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




Wormy Chestnut Coffee Table

Isn’t this a lovely picture? Our neighbor, Dr. D’Amato gave us these apples which I’m certain are heirloom because they taste so good.


Those apples reminded me of my den which is also a red color, and as I was sitting eating one of the apples this afternoon in the den, I decided to take some pictures of our wormy chestnut coffee table. I did so because when I review what Google searches land a reader at RiverCliff Cottage, I see the words “wormy chestnut” frequently.

Here’s the coffee table Mike made a few years back.   While our house is not rustic, our den is, and this table is perfect.  We can put our feet on it, knock it around or leave soft drink cans on it. Nothing phases it. This is furniture made to work.

Table 1

It’s not all wormy chestnut.  The legs are made from reclaimed walnut.

Table 2

Unfinished barn siding makes up the table’s apron — I am a tobacco farmer’s daughter. I’m sure this barn siding housed tobacco at one time since it came from Southwest Virginia.   I like furniture that tells a story and this table tells part of my story.

Table 3

Here’s another picture…

Table 4

It sits right in front of the fireplace, and Gerald (my brother in law) and Mike made the mantle above the fireplace.   It’s very simple, but again, it’s wormy chestnut.

Fireplace Mantle

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.



Wormy Chestnut Entertainment Console

I went down to the Luckie Dog Woodshop today to see how my entertainment console table was progressing.I was down there last week and found this. It was the top. That was all that was there. What is this about????

Entertainment Center Top

But I think things have turned around. Here’s what I found today.  It’s a little hard to figure out since the table is upside down.   The legs are up in the air.   Basically, there will be a shelf area for the Wii game, Direct tv console and DVD player.   Then there will be another shelf where I’ll put a basket or two or some magazines. 

This picture shows the barn siding that is on the sides.    While the table will have a finish on it, the barn siding will remain rough. 

Barnsiding Insert 2

Here’s the rough barn siding for the opposite side of the table…

Barnsiding Insert

These boards will be on the back of the table. While one side of the boards will face the wall, the other side will be visible. I’ll make sure the baskets or whatever I put on the bottom shelf leave space for the eye to see the barnsiding in the back of the table.

Chestnut Boards

This should be done next week.   This should inspire me to clean the den and get ready for the new arrival!


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