Happy summer, 2017! We always have a lot going on. We don’t always tell all..but we do share some. I (Karen) am generally the blogger for Bedford Landings. Occasionally do I get Jack, our resident pilot and biscuit maker, to add a few words for us. But Jack’s brother George – now there is an admitted blogger; consistent and interesting. Today, he even addresses blogging! Not so lowly, George, you even get race press passes!
Summer is in full swing complete with potential thermometer readings of 100 today! I hear that chickens don’t lay eggs if it gets too hot so that’s this week’s excuse! They are nearly 22 weeks old and I actually enjoy letting them out each morning and locking them in their coop each night. But with the heat, I felt sort of sorry for them locked up in their coop last night. But it was precautionary. I hear there have been black bear sightings not far from here and one of our guests saw a red fox run across the runway so I still locked them up!
I took this photo last night. Remember last blog I said that their combs and waddles get redder when they are ready to lay? What do you think of me now?
My friend Wendy (Hickory Hill Vineyards) says to blow out the insides and keep the shell. It is relatively small compared to the eggs that I buy from our little friend down the road. In the photo, you will see our little gem is on the left! Kristian delivers us three-dozen a week and was not all that impressed when I told him we had found out first egg.
As motivation, I purchased them a handsome peacock/rooster chicken sculpture made from recycled car and airplane parts (that is the part that sold me!) from the General Store in Moneta. They had a lot of other great yard art!
We have maintained a five-star trip advisor rating for three years. Last week, one of the guests mentioned how pleasant and what a good job, Patty, the housekeeper does for us. Patty is dependable and works hard for us. So, we took her on a boat ride this week. She had never been out on Smith Mountain Lake and loved it. Patty didn’t want her photo posted, so we are posting two of Bella instead!
We celebrated my brother’s 60th birthday at the lake complete with his kids (my niece and nephew and their families) and my sister. Since the B & B was full, we spent most of the time at my sister’s across the lake (10 minutes by jet ski and 40 minutes by car). Yes we have funny hats on in the group photo. We also had pinatas, family jeopardy, food, boats, and even tried our hand at Stand Up Paddle boarding in my sister’s cove.
My sister, who promises to permanently move here at some point, has become involved in volunteering at the Booker T. Washington National Monument and even portrayed a plantation wife in the summer Juneteenth play (last in the line in the photo below). She was fantastic, far more dramatic than I could be!
Destiny, our beautiful grand daughter, is visiting for the summer. Last week she was part of the music team working at Vacation Bible School. Next week, she is helping teach swimming lessons with the Bedford YMCA at Mariner’s Landing and in between, we plan to go to Luray Caverns as well as take in a Salem Red Sox game. Over the past summers, she has met friends and has several social engagements planned in the coming weeks. We have even let her be in charge of the kitchen (dinner only) from time to time and is getting the hang of cooking as well as cleaning up, which makes me happy!
We continue to have very interesting and engaging guests flying and driving into Bedford Landings! Summers are our busy time and we so appreciate them choosing Bedford Landings for their vacation time! We had three fly-in guests last weekend which made an interesting array on the ramp out front.
I am becoming more cognizant of the reasoning behind several of the catch phrases about chickens…
…up with the chickens,
…to bed with the chickens,
…ya big chicken,
… chicken in every pot (ooops! We hope not!)
Stay tuned for more summer updates from us (and the) chickens!
We know our Bedford Landings Blog readers are waiting with bated breath to see a photo of our first chicken egg. We are too! I even have a special little box to place it in for it’s photo op!
Our five chickens are 17 weeks old now. The books and articles indicate that they begin to lay between 16 and 24 weeks. Age isn’t our only clue, however.
I did a little more research. Here is what I found and what we are observing.
But the deciding factor is if their pelvis bones are ready. We would need to first catch one and then check the three prominent bones to see if they are close or separated. Jack told me to “get right on that and he would get the video camera ready!”
Many of you have advised that we need a rooster in order to get eggs. Really? At a Bed & Breakfast we can’t have cock-a-doodle-dooing! So we will not have a rooster. But think about it, girls! We have eggs without roosters don’t we? Hens don’t need roosters. Enough said about that!
I have learned is that chickens get bored. And bored chickens start pecking at each other resulting in feather loss and egg eating. Yikes! So we entertain them! I put a mirror in their chicken yard! They like that!
I hung a swing in the yard but I have yet to see them on the swing! There are many boredom busters. I have added a few stools for them to get on, one right next to the swing to encourage them to hop on the swing! I also make treats for them. Using the food processor, I grind up fruits, veggie skins, and leftovers with egg shells. They love it. After scooping it into a platter for the chickens, I set the bowl down and have also discovered that our dog has taken a liking to the ground-up treat as well!
We have joined the state innkeepers association called StayVA. This is a place you can search for a place to stay in Virginia. As part of that association, we are working with Aspiring Innkeepers. We have hosted one potential innkeeper as she job shadowed us as we welcomed, cooked, cleaned and more.
We are really busy. Each day we have 2-4 guest rooms full. Many of the reservations are from folks who find themselves at the lake having not reserved a place to stay. So, this year’s trend is…late night arrivals. There are always interesting people arriving on motorcycles, by plane, or pulling a boat, all with stories to tell! Jack as been averaging about four flightseeing rides each week. Guests at Bedford Landings, as well as others visiting the lake, enjoy taking in the beauty of Smith Mountain Lake by air.
Upcoming events at the lake include the Fourth of July fireworks (July 1 and 2), Pirates Day (mid July), sunset Saturdays at Hickory Hill, The Embers will be at Mangos, the Cardboard Boat Regatta and more.
