Archives for July 2014

Our Living Room Gets Something Sort of New

I’m really enjoying our living room — it’s sunny and cheerful. We touched up the paint and rearranged it this spring. Here’s the post if you’re interested.

Living Room

However, I’ve not liked this corner. I’ve been “over” that red chair and ottoman for a long time. They were made by Taylor King, and they’ve not been sat on often. However, I’m trying to be responsible with my purchases, with what goes in our landfills, etc, and there is no reason to get rid of these. While I’m tired of the red chair and ottoman, there is nothing wrong with them; so I have felt compelled to continue using them.


All that said, I still wanted a change. Enter slipcovers. I’ve been waiting on these to get here from Danette Mayfield for about six weeks. While they look white in the pictures, they are actually a “natural” denim fabric.

White Chair and Ottoman Slipcover 2

Closer up…these look so nice, and I can remove them and wash them! Yay! Just yesterday, I washed another slipcover that Danette made, and it worked out well.

Slipcovered Chair and Ottoman

When Danette first came by and measured, she said she’d have these done in three weeks. It was actually six weeks, which turned out much better for me, as I was squirreling the money away for these and I had just enough. I was actually short $5 which she gave me a pass on, so I gave her a huge bag of green beans!!

Green Beans

Other things…earlier this week, I vowed to clean the house which included painting the baseboards. I want to give you a progress report. Kitchen baseboards are DONE! Floor is scrubbed — hands and knees type of scrubbing. Yes, my back is hurting. WoW I have a glamourous life.

Cleaning Day

And…the back yard is looking so good going into August, and it’s rewarding to see so many things that are perennials or were given to me by friends and neighbors for this “friendship garden” in my back yard. The sharing of flowers–the sharing of most anything– is all part of rural life.

Fence Row

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage and visiting me in my rural life — complete with great slipcovers!

I love them!


John Battle Class of 1974 Reunion

Note: For additional pictures, as well as those included below, go to the red tab up above that says “JSB Class of 1974.”

On Saturday, July 26, 2014, John Battle’s Class gathered for our 40th Reunion!     Most of us are in the picture below but there will be more pictures from others that are more complete.   Our reunion was at the Greenway Party House in Abingdon, Virginia.  It could not have been better weather.  Warm but not hot and humid.  There was  a nice breeze.

Group Picture 1

Doris put this thing together!

Doris Clendenen

The Mendota girls (Lisa Benfield and me) helped…but only a little. Doris did the heavy lifting.

Mendota Girls

There are lots of pictures, and I don’t have all of the names. I’m hoping that you will email me at and let me know the names. Here we go!!

Here’s Alice Roop and Betty Campbell…

Alice Roop and Betty Campbell

Denver Raines and Dennis Salyer…

Denver Raines Dennis Salyer

Diane Duty (all the way from Seattle) and Doris (all the way from Abingdon)…

Diane and Doris

Help! I need names for these four!!

FOur Men

Frankie Smith and his wife…

Frankie Smith

Janet Hilliard…

Janet Hillliard

Left to right: Tim Tabor, Karen Stine, Alice Roop and need your help on the last name.

Karen Tim and Alice

Trinka Hensley…Trinka also got “most children” (5) and “most grandchildren” of anyone present.


Linda Godfrey….(on the right)

Linda Godfrey

Linda Owens…

Linda Owens

Lisa Benfield and Millie Cather…

Lisa and Millie

I need your help on this one…

Man 1

Marsha Lawson…

Marsha Lawson

Lola “Bunny” Davis and Karen Stine…

Pix 1

Dennis Salyer, Mark Tolley, Cathy Hawkins, Linda Owens and Trina Barlow…

Pix 2

I need your help on this one.

Pix 4

I’m going to stop putting names on these for this evening. I’ll go back and update in a day or so.

Pix 5

Pix 11

Raymond and Doris…

Raymond and Doris

Raymond Wilson Married Longest

Raymond Wilson


Rita Sheffey Trina Barlow

Sherri Freeman Burroughs and Linda Godfrey

Shirley Malone and Duty

Shirley Malone…

Shirley Malone

Three men

Typing Class 2


The “Typing Girls”   (A S D F J K L ; )

Typing Class

Tim Tabor…


Trina Barlow and Susan Wilson

Trinka Hensley



Front Porch Flowers That Can Handle the Heat!

Whoa baby…it’s been a busy weekend with our class reunion, and I’m getting set for a busy week ahead.

We’re expecting company in two weeks, and I am using this as an opportunity to get my house cleaned up.  Really cleaned.    I’m going to say it here so it’s like a promise or something–our loft will be clean, the baseboard painted in the kitchen and the rest of the house cleaned by this time next week.    I’ve got to get it all done because there is the possible Jury Duty lingering next week.

