  

While Luckie and I were walking about, I started looking for a stick to act as my pumpkin stem. The woodpile in the meadow behind the house was a good place to look. Bingo!

I moved my little workshop to the kitchen countertop. I did a quick handstitch around the edge of my circle and then gathered it making a little pouch.

It’s now time for my stick and some beans to give a little weight to my pumpkin.

This pumpkin needs some fullness.   I had purchased stuffing for this, but since it was going so well, I wanted the stuffing to last for several pumpkins. So…I added Walmart bags!!

In addition to the bags, I added a bit of the fluffy stuff.

Here’s the finished product. The fabric looks brown in this picture, but it’s actually a nice olive green. I added a little burlap to transition the top of my pumpkin and the stem. I also cut a couple of burlap leaves.  I used my glue gun to make sure they stayed put, but I did it in such a manner that the glue did not touch the fabric.   For some reason, this just screamed “put a button on me!” So I did!  Then…I thought…it looks like a pilgrim!  I have created a pilgrim pumpkin!

Since the first one was so simple to make, I repeated the whole thing and made a second one.

 Working on a third smaller black one tonight.   When working with accessories such as  this, three always works better than two.   

I like the use of fabrics that I have on hand and the different textures.  The green one (that looks brown in these pictures) is a soft cordurory.  The gold and white polka dot is just cotton.  The black fabric that I’ll be using for pumpkin #3 is silky black with gold flowers.   I’ll take some pictures of all three when they are all finished, and I’ll do it in early morning light so the colors will be true. 

If you try this project, I’d recommend that you use what is on hand and to be sure and use either fishing line or upholstery thread for your stitching.  When you gather and tie the knot, you’ll need to pull hard.  Just like marriage!


A Southern Living Sunday

I learned today that Southwest Virginia, particularly the Carter Family Fold, is being featured in this month’s Southern Living Magazine. I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of that! However, we had our own Southern Living Sunday right here in Mendota today at the Timmons’ Family Farm’s Third Annual Pig Pickin’.

It started as a beautiful fall day. I believe the high temperature was around 68 degrees. Look at the blue sky between the leaves of our red maple tree.   Imagine this same picture in a few weeks as the leaves begin to color.

Our minister was away this weekend, so I stayed home from church to make deviled eggs and a berry cobbler for the “pig pickin” which was down the road from our house. When Mike came home from church, he had six pumpkins from Neal Faust. Neal is the farmer who mows our hay, and in payment , he gives us six pumpkins a year. We settled up this morning! This is how we roll in Mendota!

I put a few in around my foddershocks..

A bit after 12, we drove the golf cart two miles down Swinging Bridge Road to the Timmons farm. It was also their 40th anniversary. Connie is a wedding floral designer and her artistic eye touches everything so I’ve got a few fun pictures to share.

I love the very clever use of Coke bottles. I’ll bet she enjoyed that little Coke, too! They are the best!

The Timmons’ provided the pig which had been smelling really good all day, and they asked everyone to bring a “side” and/or a “dessert”.  My friend Muriel brought this pretty pumpkin bread.  I’ll be sharing  her family recipe for this great bread later this week.   I wish I had a piece right now. 

I love the utensil table. Connie mixed Mendota’s “road” flowers that grow alongside the road with flowers from her garden. The arrangement is beautiful. This is typical of her talent…if she’s missing something in an arrangement, she just drives along the road for a bit and she always runs into something that works great!

Over at the beverage table, there were plenty of cups available…

The tea and lemonade were hidden in their burlap sacks. Great idea!

It was also Connie and Kernie’s 40th wedding anniversary celebration, but they were so busy playing host that they were seldom standing together. I did get a few pictures of them..

Here’s our host Kernie and his sweet grandson…

And here’s our hostess Connie with a young friend…

Lots of people attended…this picture includes Connie’s best friend and gives an idea of what the barn looks like with the lights.  I call lights like these “fairy lights.” 


