Archives for March 2015

Those Boots Are Made For Putting Away in the Spring

It is very cold out this morning, and believe it or not, it’s March 28 and we have a dusting of snow.   What is this about?   March is definitely going out like a lion.

I am focusing on cleaning my house all day today. I’m not even answering the phone.  I want to do some of the things that are passed over as we quickly do the weekly cleaning…like put my boots away.   However, they had to be cleaned first.  Here’s the tools of my trade.

Tools of the Trade

After I cleaned each boot, I either put them away in a box large enough to hold them or in these shoe organization units I got at IKEA a few years ago.  These come 4/$7.99.      Here’s the link:     I am not an IKEA person except for organization and storage.  For those, I am definitely an IKEA person.

Shoe Thing

You open them and zip them which gives them structure.

IKEA Shoe Box Zipper

Slip your shoes in the opposite side from the zipper.   These are a pair of ankle boots that I’ve had for 5 years.  The square heel is a little out of style, but I pay that no mind!  I still wear them occasionally.  They are very comfortable.  They are  Baretraps.

Ankle Boots Stored

And then…the opposite end opens with Velcro, and the shoes can be seen but they are protected.

Ankle Boots Hidden

I wear boots all winter long.  I love boots, and I try and take care of the ones that I’ve got.  I’ve learned that when you purchase a boot, you should purchase reasonably good ones.

These boots were purchased from Talbot’s in 2001.  Yes…count the years — 14 years ago!    There is not one “pick” in the leather.   They were on sale for about $100.   Considering the years of use I’ve received and the fact that these boots are comfortable and somewhat timeless, that has been a bargain.  I shined them up and put them away for another year.    I have Uggs that cost more but I know they will not last like these boots.  Still, I love my warm suede Uggs, too.  They are at the cleaners being cleaned and readied for winter.    For my leather boots, I cleaned them myself.

Brown Knee Boot

Alternatively, these boots  were purchased for about $30 last year.   They were so cute, and I wasn’t thinking smartly.  They are Rampage boots.  Look at them.  I threw them in the trash after this photo.   The leather is torn which can be forgiven but there also is a broken seam which says that the boot is not well made.  Cute, but I won’t do this again.

Torn Leather

More Baretraps.  Another favorite pair of boots are pictured below.  These boots are only a year old but I’ve worn them every week of the winter.   Not every day, but at least every week.  While they do not have a “shiny” look–they have been cleaned in this picture– there are no tears and all the seams are all strong.  They actually were never shiny!

Beartrap Boot Box

I wear the brown BareTraps below all of the time when I’m not working and once in a while when I am.    We have casual Friday at work, and yesterday I was sitting in a meeting beside the President of our company swinging my foot admiring my jeans and these boots while everyone was talking, and he looked at me with a look that said “you’re taking this casual thing a bit too far.”   I do admit they are more “Tractor Supply” than “regular work.”   Still,   I’ll  pretend that look was totally misunderstood and he was admiring my boots right along with me.   These are my every day “Go To” boots.  I love them.  I cleaned them up after this picture was made and put them away.   I’ll still be loving them next fall.

Bear Trap Brown

So the boots are cleaned and put away as I finish this post.   I’m now waiting on the electrician who is coming to do some work here…and while he’s doing some of the “hard things,” he is also hanging some lights.   I think it’s time to hang this!!   I’ll show it to you when it’s up (if it looks like it does in my mind’s eye)!!



Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.



Riverside Campground and My Honeybees

Sunday was very nice.   We met our new friend Steve Dotson, and we visited Riverside Campground on the upper part of the North Fork near Abingdon.    When Steve found out were were going to Riverside, he said “are they open?”  Apparently he and his family vacationed at Riverside Campground each summer until it closed a few years ago, and he was not aware it had reopened.  It has, and it’s better than before!  More about that in just a minute.

The other thing is that my bees are holding their own.   I’m very relieved.    One hive may be in jeopardy, but two are doing very well.  I’m feeding them until the honey flow, and then they’ll have to forage for their food.

Here is Hive Number 1.  It came into 2014 very weak, and I requeened it and it’s been doing well ever since. is on my mind as I look at Hive Number 1.  See them crawling around on the outside…they are thinking…“Sugar water!  Gimme…gimme…gimmee!!

