Archives for April 2013

Told You So?

Here’s the first starts of my Yukon Gold potatoes.    This was actually taken a few days ago and more are up now, but this is the picture I’ve got to work with tonight.

Tater Head Rules!    My no hills, no plans, no problems method of planting (see here)  potatoes is working!

Those are not weeds you see coming up in the bed.  I’m going to have potatoes!!

Taters Coming Up


Guess Who?

After the Friday night Mt. Vernon/Mendota Cemetery Benefit, we had some barbecue left over, so we took a portion of it to Mt. Vernon and served lunch following the service today.  It was nice to have on hand because Laura, Mitchell and Rachel all had to eat and drive back home.     All three helped with the music on Friday evening.

We also had some great music at church this morning.   Here’s a picture of the musicians…

Me and the Band

Left to right from the rear…Dale Jett, Oscar Harris, Daryl Jayne, Eva Beaule, Laura Cash, Rachel Schott and Mitchell Cosby.

Can you find the imposter in this picture?    Oh come on…I sound pretty good in the shower.



What Matters…Edith Jewell Millard Benfield

It is the day after the Mt. Vernon/Mendota Cemetery Benefit held right here in Mendota.    I could go on and on about the level talent of Dale Jett, Teresa Jett and Oscar Harris of “Dale Jett & Hello Stranger”  as well as Heather, Mary and the other women making up the “Poor Valley Girls” bring to this benefit.    World-class talent right here in Mendota, Virginia–I‘m not exaggerating.  Ask anyone who attended.    Things went well last night.   Many hands  worked toward a successful benefit to raise money for the Mt. Vernon and Mendota Cemeteries.    Those not from this area might wonder why we bother as cemeteries are not places for the living…right?  It’s different here.

My friend Joann Vicars unearthed a treasure on Thursday.    Edith Millard Benfield is one of the reasons we work on this benefit.     I miss her as I miss my own mother.  I remember how she smelled when she hugged me and whispered “Let me mother you when you need it since your mother is gone.”   

Edith in Wedding Gown

Edith Millard Benfield…mother of Katie, Lisa (my lifetime close friend), Nancy and Benny.   She was Harold’s wife.   I cropped the above picture (not with scissors…with software) out of the newspaper clipping Joann found. There’s no date on the clipping but this is what it says…

Miss Millard Is Bride of Mr. Benfield

Miss Edith Jewell Millard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Worley J. Millard, of Mendota, Virginia became the bride of Mr. Harold Lloyd Benfield, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Floyd P. Benfield of Elizabethton, Tennessee on Friday, July 4, at the Mendota Methodist-Baptist Church, Mendota, Virginia.

The Rev. A. F. Barker, former pastor of the bride, performed the ceremony using the double ring service.

The altar decorations were white baskets holding large bouquets of whit and pink gladioli and snapdragons, against a background of native green.  Branching candelabra held white cathedral tapers and white tapers burned in each of the windows.

Nuptial music was given by Mrs. June Thompson, pianist, Miss Hattie Bridgeman, of Bristol, and Mr. Frederick Smith, of Mendota.  Miss Bridgeman sang, “Because” (d’Hardelot) and Mr. Smith gave “I Love You Truly”.  During the ceremony, Mrs. Thompson played “Always”.  The traditional wedding marches were used.

Miss Eva Millard, was her sister’s maid of honor.  She word a pink marquisette gown fashioned with a close fitting bodice and full skirt, pink mitts, and carried a nosegay of pink and white rose buds.

Little Miss Dottie Millard, sister of the bride, wore a dainty floor length frock of pale blue organdy and carried a basket of white rose petals.

The brunette bride, who was given in marriage by her brother, John E. Millard, wore a wedding gown of white marquisette over taffeta, designed with a tightly fitting bodice, peter pan collar and short puffed sleeves.  She wore long white net mitts and her finger tip veil was of illusion with a matching cornonet.   Her flowers were a colonial nosegay with a white orchid.

Mr. Berlin Benfield, served the flowers, as best man, and the ushers were Mr. Herman Leonard, and Lach Hicock of Bristol.

