Route 802 Mendota Virginia

I drove down State Route 802 today — the Mendota Road. I decided to bring you along. There’s a house on that road that I’m fascinated by but it’s not included in this post. I have to stop and talk with the folks and ask them if I can put it on the blog. They weren’t home, so that may come later. At any rate, here we go…


The roads are winding–not in a scary way but just enough so that you have to drive a little slower and watch what you’re doing. I went really slow and took pictures.

Windy Road

Here’s Regina’s Rockybrook. I think it’s open only on Saturday. She called me one night when I wrote the Mendota Villager just to say thanks. That was a long time ago. Margie Dean now writes The Villager.


Here’s an old building that I think looks interesting. I wonder what it was built for? Does anyone know?

Old Building

And a sassy red barn that someone obviously loves.

Red Barn

Someone’s beautiful entry “Peace Like a River.” They love the North Fork, too!

Peace Like a River

Here’s what used to be North Fork Baptist Church (below). It was established in 1776. I do not know if services are still held here. Mom took Pat and me to revival at this church when we were young. I mortified her that night by announcing that I knew where babies came from — “out of their mama’s mouths.” I had seen a mother cat carrying a small kitten and got everything mixed up.

Holston View

Another church…I’ve never been inside this church. However, when I was a teenager, I “parked” there with someone. Who? Well, that young man no longer walks on this earth, and I’ll never tell. It remains a secret! We sat there and listened to an eight-track tape, and I tried to act like I liked beer. Ugh.

Poor Valley Log church

Nearby there is a chimney that nature is reclaiming.


I took a picture of this sawmill which is one of two on this part of Route 802. My father had a sawmill. My father was a pallbearer when the famous musician, Mr. A. P. Carter, passed away. People who have learned that Daddy had a relationship with A. P. ask if Daddy was a musician. Nope, he loved and owned a sawmill, and A. P. loved sawmills almost as much as he loved music. They were sawmill men.


Below is a picture of a field of boxwoods. I love it when people try and earn a living in Mendota. Once in a while, they can. I hope this nursery is doing well. Across this field and the river, there is an old two-story structure which you can see a tiny bit of in this picture. I’ve never been there, but I was told there was a dumbwaiter in the building. Now why would I remember that?

Boxwoods and Old Building

And another sweet church..

Church 2

And this was my Uncle Paul’s church. His name was Paul Barker. He was both a preacher and a miner. His granddaughter called me a few weeks ago. It was so nice to connect.

Church 2 again

Hope you’ve enjoyed driving down State Route 802, Mendota Road, with me. I was coming home from a ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. Here I am…

Eva Beaule on Bike

I’m “coming out.” I’m a supporter of a hiking and biking trail in Mendota.


Dale Jett & Hello Stranger in Mendota

Our Dale Jett and Hello Stranger 2013 Cemetery Benefit is going to be held on Friday, April 26, in Mendota.   If you are reading this, I hope you plan to come.   It’s a really great show. The accoustics in the old Hamilton School Building (now called the Mendota Community Center) are good.

We ran out of food last year but this year, we are planning better.  We expected about 200 last  year and we had closer to 400.    Tonight I’m  working on the publicity for this year’s event. I like doing this sort of thing. It’s a creative endeavor.  I enjoy working on these types of things at night.   Tonight’s project for our benefit  is a postcard which will be mailed to the 24270 (Mendota) zip code. I’ve been picking out four  pictures to include on the card…here’s what I’ve got so far.     If you don’t live in Mendota but would like to receive one of the postcards, please comment back on this blog.  I’ll make sure you get one.

Guess you know who these three are?  What good friends they are to this area.


Even if I didn’t like the way they sound, I’d still like Dale Jett & Hello Stranger. They are doggy people. Hot Rod Harris was  a large part of the inspiration for a special song they wrote and perform about strays.   It speaks to me. 

Here’s Hot Rod. Honestly, Hot Rod was pitiful when Oscar and Katie first adopted him, but now…he’s a little on the chubby side.  May have to change his name to Bubba Harris.

Hot Rod

Because the performance benefits two cemeteries, I’m including pictures representing each cemetery.