Hive 1

Hive Number 2 is below.   I’m worried.   I’ve looked inside the hive and there are bees, but I do not see what Gerald  and I think should be an appropriate level of activity, and they have shown little to no interest in the sugar water.  This breaks my heart.  I caught this hive during the summer of 2014.   I want them to do well.  I am going to talk with John Rhoton at Poor
Valley Bee Farm and possibly requeen this hive.

Hive 2

And here’s Hive Number 3.  This hive is entering its third year.   It produced swarms last year, and it’s coming into 2015 very robust.  I hope they decide to just stay around this year and make honey.  Swarms are natural but, seriously, I want some honey!!     What I like about this hive is that by this time, all of the bees including the queen are bees that have been born and raised in Virginia, and perhaps that is the reason that they are surviving these cold winters.

Hive No 3

I feel sorry for all the bees right now.  There isn’t anything for them to eat.   I see a few small flowers (weeds), but the bees keep looking.  I’m so glad I can help them out with sugar water.

Whew!  Now back to the campground.   I was so excited a few weeks ago when Shelly O’Quinn messaged me on the Adventure Mendota Facebook page and told me that she’d like some brochures.   She and Marty own Riverside Campground, and she said she thought she could send us some business this summer.     She is my new best friend!  We drove up yesterday.

Riverside Campground sign in front

Shelly and Marty bought Riverside out of foreclosure and opened as the new owners last summer.   It is a labor of love, but they also appear to have a solid business.    Here they are…

Shelly and Marty

They have a waiting list for some of the camp sites.   They have worked very, very hard to restore Riverside Campground from a period of neglect.   When we visited on Saturday, there was work going on everywhere.  Painting…pruning..etc.  Here’s the Game Room…notice that the shrubbery is pruned?

Game Room

Riverside has a pool that was redone last year, and Marty said that he’d done a great deal of work on the Bath/Shower house this past year.   There is a store and a laundry, as well as the restroom and shower facilities.   There’s a great deal of permanent spots for campers and then there’s places for short-term campers.   They have the best tent camping set up I’ve ever seen.   I took a picture.  It looks like there is both a spigot and electricity on that little post.  That means you can use a blow up mattress in your tent!!!   My sister, Nancy, and I think we should go tent camping!!


Riverside Campground Abingdon VA tent site

I live on the river–the very same river–but I would love to go up and camp and let Marty and Shelly do all the work keeping things going.  I’d just enjoy everything.  However, Adventure Mendota and Riverside Campground have seasons that are running concurrent so I won’t be doing any camping or vacationing with them this year.   They won’t be kayaking either…they’ll be up there working just like us.  However, we both agreed that wherever possible, we’d send each other business.    I like the way people work together.

So for all of you people who thought Riverside Campground was gone, it’s not.   Call them!!   The number is 276-698-5285.  The owners are working to make sure that it is sound and clean for years to come.


Riverside Campground Sign



Practice Makes Perfect!

Today a new friend, Steve Dotson, called and wanted to use Adventure Mendota’s park shuttle service. We’ll allow someone to park here and we’ll assist them with shuttle service for $10 per watercraft.    Steve has his own kayak, and after a long, cold winter, he was ready to do some serious fishing in the North Fork.   We told him the river was pretty murky and that we weren’t yet open but if he wanted to come, we’d practice parking/shuttling on him because we were going to be around.   He must have had a bad case of river fever because our pretty river was having an ugly day.   Murky!

Murky North Fork

He was not deterred.

Old Town Kayak

Mayhe he just wanted to show off his fancy Old Town kayak.  I don’t blame him.

So anyway…he unloaded the kayak and Mike was going to just follow him down and bring him back for his float.   I told him that since he had such expensive gear, I’d just hang out on the river and take pictures and keep an eye on things.   I really wanted to sit in the kayak when he wasn’t looking.

I didn’t have my cell phone to take a selfie, but I was sitting on the kayak when this picture was made.  I was thinking how cool it is that this kayak has a lock area.

Kayak lock area

Yep…I was feeling pretty cool.  Just looking around pretending I’m riding in a $1300 kayak (even though it’s on grass)

Kayak Front

And then I started to get up and COWABUNGA!!   I had hooked myself on the back of my sweatshirt with Steve’s fishing poles.   Crap!!  Now I’m stuck.  I tried to unhook myself.    See the sad story in the picture below?