It seems lame blogging about my front porch flowers when there is so much violence it the world.  I can’t stand to hear one more bad thing.  Do you ever feel that way?  

Saturday, just to feel like I got something accomplished, and make a positive contribute to my personal area of the universe,  I worked on the grapecart that we keep on the front porch.  Here’s how sweet it looked last fall…

Fall Grape Cart LP With Sam

Here’s how sweet it looked early this spring…

Grape Cart R

And then, as I mentioned last week…it started to go in a shameful direction…

Garden thing

But after a visit to my True Love’s, it’s all sweet again.    I removed the old petunia and replaced it with something that can handle the heat a little more without as much attention.     Ta da!  Enter moss roses and hen and chicks (sempervivum).     If you like hen and chicks and live in Mendota, don’t buy them!  See me!  I’ve already given them to several neighbors and still have some!

Succulent on Front Porch

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.   Hope you have a wonderful week.



“We Remember” John Battle Class of 1974

We’re so looking forward to tonight’s Class of 1974 40th Reunion.

Yellow Banner 1974 However, there are lots of people who won’t be able to make it due to family, work, other responsibilities, etc. We’ll be posting pictures for them to enjoy.

There’s are sixteen who won’t be there for another reason. Their life was cut shorter than ours for reasons we will never know,  Tonight and at other times when we reflect on our high school years, we will  remember…

Johnny Lynn Anders
William Cross
Debbie Gunning
Andy Grant
Brenda Owens Hall
Kathy Harley
Terry Houser
Darrell Ketron
Jeff Leonard
Patty Gallimore Leonard
Wayne Melvin
Judy McNamara
Becky Moore
Jeff Pack
Janie Senter Phillips
David Sproles
Mike Venable

If we’ve left someone off, please let me know.


The Witty Ones

I’ve been so fortunate to live in a number of places. However, there were some downsides. I missed all of my class reunions. I attended a picnic briefly but I had to leave to catch a plane to go somewhere else, so the picnic doesn’t even count.

This time, not only am I going to attend (YAY!), Doris Clendenen Shuman, our classmate and reunion organizer, asked me to help with a few things for the Amazing John S. Battle Class of 1974 40th Reunion. My dearest friend, Lisa Benfield Edwards and I met with Doris yesterday. I am so excited to get to be a part of it.

Here’s Doris…it’s only natural that the class reunion organizer was voted “Friendliest,” isn’t it?


And here’s Lisa posed on top of a piano.  She and Eddie were voted “Most Talented” and it was well deserved.    We are thinking of Eddie as we approach this reunion as he is very ill.

Lisa and Eddie

One of the sad things about a 40th reunion is the absence of those who have passed, and while working on our Class of 1974 Memory Board, I recalled Andy Grant. Andy and I were voted “Wittiest” among the Senior Superlatives. Andy died at an early age.

Here’s the very inappropriate picture of Andy and me. There are a few things wrong with this picture. First of all, smoking in the school?? Second, I’m sitting on his lap taking dictation!  And oh my gosh…check out those wide-leg, cuffed bell bottom jeans! Whew…I recall lots of ironing and starching to get them just right!  

Sr. superlatives

There are also a few things right. We were young and happy. Andy had no idea his time was brief. I had no idea I’d make all kinds of crazy decisions that while they’ve enriched my life, they weren’t filled with wisdom and I hurt others along the way. For that I’m sorry. However, as I look at this picture, there are no regrets.


Sad Sad Sad

Do you recall when I had a lovely grapecart on my front porch that welcomed everyone?

Grape Cart R

Those were the days. Here it is today. I am so ashamed.

Garden thing

Will be working to “right” this “wrong” tonight when I go to see my True Love.

But on a happier note, have you ever seen many things better than this?



Raised Bed and Seed Gardening

It’s been raining for two full days in Mendota, Virginia, but we caught a break a few minutes ago,  so I went out to do my daily “bug walk.” Tomorrow will be week four of the war on Japanese beetles. I’ve killed about 40-60 beetles each day. My green beans are holding their own. Look how full the vines are in the raised beds. They are Mountaineer Half Runners, and I have nicknamed them the “Fighting Mountaineers” because they continue to produce even with damaged vines.

Fighting Beans

Here’s the damaged skeletal leaves. The damage is  primarily where the sun hits the vine, as Japanese beetles like to be exposed to the sun where other Japanese beetles can find them and they can party and eat on the vine. And have sex. I don’t want to be crude but I can actually see them humping. They are so distracted they pay little attention to my hand as it swoops down, grabs them and drops them in the bucket for a swim.  I wear gloves, because they bite.  Did I say I hate them?

