The Eye of the Beholder — as well as the Camera!

Posted on September 6, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

When I was a senior in high school, I received an Instamatic camera from my parents for Christmas. I loved taking snap shots and getting the film results back! Yes, it would take about 2 weeks for developing the film, but I checked the mailbox every day until the prints were returned. I don’t know what happened to that little camera.

Later, in my professional (working) years, I was always the one to be an early adapter with new technology. I learned how to use the digital camera in the office and was the one who remembered to bring the camera to the meetings and conferences. At first these cameras actually held a 3.5-inch floppy disk and only about 4 or 5 photos would fit on that disk! But you could insert it right into the computer much like today’s microchips.

A few years ago, I purchased my own 35MM digital camera. I have enjoyed taking photos but then last year, I wanted to learn more about how to make my photos better. Canon Camera

I joined a local photo club sponsored by the Smith Mountain Arts Council and quickly learned that my technology was out of date. I needed a new camera!

At Christmas, my husband proudly handed me a gift to unwrap and there it was…a new camera. Canon CameraHe got a good laugh giving me the original camera I had started with but then gave me the REAL gift of an Olympus OM-D.

I will never be a professional photographer although I enjoy dabbling! Each month, I go to the photo club meeting and listen to the experienced photographers speak photo-ease; shooting in the raw, using presets, bracketing, stitching, etc. Some of this I am clearly not ready for yet! I am still learning the basics and must admit to often checking my settings with the AUTO button before guessing the best shutter and aperture settings. Apparently learning to know what settings to use should be a quick and automatic response and one that signifies that I have “control” over my camera and don’t just let the camera decide the appropriate settings.

What I really enjoy about photography is capturing a unique shot, using light and shadows for drama and emphasis, and capturing memories so I can revisit the photos later (when I am old and senile!!) or to use to market our Bed & Breakfast.

porch rocker

Bedford Landings front porch relaxation.

When I was an early childhood professor, we often would take photos of the children at work/play then show the pictures back to the children to ask them what they were thinking about at that time or what they were doing. It is a great technique understanding their thought processes.

In photography, I am interested in the creative aspects or finding a great shot. I like finding unique angles, or interesting light and shadows represented though the lens.

old keysI find that I am less interested in understanding technology of what makes it happen and even less able to manipulate the photo with post processing software. I want to capture the “perfect” shot by what I see with the lens not rely on knowing that I can adjust and make a good shot even better by spending hours with post photo processing software. I have even wondered, is photo processing cheating?
If I have captured a photo that I think is worthy to enter into a photo show and it competes against one that has been highly processed, which one is more genuine? Which one has been entered fairly?

I was trying to think of a parallel where technology allows the job to be easier and get a better result. When I moved to Raleigh, NC, I carried a map with me. It was before GPS and I had to learn my way around. My children used to say, “Mom, all you do is look at that map then turn around.” Indeed I did but I learned the north-south streets and the east west streets and all of the short cuts to get around by the time GPS emerged! So is relying on a GPmapS cheating? It sure makes the job easier, doesn’t it.. and saves time.

Maybe I am cheating a little. I do crop and adjust exposure from time to time. I don’t do a lot of other adjustments. In understanding myself and this issue, I did some reading and found that there are two schools of thought. Apparently Ansel Adams spent hours editing his work, albeit with film. Some feel that post processing is not genuine and others think it allows more control over one’s work.

In writing (to work through my feelings) about photo adjusting, I determined that I am at just at an early stage of learning. I need to understand the basics before I can trust and believe in the added techno-enhancements. Maybe first in learning the basics of photography, then later the added technology in this newfound hobby will come easier to me. In the meantime, I really like some of what I have captured, without much knowledge of how to make it even better! But I am still learning though!  And it is all in the eye of the beholder — as well as the camera!

slum

Taken in Buenos Aires, I just liked the underlying (potential) meanings of this neighborhood and the pop of color.

apple basket

I took this at the Booker T. Washington National Monument on one of their festival days. It just seemed so natural to me.

