Do you consider yourself to be “green;” as in conserving resources? When I was an Extension Agent, I recall teaching 4-Hers about energy efficiency in the day when we were rationing gas! I have practiced preserving our precious clean water to be a good steward of our natural resources. But last week, when I was asked to light the pilot light for the gas logs in a guest room (while the temperature outside was 90 degrees), I was a rather uncomfortable, knowing that the ambiance would be coupled with the overworked air conditioner for this lovely couple. We did it …but I cringed!
When we designed and built Bedford Landings to be a Bed and Breakfast, we paid attention to being energy efficient. We purchased energy efficient windows and installed Structural Insulated Panels as walls and installed heating and cooling units with the highest SEER rating at the time.
We installed Energy Star rated appliances, we use LED bulbs, and we manage the guest rooms in terms of heating and cooling so they are not using a great deal of energy when nobody in in the room. We designed the house to be situated on the lot to take advantage of the passive solar benefits and designed a sort of outrigger to shade the hot sun in the summer and allow the sun in the windows during the winter months.
This August (next month) we are installing solar panels on the hangar to collect and convert the warmth of the beautiful sun to not only offset our heating and cooling bills but, also to use a renewable resource that does not emit any greenhouse gases. Yes, we have to take out a loan to do so, but as we understand it, the savings will be realized within about 7 years.
Speaking of Greenhouse gas, what are they? Perhaps you have heard the term in the news and bantered around as believable or unbelievable, but what does it mean? And what is a carbon footprint?
A Greenhouse Gas (GHG) causes a greenhouse effect. Have you walked into a greenhouse? Mainly that is the production of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. We need these to maintain the Earth’s temperature. However human activities (since the mid 1700’s) have produced an increase in GHG. Of course this is where the Global Warming arguments occur so I will stop there.
Your Carbon Footprint is the total amount of GHG each individual produces and is usually expressed in tons of carbon dioxide (Co2). This includes your usage of all forms of transportation, heating and cooling homes, use of plastics, etc. It is your personal consumption of things that cause fuel consumption.
My husband is a pilot, we own a plane and have 4 vehicles, and we manage a business in our large home. My Carbon Footprint must be the size of Big Foot! As American’s, are we too self-centered to do a lot to make a difference? Really? Recently I saw a friend in a restaurant pull out of her purse, a recyclable (stainless steel) straw. And it made it think that there are at least small personal choice we can all make that could add up to make a pinpoint of a difference.
As a business owner and one who cares about her environment, I feel I must at least do my part. These seem so small in the big scheme of things, but I recall the Starfish story and realize that even the small steps matter! We are trying to be responsible at Bedford Landings.
One step is to grow locally. We serve wonderful omelets and I grow my own basil and tomatoes. Right outside the kitchen door, I can grab these organic items and collect my chicken eggs! It’s just a small something, but it’s something.
We have always recycled. We can recycle plastic, aluminum, tin, glass and cardboard in Bedford County. We have to separate it and collect it in the same manner.
But we are announcing our biggest change yet! If you come to Bedford Landings, we are no longer offering plastic water bottles. Sorry, even though we recycle them, we go through a ton of these! Instead, we will offer water bottle usage while you are here. Sure, you can purchase one if you like, but we will wash and recycle these wonderful aluminum water bottles for guest use.
We use only cloth napkins and reusable hand towels. We just throw these into the laundry (only a full load) to sanitize and reuse them.
Small steps yes, but we are trying. Maybe you would like to share other creative ideas with us about your practices and how we can continue to improve our carbon footprint. Sell a plane? That’s probably not gonna happen! In fact Jack will be test flying his 12 year project next week after the (hopeful) Tuesday inspection! We wish him luck and congratulate him on conserving funds by building his own GREEN plane!
In the meantime, we will continue to consider personal practices that will make even a small difference. How about you?
