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!
Bedford Landings is about Love but we have no Love Letters!
Sad, huh? We have a mousehole. Many places don’t have that! We (almost) have a chicken coop! We have a dumb waiter, but we have no LOVE Letters! Maybe that will be our project next year!
Our Bed & Breakfast is located at beautiful Smith Mountain Lake. Known as the Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we are nestled between mountain ranges and a 22,000 acre lake. Smith Mountain Lake has LOVE Letters! And we hear that the City of Bedford (our county seat) is getting LOVE letters!
Smith Mountain Lake’s LOVE letters are featured on the cover of the 2017 Smith Mountain Lake Visitor’s Guide. Local photographer (and fun friend!) Jen Chaconas took the official LOVE letters photo on the cover of the Visitor’s Guide.
What are LOVE letters? Maybe you have seen some of the larger than life-sized letters spelling out “LOVE” around Virginia. They are intended to be a tourist attraction but also to carry out the theme that Virginia is for lovers! The latest installment is at Chincoteague Island. I LOVE, LOVE this one!
And the one in Lynchburg, VA is way cool! Lynchburg is just 45 minutes from Bedford Landings.
We just learned that there is even a Love Letters map! Wouldn’t that be a fun excursion to photograph as many of the LOVE letters as you could visit?
So even though we don’t have LOVE Letters (yet!) we are all about LOVE, escapes, get aways, good eating, fun, lake life, and more! So visit the LOVE letters, share the love, and enjoy the beautiful spring!
And if YOLO is true, staying at Bedford Landings is a must! Put us on your bucket list! Located in the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake area, we have many experiences that will help you build a fantastic YOLO experience!
Do you like craft beers? Sunken City Brewery is the place to visit! Sunken City is a 25-barrel, four-vessel brew house, featuring a tasting room and pub, retail store, and beer garden. Located along Route 122 at Westlake Towne Center near the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, they are 30 minutes from Bedford Landings. Check out their website to see how they named this brewery.
Do you enjoy wine tasting? Bedford Landings is located within 10 minutes of two wonderful vineyards – Ramulose Ridge and Hickory Hill. They are both wonderful wines run by very interesting families. They both have very cool tasting rooms, yet their wines are quite different from each other. Tasting for their array of wines is only $5 and we sell a few selections from each of these vineyards at Bedford Landings. Hickory Hill hosts a very relaxing evening on the lawn select Saturdays in the summer called “Sunset Saturdays.”
Also located in Bedford County is the Peaks of Otter winery (and we have coupons here), Seven Doors Vineyards and White Rock Vineyards. I have just learned that White Rock also brews beer! You can make an afternoon of just checking out these great locations!
Staying at Bedford Landings is a must when you plan your adventure! After a full day, you can come back “home” and relax in the hot tub or chill while watching a movie in the theater room!
Do you like to Adventure Sightseeing? Bedford Landings Air Tours does sight seeing rides over the lake. You can climb into the Cessna 170b airplane right from Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast for this grand experience. Jack will point out interesting sights including the vineyards, the SML Dam, Bridgewater and more. See: smlairtours.com .
Do you have kids who like to look for treasure? Try geocaching! Just down load the GEOCACHE app and start the fun! My grand daughter and I did this one summer. There are may geocache near by and around SML – some even in the water!
Do you enjoy just shopping and looking at cool stuff? There are many shops in addition to antiquing at the lake and in Bedford! Just a few of the shops at the lake include the Bridgewater Plaza shops, Affordable Home Outlet and the Antique Mall in Downtown Moneta; Southern Roots, The General Store, Discovery Store, and Reclaimed on Scruggs Road; the Cottage Gate, Just Made Scents, and Lighthouse Gifts and Books at Westlake; The Southern Goat, and the US Alpaca Store at Westlake Commons (across from Krogers). All are great places to pick up unusual items or just browse.
How about Golfing? There are two public golf courses – Westake and Mariner’s Landing. There are also fun putt-putt courses- Harbortown Mini-Golf at Bridgwater Plaza, and Hot Shots Family Fun Center on Virginia 122.
If you are staying at Bedford Landings after a day of shopping or golfing, we want to hear your golf score and see your purchases! You can come back “home” and take a nap or go for a dip in the lake at the community dock.
It’s always fun to see and learn about unusual animals? We have several alpaca farms at Smith Mountain Lake. Besides alpacas, they usually have other animals such as llamas, goats, chickens, pigs and more. Check out Skyway Farms or Smith Mountain Lake Alpaca Farm. Both schedule tours but you need to call ahead.
Do you like to hike? Both the Smith Mountain Lake State Park and the Franklin Community Park have hiking trails but if you really want a challenge, climb sharp top or flattop at the Peaks of Otter. On the way home, stop into the Peaks of Otter winery or Gross Orchard.
Do you like the water sports or boating? That’s what this lake is primarily used for! You can rent a boat, rent a jet ski, paddles boards (sup2go.com) and wake boards!
Cruising on the Lake – Just enjoy the scenery, a meal and a cold beverage while the captain moors the boat. The Virginia Dare, a 63-foot replica of a 19th Century side-wheeler, offers lunch, dinner, and themed cruises. It’s a great way to see the lake. And they are 3 miles from our house! 540-297-7100.