Man's hand with flowers

I met a young man in a park in Chicago and asked him to hold these flowers against the blue sky. Then I changed this to Black and White. Seemed sort of dramatic to me.

mom-daughter hug

To me the love (emotion) came out between this mother and child. They were re-enacting in a Booker T. Washington play but actually are mother and daughter!

Eat Your Vegetables – Accommodating Vegans

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

When guests make reservations, we ask them about dietary restrictions and to name foods that they just don’t like. Within reason, we try to accommodate special diets in planning breakfasts. For example, we can easily substitute almond milk for cow’s milk, or although we hate to do it, we can use gluten-free flours for biscuits when we have planned “homemade biscuits by Jack.” gluten free batters

We can serve naked bacon for diabetics by leaving off the pecan encrusting with our signature bacon. For and those who can’t eat pork they get turkey sausage! And we have vegetarian guests who we can please with a healthy veggie frittata! Many who make special dietary requests make them because of particular health reasons!

 

Vegans are a little difficult in that we need to probe a little deeper to ask if they can tolerate butter, eggs cooked within a dish, or yogurt. This week in planning for a guest, we were asked to cook vegan but “don’t go to any trouble.”

To clarify, we like going to trouble to #1 please our guests and #2 so any guest doesn’t feel singled out. Just putting a little peanut butter on toast and serving it is not really our style. So please know that when you come to Bedford Landings, we don’t do toast. Instead, for breakfast you get a served and plated home made breakfast with fresh ingredients (With the exception of English Muffins for Eggs Benedict, we make everything from scratch. We haven’t mastered home made English muffins…yet!)

biscotti batter

Lovely batter, not too sticky nor too dry.

But I digress.  Let me go further to describe what we are preparing for our Vegan guest. I was talking with a friend of mine who was busy in her kitchen making pumpkin spice Biscotti. Wow! Pumpkin spice Biscotti- that would be perfect!

I learned of the biscotti when I was thanking her for a gift that she sent to us – silicone fingertip hot pads. I have seen the rubberized hot pads (or do you call them pot holders) in kitchen shops but they looked as if they would melt against heat. Due to this thoughtful gift, I can now report that they do not melt! I just keep wanting to make them talk to each other like little puppets! But, in the meantime, Kelly shared her biscotti recipe with me. Thank-you! I just wish I could convey the wonderful aroma of baking biscotti as I write this blog!
chickens eating pumpkin

biscotti batter

Lovely batter, not too sticky nor too dry!

The mix went together beautifully. It only called for half a cup of pumpkin.  What does one do with the other half?  Feed it to the chickens of course!  They loved it!

The recipe was not too difficult.  We like made from scratch, not too difficult recipes!  Since it is a new recipe, I made it a day ahead of time, in case it flopped. But it’s supposed to be dry, right?

Take a look at these photos of the process and note the cool neon green fingertip hot pads!

Of course biscotti will be accompanied by other fruit and side dishes plus the non-vegans will get the pecan-encrusted bacon and savory omelets besides.

biscotti in the oven

Two biscotti logs going into the oven

baked biscotti

First baked at 350 degrees. Note the neon mitts!

The batter is baked once for 20 minutes then cooled, sliced, and baked again to dry.  A glaze of white chocolate is totally optional.

glazed biscotti

Now if I can just get back to cooking and less finger play!

 

 

 

Dedication:
Dedicated to our (late) friend Tom Brown who truly loved to eat and would have surely tried this recipe!

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

As Innkeepers, we spend some amount of time “waiting” for our guests to arrive. Certainly on Fridays, we know better than to make plans for ourselves. Sometimes people get caught rush hour or just can’t leave work early enough to arrive for an afternoon check-in. When they do arrive, they are often frantic from driving curvy roads or frazzled from sitting in congested traffic. With the look of “finally we are here” and with the weight of their world on their shoulders, we welcome them into our home at Bedford Landings. We only hope to watch their stress melt away. After a good night’s sleep on our Comphy sheets and comfortable rooms, they are arrive for breakfast (8:00 prompt) ready to greet the day and learn more about lake life.