Here’s the Mendota Cemetery.    It’s located near the Mendota Post Office and the Mendota United Methodist Church.   It is where my parents and grandparents are buried.

Block for Vista

Here’s Mt. Vernon’s Cemetery which is located by Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church.   Although I’ve walked by this sign well over 100 times, I did not notice that it had “and cemetery” on the bottom.

Mt. Vernon Church Sign

I was actually at this church this morning with Mike, Dale, Oscar, Jenna, Ashley and Daryl. Daryl fixed some breakfast. We’re talking about a variety show we may have in Mendota in October, and something I’ve always wanted to be in — an old fashioned jug band — I want to play the spoons!

Plans and more plans. Life is good out here in Mendota.


Mendota Cemetery Quilt Progress Report

Hi!   I have not been on the RiverCliff Cottage blog for a few days.  I couldn’t find my camera cord!   Tonight, I found it in the car, and I was so happy!    Grabbed it and…here I am!

On Wednesdays, a group of ladies meet in the afternoon at the Mendota Community Center.   It really should be Hamilton School because our Mendota children that attend public school shouldn’t be put on a schoolbus in the dark and returned home in the dark, but there are others that must answer to that poorly made, badly thought out, disgusting and selfish decision.    Can you guess my opinion on this?      

Anyway, back to the quilt.   Do you remember the name of it?   I’ll Fly Away.   We sing this at church.    Some glad morning when this life is over,  I’ll fly away.   To a home on God’s celestial shore,  I’ll fly awayI’ll fly away, O Glory,  I’ll fly away. In the morning…  

Months ago I posted about a trip to get the fabric.   Here’s the post,  but here’s a picture of the fabric that was selected. 

Fabric for Mendota, Virginia Cemetery Quilt

There’s been steady work on the quilt since that day, and I stopped in and pinned eight squares and checked on the progress.  

Here’s what the quilt currently looks like…there’s been a lot of cutting going on.   In my mind’s eye, I see all of the ladies jumping up on the table singing.. “There’s a Whole Lotta Cuttin’ Goin’ on!”     Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano, the Mendota ladies singing into their scissor mics.   

Check out those little squares that have been pieced together.

Quilt 1

Here’s a test.  What do these squares have in common?  Scroll down for the answer.

Quilt 2

The answer is that the blues always face the upper lefthand corner!   Did you notice that?     That is one of the things I learned Wednesday.   Here’s some more squares.  The ladies who are leading this quilt project have a firm vision of what the completed I’ll Fly Away quilt looks like.

Quilt 3

Here’s Margie…sewing up a storm.    Yep…she’d definitely be up on the table singing.

Quilt 4

Mendota hands working at putting pieces together.  I love this.

Quilt 5

And…more Mendota hands sewing away on this vintage Singer.  
Quilt 6

 This quilt will be “coming out” on Friday, April 26, when Dale Jett & Hello Stranger return to Mendota for the second annual Mendota Cemetery Benefit.    




Peter Livingston Barker and Mendota, Virginia

Here’s a picture of my father’s father, Peter Livingston Barker. I’m hoping that I can get more information on him soon, but for now, here he is. He’s pictured with his sisters.

Peter Livingston Barker and sisters

I was at my cousin Julia’s a couple of years ago, and my other cousin, Forrest Barker (called Brother Barker), referred to Peter Livingston Barker as someone who liked to write or speak.  Maybe so…read on what he said about Mendota, Virginia. So hopeful…I’m mixed as to whether I’m sad that little or none of what he talked about is here or perhaps I’m grateful.

Here’s what I found on the internet (and you know the deal…if it is on the internet, it must be true! Ha!) that my grandfather wrote. Courtesy New River Notes Web Page by Jeff Weaver: An Economic and Social Survey of Washington County, Virginia. University of Virginia Record Extension Series Vol. XVII, No. 6, December, 1932 by Ben Bane Dulaney


By P. L. Barker

Mendota is situated on the North Fork of Holston River, in the west end of Washington County, Virginia, about half way between Bristol and Gate City, opposite the noted Kinderhook Farm and immediately on the Southern Railway.