I was only hooked one time but when I was turning and twisting trying to get the hook out of my shirt, I hooked myself two more times.   I started hoping someone would drive by.  Nope…all I saw was this…a tree.  “Tree…can you help me?”

Tree 1

I started to pick up the fishing poles and try and walk out of the kayak, but I started thinking that if this kayak cost $1300, the poles were probably a kagillion dollars and…well…it would all be a bad idea.  So I waited.

Mike and Steve finally got back.   I was still in the kayak.    Steve had to cut me loose.  He was worried my old red sweatshirt.   Are you kidding?  Just get me off this kayak!

He got things ready…we don’t even have a ramp fixed yet.

Ready to Roll

But a true outdoorsman…he did not care.

Steve Going Fishing

Bet he’s thinking…they really need more practice and I hope I catch something other than her!

Hope he had a great day “Fishing on the Fork!”  Update…he sent some pictures.  He did have a good day!!

Fish 1

And…here’s another one….there were more…but I thought these two were the prettiest.

Fish 2


The White Sewing Machine Book Discovery

Today on my precious Saturday, I spent it with Mike and Gerald and about 14 other poor souls learning CPR and First Aid.    I learned some valuable skills which I hope I never use.  This was a requirement of our liability insurance.  Kerplunk!  (That was all three of us jumping through another hoop!).   I am exhausted. 

In the midst of our misery at the Kingsport Auditorium, I ran into a book fair.    I thought immediately of all my homeschooling friends.  Bet they knew about this.  They have an antennae that alerts them to every book every where.  Home school moms and children are born with an attraction to the musty smell of old books.

I walked through thinking that I did not want to bring anything else into the house.  I’m continuing to get rid of things, and I use the library for most of my reading.     I felt the spines of the books lined up along the tables and didn’t see anything I wanted.  I am always on the lookout for a Miss Read book, but today was not the day.

I went over the nonfiction and there was something that caught my eye.   It was this.

White Sewing Book

This is a book that was pubished in 1937 and it was authored by Evalyn S. Healy.   I’d love to know more about her.  She wrote other sewing books but spelled her name Evelyn S. Healy.  Where is Evelyn’s family today?  If they ever Google this unique woman’s name, I hope they find this and email me with a little bit of her life’s story!!

I want to see if my sister wants this book.  If she doesn’t, I’ll put it on Ebay.  For $5, someone can get it and I’ll make a profit.

Percentage wise, it will be a huge profit.   I paid $.25!!!

Twenty Five Cents

When you open the cover, you’re greeted by a brief introduction where you’ll discover that Ms. Healy authored the book.

Evalyn Healy

I’ll bet this was recently removed from someone’s house who has passed on.   The White Sewing Machine was later sold to Electolux and then Husquevarna came into the picture.  Now, there is no White Sewing Machine nor White Sewing Machine Company.   The company, as you can see below, made cars, trucks and buses among other things such as sewing machines.


Man…these people really knew how to make sewing machines.  I suppose that in the 1930’s everyone had a sewing machine and everyone knew how to sew….this is the manufacturing site in Cleveland Ohio.   Cleveland was in her Hay Day!  (Or is it Hey Day?)  I’m glad I wasn’t born then.  I’d be naked.


Here is a White Sewing Machine.    My mother sewed on a very old Singer.   She was so talented.  Pat and Nancy have this same talent.  Me?  No.  None of it. 

sewing machine

When is the last time you opened a magazine and saw an ad for a sewing machine?  And…look at the every two minutes claim!!  WOW!

White sewing Machine ad

I’ve moved away from the author and the book and focused on the sewing machine.   However, at the back of the book, the author provides suggestions for young women.  I hope you can see this.    Evalyn minced no words on what your hands could look like without the proper care…

Dingy Paw Text

This was a treasure, and you are my treasure for reading RiverCliff Cottage.


Mendota 5K Race Results and Pictures

In Mendota we had our very first 5K race yesterday. No, I did not run, but I did take pictures! Also, I called the race organizer, Pastor Wayne, and  got the results which are here: 5K Race Results.      If your device cannot open this PDF and you ran in the race, message me and I’ll give you your results.

