Archives for August 2014

Cumberplunge and Downtown Bristol

Today was the Cumberplunge in downtown Bristol. I am so chapped. I would have got a Mendota group together to take the plunge, but I thought it would be too crowded. I was wrong! It would have been perfect.

Here’s the actual Cumberplunge slide…


What was fun…and what I would have wanted to do…is to dress up and take the plunge. Here’s some really cute photographs of a few that did exactly that..

A very hot gorilla…


I love these two…who are they supposed to be? I don’t know, but they looked great!

Two cool people

Grrr..a tiger! A tiger in a tutu!

Tiger in a Tutu

Kiss…I hope their makeup stayed intact!


This was sponsored by Quaker State. Do you know what would have been fun? It would have been fun to make this a Virginia/Tennessee competition to see which side of the street came up with the best outfits.

Quaker STate

Quaker State occupies the space where JC Penney was a long time ago. Mother used to buy my underwear there. Yikes!

Here’s the inside of the restaurant. Very nice people. Brad Smith is the manager, and he came over and welcomed us on our first visit. We will be back. I asked him how they were doing, and the answer is “excellent”. I’m so happy Bristol is supporting this downtown business.

Car on toip

It was fun to see Catherine Brillhart, Bristol, Virginia’s first female mayor, working the event. She is a wonderful person.


It was also great to see two Mendota faces…Scotty Sproles (Fireman) and Travis Cunningham (Fireman)..

Here’s Scotty…

Scotty Sproles

Here’s Travis…


When Mike saw the Public Works logo on the truck, I was afraid he would start asking about the compost for next year. Seriously. We do love our Bristol compost.

Bristol Public Works

Bristol is such a good place to raise a family, and now, it’s also becoming kinda, sorta cool! Here’s our beautiful library…

Bristol Library

And downtown has blossomed. I can’t wait for Rhythm & Roots. I’m in the Beverage Tent on Friday night. Ever since I saw the movie “Cocktail”, I’ve wanted to tend bar, and this is the closest opportunity I’ve ever had! I’m excited!

Bristol Rhythm

Katie, Lisa and I (my cradle to the grave friends) saw Romeo and Juliet at the Paramount, and this grand lady is grand again. She’s all fancy in her new lights that are the results of fundraising in Bristol. We went to Mountain Stage at the Paramount two weeks ago. Very clean. Nicely restored. Comfortable seats. Small enough to be intimate with the performance. I loved it. I’ve attended shows on Broadway. I prefer the Barter and the Paramount.

Paramount Best

I love this sign. Get it? I LOVE it!

Love Sign

I took a picture of Shoozies because I wanted Mike to see it. I’ve asked for a gift certificate from Shoozies for Christmas. They have layaway!


They also have spectacular sales. These $50 flats were mine today for $12. I’ve lost another pound so this was a little reward.

Cute Shoes

We were getting tired, and we’d left Luckie at home, so we headed back home. We’re going again. We didn’t even get to the Birthplace of Country Music!

Hope you enjoyed touring around downtown Bristol with me. Let everyone know that we want the Cumberplunge to return next year. This was a learning year. I want to dress up and slide!!


Trash To Treasure Candlesticks

You need to add something to this picture. Like imagination. Imagine that the candle stick is painted. Imagine that the candle is a creamy white. Imagine that the flower and the leaf are something that someone thought about for more than a second…if you do all these things, you’ll love this candlestick!

Candlestick Pink

Our neighbor, Cookie Faust, asked Mike to help her make some candlesticks out of stairway ballisters. I call these spindles but they are called ballisters by people who know about such things. The candlesticks are going to be used in Cookie’s friend’s wedding. She had 12, and this is what one looks like:

Ballister in Chair

Mike took these and cut them down into three sizes…8, 10 and 12 inches (I think). Cookie had been to Ben Franklin and bought square bases for the spindles to sit on as well as round tops for the candles to sit on.