Mrs. Millard  mother of the bride, wore blue crepe with white accessories and corsage of white gardenias.

Following the wedding trip through Virginia and Washington, Mr. and Mrs. Benfield will be at home at 624 Cherry Street, Bristol, Tennessee.  For traveling the bride wore a white linen suit, with matching accessories.  Her corsage was a white orchid taken from her bridal bouquet.

Mrs. Benfield, is a graduate of Hamilton High School and Bristol Commercial College.  For the last three years, she has been employed as bookkeeper for  Hooks-English Infirmary, Bristol, Tenn

Mr. Benfield is a graduate of Elizabethton High School and attended King College.  He is an employee of Red and Slumpler Confectionery, Bristol, Va.


I enjoy living in the age we live in, but the past is important, too.  We are enriched by the past.   If you attended last night’s benefit, thank you for supporting our two historic cemeteries.   These country cemeteries matter. 

And thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.




Getting Ready for the Weekend

It’s been a very busy week.   On Monday,  I got to “lead” the process of shooting a commercial at About Face.   I like projects and this one was fun.   I can’t wait to see the results.  I hope everything went well!    We wanted to visually demonstrate how “heavy” weight is on the body, and Food City was nice enough to loan me 12 bags of flour, so when you see the commercial that includes some Food Club flour,  you’ll know it’s one of the ones we shot.  There were five commercials in total.  Three focused on our skin care products and services, and two on our weight loss products and services.   The clients that partcipated were so good.

My television career that began on Monday, continued briefly on Tuesday as Oscar Harris, Heather Pace & the Poor Valley Girls, and I were on WCYB with Tarah Taylor talking up the Mt. Vernon/Mendota Cemetery Benefit.    By the way, Tarah Taylor could not have been nicer.   She’s even prettier in person than on televison.  And she’s funny.  As we walked off the show, she was singing…a bit off key…to herself.   If I ever go back there, I’m taking MY camera!   And…that was also the end of my television career!  Oh well!

Now, we’re at the final stretch  for the Mt. Vernon/Mendota Cemetery Benefit which will be held Friday.    This is such a rewarding activity but there is a lot of work that goes on.  We’ll be so happy on Friday that we have enough food this year (yay Domtar for providing sponsorship money)!      Tomorrow, my sister Nancy and I are heading out to Pepsi Cola Bottling on Lee Highway. Pepsi-Cola bottling really supports our benefit and when I buy soft drinks or water, I think of that.  I’ve had to transition from sodas to water because of weight, but I do love my Aquafina!!

Concurrent with this, my friend, Helene, is working on the tables for the rehearsal dinner for the Kiser/Cottrell wedding which takes place this weekend.    My small contribution was decorating the jelly jars for the floating candles.   I only made about a dozen, but I thought they turned out sweet.   There are 12 jars and tonight I’m going to say 12 prayers for the young couple.    Normal votive candles were not appropriate since there will be children at the rehearsal dinner.  Floating candles in these little jars without about an inch and one half of water will be safer.

Jelly Jar Votives in Bow Ties

If you’ve read this blog for a long time, you’ll recall that I tried making burlap curtains last year.  Here’s the sad post. I made them, and I hated them.   I’ve been using the burlap from those curtains in everything.     Here’s the jars for the candles without the ribbons–just the burlap — and yes, the burlap is from those stinkin’ curtains! 

Jelly Jar Votives

While I was making the burlap jelly jars for the floating candles, Gracie had a good roll in the yard.  She’s been perfecting her stink.  This dog has to have a bath.  Just a week ago, I was afraid she was gone.   She’s doing so much better.    Each day is a gift.

Gracie Rolling

Good night! By the way, retiring early is NOT boring!


Easy Herb Marker

Mike’s physical therapy is near Lowe’s, so while he was stretching,bending and moaning and groaning, I zipped over to see my True Love. Rendezvous!  I bought two rosemary plants and a pretty phlox.

Here’s one of my purchases. I stuck one rosemary plant in a pot where I’ll be adding a few more herbs.  Right now, it has rosemary, basil and mums from last year.    I want to make some individual herb markers, but until I get those made, I created one marker indicating this pot contains herbs.  Some people in this house may mistake herbs for weeds.