The Overall Winner of the race was Tom McCormack finishing the 5K with a time of 17:36. We were fortunate to have Mr. McCormack race with us as he is the best road racer in the United States and possibly the world for his age group. Here’s the link to an article in Runner’s World. Yep…Mendota is running with the Big (and fast) Boys!


So Mr. McCormack was Best Overall/Best Male. The Best Female Overall was Sarah Bradley with a finish time of 22:25. Yay Sarah!

Winner Female

Mendota’s Dr. Andy Brockmyre came in a close second to Mr. McCormack. I believe Andy said he was one second faster than his personal best. He finished at 18:03.

Second Place

However, he still could not catch Mr. McCormack…although he was close!

Racers Tom and Andy

I’ve got tons of pictures. I decided to put up some “before race” pictures followed by some “after race pictures” and then I’ll put the rest or maybe all of them on  Mendota Community Center Events Facebook page. I’ll try and have them all resized and up on the Facebook page by Sunday night. However, there’s still plenty here..

Here’s Margie volunteering to collect the results. We had almost 100 participants which I understand is very good for a first race! Go Mendota! Mendota Rising!

Before Race 4 Margie

The Brockmyre/Kiser crew at one of the tables (it’s a great way to participate and not get all sweaty).

Before Race Pix 3

Pastor Wayne Hays organized this event, and here’s quite a few of his family.

Before Race Pix 2 again

And here he is. He is a runner himself, but he was too busy to run on this race. Congratulations and thank you to Wayne for pulling off a very good event. It raised much-needed money for the Mendota Community Center’s funds.

Pastor Wayne

When we started talking about the race, there were naysayers who didn’t think anyone would come out nor would we get the required sponsorship (our sponsors asked to remain anomymous). However, the race was well attended and funded. Prayer played a large role in this. We cannot put God a in box. He does not fit regardless of how big the box.

More pictures…here’s Lane and his mom.

Before Race Pix

DeeDee and Eric Taylor…

Dee Dee and Eric

Here are members of my family. It was a first outing for the little rescued dog, Daisy. She was overwhelmed and didn’t win any prizes for being good.


Does anyone know what Sherri’s t-shirt really says? It has a message.

Sherri's te

This is the way I want to race….


Pretty soon it was time to line up.

Racers Lined Up

The race leader was on his bike..ready to roll and lead our group for the first Mendota 5K River Run!

Noah Smythe

Getting close to taking off!

Race Small

Racin’…the way it oughta be…Mendota style!    Ok..that was corny. 

Racers 5


Racers 6

More…Racers 7


Racers 8


Racers 9

More…I love his t-shirt (I don’t know him.)

Racers and Funny T Shirt

This was funny.  We had door prizes.  I hope we have more door prizes at next year’s race. We’re just getting the hang of this.   And…only in Mendota is it perfectly appropriate to have shotgun shells as your doorprize…won by Pastor Bill Porter.   He looks “shell shocked!”  He’s all ready for a shotgun wedding!   (That is…after an appropriate amount of counseling!)

Porter's Prize

Adventure Mendota donated a kayak trip for two.   I cannot remember who won it, but I can’t wait to meet them this summer.  Float the Fork in 2015!!

This was the first 5K race in Mendota, but it won’t be the last.  If you came out for the race, we thank you so much.   Please come back.


Guess What’s Arrived?

I have 12 new babies I want you to meet.   They are very special, and they even have names.   Their names are Snickers, Candy Kiss, Red Hot, Sweet Tart, Hubba Bubba, Lemon Drop, Krackel,  Lollipop, Gumdrop,  Gummy Bear, Butterfinger and Milky Way.

Can you guess what they are?



I’ll tell you what they are not!  They are not chickens!  (But I’d like to have some chickens!)  Oh I hate surprises…here they are!

Kayak 1 R

Aren’t they pretty?

Kayak 2 R


RiverCliff Cottage March 7 2015

This post is really for me!   One of the great things about blogging is looking at what was going on at a specific time of year.   Today feels like spring is on its way.  It’s sunny and in the 50’s.  It’s a great day for me because Darrell Statzer replaced our well pump today.  It went out on Thursday. Darrell came by yesterday, and Mike went and picked up the pump.  Today no one could have been more welcome than Bubby and Darrell.  I was so happy to see that white van in the driveway.   Just a few hours later,   we have this again! Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?    It will be a while before I take water for granted, and I was out of water for only two-and-one-half days.