Round Tops

Mike’s job was to cut the spindles down and make sure the square bottoms and round tops adhered, and with something as important as a wedding, hot glue was out of the question.    Instead, he used things in his shop to make sure the candles are sturdy.   Like this drill press…

Mike makes the cut

The things below look like little monsters to me, but Mike said they are forstner bits, and they attach to the drill press and carve out perfect round holes.  Mike used the 1/2 inch monster.

Bits of something

And it made a great hole.

In the base

Fits like a puzzle plus he’s added a screw into the bottom which will make sure it’s good and sturdy.  Did the same with the round thing at the top.   While we didn’t paint these (I wonder what color they will end up being painted?), I did decorate them a bit so you and I could envision what they’ll look like for the wedding.    Cookie provided this little candle so that we could all get an idea of the final candle.

Dark Red Flower

A little tulle ribbon…a maple leaf from outside the shop and a zinnia from the road.  I had to use what I had.  I think it looks good. I can’t wait to see how the bride paints and decorates these.  They are awesome!




And the Winner Is…

After it sat on my porch draped over a rocker…

Mendota Cemetery Quilt

After it showed off on the fence…

Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2014 2

After you bought more than 2000 tickets on a quilt that will contribute to keeping our Mendota Cemetery groomed and maintained for another year…one ticket was drawn from the bucket.

Bucket of Tickets

Diane Salyer of Mendota won the quilt. Diane had just left at the time of the drawing. We took this picture of her parents in front of the quilt before they folded it up and took it to its new home. I spoke with Diane later in the day. She said “I am still smiling!”

Don and Wave Fleenor

Congratulations to Diane! Patsy sold her the winning ticket!

And how about something like this for the 2015 Cemetery Quilt? Like this? Me too!

2015 Quilt


Floating on the Fork

Today is a muggy, soggy day and the North Fork of the Holston looks like coffee.    But not plain coffee…no no no!    This coffee is all fancy with color.    As Mike and I were driving on the golf cart (it’s the way we roll…it used to be a Porsche…what the heck happened???), we saw a procession of brightly colored kayaks floating by.    They were “floatin’ the Fork.”

“Hi…I said….I want to take your picture!”    “Will it be on Facebook?” they asked.

Floaters 1

“Even better… I replied.”   It will be on my blog called RiverCliff Cottage!”   Where ya from?

One said...”Kingsport!”

Floaters 2

Someone yelled…“Johnson City!”

Floaters 3

And another yelled…“Gate City!” (Probably in the blue canoe…Gate City…a Blue Devil.)

Floaters 5

The muggy day and coffee-colored river didn’t bother them.   At all! They were having fun.  And they were prepared. In the picture below, can you tell what’s wrapped tightly in the plastic bag? In the red canoe?

Toilet Paper

Ok…here’s the “poop”! It’s toilet paper! Ya never know! And might I say I love that two-person kayak. The girl in front knows how to kayak the North Fork!! You go girl!

Back in the woodshop, here’s a project that we’ve Mike has been working on. It’s my barn quilt for his shop exterior. He has multiple layers of paint on a well-sanded 4 x 8 piece of plywood. He used a latex outdoor paint since this will hang outside. It will be cut in half as our squares will be 4 x 4. I’ll have two barn quilt squares…not sure what the second will be, but the one we’re doing this week is definitely a Sawblade pattern.

Plywood Painted

The Sawblade pattern will be in these three colors. I’ll be taping this off tomorrow. Yay!

Sawblade Colors

I’m excited, since I’ve wanted to do this for a long, long time. I found my pattern off of this website. It’s the Cedar Falls, Iowa Tourism Group featuring the Quilts of Black Hawk County. Here’s a picture from that website that I found on Pinterest. The barn belongs to Kenny and Nancy McKenna and is called a Double Windmill. I’ve seen it also called Sawblade, and since it’s going on the woodshop, I called it by that name.

McKenna (1) Sawblade

I hope that in the future we have a Washington County, Virginia Quilt Trail.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage. Please come back or if you wish, looks for the word “comments” and leave me a comment.


