Archives for February 2013

Wormy Chestnut Entertainment Console

I went down to the Luckie Dog Woodshop today to see how my entertainment console table was progressing.I was down there last week and found this. It was the top. That was all that was there. What is this about????

Entertainment Center Top

But I think things have turned around. Here’s what I found today.  It’s a little hard to figure out since the table is upside down.   The legs are up in the air.   Basically, there will be a shelf area for the Wii game, Direct tv console and DVD player.   Then there will be another shelf where I’ll put a basket or two or some magazines. 

This picture shows the barn siding that is on the sides.    While the table will have a finish on it, the barn siding will remain rough. 

Barnsiding Insert 2

Here’s the rough barn siding for the opposite side of the table…

Barnsiding Insert

These boards will be on the back of the table. While one side of the boards will face the wall, the other side will be visible. I’ll make sure the baskets or whatever I put on the bottom shelf leave space for the eye to see the barnsiding in the back of the table.

Chestnut Boards

This should be done next week.   This should inspire me to clean the den and get ready for the new arrival!


Making the Money Stretch – Homemade Cookie Dough

Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace financial management programs? I haven’t taken a class, but I’ve read about the process and like what I’ve read. For Mike and me, it has never been about debt. It’s been about spending–so I developed my own little financial peace plan for us. We each get a certain amount of dollars per week, and when we are out of those dollars, we are done. So far, it’s working fairly well. Of course, it’s just week two.

Since my bucket of dollars has to buy most of the groceries, I’m trying to be careful and creative with our meals. I don’t want to just throw money away, and since most things that are “pre-made” are more expensive–and not as healthy as made from scratch–I’m trying to make a few more things at home.

I decided to make frozen cookie dough so we could easily have homemade cookies. Here’s how I made it. I’ll put the recipe at the end of the post along with the place I found it on the internet.

I assembled all of the ingredients for a chocolate chip cookie dough recipe. Usually my chocolate chip cookies are flat, so I thought this one would be better since it has oatmeal. The recipe called for peanut butter which was a surprise to me.

Ingredients for Frozen Cookie Dough

It actually had 1/3 cup of peanut butter, and I was dreading trying to get the measuring cup clean. Peanut butter likes to hug little crevices in dishes. Fortunately, I had some help. Warning…if you don’t have pets living in the house and you don’t let them lick your plates, you won’t be impressed.

Peanut Butter Cleaner

Look what a great job Luckie did! Just one tiny bit of peanut butter left, and I’ll bet my new Bosch dishwasher will finish that off. Did I tell you that the new dishwasher is up and working? So grateful!

Measuring Cup After Luckie Treatment

Here’s another special ingredient in my cookie dough. Eggs from just down the road at Margie’s “Camp Cluck.” Those ladies know how to lay some pretty Mendota eggs…free ranged so they are not only pretty, they are good for you.

Margie's Eggs

So I assembled all of the ingredients and made them into balls and placed them on cookies trays loosely lined with wax paper. Then, I sat them in the freezer for about three hours.

Dropped Cookie Dough

Tonight, I took them out of the freezer and just dropped them into a gallon freezer bag and stash them back in the freezer. They are there when you have a sweet craving.

Frozen Cookie Dough Balls

This should be followed by cleanup if your kitchen looks similar to mine…see that new dishwasher?? Love.

Counter Top Cookie Scene

But I just let mine wait for a while and took a nap!

Here’s the recipe from a really nice site called Money Saving Mom. The specific link to the recipe is here.

Freezer-Friendly Chocloate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening or butter (softened)
1/3 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (or raw sugar)
3/4 cup sugar (or raw sugar)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I ended up using white because it was what I had)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sale
2 cups oats (rolled or quick oats)
1 12-oz. package of chocolate chips

Combine first six ingredients. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and oats. Mix well. Add chocolate chips. Roll into balls.

