Muffin the Cat Before and After

Muffin the Cat has been with us for almost two years.  He’s turned from a mostly feral cat into a pet.   Here was a picture of him from the early days when he would allow us to pet him but never pick him up or touch his back.   It was from an old post on this blog.

Here’s our little cat today.  He loves being petted, sleeps inside at night and adores being loved on and carried.    His fur is very short because he was recently shaved to remove the matted fur.

He still hates my other cats.  Oh well.  Aren’t we all a work in progress?




Day Four Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for my husband Michael and our shared compassion for Muffin, the feral kitty that arrived at our house last winter.   Muffin was a feral kitty that lived several miles from here and my young cousin had been watching over him for a number of years.  Somehow he got lost in the snow and ended up here.   At first, we had no idea where he came from and even when we learned he came from my cousin’s place,   he’s not the type of cat you can easily transport in a car, so we decided to care for him as long as he stayed here.  So far, he’s still here.  He’s actually gotten quite friendly.

Last winter, we quickly made him a make shift box home..actually a box inside a box with bubble wrap and a heating pad.   It was not great, but it provided him with heat and the necessary shelter to survive the -8 degree temps we experienced.

This winter, we wanted to make sure he had something more sturdy…so here’s what we did:

We bought two Rubber Maid storage boxes.  One was larger than the other.

Inside of each other

We inserted pink insulation inside the large box surrounding the smaller box.

Pink Insulation

Mike cut openings out in each of the boxes so he could easily get inside.

Almost Finished

There was a gap between the small box and the large box at the entry point.  We had to build Muffin a foyer.


We inserted this foyer in the entrance.  Muffin’s house is really quite well appointed.

Muffin's House

His heating system is powered by a “pet pad” which is designed for outdoor cats.

Pet Pad

This required drilling some small holds for the cord to exit the house and be plugged into the wall.   The great thing about this house is that I can open the top and look in and make sure that the bed is clean and dry.

Where he will lay

I thought he’d be a little scared of the new house, but that was not the case.  He went right in.  And stayed the night. 

Muffin Eating

I am so grateful to Mike for fixing Muffin a solid house that is well insulated and dry.  His pet heating pad has a much lower temp than a heating pad that we’d use ourselves, but I know that with his fur, the insulation, and the heat that the heating pad does emit, Muffin will be snug and warm during the cold winter months ahead.

And that is what I am so grateful for as day four turns into night.






It’s Official!

Hi…thanks to everyone who keeps coming back to see me at RiverCliff Cottage.   I continued with about 4700 views in the past 30 days and since I’ve been less than diligent about updating the blog, I am very thankful.    This is actually not a very large number, but it’s larger than I ever anticipated, so I”m very happy!   RiverCliff Cottage  is my precious!

I’m learning more about blogging.  At the onsite of my fleding career as a webmaster for Adventure Mendota, I tried to save money by using the same account as RiverCliff Cottage but as an add-on domain.   Blue Host, the server where this blog sits,  allows as many domains on one account as you want at no additional charge, and in many cases, this would work nicely.  However, after the fact, I learned that this made it difficult for search engines to find the site.   I’d Google Adventure Mendota, and there would be Adventure Mendota mentioned on RiverCliff Cottage but no website showing up.   I added SEO plugins, tried this, that…very little success.    Drat!   Sunday morning,  I’ve called and started the migration of Adventure Mendota to its own account.   It was a $99 migration charge I had not planned for, but I didn’t want to deal with learning how to do it.  How many times will I have to migrate a site?  Probably not again soon.   Never I hope.   Concurrent with this, I’ve learned that websites that have a blog that is updated on a fairly regular basis have better search results.   Do you know what this means?  I’m going to add a  blog page on Adventure Mendota–what a shameless self-promoter I’ve become!

Speaking of this baby called Adventure Mendota, I found a sign at the end of the driveway this morning as I left for work.  A Washington County elf was out and about!   Here is a portion of the sign…I cut off  the phone number.   Sorry!    This is one of those milestones moments.  It’s like when you get married, vote the first time, do you-know-what the first time…and so forth.    This is an “I really did that” moment.

zoning sign

On the downside of the week, my Luckie dog has been ill.  This is not a picture that I took this weekend.  This was last summer, when she was getting in touch with her inner-Islam.   She was wearing the veil that day.