So far, Summer at Bedford Landings has been busy! Jack and I sang with the Lakeside Singers in concert June 8-9, 2019. We rehearse from March 1 until concert time each year. It’s a wonderful group and a rather short-term commitment sponsored by the Smith Mountain Arts Council.
The following weekend was Father’s Day weekend. That annual event brings Lyrics on the Lake featuring about 25 Nashville Songwriters to benefit Children’s Miracle Network. We sure enjoyed meeting many of the artists and Karen emceed for one of the events at Mango’s at Bridgewater Plaza. We have hosted songwriter, Bill DiLuigi for the past two years.
Bill has a new CD with some very thought provoking songs. The CD is called Pennsylvania Avenue but two of my favorite songs are about his parents. One entitled “Things my Father Gave Me” and the other “Son of Betty Jane” are both worth the listen and download (I-tunes and all of the other platforms). Bill gifted me with his CD and I gifted him with my new book entitled “Sweetness Begets Sweetness” about our family journey with Alzheimer’s disease.
Each day, Jack has been traveling to Salem, Virginia to a paint shop to work on and monitor the progress of the RV-10 airplane he has been building for 12 years. Anticipating flying it to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the big Air Venture Fly-in, he is slowly losing hope that the plane will be ready in time. Air Venture is just one month away and the plane is in pieces and parts in the paint shop. What has to happen in order to go would be a minor (maybe major) miracle. The parts must be transported on a trailed to Martinsville where Jack has rented a hangar. Martinsville has a longer runway and it’s not situated over trees and water as we are a SML (W-91). There, he will re-assemble these parts; wings, tail pieces, fuselage, etc. into an airplane. It must be weighed and inspected by the FAA representative. Then, he will be assigned at least 40 hours of flying it solo in a 100 mile radius or box before carrying any passengers. He will eventually fly it back to our hangar at the lake.
Maybe we will need to host a welcoming party! But, it just does not seem like we are going to make it to Oshkosh! Sad, yes! But better to make safe, wise decisions by checking it completely to be sure he didn’t forget any important element to keeping this bird in the air! The photo (right) shows our friend, Jonathan’s completed RV-10 so you can picture what ours will look like!
Today (June 18, 2019) the Google Calendar is not functioning. It’s not just me, but corporations around the globe are suffering from calendar-itis! Bedford Landings interfaces with Google Calendar for tracking our reservations. If you need to check a date, contact us by phone (the old fashioned way) and we will check availability for you. 540-488-4600.
What will July bring at Smith Mountain Lake (I would check my calendar but it’s down!). Actually I will have my grand daughter here for the month of July and she and my grandson will be involved in Vacation Bible School. There are Pirate Days around July 20 for those of us who are not going to Oshkosh (sad face) and lots of other lake activities! Come join in the fun!! Happy face!!
(Postscript: The Google Calendar has started working. It was down about 6 hours)
Summer is here and it’s not even June yet. It is expected to be in the 80’s and 90’s this week! So now is a great time to get out on the water and get your tan on! Jack and I took a quick outing on the water this past weekend just to gas up the boat. We keep it on my sister’s dock but Bedford Landings does have access to a community dock if you decide you want to walk down to the water or launch a boat.
Memorial Day Weekend – Several choices of live music around the lake at Mango’s, Wallers, Heath’s and other locations. The state park is hosting many family friendly activities.
Lakeside Singers and Lake Players– Performance in a show called “That’s Entertainment” June 7 (7 pm) and June 8 (3 pm) at Trinity Ecumenical Parish. Tickets are $12 and $15 for a fun evening of music and drama! Tickets available at www.smac-arts.com
Lyrics on the Lake Songwriter Festival is Father’s Day Weekend (June 14-15). That means multiple venues host (Nashville) budding artists to sing for FREE! Of course the venues hope you will purchase drinks and food but it is quite entertaining throughout the day and night all to benefit Children’s Miracle Network! Venues include Mango’s, Wallers, Magnum Point Marina, and others participate.
