Archives for July 2014

Eating From Your Garden Buckets and Beds

I picked the first green beans out of the raised beds today.   Mountaineer Half Runner Green Beans….they are heirloom green beans.

Mountaineer Half Runner

Not one spec of dirt on the beans. No pesticides used. It’s a rewarding feeling to garden this way. If you lived in Mendota long ago, you might not have had to worry about the pests as much as we do today. It’s a daily fight, but one that is worth the trouble. In the morning when I walk through my green beans, my bees fly around me lighting on a leaf now and then. I pretend they are thankng me.   We need these bees.  

Can you find the cucumber in this picture? What is it with cucumbers that makes them so hard to find?   Hint:  it’s in the  bucket…I did a double take when I saw the “message” on the side. I thought…”what kind of bucket am I growing food in?” Well, actually it’s a food grade bucket because it’s warning that children can drown in sugar syrup. Whew!


Do you grow any of your own food? Have you ever tried? Why don’t you comment and tell me? I’m getting lonely here!

I grew this basil from seed, and I believe I’ll start some more. Basil and rosemary…  “go to” herbs. I can keep the basil until frost, but I can usually keep the rosemay throughout the year if I move it inside on extremely cold nights.  I had yellow jackets near where the basil sits last week.   I was stung several times  trying to water my plants.  I water in my pjs, and one of the yellow jackets stung me on my arm, another on my stomach, and another on my leg.     The nest had to be removed.    Did you know that yellow jackets are a gardener’s friend?    I knew this, but Mike said they were definitely not his friend.    One stung him, too.   They had to go as we could not get water to any of the five-gallon bucket plants because they felt their nest was threatened.  Sorry!

Basil from seed


Oh no…before I posted this. I did one last “bug run” to pick off Japanese beetles and guess what was on one of my vines.  A June bug…it’s a giant beetle.   Will this ever let up?




Happy 4th of July and Working in the Bathroom

Happy Independence Day! I’m so glad I live in a country that doesn’t require I keep a clean house!

Messy Room

That empty spot in my living room is where I’m having something slip covered. Danette took the chair but left the ottoman. She custom measured the ottoman while she was here, so there was no need to take it.

Remember Dottie’s basket…a post from last week? I did manage to clean enough of the bathroom so that I could take a picture and not hang my head in shame.

towels 3

That wasn’t a really good picture, but hopefully, you can see that I”m tying the bathroom to the wonderful Aqua Sphere bedroom I’m still enjoying ever so much…

Bedroom 1

I’m also really into these grapevine wreaths that are a combination of burlap, bandanas and pieces of material I just happened to have. Here’s the one I made yesterday morning. I made a second one since we have company coming and staying in the guesthouse tomorrow. I put the smaller one in the guest house and the larger one, pictured below, on our front door.

Wreath 1

It’s a beautiful day in Mendota, Virginia this 4th of July. It’s sunny (a great day for killing Japanese beetles)..about 80 degrees with low humidity. Everyone and his brother is floating on the North Fork today. I should set up a grill and sell hamburgers from the river bank. Hmmm….

Have a wonderful, safe 4th. Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.


Easiest 4th of July Wreath Ever

Dp you remember this? I loved this simple wreath which was on the guesthouse while our bride was there last week.

Wedding Bells Wreath on Pole

But she is on her honeymoon now! The wreath has to go. I decided to do a quick change and have a 4th of July wreath.

I’m working today, and I decided to do this at about 7 am. It only took about 15 minutes to get everything done, write this post and get in the shower. It’s “Independence Day for Wrinkles at About Face,” and we’re having a huge Botox/Dysport sale. It will be a fun day because we will be very busy and everyone will be excited about the great price! I work just enough for work to be fun.

I recalled having some red bandanas and scrap fabric that I’d used years ago when I lived in the suburbs and had to walk my dogs. (Tractors…they pulled me. It was awful.) When we moved back to Virginia, they no longer needed a leash since there was plenty of land for them to run and roam on. The bandanas were forgotten. Until now.


I treated them as if they were long pieces of burlap…


I rolled, twisted and hot glued them into rosettes. Anyone can do this. I’ve seen instructions on You Tube, but it’s intuitive…it’s a just “do it” thing.


Then..I added the rosettes to the wreath with just a drop of hot glue. The glue doesn’t damage the wreath, and I’ll use it for something else later.

easy wreath

I could insert a little flag into the right side. Or not. I am trying not to bring things into this house that end up in a drawer. Too much stuff!!

Simple, but festive enough to say “Happy 4th of July. I’m glad to be an American!”

Happy 4th

I hope you have a great 4th of July. We’re having a small picnic with family. Yum.


A Basket Overflowing

There was so much wedding excitement in Mendota last week that we thought and talked of nothing else.   (Well, I did go on a bit about Japanese Beetles in this post.)

Something really nice happened to me during the days surrounding the wedding.   My forever friends, Katie and Lisa, pulled up in the driveway riding in a car I did not recognize.   When they got closer, I saw that it was their Aunt Dottie.  She got out of the car and held this out…

Dottie's Basket

For no reason, other than she said “I just wanted to…” she made me this basket. Whew! Dottie is really Dorothy….she is a “Millard”…Dorothy Millard Dye. My father said “those Millards can do just about anything with their hands.” It is true.


I love my basket!! I will treasure it. She put energy, heart and I would imagine prayers as she wove this basket. Her hands…her thoughts. She knew she was giving me something special, and that is how I’ll treat it. Oh…it will be a useful basket. It won’t be put away where I can’t see it. It’s pretty and I’ll place towels in it, and each time I look at it, which will be often, I’ll think of Dottie’s kindness. I had been looking for something like this, so it’s perfect. (I’ll show you that tomorrow…or the next day….whenever I get the bathroom clean!).

My cup runneth over. My basket runneth over. Thank you Dottie. You are a treasure, too.

And as we go back to normal in Mendota…here’s my Mountaineer Half Runners. Still organic…which means I’m still picking bugs off.

Green Beans Gone Crazy

By the calendar, I should have green beans on July 6. Thus far, I’m growing lovely vines! Vines and bugs. Got ten Japanese Beetles off already this morning. I’ll be out there at noon again interrupting their honeymoon. I can imagine…a female beetle sets up on a leaf…sort of like a pretty girl laying her towel out on the beach…and then the guys start to show up. Unfortunately, this scene is interrupted by me! Gloved hand, soapy water…romance is destroyed! Don’t mess with a Southern woman and her green beans.

Thank you for reading Rivercliff Cottage, and thank you, Father, for people like Dottie.


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