Luckie With a towel on her head

She became very ill with severe diarrhrea and her appetite left.   I just want to add that this all occurred at 2 am.   Rumbling, sad, exploding dog.   And me.    I spent half of Sunday morning cleaning the bedroom that I’d just cleaned the day before. She’s worth it.  I’m running her by the vet tomorrow, but tonight she has shown an interest in eating again.  I’m cautiously hopeful.

When the time comes and she’s ready to walk the Rainbow Bridge, I want to be with her…to hold her.   But let’s hope that time is not this week.






All the Poop On Luckie Dog

This was a scary week for Mike and me as Luckie had anesthesia when having her teeth cleaned.  She was not eating properly due to a sore mouth.  No one wants a sore mouth, so Dr. Steve, who had been putting this off thinking that Luckie’s teeth might outlive her, scheduled the cleaning. Luckie is the last of three dogs we got over 15 years ago.

Hey You

I understood the risks…they’ve been explained to me many times but nothing has ever went wrong. All the things that “might” happen have never happened. Until this week.

Following the procedure, Luckie came home very confused. Her leg and her shoulder quivered badly. She would not eat. Her tail dragged the ground. Her eyes were dull. She was anxious…both barking and whining.

Luckie Dog

I texted Dr. Steve, and he asked a few questions, but indicated none of this was unusual in old dogs during the first 48 hours after anesthesia. Another day passed with marginal improvement. On Thursday, she finally started to show signs of being herself (eating catfood). She later told me that I’d feel the same way if I went to the dentist and realized after the procedure that while my teeth got cleaned, my butt also got shaved.


Luckie 6

So…she felt well on Thursday, and I decided that we needed to go somewhere so she and I went to the Bank of America in Bristol to cash two checks. I drove into the drive thru window, and as soon as I pressed the “SEND” on the vacuum tube, Luckie pooped in the back seat. At this juncture, it seemed like the teller went from normal speed to slow motion. It took forever, and at the end of the transaction, she graciously spoke and said “does your doggy want a treat?” I weakly replied sure…all the while thinking…“my doggy already has a treat and she just left it in the back seat, and it’s stinkin’s so bad I’m about to puke.” I didn’t say any of that. We finished the transaction; I pulled to a grassy area which turned out to be directly in the line of the view of the teller. I got Luckie out and then with a paper towel, I picked the poop up from the truck’s rear seat and walked over to a spot with Luckie, bent over and laid the poop down. All of this was carefully correographed for the teller’s benefit so she would think I was a responsible dog owner cleaning her pet’s waste up. What I was really doing was leaving Luckie’s poop behind in the grass.   Oh the tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive. Finally after my performance, Luckie and I went back to the truck where she refused to get in the back even though there was not one trace of the offending poop. We drove home with her looking straight ahead not acknowledging her part in the poop.



When we did get home, I recalled that Luckie needed her post-surgery medication called Rimadyl. I went to the cabinet, got the Rimadyl and got myself a vitamin at the same time. I went to the sink, tossed the vitamin into my mouth and drank some water. I then reached to give Luckie her Rimydyl –but there was only the vitamin in my hand.

It’s Friday, and in spite of taking Luckie’s medication, I had no side effects, and she is doing great, too.

In other news, I dropped a clothing size this week.  That is a milestone!!   Yay me!!


Mendota Post Office and This Strange Cat

My day began in a surprising manner. Sam the Cat returned from being outside for about 90 minutes. He climbed into bed and began “marching” or what I call “making muffins.” He marched for about a minute and then he peed on me. Not a little bit.

Later, after everything was churning away in the washer and I’d showered,  I asked him..”what was up with this peeing in the bed thing? It’s a little creepy, Sam?”

Sam 1

“I’m getting ready to roll. Can’t answer you now.”


Sam 2

“Those 600 count sheets get wet just like the 180 count nubby ones. How did you like the smell?  You are mine now, baby!  I’ve marked you!!


Sam 3

“Nanny nanny boo boo…better to be pissed on than pissed off.”

Suffice it to say, Sam spent a very unhappy afternoon outside looking in. This time spent on the wrong side of the “Door of Shame”  has made him sleepy tonight. He’s inside, but he may be snoozing in the garage tonight. Still not certain.

Later, I went to the Mendota Post Office and decided to take you along. We are thankful for our post office. While the hours were cut, the location was spared.

US Post Office Mendota VA

The post office sits at the base of Clinch Mountain…just down from the Mendota Cemetery. It’s across from what was the Mendota Medical Center. Some day.