Smith Mountain Arts Council Coffeehouse – July 21- Enjoy wine, beer, light snacks and a fun music and storytelling show. Celebration Room in Downtown Moneta. Tickets available at www.smac-arts.com
Sunset Saturday– Hickory Hill vineyard. Every Saturday (in good weather) for music, picnic (bring your own) and relaxing with a glass of wine. See: www.smlwine.com
Pirate’s Weekend– July 19-21. Dress like a pirate. Everyone does it. Watch fun water battles, see the boat parade, and go to the Pirate’s ball. Even Jack and I dress up!
Make your reservations now for family overflow, a fun get away, or your vacation! We welcome you!
Have you ever just kept moving forward during a stressful time instead of letting the reality of a situation engulf you? Psychologists say that “denial” is a really comfortable place to be – and it’s true. After my mom died 5 years ago, we were busy with our B & B and exploring our new community of Smith Mountain Lake. I became quite involved in an array of lake activities. Since Mom had lived a distance from us anyway, it was easier thinking of her as away instead of dead! But on the occasions that I wanted to call her to share some life event, I would remember! Of course this was just a way of dealing with reality short term.
While she was ill, I kept an intermittent journal and saved many of my emails between my siblings and me as we communicated about her caregiving in her final years. Mom had Alzheimer’s Disease.
It took me until this year to review the notes and emails about her care to write her story, but I did it. And in writing her story, I was able to not only deal with her disease and ultimate death, but work my way out of denial. In the past, I have published children’s books (available on Amazon), but this one was different. It was emotionally trying to go through the notes and relive each event. I pushed to get it done by her birthday (March 22) and indeed I did. I have shared it now with my sister and brother as gifts and also shared it with Mom’s best friend. I gave each of them 2 copies and asked them to pass the book along to someone else who could benefit from reading about the ups and downs of caring for a loved one with memory issues. A few people locally have purchased my book and shared with me that they too, could relate to Mom’s story because of their current or past situations.
If you are in the midst of caregiving or know someone who is, please consider reading Mom’s story and telling me how you can relate. Then give the book to someone else. It is available in hard copy and by e-book. We all need support when facing the realities of losing a loved one. This was just my way of (finally) dealing with it.
The book is entitled, Sweetness Begets Sweetness. Why that title? Mom used to say it to us when we were kids to get us to be “nice” to our siblings. It was one of many platitudes to get us to behave! I am sure you have your own family sayings that you remember!
Family is one of the most important things in life (to me) and preserving the stories and memories may be more important to me in my later years than I know. There is much to be known yet about how Alzheimer’s disease is acquired and how it may be passed through genetics. So in the meantime, we learn what we can and share what we learn!
Postscript: After reading this book, my brother wrote this memory of Mom.
9 April 2019
My sister Karen wrote a book called “Sweetness Begets Sweetness” about the fading of my Mom via Alzheimer’s. As Mom’s third born and only son I am compelled to add a couple of comments. Karen did a magnificent job of capturing most of our feelings and memories. Karen has boundless energy of which I had just a bit. Great job Sis!
Lonely screamed out at me when I first read Karen’s rendition of Mom’s life. I had to read it twice to absorb the monumental woman that Karen describes. Mom, like all of us experience moments of loneliness, it is part the human condition. Her last few years, however, must have been pure lonely torture…for a while, until she no longer understood what loneliness meant. Seems we (Sherry, Karen and Me) became lonelier as we watched Mom’s mind slowly wither away. That rock of a Mom was going away.
In her day, she was one hell of a resource; the Google of the day. One quick call and she had an answer or at least some advice. When I was really young and did something really stupid she would send me after a switch off the old willow tree out front. Normally they were too small and I’d have to go back and get a bigger one. She “blistered” the backs of my legs bright red. This was cruel and unusual punishment, at the time, but she still had her mind. Later we graduated to rulers until they kept breaking, then fly swatters but they kept bending, finally “wait until your father gets home.” But she still had her mind. Later I realized this was some good old southern discipline.
