Archives for June 2013

Mendota Daily June 29 2013

Our house has a front porch, and people often comment about the view when they visit.  Words like “I’ll bet you sit out here and really enjoy the view, don’t you? ”    We do.   Sort of.   Actually, we are usually working so hard that when we do take notice, it’s a brief moment of appreciation while we’re outside doing something.

Just one week ago, we had raised beds full of potatoes and onions.  This week, all that remains is cucumbers, some peppers and my volunteer pumpkin plant.    We’ve got all the potatoes out and all of the onions out.    I’m going to plant something else in those five empty beds next week.

Raised Beds in June

The potatoes are all safely housed in the garage refrigerator or our neighbor’s root celler.    Part of the onions(the white ones) are in the frig and the others (the yellow ones) are lying on the steps and picnic table drying a bit.  I’ll tie them and hang them on the back porch.

Onions Combined

We’ve also had lots of weeds! Fortunately, young Oth helped me with the weeding on Saturday.   

Oth Weeding

His brother, Neth, has been working one day per week helping this year, and Oth likes to tag along. Neth and EJ, the other brother who is younger than Neth but older than Oth, delegated the weeding job to Oth because “he’s lower to the ground.” He doesn’t mind. He earns extra money and then he and Mike go down to the river to fish.

Looks nice after Oth weeded, doesn’t it? I really like the mandevilla. By June, the perennials are not putting on quite as good of show, and the annuals have to work harder. This mandevilla does the trick, and the cats haven’t been able to kill it. Speaking of cats…did you know that the Elk Knob employees who are working on the Barnrock Road project in Mendota saw two black mountain lions? A friend of mine, Dreama Dean, saw a large mountain lion across the river from us but that was 20 years ago. I feel fortunate to live in a ecosystem that is supporting not only our bald eagles but a diverse animal population. In my yard, however, we mostly support a LARGE and HAPPY skunk population with an occasional possum. If you try to break in a house in our area, there are all the normal dogs, guns, security systems etc….but the real deterrent is that you will probably get skunked! We don’t step outside at night. Too risky!

Back to the garden and my mandevilla….

Weeded Garden

And speaking of working…I have been working so hard on dragging stuff out for my future yard sale. I’ve postponed my yard sale twice. It’s going to happen in mid-July now. I’ve been removing things from the attic above the garage, the guesthouse, and the attic above the house. Too many hiding spots. Gerald, my brother-in-law, was shocked at the amount of stuff. “Where did all that stuff come from?” …that was his question. Here’s a couple of pictures just to give you an idea of the magnitude of junk.

Garage 1

And another…

Garage 2

My garage sale is household items, so I’m grouping them by use such as kitchen, linens, fabric, living room, etc. I’ve spent most of this weekend going through boxes looking to see what was in them, washing what was in the box and determining if it goes in the garage sale, goes in the trash, or is something I want to keep.

I am pooped!


Bristol Virginia Show Choir

Tonight we had some visitors in Mendota — the Bristol, Virginia Show Choir made up of senior citizens from 55 years of age upward.   I went to their show at the Mendota Community Center, and I promised I’d include them on RiverCliff Cottage. Warning…there are LOTS of pictures here.  They were inspiring and talented.   (Note — if you’re a member of the Show Choir and want to see all of the pictures, please visit me on Facebook and send a friend request.   I’ve got the album posted).

It was a fun evening. I forgot my camera so I had to leave and go get it, so the first four songs or so are not included here.  Sorry!   As I entered, this fella was finishing and, unfortunately, I didn’t know the song!!

Ray Charles

A colorful Dixieland group came on next…

Dixieland Group

Complete with a instrumental section…

Brass Group

Another picture…

Horn Player

Danny Hill is the ringleader of the group. Danny has ties to Mendota via the late Jewel and George Osborne. He also was my nephews’ youth director when they were at North Bristol Baptist. We really appreciate Danny working with the Mendota Community Association and setting this up.

Danny Hill

Remember the song “Your Mama Don’t Dance And Your Daddy Don’t Rock ‘N Roll? This twosome danced to it. Really fun. I have three pictures of them.

Dancing Legs


Dancing Legs 2

Third one…

Dancing Legs 4

This lady did a great Patsy Cline.  Strong voice!

Patsy Cline

June couldn’t be there with Johnny, so Patsy Cline joined him. They were “hotter than a pepper sprout!”

Johnny and Patsy

And is any rural show complete without Minnie Pearl?