Jack forcing Karen to leave the house!

Amazingly enough, your Bedford Landings’ innkeepers don’t just sit at home waiting for guest arrival or for the phone to ring. Jack and Karen are pretty active in this bustling small community.

We are members of Bethlehem United Methodist Church and sing in the choir. We serve on committees within the church as well. We are members of the SML Chamber of Commerce and Jack is a board member and serves on several sub committees. Karen is a board member on the Smith Mountain Arts Council. She provides leadership for the Lakeside Singers and is active in various other arts activities.   Another of the arts activities in the Lake Writers.

This past winter, we invited the Lake Writers to come for an afternoon of cookies and conversation at Bedford Landings. We took the writers on a tour, then challenged them to write about some aspect of the Inn. This resulted in 20 short stories that Karen has compiled into a Bedtime Storybook that now can be found in each of the guest rooms. Local graphic artist, Robert Downey completed the final layout for  and cover for  this charming little book simply entitled “Sweet Dreams at Bedford Landings.”  We did not compile this as a moneymaker although we have a limited number we are willing to sell for $6.00 each. Instead we wanted to let our guests have some insights into our lives and aspects of our home.

Besides writing, visiting with family and being on the lake, Jack has been ever so busy in the hangar working on building the RV-10. I gave him a mug for Father’s Day that asks, “R-V there yet?” Nope, we are not. But he says by the “end of the year.” I am not sure which year he means, but he has the instrument panel in and the doors on the plane now. Soon it will be time to mount that engine that has been sitting in a crate for about 12 years.   He ordered it on Amazon (of all things!). It has never been out of the crate but he says, “because it has the log books,” he knows it was rebuilt as a engine for an Aztec and looks to be in great shape. OK. Awaiting seeing it up and running! Stay tuned.

Super granddaughter, Destiny was here for the month of July and I miss her help now! She became a whiz in the kitchen!

During her time here, the rest of the family spent a weekend with us. Numbering about 20 people, it was drama-free and joyful! The kids all got along and the adults shared life experiences adding to our collection of family stories that will be told in years to come!

But now that’s what it’s all about, isn’t? Living life NOW! Not waiting! What are you waiting for?

Come visit Bedford Landings! We will be here when you get here…

 

Blueberries abound!

Posted on July 24, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

Jack and I picked a large container of blueberries last week. Weighing in at 2.5 pounds, we paid $11 for the berries from Buffy’s Berries, the farm just up not far from us on White House Road. It was a nice operation. They have (it seems) about 100 very mature bushes loaded with berries this time of year.

This week, we have had fun experimenting with new recipes. I just wanted to share a few with blog readers.

We have a great waffle/pancake batter recipe and instead of putting the blueberries in the batter, we did a blueberry sauce.

Blueberry Sauce
Boil 2 cups of berries
1/3 cup water
¼ c. sugar
2T. lemon juice
Dissolve 1 ½ T cornstarch in a bit of warm water (whisk so there are no lunps)
Add to the boiling sauce. It thickens fast. Remove from heat and serve over pancakes.

Parfaits are fun with berries. Any berry will work but we just layered my homemade granola with berries and vanilla yogurt. These little delights were eaten until there was not a bite left.

The next day we made scones. Dusting them with confectioners sugar, they looked lovely on the plate. Then today I used my friend (and previous innkeeper) Susan’s recipe for a Blueberry cake, but we made 4 large muffins to serve. I forgot to take a photo before serving them and there was only a crumb left. I did use the left over batter to make a small cake.  If you want any of these other recipes, just let me know!  Enjoy the summer harvest while it is here!