Damaged Vines

Beside the beans, I have a Crazy Garden. Each year, we have some part of our garden that is wild and crazy. It’s a place for bees and butterflies. I put the Crazy Garden out late this year, so it’s just getting ready to go into bloom.

Crazy Garden

Black closer to the house, since the soil was soft and damp today, it was a great time to sow some zinnias. I just toss them…don’t even bother to cover the seeds. Enough will get pushed in the ground by the rain to germinate.

Zinnia Seeds

Those zinnias will look like this in just a few weeks. I planted these in mid-June.

Zinnia even closer

In the spring, I’m greeted with Lupine — one of my faves. However, Lupine is difficult to transplant if you buy a seeding from the garden center. It’s easy to grow from seed if you are patient and don’t mind waiting until the next growing season for the reward. Today’s little seedlings I planted from seed two weeks ago look like this…

Baby Lupine

Will look like this next spring…I know…run out and buy seeds now!! A pack of seeds is about $1.00 Can you believe one little seed????

Lupine in Beds

And the Black Eyed Susie vines planted from leftover seed from last year look like this today…

Susie Vines

But the Susie vines will look so pretty in the fall when I replace the red New Guinea Impatiens with mums. They’ll spread around like they have in the past. Here’s vines from last year.

Susie Flowers

I stuck alyssum seeds in around this little tree that I bought two or three Christmases ago for the hearth. I could not find alyssum this year, and I thought I’d just stick these seeds in and see what happened. It should be full of trailing alyssum in a week or two. I’ll show you when it happens.


It’s also fun to get “starts” from friends…a trip to a friend’s house rewarded me with about 20 of these five weeks ago. Nice! I don’t know what these flowers are called, but they remind me of an old friend, Patricia Quick. I hope she’s reading this and smiling. .

Cocks Comb

And then…for the bedding plants I DID buy from my True Love’s Half Dead Plant Rack…I’ve perfected the low maintenance flower bed of cramming everything in so tight that no weeds can surface. For this to work, you’d almost have to have a “country” or “cottage” garden.

Bedding Plants

Except for one weed. The Dish weed.

Side Garden with Dish


Magical Mailboxes In Mendota

I love mailboxes.  I like getting mail.  When I was single years and years ago and lived on the Weaver Pike…I signed up for all kinds of junk mail just so I could walk to the mailbox each day. Junk mail??? What was I thinking?

While Keanu Reeves is famous as a result of his performance as Neo in The Matrix, it was the movie The Glass House that I loved.   Through the mailbox, past and present met and true love was found.  Ahhh…

In Mendota, our mailboxes are more practical.   I was surprised when I returned to the area how many people exchange Christmas cards. Neighbor to neighbor.  I like that. But there is something uniquely magical about Mendota mailboxes.

They look like an ordinary mailbox.   No one would know this is a magic mailbox by just looking at it.

Mailboxes in Mendota

However, just watch when I open the door.

Mailbox with Eggs

You never know how many a mailbox will deliver. In this case, it wasn’t a dozen…it was 15!! This is one fertile mailbox!


Miracles abound…what once was this…wild flowers growing on a thorny bush…


Became this…a tasty single blackberry…

One Blackbery

Or a bowl of this…lots of tasty wild blackberries…

Blackberries With Sugar

I hope when you open your mailbox tomorrow you find something good in it. If not eggs, maybe it’ll be something even better. And look closely around your lawn…what might be a briar….really might end up being a berry.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage. Please leave a comment if you like this post.


I Am Alive! VBS Is Over!

I’ve been offline for four whole days. Internet issues caused by a storm. Vacation Bible School is over except for a fun lunch on Sunday.  It was all worth it thanks to faces like this little one as she “discovers the evidence!”  (We did a modified version of Agency D3)

Big eyes

Other events at VBS included an unexpected guest – a four ft. black snake. Yikes!

Have your kids ever attended Vacation Bible School? My memories of growing up here in Mendota always include VBS. We had a couple of little girls from Norway this year who shared “we never get to do this at home!”

Well, in Mendota and the surrounding area, we do VBS all summer long. And next year, we’re already thinking about having the best VBS ever!!

Did I really say that?



Discover, Decide and Defend

If you are from the south where there is a Vacation Bible School on every corner, you recognized the title of this post.

Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church is  doing “discovery” today on the evidence to support the question “Is Jesus Really God’s Son.”   Like any good secret agent or detective, we needed a good place to put the evidence.

So what if it was an Ugg’s box at one time…

Ordinary Box


I do not know what day Chalk Spray Paint was created, but I’m sure glad it was.

Spray the Box


We slip the “leading” piece of evidence into the box.  God’s love letter to the world.


And now it’s ready for action.

Evidence Box

Whew!!  That makes it all official!


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