Minnie Pearl

Three Dog Night was represented in “Never Been To Spain”

This lady sang…

I've Never Been To Spain But I've Been To Oklahoma

And this “chick” really put the steps to the music. Very fun.

Pretty Lady 1

Nice gospel song was next..


The gospel group was followed by a contemporary Christian song. Very nice, and it was accompanied by sign language. I think this one was my favorite…

Hands up

And a salute to those who serve..

Salute To those Who Serve

With a real salute…my friend Joann and I saluted back!!


That about wrapped up the evening.  We thought about asking for an encore, but it was hot on the stage and everyone probably  needed a rest.   Whew!  I did and I was just watching!!   There was about 75-100 people in the audience.  We made a lot of noise!!    I hope they come back.

These chickadees gave us a little wave before they dashed  off to the big city of Bristol.


There may be snow on the rooftop but there’s some fire in the furnace with these folks!!   I loved them!


Following the Rain in Mendota

We had a fast but BIG rain yesterday and everything starting growing again. Here’s some before and after pictures of things photographed last week compared to how they look today.

First, however, let’s start with the Five-Gallon Bucket Tomatoes..I took this picture about two weeks ago….

Potted Tomatoe

And here’s a photo taken today. The tomato on the left is the same as the one pictured above….they have filled out, and we’ve now staked them. They smell so good…”tomatoey!”

Tomatoes 0628

Susie Vines (Thumbergia) are one of my favorite plants. They grow easily from seed. This pot had four seedlings in it (started in the JSB Horticulture class) in May. This was taken on Sunday.

Susie Vine SMALL ONE

Susie Vines “After”…taken today…Thursday.

Susie Vine Big

Impatiens on Sunday…(Before)

Impatiens One Week Ago

Impatiens on Thursday…(After)

Impatiens Today

I plant a lot of impatiens because they’ll grow together and crowd out the weeds. Lazy gardner!

Impatients One Week Later 2

This past weekend, I removed all of the potatoes from the raised bed garden. All of our Yukon Golds are safely tucked in the garage refrigerator or in my neighbor’s root cellar — about 120 pounds.

Yukons on the Table

And here’s a small portion of the onions. Onions do not continue to grow after Summer’s Solstice, so I pulled a few up. I have a lot left in the garden. If you look to the right in the picture, you’ll see more potatoes, too!

Onions White on Steps

And I’d better put my shoes on and get weeding…

Randy's Boots

Hope your garden is growing well!


Burlap and Red Trimmed Basket

I’m working on “refreshing” our guest bath. If I can ever get a decent picture, I’ll post it. The bathroom is small–tub, sink, potty and small linen closet and small window. There’s not room for a lot of decorative items, so anything in there is going to have to be decorative AND useful.

I thought this little Target basket would look nice holding wash cloths.

Little Black Basket

I’m using red in this room so I’m adding burlap ribbon trimmed in red-checked buttons to the basket. I like this ribbon as it already had the buttons on it.

Basket and Burlap

I hot glued it on…it looks askew in this picture and that is because the basket is not symmetrical. I’m okay with that. I realized…after looking at this picture…that this looks more like a little man’s upside down hat with a bunch of washcloths in it!

Black Basket With Ribbon Glued On

Oh well! I still like it!!


Mendota Cemetery Quilt – What States Are Left??

Something that I’ve been working on here and there is selling tickets for “I’ll Fly Away” — the Mendota Cemetery Quilt. You can read about that here, and here’s a picture of her. She’s a beauty.

Quilt 4

Have you heard the song the Carter Family made famous…Alison Krauss and others have kept it going…we sing it at church.

Some glad morning when this life is o’er,
I’ll fly away;
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away).

I’ll fly away, fly away, Oh Glory
I’ll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away).

Our goal is to sell a ticket to every state in the United States — this must be done by the 4th Sunday in August when we have the drawing. Here’s where we are….

Quilt Tickets Sold In States 061713

A respectable start, don’t you think? But does anyone out there know anyone in Nevada….or Oregon??? And the countries? Who knew we’d sell tickets over the pond?

Want to help out? Email me!! The tickets are $1.00 each.

Now why would a group of women get together and make a quilt and get no monetary benefit from all this work? The answer to that question is rooted within rural life. We help each other out.


Numbers in the House

A few weeks ago, I made a sign that said Swinging Bridge Road and I thought I’d put it with the numbers “4457” which is my street address.