Herb Pot

It was a breeze to make the herb marker.  Just a Ball canning lid, black spraypaint and a paint marker I picked up at Walmart for $1.49.   I stayed away from chalk on this herb marker since my pot is out in the weather. I  hot glued my lid to a wooden spoon and stuck it in the pot. Done!

There is something beautiful about a Ball canning lid…so many possibilities for home organization.    We have a Ball plant in Bristol.  I wonder if they make these or some other lid? Does anyone know?

Ball Canning Lid

The rosemary will be yummy with the Yukon Gold potatoes planted last week that everyone says won’t grow since they are just stuck in the dirt in the raised bed with no hills, no planning, no problems. See the post about that here.   Here’s the other rosemary plant.

Clay Pot of Rosemary

And I found something beautiful on the half dead plant table. It was a phlox. Had been $5 and it was now $3. I usually like to keep my half dead plant purchases between 50 cents and $1.50 but I caved.

Phlox for $3

And while I was planting the rosemary and phlox, I turned and enjoyed this cherry tree which just bloomed out.  It was a half dead plant at one time–about 10 years ago–but not today!!

Cherry Tree

Have a great weekend. Thank you for reading Rivercliff Cottage.


Update on Gracie

I have a million things to do today, but I wanted to make sure Gracie had a happy day, so this morning we took both dogs to Hiltons in their truck.   If you’re new to RiverCliff Cottage, here is what is going on with Gracie.    Once home, she got out of the truck and walked all around the house.  I was so happy that she felt good, and praised her when she started rolling around in the taller grass which will be hay.

And then we got in the house.  What is that smell?   Manure?

Quickly I looked at Gracie who was headed for the living room to lay down.   She’d rolled in wet deer poop and it was clinging to all of the hair under her neck and ear area.   Yuck.

Here she is back on her bed in the living room drying from her partial bath.   She’s embarassed. 

Gracie Update Picture



Sometimes Things Work Differently

When I knew Mike’s knee replacement surgery was scheduled for April 1, I made my mental list of all I wanted to accomplish while off work to be with him.    I should have known better.  Never.make.a.plan.

I stayed in the hospital at Holston Valley  each night and most of each day.  I came home once and showered.   This wasn’t so bad since he checked in on Monday (really early…like 5:15 am), and we were headed home by 4:30 pm on Wednesday.    Upon our arrival home, we switched up all the sleeping arrangements; and, somehow, in a house with three bedrooms, a sofabed in the den, and a blow up mattress for emergencies–and just two people– I ended up in the living room on the couch (not a sofabed).    I’ve been there every night until last night.  Suffice it to say, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for two weeks.  Last night was THE night to get back to a real bed, and then it stormed and Gracie, who is afraid of storms, started whining and shivering.   I got on the floor –with my pillow–and slept on the dogbed with her.   We’re both tired today.

I couldn’t NOT do this.  Yesterday was a hard day for this dear girl.     She panted all Monday night and she fell.   Twice.  Mike looked at me and said “I don’t want her in pain.”   I watched her all night.  I texted Dr. Steve in the early, early morning hours and told him that I thought it was the day.   He said to meet him at 9:30 am at the practice.

The day.  The day Gracie would no longer limp.   The day I would no longer have my dog after this 15-year love affair we have shared.   Spending time with this dog was one of the primary reasons I wanted to work less.    It’s the reason my house is a mess with scatter rugs all over the hardwood since she can’t stand on a slippery floor.

Gracie Walking 1

Dr. Steve understands this, and he did not want her to have to walk on the slippery floors in the practice, so he asked me to keep her in the truck.  He came out and listened to her heart.  She looked directly in his eyes.  He said “Eva, today is not the day.  Let’s take her out of the truck and watch her walk.”   She walked about…he looked in her mouth…felt of her many lumps…pressed on her tummy.    We are no longer focused on fixing Gracie — we want her to be comfortable.   She was dehydrated and she was a little sore.

We headed home.  We have some additional medication for Gracie, and she’s eating well and drinking a lot of Pediatric Electrolyte mixed with organic chicken broth.    She’s back to barking at me and wanting to ride in the truck.  And eat cookies!

