Mendota Rising

There’s something different in the air in Mendota this fall.  For some reason, people are becoming optimistic that our little community is revitalizing.    I thought about this today and wondered out loud to Mike whether this was wishful thinking on my part or was it reality?   Perhaps you and I together can find the answer.

It started, believe it or not, with our Mendota Cemetery Quilt sale.  We sold $2100 in tickets for our quilt.   For a large community, this might not be significant, but for Mendota…a community without even a store, this is impressive.   Was it just a pretty quilt?

Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2014 2

And there are other signs.   Literally.  Do you see two signs in the photograph below of “sprouts” of vitality in Mendota?    If you did, you missed one.

Three Signs

Gary Barker retired from the Washington County School System and opened a garage in Mendota.  The Kiser family operates a successful organic farm in Mendota.  The third “sign” is that corn in the background — that belongs to River Gate Farm — one of Southwest Virginia’s largest dairy farms located right here in Mendota.


Then…as I climbed back in the truck….interruption here to say I love Luckie and she and I roll in a truck!

Luckie in the Truck

Back to whatever I was talking about.….I looked over at Gordon Barker Jr.’s  farm and saw….more!    I recalled two years ago when Mike, Marc, Mary and the boys and I drove across Clinch Mountain to a pumpkin stand and tiny farm maze.  I asked the owner “where did you get your pumpkins?”   He replied “Gordon Barker, Jr. in Mendota, Virginia.”


Here’s some awesome news…I’m going to the doctor next week, and I’m riding my bicycle to get there.    HMG has reopened the Mendota Medical Clinic (pictured below).  The days are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  The phone number is 276.645.6710, and the beloved Dr. Andy Brockmyre is our doctor.     Great medical care right here in Mendota.   He bikes to work…we might just bike beside each other on the day of my appointment!



Katie had her store open last Saturday.  She’s percolatin’

Katie's Store

She had some cute pillow slip dresses and a stack of stuffed punkin’s…

Pix 2 Pumpkins

Here’s the dresses made with antique pillow cases…nice.

Pix 3 Pillowcase dress

There’s several folks that operate businesses from their homes….

Gray Guy

I know of three men in the valley who make beautiful jewelry.  Tom Ilowiecki made this bracelet.  It sells for $35.


Like a little table with barn siding?   Mike makes those.   Personal note:   are you happy Pat Statzer?  This is for you!!!   


So there’s all sorts of bits of optimism!  So…another thought for Mendota.   We could have our own Quilt Trail.   The Timmons’  barn has one, and look what is going to go up soon at RiverCliff Cottage!    Are there more to follow?

Sawblade Quilt Square

Next spring is going to be fun for Mike and me.  We are working to have our property on the North Fork of the Holston work for us.  There’s a business plan, there’s lots to learn and there’s a lot of work, and we’re still in the “almost decided for sure phase” of what we want to do.  I’ll share it with you as each step becomes concrete.   But I can tell you, we’ll be down at the shop often enough to make sure my flowers get watered.

Shop Window Box

In the meantime….we are keeping it all in perspective.  One step at a time.

I love Mendota




Patriotic Apron Giveaway

Mendota’s Katie Harris made this patriotic apron for some lucky little girl to wear.   If you’d like a chance to win this apron, just leave a comment to this post sharing your plans for Independence Day.  Simple!   Your comment must be submitted by 10 pm on Tuesday, July 3.  I’m downloading a little gizmo that will randomly pick one comment which will be the lucky winner.  I’ll notify the winner by email and on the post which will be placed online after 10 pm on Tuesday, July 3.  I’ll mail the apron to the winner.  Easy.  And fun!

On Saturday, Katie had her store open from 9:30 am until 5:00 pm.   The building has  been in her family for over 40 years.   I believe she is calling the store…”The Store.”    Here’s a picture…

I hope that at some time the store will be open on a regular basis, but at present, Katie opens it when she can…when she has some extra time.  When she’s there and the store is open, she occasionally provides refreshments.  Lemonade.  Muffins.  Beans and cornbread.  It feels like you are visiting someone in their home but you handle all of their furnishings and accessories!

I have history tied to the store.  When Katie’s father operated the store, he called it Benfield’s Store, and my mother worked there.  It sold sodas, bread, milk, gas…all of the things that a country story sold in the 1970’s.   The Benfield girls, Katie and Lisa, and I got off the  school bus at the store.   Mom would give me a bag of chips and a Ginger Ale which was in a small glass bottle at that time.   She’d ring me up with the old-fashioned cash register that went “Cha-Ching!”      After our snack, we girls would head to the back of the store and play Rook with our friends.   What memories!

Going back many years further, my father helped make the block for the original store site.  He was paid 10 cents per block.  I can imagine his hands…young at that time…working.    Here’s a picture.

Inside the store, there’s little vignettes of things Katie loves.   She’s uncomfortable charging her friends,  but I’ve assured her she’ll get used to it.  We want the store to be open, so we want to be customers as well as friends.

Getting ready for July 4…

Katie has an eye for making things pretty.  This kerosene lamp is a good example.  In Mendota, we all have kerosene lamps as our power goes off frequently.  As I write this, thousands are without power in Virginia following the June 29 storm.  I wonder…do they have kerosene lamps?

Here’s something that Katie and her grandson made.  It’s a birdbath made from a plate and a vase.  Very clever and a good project for little hands.

Also on Saturday, I continued working on my dining room.  It’s going nightmarishly slow…

Here’s another.  Looks like the Charles Manson murders took place here.

We are anxious to get this room done and put back together.  We had a delay because Mike went out of town this weekend to see the Atlanta Braves with his son and grandson.  He had a great time, and it was worth it, but it’s back to work!

Hope you enjoyed visiting The Store.  I also hope I have a new/old dining room tomorrow evening when I post.

Thank you for reading my blog.  I had over 50 views on one of the posts last week.   Many thanks!  Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested and keep it growing.  You have my appreciation.





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