Keep On The Sunny Side

With so much discord in the world…,I am thankful for my choir…standing tall…faces to the wind.

There’s a dark & a troubled side of life
There’s a bright and sunny side, too
Tho’ we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

Sunflowers 1

 Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side

Vista 2
Keep on the sunny side of life

Sunflower Daddy
It will help us ev’ry day, it will brighten all the way

If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life

Wow…I love those sunflowers.   We have a lot going on here at RiverCliff Cottage.   We’re making a barn quilt square in a sawblade pattern (20% done), we’re making candlesticks from parts of an old stairway ballisters (10% done), canning soup stock (0%), and I am pulling out a few things for fall.    I’ll be blogging about all of those.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.




Do You Do This???

Okay…it’s midnight. I’m wondering who all is up doing what I’ve been doing. I know many people who read this blog also home can a great deal of food. Do you do it at night? I do! I wait until I’m dog tired and drag out a mess…here’s the pressure canner, the stew pot, and there’s sugar water for the bees and a dreaded summer squash all lying there on the counter.     That squash has me terrified because I know that it has so…so…so many friends.

Wreck in the Kitchen

Doris Shuman gave me her soup stock recipe. It’s really good…however, I did not fill up the jars far enough. It won’t hurt anything, but they would have been much prettier. I’m going to do this again in the next day or two and make it all perfect.   These are terrible pictures. When I get ready to eat these, I can add some potatoes and a quart of my home-canned tomatoes and have a great veggie soup. Feeling smart.

Soup Stock

Each time there is discord in the world, I want to organize my pantry and look at the food that’s in it. What is this? I need help. My recent Pinterest fascination is “Sixty Days of Non-Perishable Food For Two People.” I really want to know if there are many others out there like me?  I comb FEMA sites, LDS sites, or homesteading sites and mentally plan.   I don’t really do that’s all in the planning stage.  Like I plan to clean my house.    The planning and the happening are pretty opposite!  

However, I believe there is a cannery in Castlewood, Virginia. I want to go.

And this obsession…it makes a heck of a mess. As I wait for my cooktop to cool down, I took this picture. I’ll be scrubbing and shining it in just a few minutes. Another bad picture.

Dirty Cooktop

What a stinkin’ mess I’ve made.  The floor is sticky.  Well..not now…because even though it’s the wee hours, I had to mop the kitchen.  Mike is snoring away while all this is going on.     I’m actually on the computer waiting for the floor to dry.    It’s akin to watching paint dry without the new paint smell.  I smell vinegar.  Yuck.

Mike has no patience for my mess, and in fact, he’s assigned me the garage to clean.   That is my reward for trying to ensure we have 60 days of food if there is a disaster????   I do not understand!!   I’m just so glad he’s in a home cleaning and organizing mood!  We need to get some things done!

Here’s what the garage looked like the last time it was clean.    It doesn’t look quite that good tonight.

Garage Reorg Day 2

Good night.  Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.




About Those Bees

Like paparazzi, I stalk them. This one is named Coco.

Honeybee with Pollen Sacks

They live in a high rise with their brood box in the very first (lowest) chamber.  It is where their queen most likely is.  Today, we had some preventative maintenance for the bees, so Gerald and I removed each chamber of the hives to get all the way to the brood box.

Done for a week

It’s really hard as the chambers (or supers) adhere tightly with the sticky honey.  They are also heavy.  Honey is a very heavy substance.   Gerald does the heavy lifting and twisting and I’m standing by with smoker and sugar water.  We are both sweating profusely in our white space suits. Here’s one of the chambers with a few bees on top.  I used the smoker so many of them went down where you cannot see them.


I tried for a close up but not so good.

Blurry Bees

The scariest part, besides getting stung, is inadvertently harming the queen.    She’s down below in the brood box.  Gerald got stung on his arm right around this time.  Ouch.