The excellent river-bottom lands at Mendota were patented by the Commonwealth to Thomas Kendrick, William Todd Livingston and others, and the home of Peter Livingston was but a short distance below Mendota at the time the noted half-breed Benge made his raid thereon in the year 1794, burning the homestead and carrying off the wife of Peter Livingston. After several days hot pursuit the Indians were overtaken, the savage Benge was killed at long range by Lieutenant Vincent Hobbs. Mrs. Livingston was struck with a tomahawk by an Indian and left for dead-the remaining Indians fleeing-but after being senseless about an hour was revived by the rescue party.

The river-bottom land opposite Mendota, some time previous to 1860, became the property of Adam Hickman, a native of Kinderhook, N. Y. Upon his acquisition of this property, he gave it the name of Kinderhook, and from this farm Kinderhook magisterial district derived its name.

The post office at this point was for many years Kinderhook, but the name was changed to Mendota by Henry C. Holley, who for many years was a merchant at the place.

Hamilton Institute was established at Mendota in the year, 1874. It drew a large, earnest and determined patronage from the Cumberlands on the north to the Blue Ridge Mountains on the south, and is said to have sent more Christian young men and women into the professional and common walks of life than any other institution of learning of its class in its wide territory.

As to the old settlers, it may be remarked that it was no ordinary people who pushed the frontiers back and settled this section. They were of the best stock that Virginia had to offer, and were as high-minded and far-seeing as they were brave and adventurous.

Mendota is the center of the glass sand industry in Virginia. It has one of the finest deposits of silica, used in the manufacture of glassware, pottery, etc., in the United States, said to be inexhaustible in quantity. While industrial development at present is in its infancy, the great number and variety of natural resources, the place being touched by a river and great trunk line railway, it is destined to increase greatly. At present there is considerable prospecting for oil and gas in this vicinity. The town has two flour mills, planing and lumber mills, five stores, and is served by a high-powered electric line, the East Tennessee Light and Power Company, a subsidiary of Cities Service.

The Blue Grass Trail, State Highway No.42, has lately been constructed into the town.


Living in Mendota, Virginia

When I started this blog, I hoped visitors would find the answer to the question “why would anyone want to live there?” “There” being Mendota, Virginia —  17 miles from a grocery store and a minimum 35 minute work commute.

Here’s a whole post with a lot of pictures answering that question.

Let’s start with Saturday night at the Carter Family Fold. It’s a barn about 10 miles down the road from where I live.   It’s a famous barn where Carter Family music is played on Saturday nights. Jeanette Carter promised her father, A. P. Carter, she’d keep his music alive. She did a good job. We lost Jeanette just a few years ago. Here’s her likeness…

Here’s the inside of the barn…

Carter Fold Barn

And where would you go and hear music and dance — all the while with this dog snoring on the stage? Those feet belong to a member of the Wayne Henderson & Friends band performing last Saturday. I’m not sure who the dog belongs to.

Carter Fold Dog 1

This next dog is also a regular at the Carter Family Fold. It’s “Opie”. Opie slow dances with a lady named “Debbie” who is a schoolteacher. (In the country, we know just about everything about everybody.) All that dancing gets a doggy thirsty.

There are lots of “regulars” at the Carter Fold. Here’s Poppy. He’s there with his niece, Pam. Poppy is in a wheelchair and this Saturday outing is one of the highlights of each week.

On Sunday morning, it is time to “make a joyful noise.”

Here’s a few pictures…

Mt. Vernon

And another…

And another…

We closed with “I’ll Fly Away”. Chills.

Musical Sunday

Moving forward a couple of days. Election Day in Mendota. No lines here. We have under 500 registered voters, but we can count on a large percentage of them voting.

Voting means seeing friends…here’s Janette Dean and Diane Sproles. They check my voter card and photo identification. I know them well, but they take no shortcuts. Everything is on the up and up in Mendota on this special day. Integrity.

Voting is fun, because it’s also a time to eat and socialize. We can always count on food being there. There were homemade biscuits with pork chops this morning. I smelled soup later in the day.

Many hours go into cooking for Election Day. Everything is carried into the kitchen in coolers, etc.

During the morning hours following voting, Mendota resident Helene Holbrook, DNP at ETSU, administered flu vaccines. Free. She’s giving one to my brother-in-law, Gerald, in this picture.