To freeze: Place cookie balls on a cookie sheet and freeze for up to two hours. Remove from cookie sheet and place in an airtight freezer bag. Note — I lined the cookie sheet with wax paper which was really helpful since I didn’t have to bother washing the cookie sheet! Yeah!

To bake: Pull out the desired number of balls and place on a greased cookie sheet for 30-45 minutes to thaw. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until done.


Mendota Cemetery Quilt Progress Report

Hi!   I have not been on the RiverCliff Cottage blog for a few days.  I couldn’t find my camera cord!   Tonight, I found it in the car, and I was so happy!    Grabbed it and…here I am!

On Wednesdays, a group of ladies meet in the afternoon at the Mendota Community Center.   It really should be Hamilton School because our Mendota children that attend public school shouldn’t be put on a schoolbus in the dark and returned home in the dark, but there are others that must answer to that poorly made, badly thought out, disgusting and selfish decision.    Can you guess my opinion on this?      

Anyway, back to the quilt.   Do you remember the name of it?   I’ll Fly Away.   We sing this at church.    Some glad morning when this life is over,  I’ll fly away.   To a home on God’s celestial shore,  I’ll fly awayI’ll fly away, O Glory,  I’ll fly away. In the morning…  

Months ago I posted about a trip to get the fabric.   Here’s the post,  but here’s a picture of the fabric that was selected. 

Fabric for Mendota, Virginia Cemetery Quilt

There’s been steady work on the quilt since that day, and I stopped in and pinned eight squares and checked on the progress.  

Here’s what the quilt currently looks like…there’s been a lot of cutting going on.   In my mind’s eye, I see all of the ladies jumping up on the table singing.. “There’s a Whole Lotta Cuttin’ Goin’ on!”     Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano, the Mendota ladies singing into their scissor mics.   

Check out those little squares that have been pieced together.

Quilt 1

Here’s a test.  What do these squares have in common?  Scroll down for the answer.

Quilt 2

The answer is that the blues always face the upper lefthand corner!   Did you notice that?     That is one of the things I learned Wednesday.   Here’s some more squares.  The ladies who are leading this quilt project have a firm vision of what the completed I’ll Fly Away quilt looks like.

Quilt 3

Here’s Margie…sewing up a storm.    Yep…she’d definitely be up on the table singing.

Quilt 4

Mendota hands working at putting pieces together.  I love this.

Quilt 5

And…more Mendota hands sewing away on this vintage Singer.  
Quilt 6

 This quilt will be “coming out” on Friday, April 26, when Dale Jett & Hello Stranger return to Mendota for the second annual Mendota Cemetery Benefit.    




Wormy Chestnut Table

I went down to the Luckie Dog Woodshop to see what is going on today. Mike loves his shop. I didn’t take a picture of the outside today, but here’s one from some time back.


And obviously this one was taken when it was warm, but I like it. After the building was a few years old, he added some cedar shutters and window boxes.   Whatever flowers I put in these window boxes do so well. I’m enjoying looking at them right now when it is going to be in the “teens” tonight.

Shop Window Box

I went down to check on my entertainment console table which is  supposed to be in progress.  MIA. Nowhere to be seen. Hmmm….but I did see a table that Mike has made for our friends, Mark and Vickie Carter.  Mark had the wood in Mike’s shop for a future table of his own..maybe a coffee table…and then he got married, and the table changed to what it is today. I really like it.

It’s got wormy chestnut on top….it’s still rough in this picture as it hasn’t received it’s semi-final sanding. I kind of like it as it is!

Chestnut Table Top..

In the next picture, some unfinished barn siding (also wormy chestnut) on the apron. I believe this barn siding is from Hiltons, Virginia. Mark and Vickie will be eating with history!

Chestnut Table Front Side

The legs are a dark walnut from some wood that Mark had from his dad, Jack Carter, of Hiltons.

Chestnut Table Legs

Mark and Vickie are putting tall ladderback chairs with it. Some of them…maybe all of them…are painted black. 