Letters and Sign

I still don’t know where the Swinging Bridge sign will go although I have a few ideas. I do know, however, that I’m not pairing it with the house numbers because they’ve headed down a different route. I found a board in Mike’s shop and spray painted it red. Actually, Mike, who is retired and has a habit of hijacking my projects yanked my spray paint from me and did it since I wasn’t doing it to his satisfaction. We then (okay, he did that, too!) attached the letters to the board. First thing this morning, before I went for a walk, ate, went to work, etc., I checked on this project to see how it looked. It took forever to dry. It wasn’t quite dry when I took this picture, but I ever-so-carefully took it out and sat it on the front porch so I could get a picture.

number 1

Here’s a close up…do you like it? I do!

number 2

This was going in my fancy garage that is all clean and organized (I’m so proud…read about this here!), but I like it so much I’m either going to put it in our home office or in the guest bathroom — right above the commode!! Really leaning toward hanging it above the commode. Just so whomever is doing his or her business knows exactly where that business is taking place.

Above the commode? Or in the home office?

number 3

I have to go out and pull weeds. Hope your week has started off well!!


Taterhead Update

Do you remember when I planted my Yukon Gold potatoes? Mike had his knee replaced on April 1, and I went out to the raised beds and just stuck the potatoes in the dirt about five days later. I posted about that here. I basically stuck 72 potatoes in the ground and left them alone.

I was so excited that they actually grew.

Yukon Gold Potatoes Rule

And got huge…

Taterhead May 23

I worried that I’d have beautiful plants with no potatoes. I tested this theory a few weeks ago and found one potato. Whew! Was I relieved!

Friday I decided to get some of the potatoes out of the garden for some rosemary potatoes. I pulled up one plant, and look what I found…I’m not even sure I got all the potatoes off the plant!

Yukon Gold MasterPieces

They were so good…so sweet and buttery…but I could easily have 300 pounds of potatoes from those four raised beds! Yikes! What in the world will I do with all of these potatoes?? Taterhead!!

It is a good year for growing things here in Mendota, Virginia. I picked cherries last week and made some yummy cherry pie filling by mixing sugar, flour and cinnamon in with the cherries. I used part of it and froze part of it. I could have gotten more cherries but have you ever pitted cherries? That is were the term “it’s the pits” must come from.

Cherry Pie Filling

And finally, look what happens when you are a lazy gardener…right in the corner of that potato patch sat a rotting pumpkin. I moved it after its insides fell out, but it left a little something behind.

Pumpkin GoneWild

Can’t wait to see what kind of pumpkin this is!! Hope you had a lovely Father’s Day!


Garage Cleaning and Organization – Finished!

We just finished with our Garage Reorganization Project. I so happy it is complete. Here’s our journey which started more than a week ago…

Unorganized Garage 1

I used a system I learned at AGC (where I used to work) called “5S”. It includes Sorting, Straightening, Shining, Standardizing and Sustaining.

Starting with Sorting… I sorted in three piles…Keep, Throw Away, Sell in Garage Sale.

Garage Organization First Step

Straightening and Shining….Before putting things back (straightening), I cleaned windows, swept spider webs and cleaned the refrigerator inside and out. Lots of elbow grease and sweat (shining).

Clean Frig

Standardizing. I made a place for everything. This involved a trip to Sam’s Club where I got all sorts of cool boxes, sprayed them with chalkboard paint and then marked them.

Boxes are Marked

Labeled all the canning jar boxes…

Jars Labeled

Here’s the shelves on the first phase of the project…

Garage Reorg Day 2

There were some things (picture below) that didn’t belong on shelves…those misfits are propped up beside the shelves. In a garage, anything that is on the floor is twice as dirty as anything that is off the ground. Yuck.

Stuff in Corner

Mike had to help me, and I really appreciate everything he did. He installed a unit to hold the mop, broom, etc. Then, he made me two pegboard stations to hang things on. Here he is and I know his knee is bothering him, so I really appreciate his help. Thanks buddy!!

Mike Helping

Here’s one of the pegboards in its “virgin” state..before I put anything on it.

Pegboard empty with broom hanger

And here it is again. Everything now has a place. That is the sustaining part.

Peg Board 1

Here’s the other pegboard. I’m going to focus on recycling on this side of the garage and will post about that in the future. Mike's side of garage

Last, I love the chalkboard Mike and I made which I’ve already posted about. When he leaves, I always remind him about things and now the garage chalkboard will be a visual reminder, too!! Nagging!! I’ll be adding some more useful things on it. I think I started the garage reorganization project just so I could have this chalkboard!!

Yardstock and Chalkboard 2

And I like the yardsticks that surround the chalkboard. See what they say..”Clean Up.” And that’s what we did!!