Connie has been hard at work on a project that I’m very interested in.  She has a quilt square for the barn.  It’s not yet in place, but it will be beautiful when it’s hung on the barn.  I am extremely jealous.   


I’ll be sure in take a picture once she gets it hung.

The pig was a local boy who had a very good life, and this event’s success was largely in part to the talents of Jason Timmons,  Connie and Kernie’s son, who is a professional chef.  He cooked the pig! Here’s Jason…

Chef Jason

Life is good, but it’s better in the country! 


Apron Winner Is Patsy Carrier

I’ll be posting more tonight about all the “going ons” we’ve had here in Mendota, but I wanted to let you know that my pal and post mistress Patsy Carrier won the cute little apron! I won’t even have to mail it!!


Apron Giveaway

First of all, do you dream in color? I do.

I went to bed last night and had difficulty sleeping so I took a sip of children’s Benedryl. I then had a scary dream about anarchy due to some flea spray that went bad in Washington DC and floated down to Southwest Virginia. In the dream, I was living with an outlaw group near the Nordyke Bridge (up the river on the North Fork from my house)  and was a local hero for planting potatoes so we would not starve. I woke up so scared…in spite of being the potato heroine.  Can you believe this stuff?  Whew!

I think I know how this dream came about. Yesterday evening, I was discussing Sons of Anarchy which is an HBO show about an outlaw motorcycle gang. I was also discussing putting Yukon gold potatoes in the raised bed gardens next year. See how this stuff happens? I don’t know where the fleas come from except that I sleep with a Golden Retriever.


I have a cute girl’s apron as a giveaway. This apron was made by Katie Harris of Mendota, Virginia. I put it in a “heart” because I love aprons.

Here’s what the fabric looks like close up…

All you have to do to enter is to (1) go to the comment section at the end of this blog post and leave a comment or (2) leave a comment on Facebook. If you do both, you’ll be entered twice. I’ll do a random drawing on Sunday morning around 9 am and post the winner.

These aprons are simple but it’s fun for me, and if you are like me, you like winning anything. It’ll arrive at your house by mail early next week.

We have quite a weekend coming up in Mendota. It looks quiet here, but we have so many get togethers. This weekend, we have a Corn Hole tournament and picnic at Dee Dee and Eric Taylor’s house on Saturday. On Sunday we have a big pig pickin’ at the Timmons’ Farm and a big surprise birthday party for one of our most beloved citizens who is turning 96. All three of these events will have over 100 people attending. Here in the country, we come out for food!!

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.



We’re Getting Ready! And Stuff…

Hi everyone!   We are loving this beautiful fall weather here in Mendota.   I’ve really enjoyed these Susie flowers that have come up during the past month.  They self seeded from the Black Eyed Susie baskets that were hanging on my porch last year.   They’ve taken over!

Here’s another one..I accidentally put a border on this picture…

This beautiful fall weather reminds us that winter is not far off.   Since we heat our house, guest house, and hot water with a wood boiler, we have a barn full of wood. We actually have enough wood to go into the following winter.   This is extra wood, and it will be cut, stacked and covered.

Mike recently repaired the bird feeder in the picture below.  It had some rot and needed repainting.   It’s ready to go. Soon I’ll start filling it with bird seed daily. 

We’re are continuing to get our beehives ready for winter.

This is hive # 3 in the picture below.   It is a hive that survived last winter.   Can you see the space underneath the silver roof at the top of the hive? It is a vent which allows heat to escape the hive in the summer.  I’m going to remove the vent this week since we’re having cooler days and nights.   We’ll also be closing off a portion of the entry space on the lower portion of the hives.  When the bees are foraging heavily, they need the extra space to come and go from the hives — else it becomes like a traffic jam!   In winter, they primarily come out to do housecleaning and do not need the space which lets in cold air or possibly mice.