Mike loves chestnut wood.   I bought him a book called “The American Chestnut:  The Birth, Death and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree.”  He read it cover it cover.  

And maybe someday soon I’ll have an entertainment console made that looks similar to the table!!



Valentine Gone Wrong

My True Love (Lowe’s) and I are on the outs, so Valentine’s Day is bleak.  Sad.    It’s not another person…it’s this…

Broken Dishwasher

My dishwasher has not been working since early December. I have an extended warranty on it through Lowe’s. The first week it was broke, Mike (another one that I’m on the outs with) did not call in the repair for an entire week.   I could have done it but he said he would do it; but he didn’t do it!  The repair call finally was made…the visit was jupuxed around due to weather…the visit was made…the dishwasher acted like it might work…(it didn’t). This was followed by another visit…and another visit. Finally, Lowe’s said they’d replace the unit, but that’s going pretty slow, too. It’s still not here. I’m so annoyed.

I will never take a dishwasher for granted again. I forget to use gloves and my hands are so much dryer. Polish doesn’t stay on my nails.

One time…not this time…but on another dishwasher, I had a repair issue. It had a horrible grinding sound. The repairman came out and found a large porkchop bone in the dishwasher…stuck where we did not see it. I was mortified. So there’s room for a reconcilation with my True Love at some point. We all make mistakes.

It’s just a gray fact I woke up staring at a little gray face.

Chrissy 1

Why don’t people sleep like cats?

Chrissy 2


Please Help Me!

Next Wednesday I am off and I’m taking my camera with me to see (and maybe help a little) the progress of the Mendota Cemetery Quilt.  I’ve heard it called “stunning.” 

Quilting fills so many roles in a rural life.   It’s a necessity, an art, a magnificant gift, a frusteration, and a great way to raise money.  Everyone could use a good quilt, and most everyone can spare a dollar for a chance on a quilt.

In just a few weeks, this sweet quilt will find its way home with someone.  It was quilted by Ruby Smith.  Ruby is 96. She was my mother’s dearest friend.    I “sharpened” this image.  Look closely.  Tiny, perfect stitches by a hand that has known 96 years on this earth. 

Goodson Kinderhook Fire Department Quilt

All of the proceeds will benefit the Goodson Kinderhook Volunteer Fire Department.  No matter how you vote, who your family is,  whether you talk Yankee or Southern, or whether you go to this church or that church, if you smell smoke, you’re going to call 911.   Following that call, as soon as humanly possible, a big red truck with the sole purpose of putting a fire out– or  saving your life or even sometimes your pet’s life, is going to pull in your driveway.    

Please help us raise money for the the Goodson Kinderhook Volunteer Fire Department.  Tickets for this quilt are $1.00 each.  Please consider buying….just $5.  If you live a long ways off, please still consider buying the tickets.  If you send me your address, I’ll send you the tickets with a self addressed stamped envelope for you to return your check and the stubs for drawing back to me. 

If you live nearby, yet it’s still not convenient for you to hook up with me, just send me your address.   We’ll do the same as if you live outside the area. 

I would love to sell 100 chances on this quilt.  Please help me. 

Thank you.



Peter Livingston Barker and Mendota, Virginia

Here’s a picture of my father’s father, Peter Livingston Barker. I’m hoping that I can get more information on him soon, but for now, here he is. He’s pictured with his sisters.

Peter Livingston Barker and sisters

I was at my cousin Julia’s a couple of years ago, and my other cousin, Forrest Barker (called Brother Barker), referred to Peter Livingston Barker as someone who liked to write or speak.  Maybe so…read on what he said about Mendota, Virginia. So hopeful…I’m mixed as to whether I’m sad that little or none of what he talked about is here or perhaps I’m grateful.