Brood Box

We worked with all six hives, and we’ll remove a small amount of honey on or about Wednesday of this week.  We won’t have much.  When you have swarming, you don’t have as much honey.     Fortunately, we also do not have a lot of additional money invested in the hives this year so we’re not going under from expenses.  Our hives survived the winter, and our largest expense has been the replacement of two queens.

Afternoon with the Bees

I’m back to feeding them daily as of two days ago.   That will supplement the honey that they already have.

Sugar Water

The center plant below was bought specifically for them.  I saw it in Lowe’s and bees were all over it.  I had to bring it home to my girls.    Thus far, they’ve ignored it. They are like spoiled children.


It’s just a little favor back to these special friends…don’t you think they deserve it?   Imagine a world without them…


We took the hot white spacesuits off and started to cool off. I rmembered I’d left my camera in the apiary. I walked back to get it in my shorts and a t-shirt. I thought if I moved slowly, they’d probably not mind….here’s how they looked. Those dots are not freckles. Those are mad bees. Still…I thought…I know these bees. I’ll be fine. They’ll be fine…they rarely sting.

Those Aren't Freckles

Note to self. These are insects. They were unsettled…mad…

Right on the ankle. Ouch!!


It’s Crunch Time

It’s crunch time.  Yeah…I wish I could say it was my abs.  I’d done all those crunches and had abs.  I don’t even have any abs!  I keep thinking I’ll get some, but it’s always one more day away, one more Dove dark chocolate day away.

It’s Mendota Cemetery Quilt.   It’s almost time for it to find a new home, and my sister, Nancy, said Chris is thinking about another quilt for next year.    I’m wondering if I donated the fabric if they’d let me pick out the fabric?    I love color.

And there’s more…I’m on Pinterest pinning quilts to make, and oh did I tell you, I don’t even quilt?    I am going to try another baby quilt or two, but a real quilt?  Nope.  The Mendota Cemetery Quilt group hide the quilt from me.   At worst, I’d spill a tea on it.  At best..oh well.

We are down to the wire.  The quilt drawing is next Sunday, August 24.   Someone will own this quilt which has been at my house, with Patsy, with Chris…since it evolved from the design phase, to the fabric purchase, to the cutting, pinning, ironing, sewing and finally quilting and binding.    It is the work of countless hours of several ladies led by Chris Schanzenbach.   I hope it goes home  with one of the folks that bought a ticket from me.  That is almost as good as winning the quilt myself.

Mendota Cemetery Quilt

Here it is on the fence post behind the house.    Imagine this at Christmas….or on a white bed….BEAUTIFUL!!

Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2014 2

And what a good cause.   It means that this place remains beautiful for the next generation.

Mendota Cemetery 4

If you wish to participate in this quilt drawing, please contact me as soon as possible.


Drying Basil

My sister made spaghetti for her granddaughters recently and realized she had no dried basil.  She called me since I normally have two of everything.   I was mortified.  Me..the prepper!   I had no dried basil.   I did have fresh and sent her away with that and, later, I found one old bottle of basil.  Probably too old to use.

I made a mental note to pick up some dried basil at the grocery store, and then I thought…what not dry my own?     I have  growing out my rearmore than anyone could ever want…a ton of basil.. basil is a weed….it’s flowering too fast…plenty of basil so it made sense to preserve what I had.

In addition to growing it in the raised beds and in the flower beds, I have a little kitchen pot that’s really convenient.   My basil is all grown from seed.

Basil from seed

I grabbed a few bunches of basil and pulled the leaves off.   I’ve read that it is best to do this with basil that has not yet flowered as the leaves have more oil in them before flowering.

Basil Fresh

I placed the basil in my dehydrator on three shelves.  You don’t have to have a dehydrator to dry basil, but it makes things much faster.  It was so convenient that I did this when I did it.  Mike had put an egg sandwich in the microwave which needed to be heated for 30 seconds.  He pressed 30 minutes and went away…only to return when he smelled a horrible stench and the papertowel in the microwave was charred.    And my cousins were on their way and would surely die from the smell.   The drying basil smell was much better than the crispy egg sandwich he made.