And there’s seeing friends…

And that’s a few days living in Mendota.


Getting The Honeybees Ready For Winter

We’re still getting ready for winter here.    The barn is now full of wood for the woodboiler.  This will last us into next season.   The woodboiler heats the guest house and our primary house as well as providing hot water in both houses.  It’s a very warm heat.


Barn Full of Wood

It makes me feel secure when I look at the barn.   Country people like being self sufficient. As I write this, our generator is self-testing–sounds like a train coming but I don’t mind! After seeing the news of what is happening in the northeast following Hurricane Sandy, I’m grateful once again that we have it.   Our powerlines run through heavily-treed areas, and even with the aggressive tree trimming that took place this summer, an ice storm or heavy snow would leave us without power for days.

It’s also time to do some winterizing on the beehives preparing for harsh weather. During the honey flow season, we keep the bottom of the hive open so that bees may easily get in and out during their frequent foraging trips.   Gotta make sure they can get the pollen and nectar in for yummy honey.   As it got cooler last month, we inserted a spacer in the bottom which limited the access to about three inches.    This was to keep mice out of the hives yet still allow a fairly easy exit and entrance for this season’s remaining foraging.

Have No 2 November

I’ll use the same spacer, but I’ll turn it so that the opening is very tiny. Here’s a picture of the spacer.

Entry Spacer

Can you see the small entrance and the larger entrance?  The small one is for cold winter weather and the large one is for fall when the temperatures are just starting to get a bit cooler and, as mentioned above, mice are hunting a warm spot. We don’t want mice in our honey!!! Yuck!

Here’s the same photo with more description. Look what I’m learning to do in Photoscape!

Entrance and Exit Opening

And here is the photo of the beehive winterized.

Winterized Bee Hive

When I was working with this hive, I found an alarming number of dead bees just inside the entrance.  This hive has been strong, and I’d just been working with it three or four weeks ago when I put the spacer in for fall.  No cause for alarm at that time.  Now, however, I’m worried.

There are still live bees in the hive, but why so many dead ones in the entrance area?

We’ll be looking back in this hive next weekend. I’ll let you know what we find.   I hope, pray that my bees will be healthy.

I don’t want to see this.

Dead Bee

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage, and thank you for supporting local beekeepers!



Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2013

Hi! I’ve been gone for a few days. Well, not gone, but not online. I’m back!! I’ve missed you!!

When I started blogging in April, one of the earlier  posts  involved our Mendota and Mt. Vernon cemeteries and the fundraising that supports the upkeep of these cemeteries.  Dale Jett and Hello Stranger put on an amazing show right here in Mendota during May.  Here’s our talented and kind pals….

That show also was the kickoff of our quilt raffle. Both were very successful. And fun!

Now…present day!   It’s time to get ready for 2013! In just a few weeks, we’ll be setting the date for the 2013 benefit; and earlier this week, a few of us met in Kingsport to purchase fabric for the new quilt.

We planned to visit several quilt shops, but we found exactly what we needed at a shop called “Heavenly Stitches Quilt Shoppe” on Ft. Henry Drive in Kingsport. One of the owners, Paul, was there,  and we yakked it up with him. Very nice.

The quilt we’re making is a “flying geese” pattern, so this year’s quilt will be called “I’ll Fly Away.” Recognize that? “I’ll Fly Away” is a song made popular by the Carter Family and one that Dale, Oscar and Teresa sing regularly and DO AN AWESOME JOB!! It all ties together. Beautifully.

And Heavenly Stitches has lots of fabric to choose from…a rainbow of color!

Fabric Array at Heavenly Fabric

Here’s the fabric we selected for the new quilt.  The first one in the lineup…the black and blue…was the “inspiration” fabric.

Fabric for Mendota, Virginia Cemetery Quilt

Since I’m a quilter wannabe and not a true quilter, I can only tell you the little bit I know about the fabric selection…you have to have a dark and then a light for this quilt.

Mendota Cemetery Quilt - The Chosen Ones

We’ll have several work days on the quilt, and I’ll be participating. I’ll take you along and show you the progress of how these fabric selections become a beautiful quilt.