Here’s what I found on the internet (and you know the deal…if it is on the internet, it must be true! Ha!) that my grandfather wrote. Courtesy New River Notes Web Page by Jeff Weaver: An Economic and Social Survey of Washington County, Virginia. University of Virginia Record Extension Series Vol. XVII, No. 6, December, 1932 by Ben Bane Dulaney


By P. L. Barker

Mendota is situated on the North Fork of Holston River, in the west end of Washington County, Virginia, about half way between Bristol and Gate City, opposite the noted Kinderhook Farm and immediately on the Southern Railway.

The excellent river-bottom lands at Mendota were patented by the Commonwealth to Thomas Kendrick, William Todd Livingston and others, and the home of Peter Livingston was but a short distance below Mendota at the time the noted half-breed Benge made his raid thereon in the year 1794, burning the homestead and carrying off the wife of Peter Livingston. After several days hot pursuit the Indians were overtaken, the savage Benge was killed at long range by Lieutenant Vincent Hobbs. Mrs. Livingston was struck with a tomahawk by an Indian and left for dead-the remaining Indians fleeing-but after being senseless about an hour was revived by the rescue party.

The river-bottom land opposite Mendota, some time previous to 1860, became the property of Adam Hickman, a native of Kinderhook, N. Y. Upon his acquisition of this property, he gave it the name of Kinderhook, and from this farm Kinderhook magisterial district derived its name.

The post office at this point was for many years Kinderhook, but the name was changed to Mendota by Henry C. Holley, who for many years was a merchant at the place.

Hamilton Institute was established at Mendota in the year, 1874. It drew a large, earnest and determined patronage from the Cumberlands on the north to the Blue Ridge Mountains on the south, and is said to have sent more Christian young men and women into the professional and common walks of life than any other institution of learning of its class in its wide territory.

As to the old settlers, it may be remarked that it was no ordinary people who pushed the frontiers back and settled this section. They were of the best stock that Virginia had to offer, and were as high-minded and far-seeing as they were brave and adventurous.

Mendota is the center of the glass sand industry in Virginia. It has one of the finest deposits of silica, used in the manufacture of glassware, pottery, etc., in the United States, said to be inexhaustible in quantity. While industrial development at present is in its infancy, the great number and variety of natural resources, the place being touched by a river and great trunk line railway, it is destined to increase greatly. At present there is considerable prospecting for oil and gas in this vicinity. The town has two flour mills, planing and lumber mills, five stores, and is served by a high-powered electric line, the East Tennessee Light and Power Company, a subsidiary of Cities Service.

The Blue Grass Trail, State Highway No.42, has lately been constructed into the town.


Organized Gift Wrap

Yesterday I posted about my homemade box that holds the long rolls of giftwrap.   Everything went well until I put the letters “WRAP” on the box.  All the details are here.  

This morning, I can confirm that the U.S. Government is NOT interested in my glue was not confiscated…only misplaced…and I glued my letters on and made what I think is a cute little spot to hold our gift wrap — much better than the big plastic box I had to dig around in. I want our home office to be a place where things are accessible and in site — as well as look good.

Gift Wrap Box


WARPED Gift Wrap Project

I always have gift wrap on hand, but the large rolls of gift wrap have been stashed in the attic. It’s a mess up there. Scary stuff.  Cleaning the attic is one of our long-term projects following a spring garage sale I’m going to have in Mike’s shop. That garage sale is yet another long-term project. It never ends.

I asked Mike to make me a box out of some leftover plywood he had on hand. My plan was to move the giftwrap out into the open as part of our home office reorganization/redo project. If your new to the blog, I’ve written about it here.

Here’s what he made which I spray painted. I’d meant it to be taller, like an umbrella stand, but he only had short pieces of plywood on hand. 

It’s a  little plain.    I didn’t mention it to him as I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. 

Wrapping Paper Box

I decided to put the word “WRAP” on the box.  Liven it up.  I decided this while we were making a trip to Lowe’s last week in Kingsport. We don’t need much of a reason to go to Lowe’s (my True Love)  but I was especially excited because the Kingsport Lowe’s is near Michael’s Craft Store , and I had these letters spelling around in my head…”W.R.A.P” Here they are…I found them for $1 each. I had a 40% off coupon for one of them, and I saved a whopping 40 cents.