Basil on Dyhydrator

I’m feeling so domestic right now when I look at the picture above.  What is it about preserving food that gives me such a good feeling?   It has to be something built inside of me.       Here’s my dehydrator.  They are not expensive and super easy to use.  I put the basil in for 24 hours at about 125 degrees.

Basil Nesco Dehydrator

Here’s how the basil looked after it dried and I’d rubbed it a bit to break it into smaller particles.   It had a nice smell.

Basil Dried

I made a lid for one of my small quilted jelly jars.  Feeling like a genius.

Basil Lid With Chalk Paint

Look how sweet it is!   At this time, I started to sing.   I’m just so happy this turned out!!

Basil in Small Jar

Feeling glorious as I slip this jar of basil in with its peers.     Yes, I could have alphabetized them but that would make things too easy.

drawer of spice jars

It’s not too late to plant basil.   It doesn’t take long for it to grow, but it does not like the cold so it needs to go in the ground soon.   I’m going to try to capture some seeds from the flowering basil and see if I can get it to grow without buying seeds.  I’ve never done that.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.   Hope you have a wonderful day!



Hilton’s Elementary Luncheon at Mt. Vernon Church

Today was a fun day at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church. A number of the ladies hosted a luncheon for the teachers and staff at Hilton’s Elementary School.

Hiltons Chalkboard
(I’m not sure whether it’s Hiltons or Hilton or Hilton’s….I’ve seen it all three ways.) I was in charge of two gallons of tea. They really give me the heavy responsibilities!  I didn’t even make it….it came from Pal’s!

I made the trip to Maces Springs early this morning with Mike and put blue tablecloths on all of the tables. Blue and white are the school colors. Since this was a luncheon to show our appreciation,  we used real plates to demonstrate our desire to go the extra mile as we hosted these wonderful people.   I borrowed the plates from Helene, my neighbor.  That’s how we roll here in the country — what is yours is mine if I need to borrow it!!   

Real Dishes

And real jelly jar glasses..


Here’s some pictures of the food…

Fruit Salad

I just thought of something.. Mt. Vernon needs to put together a cookbook as a fundraiser…here’s a mixed green salad that has cashews, etc. with a great poppyseed dressing.

Mrs. Fausts salad

The ever-present staple green beans…I’m wishing I had these right now as leftovers.

Green Beans

Chicken and dumplings…

Chicken and Dumplings

While I had quart jars on all of the tables with zinnias, it was Mrs. Faust’s dahlias that caught everyone’s eye….

Mrs. Faust Dahlias best

Meet a few of the cooks…Mrs. Jean Fulkerson. This woman is a heroine. She is a tireless servant. She couldn’t sleep last night so at 3 am, she was up making lemonade. I’m so glad. It was everyone’s favorite drink!

Jean Fulkerson

“F” is for Fay who is Faithful….she’s always present to help!


Rose and Mary Helen….always serving.    Did I say these women are great cooks?

rose and Mary Helen

Thelma…93 years old. She made a cake and brought tea.  I’m ashamed!  I only brought tea!


We worried at the last minute that no one would come…maybe they were busy with other things?  However, 24 members of the staff and teachers arrived.  They bounced out of their cars…happy and hungry!

Teacher 1

It was special how everyone knew one another…connected through children, grandchildren or past co-workers…they’d taught this child or that child. I did not tell them something important, and if they are reading this, here it is: “Mike and I are Arianna’s aunt and uncle.”

More wonderful folks from the school…

Teachers 2


Teachers 3

And more..

Teachers 4

Over 20 came. Thank you!!!!

Teachers 5

And more…

Teachers 6

We want a dialog with these men and women who are so important in the lives of children in our area. If there is a child in need…a family in need…we can help, and we want them to feel free to reach out to that tiny church on the hill.  We’re here!  We are commanded to help!  

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage, and if you are a teacher, or schoolbus driver , school office staff, school custodian or someone else who touches the lives of a child daily, thank you from the folks at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church.


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