I had a very small package to mail to Mike’s mother in California. I’d found some lavender goat’s milk lotion made in Jonesville, Virginia — about 45 minutes away.

Evelyn Beaule Package

Have you ever went to a post office and felt you were interrupting someone’s day?  It’s not that way in Mendota.

Kim gives me a big hello when she sees me!

KimThe Mail Lady

Here’s the hours…

Mendota Post Office Hours

Have you ever seen a healthier indoor plant (picture below)?  This is the Mendota Contingency Plan for Emergencies. We’ll be cutting this for firewood if our electricity goes out.  That’s a joke.

Large PO TreeWe’re little, but we got all the fixins…

Post Office Stuff

The post office is a hub for learning what is happening with our neighbors..

The Gathering Bowl

Lifelong friend Patsy is the postmistress. She’d turned her head away… hiding…peekaboo Patsy!   Kim…well…she’s not hiding.

Post Mistress and Mail Lady

I mailed my little package. I enjoy getting anything in the mail, so I like to mail to others. It is so nice to get something delivered. Are you that way?   I bought some stamps. They will increase in price soon, and I wanted to buy a few ahead of time. Patsy always pulls out her folder and lets me pick out something pretty.


If you live in Mendota, please buy your stamps at the Mendota Post Office. If you can’t get down to pick them up, give Patsy a call. She and Kim will work to get those stamps delivered!!

Do you understand why the adage, “once you get that Poor Valley dirt on your feet, you can’t wipe it off” is true?  It’s just not the same anywhere else on earth.


English Muffins, Golden Retrievers and Me

Never, ever feed your pet “people food” unless your pet is Gracie Beaule and she’s 15 years and 3 months old. Gracie Beaule will do what she dog-gone darn well pleases. Age has its privileges. Gracie rules!

Gracie Eating

Yuck…someone needs a manicure in that picture above. Gracie and I decided to split an English Muffin with cheap cream cheese and even cheaper grape jelly. We both loved it. We’re on a sugar high. She’s barking. I’m singing.

English Muffins

On other fronts here at RiverCliff Cottage, we are completely focused on our church Christmas play. Procrastination has turned into a frantic rush to get things done. This is going to be a play for the ages. One of the shepherds insisted on bringing his pet rabbit and including it in the play. I let him. Possibly a big mistake in our path to winning a Tony Award. Strategically, it had another pitfall…one of our angels learned of the rabbit and wanted to bring her cat. “No, Sweet Little Angel, you cannot bring your cat. It will eat the shepherd’s rabbit!”


More Barns and Beans

I have been looking at barns recently.  I wish that every barn had a good home–just like cats and dogs.  Here’s two that hit the lottery.  They were in not-so-great shape a few years ago, but now they’re showing off.

Like this one…it’s even got a sign.

Mendota Farms Barn

And here’s its buddy…across the road.

Mendota Farms Other Barn

I like those barns because they are full of hay…planning for winter. That is what I’m doing, too. I’ve been trimming the shrubbery so I won’t have to do it in the spring. Here’s how messy it looked…

Before Trimming

I divided the daylillies which were like tree trunks. They have not been divided since the house was landscaped 14-15 years ago so they weren’t blooming very well. They may never bloom now, but I just had to do something so I took the shovel to them. I felt like Lizzie Borden out there axing away at the roots.

Day Lily Boulder

And after I gave everything a haircut and divided the daylillies, I took this picture. This area could use some mulch, but we’ll wait until spring. Right now, I just wanted it to look neat.


And Mike, who apparently has gotten in touch with his flowering side, has been out saving every zinnia seed. Who is this man and what did he do with my husband? He has the dried flowers in plastic bins like this sitting on top of our freezer so that all the moisture will be gone leaving about a gazillion seeds for next year.

Zinnia Heads

And here’s something I am definitely going to work on next spring. I stuck a few Mountaineer Half Runner beans in the raised beds late in the summer. Since I never watered them, they didn’t do very well. However, one survived and thrived. It’s got beans on it! I ate one! This will be how we plant beans next year, as all of the raised beds have had root crops in them this year. It’s not good to put your onions and potatoes (root crops) in the same spot, so the beans will be a nice change for the raised beds, and can you just imagine how pretty the tunnels will look if the beans climb like this one?