Wrap Wooden Letters from Michaels

I spraypainted the wooden letters red as well as made  patterns out of scrapbook paper.  This was the tricky part.  I used both scissors and an Exacto knife to get a neat cut on the paper. Mike asked me if I was related to Michael Jordan when he saw me working–apparently I had my tongue stuck out.   Whatever. 

Pattern and Red Letter A

Then I used Mod Podge so that the paper would adhere to the letter.

Red A With Mod Podge

Next I pressed the paper onto the letter and put a top coat of Mod Podge.

Red A Ready to Go

I could not wait to hot glue these to the black box.    Ideas of thousands of Pinterest pins were floating in my head.   I flew up the stairs and then.. I could not find my glue gun!   No where!  I looked and looked!    When I was organizing last week, I saw my current glue gun as well as a brand new one I’d lost before. Now, they are both missing!    I’m wondering…is the U.S. government really after our guns?…and they’ve started with my glue guns?  Is there a conspiracy? Or did I possibly throw them away when I was doing a mass throwaway last week? Hmmm…

So I taped the letters.   I’m glad they are only taped because instead of spelling “WRAP”…I’ve spelled “WARP”. This project is going to wait until I find my glue gun and can adjust the letters.   Also, there’s no natural light in the office right now for a decent picture even if I had my glue gun.  Here’s the awful, humilating picture.  The naked truth.

Warped Project 

I think I can fix it tomorrow and maybe I can find the glue gun if I look again.

Here’s something that turned out better. After Mike accidentally destroyed my pretty Target  lampshade, I went back to Target, and yes! There was one more!! I bought it and then, even though I hate buying things I already have, I bought the lamps that were with it.   I love the clean way the look.  This room is going to look good once I get the funny red sofa (that I’m not picturing if you notice) slipcovered in a nice, crisp denim.   Easy to care for.

Target Lamp

Mike and my brother-in-law, Gerald, made this little table.   I love it.  Would you pay $225 for it?  I thought not.   Drat!

Are you sure?   Here’s another picture of it?  

End Table With Lamp

Finally, this is in my kitchen now. I posted it on my Facebook page so it’s really old news. Everyone has times in their life that they don’t fit in. It still happens to me, and I still have that awkward moment when I wish I’m someone else. But it’s okay because Dr. Seuss said so! 

Dr Seuss Chalkboard Paint Picture


Mendota…Changes On Barnrock Road

I posted about the Barnrock Road project some time ago. I’m not against progress, and the road will be safer, but my nature is to be change resistant.  I went to say goodbye to this house today.   I’ve always loved this house…Granny Bott’s house…and I’ve imagined when it was new. It had a beautiful lilac bush by the road. True, the curve was so sharp that it was dangerous to pick the flowers, but many have done so anyway. 

Here is the road construction site and a picture of the old house from a few weeks back. There are more posted here.   It had an extraordinary charm about it. 

Granny Bott's House

Here’s the house today. Today was its very last day.

Granny Bott 3

It hurt to watch this…

Granny Bott's House being torn down

The workers looked on. For that moment, I think we were all thinking the same thing…a pause to consider the hands that built this house…raised babies in this house…sat down to dinner in this house.   

Sad Workers

The sign reflected my thoughts. I wanted to say STOP or SLOW DOWN. I did not do anything but take pictures.

Stop Sign on Road Project

This fella smiled when I pointed the camera at him…he’ll never know he’s in Blogland.

Slow Down

And then I left…in the funeral procession. I was in the midst of the equipment. Looking ahead through my windshield….

The Procession

Looking behind in my rearview…right in the thick of it.

Behind the Procession

I returned about three hours later…it’s gone.

House is Gone

I thought of a song….

Are you lonesome tonight,
Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a brighter summer day
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?


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