I was a bit lazy today, but I did paint the bathroom baseboard.   It just looked dirty and the Magic Erasers weren’t doing the trick anymore.   It’s all taped up in this picture.    When I look at pictures, I see what is wrong with a room.  For instance, that picture hanging beside those plates looks silly.  I just stuck it up there today because I like the colors.  I saw it on a clearance rack for $7 at Walmart a few weeks ago and tossed it in the cart.   I believe it may return to the clearance rack.  I may do an arrangement of plates.  I actually had an arrangement of plates up there at one time.  There are only two left as I broke THREE!  In one day!! 

The bathroom pictured above has been hot pink, wallpapered in yellow flowers, painted green, painted pink, and now painted this beige color.  It has had three floors and two counter tops.   All of the original tile was pulled up and replaced last year.

Back to plates…I bought the platter below for $3 at the Salvation Army in Kingpsort.  This is one good place to go find bargains that might be trash to treasure” candidates.  This is not fine china, but who cares???    I will find a good home for this platter.

The dogs kept bothering me while I was in the bathroom so I gave them some doggy treats to occupy them.  Then..instead of working on my paint project, I started taking pictures.    Have you ever wondered who buys the Dogsters in the ice cream section at Food City? It’s me!

Luckie really enjoys them.

She usually tears the cup up and makes a mess after she’s finished. She’s just resting before this starts.

This dog was thrown away like trash. She was so scared when she got here that she would not sleep inside the garage or house.  She had to be where she could get away. I hope whoever threw her away suffers like she did. She has been a wonderful pet and so much company for Mike. They are together every minute. She is the only dog that ever gets to ride in his Porsche. She is 12 and she’s on Remadyl for her arthritis. She’s had both ACL’s replaced in her rear legs by the great orthopedic vets at the University of Tennessee. Luckie even has her own health insurance.    She’s just special.

So…after watching Luckie eat her Dogster, my sister Nancy came up. She’d made this beautiful apron for her granddaughter, Lacy.  I would have included Nancy in the picture but she’s all splotchy from poison oak.

Isn’t this pretty?



Mendota Daily September 17

Happy Monday evening!   I started back on my weight loss which basically I’ve learned means walking every day. If I walk every day, I lose weight. It’s been less about what I’m eating — although I have been watchful — and more about these feet hitting the road every morning.

Anyway, this morning  I walked two miles, came home and showered and headed out. When you live 17 miles from a retail store, trips count! I had the following “mental list” as I headed out….Hancock Fabrics (40% coupon in hand); TJ Maxx (cute black jeans in mind); Hobby Lobby (40% coupon in hand); Whitney’s Closet (15 consignment items to drop off); Salvation Army (stuff to donate); Target (exchanged a shower curtain); nail salon for manicure; dry cleaners; and finally, My Pal Walmart! I started in Kingsport…looped around to Bristol and then home. Whew! It was 3:00 pm when I pulled into the garage.

I bought a few items to work on fall decor projects. Other than the gazillion gourds that are everywhere, I haven’t done as much as I thought I’d have done by now.   While I’ve already shown you the foddershocks I cut from the corn patch,  I didn’t show you what they look like with a few mums tucked in here and there. I just can’t keep from glancing over at it. So simple and so pretty.

I also made a wreath.

 I started not to show it to you because I’m not 100% happy with it. It’s in puberty. It has two little orange boobies that keep staring at me everytime I look at the door. 

I  tried to make a wreath that was more organic than what I’ve been seeing.   I used ribbon, burlap, Spanish moss and Indian corn.  However, I needed the little pumpkins (which are absolutely nonorganic).   I really needed three, but I only had two so that’s what I used. 

Should I add another pumpkin or just put a bra on the door?

Here’s another thing that reminds me of fall.  Soup.   I made soup last week to take to a family member who has been ill and is now recovering.  Bread, soup and a bit of our honey.    I think that bringing food to someone who is ill, lonely or sad is one of the best ways to say you care.  

I’m having a perfect evening watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with my  Gracie Dog beside me.   My sister lost her beloved Bailey Dog and it’s reminded me that my time with this dear girl is short.    She is on the couch and I can reach out and touch her every few minutes. 

Mike is in the kitchen messing around. 

I love the sweetness of normal.



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