I like this picture.   I took it over the weekend; and in it, she doesn’t look like a 15-year old dog.   You can still see that she was very athletic.  She was such a swimmer and runner.  She was always my snuggler.

Beautiful Gracie

Do dogs go to heaven?




Another Blogger!

Quite a few of you ask me about blogging…primarily…how did I start?   I think you are asking about the mechanics, and there  are several ways.  Quite a few of the ways are free; however, I am not the person to ask because I am lazy and didn’t do any research– I didn’t do any of the free stuff.    Now I feel the same way I feel if I buy something and can’t find my $1 coupon.  Rats!

Here’s how I started.  One night while I was in a hotel room traveling for work, I could not sleep.  I went online,  found an affordable, user friendly host (Bluehost for 4.95 per month) and I went with WordPress as my platform.   Just barged right into Blogland in a Hilton Garden Inn.  Since I want to own the content on my blog,  I pay somewhere around $5 per month for WordPress.  I own the contents and the domain name.

That was the easy part.  The hardest part was the humbling experience of allowing everyone to see what I”m thinking and possibly laugh at it.    Ouch!    Or not read it because it’s not good.  Double ouch!

Recently I started thinking about other bloggers who are nearby.   Who are they?   Do they know I’m here?   I found one by accident about 18 months ago, and I’ve popped on and off her blog regularly.   I’ve never commented — I just “lurked”.

I discovered the blog when I was looking for the menu for the Mustard Seed Restaurant in Kingsport, Tennessee.    Google gave me Becky at The Art of Positive Living!      I clicked on the link and there she was…talking about the Mustard Seed and taking pictures.  The blog is www.

Last week while Michael was in the hospital with his knee replacement, I was learning the cold, hard fact that it’s pretty hard to catch a moment’s sleep in a hospital.  Rather than fret, I visited Becky and bravely decided to send her a note and tell her I liked her blog and would she look at mine and give me feedback.

This was especially hard for me because I can’t stand rejection.  I have not yet got over the fact that in third grade I was the last one chosen for the softball team.  There were only about 16 kids in my third grade class, and there I was — not chosen.    

The long and the short is that Becky and I have connected, and I think…just maybe…she might choose me to be on her softball team at some time!  She’s that kind of girl.

If you like home organization and looking around at fun sites and restaurants worth visiting in the Southwest Virginia and Tennessee area, please visit my new friend Becky over at      Be sure and leave her a comment and tell her you came from RiverCliff Cottage!

Thank you!


The ‘I’ll Fly Away” Mendota Quilt

The 2013 Mendota Cemetery Quilt is almost done.  The quilting is finished and the binding will be started and completed next week.   Here’s your first peak…

I'll Fly Away Quilt

Sigh. Don’t you love it?

Do you think we can sell 1500 tickets @ $1.00 per ticket? The unveiling of “I’ll Fly Away” will be at the Mendota Cemetery Benefit by Dale Jett & Hello Stranger on Friday, April 26.     Those graves at the Mendota Cemetery are reason enough to try.  This community cemetery has never turned anyone away nor charged for burial.


Mendota Cherry Blossom Festival

Japanese Weeping Cherry…a member of the Prunis family. Mr. Prunis’ daughter?  (Whoever she is, she likes big hair.)

Weeping Cherry

The 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival took place on Swinging Bridge Road in Mendota, Virginia today. It was attended by thousands of ladybugs and two dogs and three cats. As crowds of ladybugs and critters buzzed through the three cherry trees in my yard, I am reminded of the historical significance of how these trees arrived.

Yoshino 2

While the cherry trees in our nation’s capitol were a gift from the People of Japan to the People of the United States, those located at the real RiverCliff Cottage were a gift to the Beaules of Mendota from the People of Lowe’s in 2001 (located with other half dead and discarded trees at drastically discounted prices). The generosity of the People of Lowe’s was in response to a late frost. The trees were supposedly doomed, but today I think their early demise was exaggerated.

Yoshino 4

Thank you to my True Love (aka Lowe’s) for knowing when to discount a tree.


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