Mom also taught me how to be a gentleman: open the door for the ladies or the infirm, walk on the outside on the sidewalk less a car tire splash the lady, yes Sir, and yes Ma’am. She drilled the multiplication tables into my thick head for years (I was the slowest learner of the kids, still am). Yet now, how I long for those days of interaction and learning.
Mom loved us all so much. I know we (mostly me) filled her mind with consternation and “good grief-ed-ness.” She loved more than anyone else could have!
So, as she was slowly taken from us, we hurt exponentially. The vacuum and loneliness was deafening. She was confused when we had to remove her from her home and into a professional care facility; even there with lots of people she was lonely and then lonely and lonelier. The harder we tried to fill her mind with something she could remember, the less she remembered. Before too long, she was but a shell. That rock of a Mom was almost gone.
Seconds before her last breath she whispered in my ear, “I love you son.”
M. G. Brown
Many have asked us why we decided to build and operate a Bed & Breakfast. We generally tell the story to our breakfast guests who ask. But this week, it has become even clearer to me why we chose this life.
We explain to people that we wanted to move to an airport property in Virginia. Jack’s dream was to walk out his front door and be near his airplanes. He can hop in a plane and just take a leisurely flight over beautiful Smith Mountain Lake. He now spends 6-8 hours a day in the hangar completing a decade long project of building a 4-seat traveling airplane called an RV-10. We are hoping to travel more in the coming years!
I have become involved in the local community with singing, photography, and gardening.
We have met many interesting people who have walked through the doors of Bedford Landings. We enjoy preparing a personalized home cooked, made from scratch breakfast with love and care. We have found this a welcoming community offering the type of the activities that are a fit for us. We are indeed happy that we made the decision to live here. People ask if running a B&B is a lot of work? Indeed it is but we like the schedule. We are up at 6:30, serve breakfast at 8:00 and the kitchen is clean by 9:00. We check-in people in the afternoon and are generally free to make evening plans.
• When people don’t come down for a fresh, hot breakfast, we are disappointed. When they say, ”I’m not much of a breakfast eater.” We silently wonder why they chose to stay in a full service bed and breakfast.
• When people decide to stop to go antiquing or for a late dinner before checking in without calling. Then we have to cancel our evening plans.
Other than these few pet peeves, we truly love sharing our home and helping people understand more about Smith Mountain Lake. Many who visit, come to spend time on the water or to attend a wedding or a family reunion, while others may be searching for a retirement home.
But there is more to why we retired nearly 10 years ago to move away from our three children and six grand children to build a B &B at an airport. It has to do with “living.” This week on March 7th, I turned 65 years old. On March 8th, Jack turned 66 years old. My dad died one month short of his 65th birthday (cancer). Jack’s Dad died when he was 68 (cancer). His dad was a medical doctor and worked until shortly after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. My dad took an early retirement as a university administrator at age 60. He moved to Florida with my stepmother and was having a blast exploring, meeting new friends, golfing and generally socializing; until he couldn’t.
Unlike our fathers, we didn’t want to work until we died. As a tenured professor, I had so enjoyed my active career but wanted a new challenge and to do something totally different. As a mechanical design engineer, then an engineering manager, Jack was tired of boring budget meetings, corporate transitions, and laying off staff. He wanted to quit that life but not sit still!
My mom died 5 years ago, as we were finishing up building the B&B. Her birthday is this month. So I am looking into the future through the lens of my parents. With nostalgia, I am entering into “old age” and wondering how I will gracefully accept my wrinkles and gray hair. Jack’s mom is the epitome of grace as she nears her 95th birthday still living in the house in which Jack grew up.
A friend said to me recently, “I’m not afraid of dying, I am afraid of not living.” Thank-you Joe, you expressed what I was feeling. We moved here to LIVE and we will continue to LIVE and hopefully thrive–until we can’t!