Paul, the owner of Heavenly Fabrics, invited us to look around at some of the quilts on display.

Black Quilt at Heavenly Stitches

Have you heard of the Shiloh Baptist Quilters in Benhams (Bristol, Virginia)?   I’m not sure what the relationship is or how this quilt ended up at Heavenly Stitches, but Paul said this is their work.




You Will Never Get Me Now!

Look at this…she’s up on the pergola. She’s a fiesty looking little cat isn’t she?

Mike: “Chrissie! Put that bird down! You are a bad kitty!”
Chrissie: “Neen ner Neen ner Boo Boo…I’m up on the pergola…try and get me now!


Walking Down Swinging Bridge Road

I live on Swinging Bridge Road.  It is a great place to walk.  It’s flat and there is very little traffic.

Walking from my driveway, I turn right following the direction of the North Fork’s water flow. As I look to my left, here’s what I see:

As I near the edge of our property line and look right, I see my husband’s shop called The Luckie Dog Woodshop. It’s a nice little shop. We have a sign in front of the shop that reads “custom tables.” In 10+ years we have never had anyone call about having a custom table made. Did I mention there was very little traffic? I’m not sure what we were thinking when we put this sign up.  LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!

This is a photo of one of the window boxes in the front of the woodshop.

I stop in the woodshop since my brother-in-law Gerald is inside.   Hi Gerald!  He is standing in front of the hope chest he has made for a neighbor’s little girl who is turning 13.  It is made from a sassafras tree from right up the road that a neighbor gave my husband.

I leave and walk a bit further down Swinging Bridge Road.  Looks like this:

Told you it was a nice flat walk.

In this photograph, I’m approaching my neighbor’s barn he is building.  As best I can tell, it’s being recycled from another building.   Works for me.


I like this little crossroads where the dirt road (Anderson Drive) meets Swinging Bridge Road.  There are usually goats here, but they are elsewhere today.  The goats get out a lot!   It’s one of the charming things about Swinging Bridge Road.  We have to weave in and out of the goats when passing this area.  No one really minds.

Walking a bit further, I see a….boat!   It’s parked in the pasture.  Looks like someone just drove it up on the hill and got out.    Who knows?  We might have a flood and need this boat.  This river does flood.  I’ve seen goats standing on the boat.

The boat is no concern to me.  Whatever floats your boat.  

Walking a little bit further, it gets shady. Reminds me of walking through a salad bowl.

While these pictures make the walk look peaceful, it’s not.  There is a hum of insects and lots of wild bird sounds.  There are cows mooing in the distance and goats bleating.   Sometimes, but not today, I hear snorting sounds– probably a buck as we have lots of deer. Once in a while, I imagine it to be a mama bear and her cubs.  I break out and run if no one is looking. 

One day I hope to take a picture of one of the area’s eagles.  They are there.  Others have photographed them but not me.   The river is supporting a large bird population which speaks to the health of the river.

I’m nearing Lisa’s house. .Here’s her backyard:

Nice, isn’t it?  She has a great back porch to enjoy this view.  I’ll take you there sometime.

This is Lisa’s barnyard.  She has two rescue horses, two fainting goats, and she DID have 29 chickens including heritage breeds UNTIL a raccoon killed 13 this week.    Once she gets this straightened out and her hens are busy laying their pretty green and blue eggs, we’ll visit her.

Walking a bit further, I see Margie’s chicken enclosure.  It’s built of recycled materials.

Just like some people live in nicer houses than other people, so it goes with chickens.  Her very cool chicken coop reflects her creativity and how she values her chickens.   Margie’s chickens are living in what used to be her organic garden. It’s her revenge for the bugs that plagued this garden and ate all of the stuff she meant to sell at the Farmer’s Market.   Chickens love bugs.  They are so yummy clucked the hen as she wiped bug juice off her chin.

Oh…look who is here!   It’s my sister and sister-in-law. Hi Nancy and Jackie!

Next time I’ll walk up river and take you along.


Wrong on So Many Levels

I found a dead bluebird in my yard last week.  Who committed this terrible act?   It was a mindless sport killing — no one had attempted to eat the bird.

I can’t think of anything to say!   She is not even ashamed.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...