North Fork On a Winter Day

We have had several days of below freezing temperatures…morning are 10 or 11 degrees with a colder wind chill.   Ouch.   My sweet boy, River, does not understand why we are not walking him twice per day.  River typically is walked three miles each day.   Mike has taken him a few of these mornings, but I have not.  I hate the cold.   We’ve been taking him to the dog park at Sugar Hollow.    He likes this, but he does not see it as a replacement.  He sees this as a possible addition to his daily regimine of all things being for River, but no..we have not been given a pass on the no walking thing that has been occurring.   The result is that he is getting lots of toys, attention, and yes, food.   Poor River.   Next Friday is a milestone.  River has been with us two years and has never been groomed.  That all changes when this little dog shetland pony goes for his appointment next week.

I took this picture of the North Fork in front of our house on Tuesday on my way to work at about 8:00 am.   The river had started to gather ice but there were darker spots where the water had no ice on top.

Here’s another picture of the same place in the river taken this morning.  We haven’t had any snow to speak of so this is all ice that is coating the water.  It’s not thick enough to walk on but it’s thick enough to be “interesting.”

Without snow, I am not liking winter.   Snow is magic.  This weather is just cold.   And there is no snow on the horizon, yet I look at pictures of my niece Lacy and she’s in Charleston throwing snowballs!!




Freezing in Mendota, Virginia!

It is cold here today.  We were -2 last night, and the high temperature today was 14.   Since our house sits near the river, we’re actually warmer than most spots in Southwest Virginia. In geography, that would be called the “maritime influence.” Through some miracle, we did not lose power last night. Thank goodness.

My neighbor, Marck Dean,  took some very cool pictures of the North Fork. Looks a little nippy. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a Mendota Polar Plunge? That’s a fundraiser we might try!

North Fork 1

Luckie went outside today. You have to dress for this weather. She wore her blue Polartec.

Luckie Wearing PolerTek Dog Wear

She asked Gracie if she wanted to go. Gracie said no. No.darn.way. I like my couch.

Gracie on the couch

Gracie also said “Luckie you’ve lost your mind. Look at the North Fork! It’s very pretty, but it’s got icebergs.”

North Fork 3

Sam the Cat joined in the conversation. He said “*!&%” and “I like my chair!” He added…

Sam Kidding

And although Luckie reminded everyone that the river really is pretty today…

river curve

No one wanted else wanted to go.

Chrissy Tables It

Do you think there will be lots of babies 9 months from now?

We’re all staying in and staying warm tonight here at RiverCliff Cottage. I hope your water keeps running, your heat pump keeps pumping and your animals are safe and warm.


Mendota Virginia 2002 Flood

I am supposed to be cleaning house a bit this afternoon as our granddaughters are coming in on Tuesday. Left up to me, they may have to arrive to a messy house, as instead of cleaning…I started going through pictures!

I found some that will be of interest to anyone from this area. Mendota is in Poor Valley and it’s a river valley. The North Fork of the Holston is our river. It’s a lazy sweet, slow moving river, but on occasion it shows a different side.

Here’s how our river looks normally…a great place to fish, canoe and take pictures!

Mendota Swinging Bridge on North Fork of Holston River

In 2002, here’s what the North Fork looked like, and this was not when it was at its highest…

Mendota Swinging Bridege Under Water North Fork Holston River

Do you know who these folks are that are in the picture? (I do…it’s a test for you!)

This is the Swinging Bridge located at the tressel in Mendota.

Mendota Swinging Bridge Tressel at the North Fork

I’m still cleaning. If I find more pictures, I’ll put them on RiverCliff Cottage. It’s not the normal thing that bloggers talk about, but since this is my blog…well…I can do what I want to do with it…even look at scary pictures!


The Baptism and the Bees

I have two things to write about, and they are both different. I’ll do them in the order they appeared today.

Mike and I arrived home from church this morning and saw a car parked near our entry gate. It was my cousin,Terri, and she told me her brother-in-law, Pastor Sammy, was going to baptize someone in the river in front of the house and asked if I wanted to come. I did. I always do. It is very common to baptize in the slow moving North Fork here in Mendota.

My sister Pat and I used to play in the very spot where this morning’s baptism took place. We took turns playing John the Baptist and baptizing each other. No sprinkling for Pat and me–we believed in full, repeated immersion!

In case you’ve never attended a  river baptism, here’s how it works…

There is a sense of waiting. It’s a reverent occasion. We stand there listening to the sound of the leaves. The river is flowing quietly. This is followed by singing. Sammy leads the small group in singing Amazing Grace. The voices are naked and beautiful.  I love it.

There is a prayer. Since I attend church elsewhere, I do not know the young man being baptized, but I learn that his name is Caleb  and he made his commitment to Christ during Vacation Bible School.

They are in the water now, and I can tell it’s cold. Someone whispers…”I hope Gordon and Sammy remembered to remove their wallets.” This is followed by a nervous giggle and then quiet.



It was over soon. It was time to get this young man home into dry clothes.