Glass of Poor Valley Water

And more good things happening….while this picture isn’t quite as pretty as the one above, the bees are out enjoying the sunshine.

Bees 030715

Oh how happy I am to see them alive, and oh how hungry they must be for flowers!   I miss the flowers, too, but I’m sure they are even more anxious.    It won’t be long.    Look at the daffodils peeking through!


And my Brown-Eyed Susans (rudbeckia)…while it was 13 degrees last week…while they were covered by snow for two weeks…they were starting to make plans.  They were getting a tiny bit greener.

Rudebecka 030715

It won’t be that long until they look like this…they are the ones on the left!



Water Water But Not Everywhere!

Today has not been a great one here at RiverCliff Cottage.

Mike and I got home last night at 10:00 pm and the North Fork was lapping at the banks like a hungry fox. It was scary, and I was so thankful that we actually made it home. I’d tucked some clothes away in case we had to camp with my sister, Pat, or go to a hotel. We’d heard that water was on the roads, and while it was, it wasn’t yet on our road.

I got up this morning and in my pjs, I drove up the road to check out the river conditions. Just past the swinging bridge, the river was in the road on one side and water had filled a ditch on the other so the road was covered. I was undecided, but “Don’t Drown…Turn Around” played in my head.      I came back in the house, and thought that since I was uncertain if the river was cresting or still rising, I would take a shower and then I’d go back and check it again and if it went down a few inches, I’d head on to work.

So…I reach in the shower and turn on the water. And there is no water.   There is not a drop of water. Oh.No.   If you know me, you know that I’m always prepared for stuff, but it’s hard to prepare for not having water.   (Although in full disclosure,  I did have a case of bottled water and ten jugs of water stashed away.   Let me tell you…just having those jugs of water is so handy.  I emptied each one in the commodes, put some in the teapot, etc and then refilled them at my sister’s house.  Yay!!!)

We called friend and plumber, Darrell Statzer, and he was in Kingsport on a job. He said he’d come by after he got through–if water did not prevent him from doing so.  Darrell is aware of our well, and he’s like me — he thinks we’ll need a new well pump. You become expert at these types of things when you live in the country. It’s why I never make the casual statement that because we live in the country and we have a well, we get our water free. It’s a little more complicated than that!

So Darrell is going to come save the day–maybe if he can get through the water.    Except this started.

Winter Tree

Snow is not so bad, but this was more than snow. We had ice and sleet mixed in, and the roads became as slick as glass. Even going outside on the steps was dangerous.    Darrell barely got home himself so we all agreed the well could wait another day (and maybe it’ll be a little warmer).

With dirty hair, a flooding river, sleet and no water, I nixed any idea of going to work today.   However, about 4:00, Mike saw me getting ready to walk to my sister’s and shower so I could go to work tomorrow. I didn’t think the truck would make it down the hill without sliding in the river which was much closer to our gate  than it was a few days ago.

River Out

Mike, however, said he would put the truck in four wheel drive and keep a tire on the edge of the grass so that we’d have more traction than just going down the paved driveway, so we both went to my sisters and took showers and refilled the water jugs. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to live next to my sister.   It was the best shower.

So on the way home, while I had wet hair, I asked Mike to drive me around to see what the river was doing. It was going down! Yay!!  It had went down quite a bit!    Here’s the “lake” that is behind Gordon Barker’s house. I know the road crew that worked out here last year read this blog and they should be pleased to know that their giant culvert did help with the flooding on Barnrock.  The river had really went down in this picture.   See where the grass and snow meet?   That is where it had been earlier in the day.

Barker's Lake II

Here’s another…this is the Nordyke Bridge. Can you believe that in 2002 water ran over that bridge?

Nordyke Bridge

Water also ran over this swinging bridge in 2002. While a little scary to walk out with the fast moving water just a few feet down, it was nothing like 2002 when the bridge was washed out.

Swinging Bridge 2

I’m going to put another picture of that swinging bridge in here because I felt really brave walking out there.  Showing off a little.

Swinging Bridge 1

The river was making a rushing sound part of the day…I’m used to the lazy North Fork looking like this and hearing laughter…not rushing!

River BAnk

But everyone has to have a day where they speak up and demand a little respect..maybe a little fear…

Swinging Bridge Lower POint

And the North Fork did today!

Road Closed



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