Staying at Bedford Landings is a must after your day trip! You can come back “home” and sit on the deck and enjoy a cool beverage or play a game of horse shoes or corn hole.
How about some fishing?
We have several guides on the lake in addition to some good local fishing spots for those with a Virginia Fishing license!
Do you enjoy horseback riding? One of our favorite places is Spring Valley Farm. The rides are reasonably priced and the horses are gentle!
Do you like crafting? Often there are paint parties in the area but we also have a pottery/glazing shop. You need to allow time for the creation to be glazed but the Glazed Bisque-it is the place! http://glazedbisqueit.com/glazed-bisque-it-sml/
Staying at Bedford Landings is a must because you only live once! YOLO! There are even more adventures awaiting! We have a mouse hole! Gotta see it!
During slower winter months, we, at Bedford Landings do our upgrades and maintenance. Here is the short checklist we have just completed!
✔ Complete the dumbwaiter and make it work.
Our first February checklist item was to install the dumbwaiter. We had been saving for this item since we built the house. We ordered our dumbwaiter in January and hoped to work on it the month of January and February. It did not arrive until mid -February but working diligently, Jack as fussed and cussed it into working! It will stop on all three levels; the garage for groceries, the kitchen to unload groceries and send down trash, and the upper level to send up clean sheets and towels the send down dirties.
✔ Host a Murder Mystery for 36 participants
All February, I have been planning the Murder Mystery and now…Phew! Check! It’s over! It’s a lot of work to host a murder mystery but everyone’s enjoyment overrides the work that goes into it. Everyone was so busy trying to solve the mystery and really staying in character!
✔ Attend the state inn keeping conference
Each year, we try to attend a professional conference. This year, only I was able to attend. The state B & B Association conference was in Richmond, Virginia. Having registered for only a one-day stay, I think I gathered a lot of valuable ideas. One, which I will expound on another time – YOLO. Do you know what it means?
✔ Learn all of the capitals of the countries of Africa
Well, not really on my bucket list, but helping our grand daughter, we learned together all 57 capitals! They may change by next week but we got them down this week!
Stay tuned for the next blog…YOLO!
Dumbwaiter a Smart Idea!
During the “off season” we plan home maintenance and any structural changes. This year, we are installing a dumbwaiter. For those who have been to Bedford Landings B & B, you will recognize from the photos where this is being installed. The waiter will be functional over three floors. We will be able to load groceries from the garage level to go up to the kitchen, send clean sheets and towels up to the guest room level and dirty laundry down. PEOPLE cannot ride the dumb waiter as it has a 100 lb. weight limit. The mechanics were to have arrived in January (our slowest month) but they did not arrive until mid February. Not wanting to create dust while guests were in the house, we delayed installation until this week. Jack has been in the shaft working to install the track. Here are a few photos.
Brightening Up the Fishing Room
The Fishing Room is one of our guest favorites. It is just cozy. I decided it was time to try out chalk paint and brighten up the Fishing Room! My artist friend Lisa Floyd says chalk paint will “cover about anything,” so I painted a dark dresser with a salmon color and changed out the hardware. I like it! How about you?
Love at Bedford Landings
We absolutely delight in seeing other people happy and love surprises (at least Karen does!). For Valentine’s Day, the female in this couple planned a sightseeing flight over the lake. He loved it! And, when they landed, the local group (The Harmeneers) was there to serenade them right in the hangar!! It was just a happy, happy moment!
Horseback Riding at the Smith Mountain Lake
We often feel like tour guides suggesting things to do and places to go around Smith Mountain Lake. A place we have come to enjoy ourselves and would highly recommend is Spring Valley Farms. Last weekend we took our daughter’s family including three grandchildren to ride horses. Their rates are totally reasonable, their horses are gentle. and the guides are informative! Even if you have never ridden horses before this is a great place to start! Here is a group shot from our ride!
Murder Mystery Excitement Grows!
The Murder Mystery is officially sold out! We are busy making menu plans and emailing participants in anticipation of an exciting murder enactment! This is our second year holding the Murder Mystery. It was so much fun last year that we are hosting it again. If we have a second successful event, we may again host it next year! We are just hoping that the dumbwaiter is completed by the time this event rolls around March 11th! Otherwise the installation shaft would be a good place to hide the body! Just kidding! Can’t wait!
Researching Other Fly-in B & Bs
We took a quick jaunt to Florida the beginning of February in an attempt to discover other fly-in locations. We had a lovely stay at Cedar Keys B & B in Cedar Keys Florida. There is a quaint little town, five tie-down spaces, and an innkeeper who will come pick you and your luggage up by golf cart. The weather turned a little iffy for our next stop at Port St. Joe so we will have to postpone that stop for another time.
We are trying to gather a list of fly-in B & Bs. The other one that we often recommend as worth the stop is Oz’s Homestay at Freefall Oz in Pennsylvania. They have a nice grass strip right on their property and Oz is a great chef!
We brought unseasonably warm weather back with us from Florida, but I can’t imagine that this streak will continue. However, it is fine with me if the old groundhog was wrong! Spring can’t come fast enough for me! The crocuses are blooming, as are the daffodils and forsythia! It MUST be around the corner!