Yardstock CloseUp

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.


Garage Cleaning and Organization – Plywood and Yardstick Chalkboard

I’m back working on our Garage Cleaning and Organization Project. Since starting a few days ago (see that post), I’ve done a lot of sweeping, reorganizing, throwing away, cleaning behind the frig and freezer, cleaning out the frig and freezer, and cleaning the windows and doors. I wish I could paint, but that’s a project for next year.

I wanted to do something with chalkboard paint in the garage. I first thought I’d paint a big square on the wall and that would be it. However, I started thinking when I finally DO paint the garage, how I might need to paint over my chalkboard masterpiece. I decided that making a chalkboard piece to hang or mount in the garage was the best method. When I paint, I’ll remove it, paint under it, and then remount.

And that’s when my Plywood and Yardstick Chalkboard popped in my head! We had the plywood, and I thought that framing out the plywood with yardsticks (67 cents per piece) would make it more “garagey.” Chalkboard paint and Lowes — does it get any better than that? (Nahh…Lowes doesn’t compensate me…my love is innocent and true.)

Yardstick and Chalkboard 1

We’ll use the Plywood and Yardstick Chalkboard as a reminder board for auto maintenance, stuff we need from town, etc.

This is an easy project. Your materials will be:

36″ x 36″ piece of plywood — (plywood comes in 4′ x 8′ and we had some. However, most Lowe’s will cut your plywood for you)

4 36″ yardsticks (On my 36″ x 36″ board, I had to trim two of the yardsticks down by 1″. We could have mitered them but I was in a hurry.

Liquid chalkboard paint

Here’s when I first started toying with the idea..

Plywood and Yardsticks

I’m so happy with the the Plywood and Yardstock Chalkboard. (Notice I’m saying it in Initial Caps–as if it’s an event or a destination? Bahaha…)

Yardstock and Chalkboard 2

I have one more organization project to do on the garage, and I’ll be through. I’ll finish and post that later this week!

And, because I want someone to brag on me, even if it’s myself, just look at this clean garage refrigerator….I’m loving it!!

Clean Frig

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.


Planting Tomatoes In Five-Gallon Buckets

Hello! If you are coming over from Hometalk, thank you for visiting me! I’m a nobody blogger so your presence is appreciated so much!! I’d love for you to leave a comment and tell me something about yourself — like where you live! And now…back to the post on Five-Gallon-Bucket Tomatoes!!

We’ve never had great luck with tomatoes. We usually plant lots…like 40 plants…get the first group of tomatoes which we use like crazy–a sea of red in the kitchen while they’re being canned– and then we have blight. Blight means no more tomatoes.

This year, with Mike’s knee still having challenges, we decided not to plant tomatoes. Then, we reversed our thoughts and decided we could not imagine a summer in Mendota, Virginia without tomatoes. Just look at them…they are calling to me!!


This is where our Five-Gallon Bucket Tomatoes come in. We have a lot of five-gallon buckets. We get them to haul and store sugar when it’s donated to the Highlands Beekeepers. Mike had a brilliant idea (I hate it when it’s not mine, but oh well). We took about six five-gallon buckets to the City of Bristol to get some of their amazing compost. (Remember fellow citizens of Bristol…your garbage…my garden!!). This stuff is brown gold. It reminds me of Gilligan’s Island when the Professor grew radioactive carrots that were the size of Gilligan’s arm. Do you remember Gilligan’s Island? Every man I’ve known always liked Maryanne better than Ginger but never mind that. Back to buckets — and not the ones on Ginger’s chest!!

Here’s one happy tomato plant…we already had the wire cages and they fit perfectly.

Potted Tomatoe

Tomatoes like to grow deep, and they like to be dry. They are a berry. I can control how much water they get in these buckets, plus the amazing compost is very loamy and drains. I’m expecting great things from these Five-Gallon Bucket Tomatoes. I hope I’m not disappointed. Another thing about buckets is that they are cheaper than pots. At Lowe’s (my True Love), you can buy a bucket for $2.50.

Oh we’re lookin’ good. Here’s three in a row. There’s a fourth one but she’s camera shy. If this works out well, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t, I’m going to repeat this again next year and paint the buckets tomato red. I know…impressive!!

Three Tomatoe Plants

And just for your enjoyment…we had a little parade on Swinging Bridge Road. Got rained on but holding up pretty well! Lined up sweetly…”single file girls.” Do you recall hearing statements like that from elementary school? I do.

Hay Parade

And the very best one…

Hay Trio


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