I walked up the hill following the baptism.  I’m glad I live where we still baptize in a river.   I started thinking about my week ahead.

One of the things I started thinking about was our honeybees as today is the day I will start feeding two of the beehives.

Beekeepers have so many different instructions. One beekeeper says do it this way, and another says do it a different way. Some feed the bees and some do not. We have two hives that appear to be weak and to help ensure that they have an adequate supply of honey for the winter, I’ll be feeding them for the next 45 days.

Here I am…getting suited up to go put the feeding apparatus on the hives and to start them on their beloved sugar water.  They love this stuff. I have to take my shoes off to get them through the bee suit.   Check out those nasty shoes.

When the hive is new, we add a vitamin supplement called “Honey Bee Healthy,” but today I’m giving them only sugar water. Five pounds of sugar will make up four quarts of sugar water. It’s not cheap.

Each day I’ll zip up to the apiary on the golf cart and feed these little guys and girls. I don’t mind this feeding system because the swap of the empty jar of sugar water for the full jar is easy and I don’t kill any bees.

They will get used to me after about a week and won’t take much notice when I’m around.   Our previous system held more sugar water but was very harsh on the bees. I dreaded feeding them, and they chased me out.  I had to be fully suited up to feed them.   I’m glad we’re returning to the old feeding system.

Once I’m comfortable, I will not wear the entire bee suit.  I might wear the veil and gloves, but unless they appear aggressive, I won’t feel the need to suit up.

Last year, I think I got overly comfortable because I was feeding them in my shorty pajamas…not veil, no gloves, no covering on my arms and legs.  I think that might have been a little risky.  I won’t do it again.

It comforts me to know that the bees have plenty to eat…they forage in a two-mile radius. This yellow flower is everywhere in Mendota right now. It’s around the apiary, and I could hear it buzzing as I walked by. The bees were foraging. Is this goldenrod? I don’t know!

I imagine them flying up Clinch Mountain, over the North Fork for a sip of water and into my neighbors flowers, trees and vegetable gardens. There is a cultural move to stay away from pesticides here in the valley. I’m glad.

This past winter we had a bit of a crisis. It was a mild winter, there was too much room in the hives, and they did not cluster properly, and we lost a lot of bees. I was in Georgia and I got an email from Mike saying that Gerald had looked in the hives and while there was honey, many of the bees had died. I was sick. Gerald was sick. We were all depressed.

Learning from this, we removed the top supers last week. This leaves the hive more crowded..they must keep the queen at about 85 degrees year round, and the closeness will facilitate proper clustering.

I’m glad we have the bees.




Curtains, Traffic Jam & Oh What Nice Neighbors

Hope your week is starting off good.  Mine is!   Three more work days and I’m off for a bit until I start my next job.

If you wish to leave a comment and tell me about your week…or anything… there is a section at the end of the post. It would be GREAT to hear from you. Someone told me that they wanted to leave a comment but they were unsure what to say. Just say hi!!  I so appreciate it.  You may also have RiverCliff Cottage delivered to your email address by subscribing.

Back to the post….this was the post that I meant to include on Sunday, but I was totally taken with the Mendota Cemetery Quilt giveaway.  See here if you haven’t read.

I have a thing for linens…and it’s most intense for quilts. I haven’t even made a full-size quilt. I’m too impatient. I buy them from people who have more patience than me. I have helped make some, but I’ve never done one by myself. Maybe some day…

So here’s the weekend recap…

It all started with a traffic jam on the North Fork which runs in front of my house. Can you believe this? Six of ’em!

They are off and paddling in the photo above.

However, this took a few minutes.   Had to get the feel of it while sitting in the grass.

Just a beautiful Saturday morning…

After putting in at our house, they paddled underneath two swinging bridges, a tressel, floated past Abrams Creek and looped off the road quite a ways before they pulled out at the Mendota Bridge.

They passed by Hosses’ Farm, Big Loop Farm and Rohoboth Farm.   Don’t you love farms with names?

So..then…guess what? I started making my curtain. I mean…it’s just a valance, right? Anyone can do it, rght?  I didn’t want to line it and I wasn’t planning to line it, but my sister’s voice nagged me telling me I should line it and that I was being tacky for shortcutting. Tacky? I was totally irked at her. In the end, it didn’t matter, as I made the rod pocket too small. It doesn’t fit. She annoyed and distracted me so much that I didn’t measure properly. I hope she’s reading this so that she knows how upset I am. Sister…STAY OUT OF MY HEAD!!!I also think because I knew I had to go to work on Monday, I hurried.

But there is an alternative theory…I am such a sewing loser.

Check this out…when I went to match up my fabric…I didn’t make a big enough seam.   Oh well.

Defeated, I’ve decided that I hate the whole process, and I called the amazing, wonderful, talented–and appreciated–lady who has made window treatments for me many times and asked her if she’d make me a stationary roman shade for my back door. Yes, I’m sure I could do it, but I’m not going to. For $20, I can have it done, and I’ll be there promptly a week from Friday.