Mountaineer Half Runner

However, next year’s garden will have to wait. Something more important…like the Dear Girls waiting for their evening ride to bark at deer. We saw 32 yesterday. I do love my doggies.

Dear Girls


Towel Head

Well, we are still working on our Little Bathroom Project. We’ve made progress but it’s not picture takin’ time yet. I will tell you that the commode no longer is wrapped up in red Saran Wrap.

Painting Behind the Commode

We would have made faster progress, but we’ve had interruptions…such as searching for things on the dining room table.

Messy Dining Room

Or taking a bath. As in Luckie taking a bath. Do you ever put a towel on your head when your hair is wet? What a coincidence! Luckie does too!!

Luckie With a towel on her head

I’m organizing, painting trim and working outside. It is the busiest time of year here as we transition into fall. How about you? Are you washing your windows, pulling weeds, etc.?


Luckie’s New Ride

The big news of the day comes from Luckie Beaule.  Wow!  As in Bow Wow!   She has a new ride…a new set of wheels!

Hey You

There is a person at the Toyota dealership in Bristol who walks each new buyer through all of the things that the new automobile features.   The only thing I was interested in was in how to fold the back seat down so that the doggies could ride.   Seriously who cares about blue tooth when you live so far out that your phone doesn’t work most of the time? 

Here’s a full view of our Luckie in her new chariot.

New Truck

Our old Ford F150 was getting unreliable.   It was time for  a change.   We’re all happy!  Even the cherry tree is weeping with joy.

CHerry Tree Dandruff

Tomorrow is a big day here at our hobby farm.  We’re planting green beans.   Mike bought three different kinds, but it’s the half runners that I’m looking forward to growing.   Last year, it was 100 degrees when the beans arrived, and I just let them die.   I hope this year is different, and I get a good crop.

And…in case you’re interested, here’s an updated photo, taken today, of my yukon gold potatoes (planted with no planning, no hilling and no problems).

Taters In May


Sometimes Things Work Differently

When I knew Mike’s knee replacement surgery was scheduled for April 1, I made my mental list of all I wanted to accomplish while off work to be with him.    I should have known better.  Never.make.a.plan.

I stayed in the hospital at Holston Valley  each night and most of each day.  I came home once and showered.   This wasn’t so bad since he checked in on Monday (really early…like 5:15 am), and we were headed home by 4:30 pm on Wednesday.    Upon our arrival home, we switched up all the sleeping arrangements; and, somehow, in a house with three bedrooms, a sofabed in the den, and a blow up mattress for emergencies–and just two people– I ended up in the living room on the couch (not a sofabed).    I’ve been there every night until last night.  Suffice it to say, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for two weeks.  Last night was THE night to get back to a real bed, and then it stormed and Gracie, who is afraid of storms, started whining and shivering.   I got on the floor –with my pillow–and slept on the dogbed with her.   We’re both tired today.

I couldn’t NOT do this.  Yesterday was a hard day for this dear girl.     She panted all Monday night and she fell.   Twice.  Mike looked at me and said “I don’t want her in pain.”   I watched her all night.  I texted Dr. Steve in the early, early morning hours and told him that I thought it was the day.   He said to meet him at 9:30 am at the practice.

The day.  The day Gracie would no longer limp.   The day I would no longer have my dog after this 15-year love affair we have shared.   Spending time with this dog was one of the primary reasons I wanted to work less.    It’s the reason my house is a mess with scatter rugs all over the hardwood since she can’t stand on a slippery floor.

Gracie Walking 1

Dr. Steve understands this, and he did not want her to have to walk on the slippery floors in the practice, so he asked me to keep her in the truck.  He came out and listened to her heart.  She looked directly in his eyes.  He said “Eva, today is not the day.  Let’s take her out of the truck and watch her walk.”   She walked about…he looked in her mouth…felt of her many lumps…pressed on her tummy.    We are no longer focused on fixing Gracie — we want her to be comfortable.   She was dehydrated and she was a little sore.

We headed home.  We have some additional medication for Gracie, and she’s eating well and drinking a lot of Pediatric Electrolyte mixed with organic chicken broth.    She’s back to barking at me and wanting to ride in the truck.  And eat cookies!

I like this picture.   I took it over the weekend; and in it, she doesn’t look like a 15-year old dog.   You can still see that she was very athletic.  She was such a swimmer and runner.  She was always my snuggler.

Beautiful Gracie

Do dogs go to heaven?




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