Come visit, watch the chickens, enjoy the porch, sip a glass of wine, wander around, and let us pamper you!
Barbara Moody has spent most of her life in artistic pursuits, with an Art Education degree from the University of Delaware and a minor in Photography. She taught eight years in Delaware before moving with her husband Chip, to Lynchburg, Virginia, where they raised two children. Barb taught Art at schools in Campbell County and Lynchburg City, and Photography in summer programs at Central Virginia Community College. In 1993, she helped start an innovative Arts program at a new magnet school in Lynchburg. For eighteen years she taught Visual and Performing Arts in her dream job, including many different arts disciplines of painting, drawing, sculpture, puppetry, dance, theatre, television production, photography, and more. In 1995 she was named Virginia Region V Teacher of the Year, and the following year, the Southwest Region Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. During that time she also worked as a Master Teacher for Blue Ridge Public Television.
Always the teacher, Barb rarely had time for her own art, but over the years her interests have been in painting, fused and stained glass work, jewelry-making, and photography. After retirement she has finally been able to focus more on her art. Barb and Chip found a place at Smith Mountain Lake with its endless water views and beautiful mountain vistas. “First with camera, and then with brushes and paint, I have found my inspiring happy place.” She has joined a talented group of working artists at Art Visions Gallery in the Westlake area of Smith Mountain Lake. Over the years she has exhibited works at the Fine Arts Center in Lynchburg, the Virginia Art Educators Exhibit, Art Visions Gallery in Westlake, the SMAC Art Show, the SMAC Photography Show, and CJ’s at the lake.
One of my favorite pieces that Barb she has hung at Bedford Landings is a collage. Barb’s uncle was a musician she she did this creative piece for him. But she can do custom collages. Just imagine other areas that could be represented…from medical fields to civil servants, teachers to hairdressers! If you want to take a closer look, contact me and you can come by the B & B and view the art!
If you are aware of other artists in the area who would like to have Bedford Landings B & B host their art for a month, contact Karen.
The Chickens are Alive and Well at Bedford Landings!
Of course Destiny named them Buttercup, Honeybun, Cookie, etc and Jack renamed them Drumstick, McNuggets, Buffalo Wing, etc. They are still adolescents so we won’t have eggs for 6 weeks! But stay tuned! The Chickens are Alive and Well at Bedford Landings!
In running a Bed & Breakfast, we use a lot of eggs. We prepare all of our breakfast dishes with fresh ingredients, including eggs. For example, to prepare Eggs Benedict for just two people, we use 7 eggs. Currently, we purchase 2-3 dozen eggs a week from a family nearby. This family washes them, puts them in a carton and even delivers them for $3 per dozen. This sounds far easier than the little project we are involved in right now of preparing to raise our own chickens! Yes, we are building a chicken yard! A Chick Chick here, a Chick Chick there!
Since we use 2-dozen eggs a week during the off-season and about 4-dozen a week during the summer months, let’s just call the average number of eggs we use three dozen. Now, doing the math, a chicken yields about one egg per day. With seven days a week, I am planning to acquire 5 chickens. This approximately 3 dozen eggs a week will save us $468 per year. If that is the savings, what are the costs?
The investment is more in up front expenses, of course since we have to build the little chickens a home! We now have spent several hundred dollars in supplies including concrete and lumber to build a chicken yard and chicken house. I turned to Pinterest for the plans! (Sidenote: Jack is not real happy with Pinterest about now!)
I hear chickens will eat all of our excess food scraps including peelings and egg shells! Nice! Now I won’t have to compost! But will I have to supplement with chicken feed? Yes, most likely. How much will that cost? Well, let me just consult one of my reference books!!
The books say that laying hens (or pullets) need about 1/4 pound of feed a day. And kids say they don’t need to learn math! Here’s another practical word problem! Although I will build up to 5 chickens, I am starting with just 4 laying hens; no roosters (And yes, chickens can lay eggs without roosters- think about it!). With 4 hens needing ¼ lb. of feed each, that is a total of one pound of feed per day. And for one year…that is 52 pounds of feed. But, which feed? What do I buy?! Back to the books…
Mash-really finely ground- but that’s usually for chicks…
Scratch– the books say it’s like candy but the chickens love scratching around the ground for these corn pieces.
Pellets are each equally nutritious, but they are boring to eat and then chickens pick at each other to entertain themselves! Really?!
Crumbles– Research shows that chickens grow and lay better by eating crumbles. We like good research!
Grit– This is just limestone and granite! They need this for their gizzard! Won’t the ground up egg shells give them grit?!
The books say we want to grow our pullets slowly for strong bones so at first the protein needs to be 18 percent for the first 14 weeks and 16% after that. How old are my new chickens? I don’t even know! Let me just price Crumbles with 16% protein. Google that! There is a great variance in protein percentages, but I found one with 16% protein concentration in crumbles in a quantity for 50 pounds of feed for $15.00. Now I have to store that feed in a large plastic trashcan, determine the type of bedding to use, get a feeding trough and watering container.
✔ Feed $15 (Note that the original post was incorrect. I need 7.3 bags of feed for one year; 365 pounds per year)=$109.50 for feed per year but $15 would get me started!)
✔ Trash can for feed $27.00
✔ Feeding Trough $20
✔ Watering container $30
✔ Shavings for bedding $20 (for starters)
Total of $112 to get started (well, plus the building supplies!)
My head is spinning! And the chicken house isn’t done (photos below showing what we have done so far). It has been raining profusely! And the chickens will be here Saturday! My house isn’t ready and their breakfast is not yet prepared! ….A chick chick here, a chick chick there!