Besides… I want to clean up the house and decorate for fall. Those bloggy linky parties are calling me.

So you might ask? Did she put her sewing machine away and clean up her mess?

Chrissy:  “Are you kidding?  “

 Hmmm..nah…I didn’t get things put away.   No, instead, I had cross words with my husband who inquired if I was ever going to clean up the mess, and I stalked off with my ipad to look up other projects that are more attuned with my talents. Like spray paint and picking out fabric for my stash.

Another fun thing…our neighbor, Molly Kiser at Rivermyst Farm, called about the peppers they had to share and did we know someone who wanted some? “Yes,” I answered, and then she offered me some, too! Some red ones. I don’t grow get red ones because I eat them before they turn red.

Look at her sweet note on the box…I love my neighbors!

Little insert here…I had to take those peppers…Molly had that certain pitch in her voice…a bit of desperation that made me think what she REALLY WAS SAYING was something like…”if you don’t take these peppers, I don’t know what I’m going to do with them…I’m really tired of seeing them.”

I understand this! People who grow food don’t want to waste a thing…but we get really, really tired of the garden producing so much in such a short period of time. Do you recall my summer squash? I didn’t think they’d every stop multiplying. It makes one…well, generous.

We delivered most of the peppers to the folks who needed them and then I got up early on Sunday and while doing a few other things, I chopped mine up and placed them in freezer.


Here they are.  I had already chopped and froze quite a few green peppers, and Molly’s generosity enabled me to add about 12 more packs of chopped red peppers.  They look funny.  Ha!  I’ll be laughing all the way to my plate when I’m eating fahitas with these yummy peppers in them this winter.   Thanks to the sweetness of my neighbors.

How are your neighbors treating you?  When I lived in a subdivision of 1,000 homes,  I knew about two families well enough to call them friends and about ten well enough to know their last names.    We are blessed to live in southwest Virginia.


Daily Mendota July 26

Before anything else…check out the North Fork of the Holston River this morning which runs in front of the house.   This was the view this morning following last night’s rain.  That girl is muddy!

 A blog reader asked, in a roundabout way, why I’m doing this blogging thing.  Well….it is way more fun than cleaning house.   Actually, it’s an answer to a question I’ve heard many times…”why do you live there?”   I can’t articulate a single answer so in writing this blog, I’m hoping to respond.   So many good reasons…

Speaking of the blog…you may now “follow” RiverCliff Cottage by subscribing on the buttton to the right of this post.   Also, if you have left a comment, thank you!!    Please continue, and if you have not, please do so.   I love your comments–especially when you share what you are doing or if my thought reminded you of a thought…and so on.    If you wish to share a picture that supports a topic, please send along.  It would be fun to see what you are doing. 

For everyone who comments between now and Monday, July 30,  you will be included in the  random draw for this DISHTOWEL!!!   Very expensive…almost $2.00!!     Please comment as anyone…everyone…can use a dishtowel!!  I’ll announce the winner on the Monday evening post which will appear about 10 pm.   So exciting!   Pleeze don’t make me beg….if I can’t give a dishtowel away, I’m sunk!!

We are still up to our necks in Kandy Korn.   Last night, while I froze corn, I pleaded and begged made a suggestion that Mike make a “corn run” and drop off a few ears here and there.   It’s garden wars…turn your head and we’ll leave some squash on your doorstep!   He hung it on our neighbors’ doors!   Today, I ran up the road to Don and Molly Kiser’s and left a few ears in their barn which I felt allowed me to steal a couple of their tomatoes.  See how it works!

However, I’m getting some unwelcome help on getting rid of the corn.   I know who it is based on the evidence…

Rocky Raccoon!!!     He has forgotten how nice I was to him two winters ago when he was cold and hungry and I gave him peanut butter sandwiches.    Just look at this…

See the chewed up ears between all the baby gourds that have volunteered because I didn’t hoe the garden.   

I asked Luckie about helping me out…maybe going out and giving the raccoons a good barking tonight…she was waiting on me to take her for a trip around the Mendota Loop (Swinging Bridge to Mendota Road to Barn Rock to Swinging Bridge). 

 After the loop Luckie said “see my cute little paw in this picture…you can kiss it but I’m not chasing your ‘coons.    I’m retired!”  

This week is a busy week…especially since I laid around all day yesterday and did nothing.  Mt. Vernon UMC’s VBS starts Sunday, and I am so excited about it but there is quite a bit of work involved.  On Saturday, I get to decorate the church like a farm which is going to be fun!    We’re “Farming the Fruits of the Spirit”…a great reason to find a use for my burlap since the burlap curtain project failed so miserably (see here), stack up straw bails, set up a Fruits of the Spirit Fruit Stand inside the “Spirit Corral.”   You get the’s going to be a blast!!     Check out Mt. Vernon’s Facebook page for all the scoop

Finally, I’ve had some company show up.  Look at these pals….

Because of the work these little guys have created, VBS, and my extremely filthy house, I will not be posting again until Sunday night. 




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