Fathers Day- 25 years after Dad Died

Posted on June 17, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

It’s been 25 years since Dad died. Recently I asked my brother and sister what they remember about Dad. Of course, we all remember him fondly, and want to attribute the best parts of our accomplishments and ourselves to our parental upbringing. But, I wondered if I was the only one of us who had little recollection of specific lessons he taught or traits that we may attribute to him.

Circa 1956 before Mike was born.

We are all three years apart. I am the middle child. Sherry, my older sister had the most glowing memories. Of course she was the only child for three years until I came along and rocked her world!

Sherry remembered that he had big hugs, he taught us to dance in the living room and had a sign by his desk that said “ WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING.” He believed in setting an example and expected people to live up to their potential. He liked chocolate cake, clean plates at the dinner table, singing CAMELOT, football, Ed Sullivan, woodworking, and he wanted to be liked and admired.

I remember that at the end of the work day Dad would arrive home in our (one) family car.  In the traditional 1960’s household, Mom had dinner ready, we all ate, and then we played outside (generally kick-the-can) while Dad watched the news on TV. I don’t recall him playing with us or tucking us in at bedtime.

Christmas about 1963.

I believe he did like to create traditions and memories. On Christmas morning, Dad said the same thing every year, “Let’s see if Santa has come” while he went into the the living room to turn on the tree and exclaim, “Oh my would you look at what he left!”

Our Family Bible.

And he read the Christmas story from our large family Bible before we went to church on Christmas eve. At the end of  the candlelight service, I recall his big booming voice singing “Silent Night.”

When I was a kid, Dad told me that I was very “average.” Jack thinks that is a horrible thing for a parent to tell a child. I feel that I may have caused me to work even harder for him to be proud of me (eventually earning a doctorate). Mike indicated that Dad never got over his dropping out of Va Tech in favor of fire training!  Reflecting on it,  “I still feel it was my best decision because I was too immature for college at the time.  However, becoming valedictorian after 6 months of rookie school in the Fire Department got me a pair of running shoes that I appreciated.  And that career served me well.”

Sherry and I have often compared notes about feeling that his love was conditional based on grades or performances. Sherry says that Dad seemed hard to get close to, perhaps because he was the “designated spanker at the end of the day after we had been fly swatted by mom. When he got home we got his belt whipping for the same offense we had been fly swatted.

Dad, Sherry, Mom with child (me!)

Mike, three years younger than me, and the only boy, says that he thought that the negative things (belt, frowns, yelling, never-could do-enough) only happened to him.  Mike, now a retired Fire Chief, says that as a child,

“I worked my ass off, almost brutally; I used to sit and cry sometimes while on my paper route or my endless grass mowing. In my career, I have been accused of being stern in my teaching. I guess that all evolved from the example that Dad set.

 

I don’t think I ever really knew Dad as a person. He and Mom eventually divorced and I came to know him a little better as we spent some one on one time together, but by then I was in my mid 20’s.  Dad served in many university administration positions before finally taking an early retirement as a university administrator. I was glad he retired at age 60. He seemed happy and more open.  Hmmm.   He remarried and excitedly moved to Florida, living 10 happy years with our stepmother before succumbing to cancer at the age of 65. Sherry said, “I hated watching the chemo treatment rob him of his being the virile, proud man. I couldn’t accept nor believe that was the way he would die.”

Twenty-five years ago, Dad and I watched the movie Camelot at his home in Florida. I sat next to him and held his hand. We knew he would die. He asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask him and I truly could not think of anything. I can think of lots of things now.

Nobody ever said parenting is an easy job. And our memories of our fathers may not even be on target.  But happy Fathers Day to all of the fathers who are doing their level best to pass along positive traits to their children.

Who knows what my children will remember about me when I am long gone! I thank both of my parents for somehow teaching me to be organized, not to procrastinate, to prioritize, to care about others, to work hard, pull my own weight, and to continue to learn and grow throughout life. I hope I have passed some of that on to my children. And guess what? I am still here if you have any questions!

Family 2017

 

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