Tips and Tricks

Posted on September 3, 2023 by Bedfordlandings

We have been running our B & B for 10 years now.  Along the way, we have picked up tips and hints relative to efficiency, recipes (that is not what this blog is about this time) and tips to just make some jobs easier.  Some are easy to explain and others a bit more difficult to describe. Let’s start with household tips.

Bedford Landings Bed and Breakfast home
Bedford Landings Bed and Breakfast

Trash Bags

One of my favorite efficiency tips is to put 2-3 trash bags in the can under the bag  we are currently using.  That way when in a hurry, take the full bag out and voila-there is another bag to use.  Not everyone in my household abides by this so often I do have to go hunting another bag.

White trash can
Trash can with liner

Mopping without a mop

Our housekeeper is now 77 years old and (like an energizer bunny), won’t quit/retire.  She has been with us 10 years and is quite good natured and dependable. But as it is with many of us, she can no longer get down (on her knees) on the floor where you can see drips, splashes, and hair.  This is especially true on tile bathroom floors. I saw her doing this one day.  She had attached an absorbent, but damp rag to the broom to use on the floor. No pail of water nor mop.

Mop with cleaning rag attached with rubberband

Nasty Bug Bites

If a biting bug is going to bite anyone, it will be me. Is it my (O+)blood type? Years ago, my mother showed how to just paint a dab of clear finger nail polish on the bite. It seems to smother the itch! 

mosquito cartoon

What Friends Suggest

I asked friends through our Bedford Landings Facebook for ideas. Some shared their favorite tips so I am sharing these tried and trued methods with you. These are real people, smart people who are sharing!

Eggs, dishwashing liquid and scrubber

Vickie – a brilliantly organized woman I have known about 28 years says: When I make deviled eggs, I mix the filling in a bowl, then spoon it into a small ziplock bag. Cut the bottom corner of the bag off, then squeeze the filling into the egg halves.

Emily – a past guest says: I like to keep a scrubby cleaning item in the shower and a little cleaning soap so after I’m done washing up, I can do a quick wipe down without need of a bunch of chemicals or a lot of extra hard scrubbing energy as the steam/hot water has already done a lot of that work for you!

Nancy – a fellow alto says: Put a squirt of Dawn in your load of laundry (along with your detergent). Your washer will sparkle like a new one, with no soap film and no effort on your part!

Jessie – a storytelling friend says : If you over-salt the soup, throw in a potato and fish it out when it’s back to taste instead of watering it down. To get rid of hiccups, dissolve a teaspoon of sugar on your tongue while you do long division in your head. 

AND: Fold the pillow in half lengthwise to get it into the pillowcase without using your chin. Also, store sheet sets in the pillowcase for an easy grab-and-go changeover.

Old tales that seem to work

I play in a rock band (Yep!) called the SML Boomer band. That means we are a older than 60.

During and after a show, we were comparing notes about how to relieve cramps in fingers (drummers and guitar players) and leg cramps (Me singing and dancing). We discussed electrolytes, hydration, and stretches. Then, off the cuff, our keyboard player said he always heard that a bar of soap put in the bed works for leg cramps. <Silence> “What?” I had tried pickle juice, mustard, and a prescription for Vitamin B6. But soap? In between the sheets near the cramp.

Boomer band on stage singing
The Smith Mountain Lake Boomer Band

Maybe it was worth a try. Maybe it is psychological, but I can’t figure out why it seems to work. I have googled it and even People’s Pharmacy is researching, trying to nail down more than anecdotal explanations. Apparently the bar has to be refreshened now and again since the perfumes in the soap may be part of the magic! 

Dirty dishes in the sink
Let the Magi happen!
soap on a wash rag

What did Jack suggest? 
I asked my loving husband and business partner what his tip or trick was so I could add it to this blog (You’re gonna love this). He says he thinks it is am amazing that when he puts his dirty dishes in the sink, that they magically hop into the dishwasher. 

To that, I revealed my magic and laughed hysterically! It seems to work that away with the clothes in the dryer too! (But enough domestic discussions!)

Karen laughing hysterically
Karen laughing hysterically!

What’s you magic trick?

If you have a suggestion to share, please comment on the blog. Carry on!

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Doolittle The Flying Dorky

Posted on June 17, 2023 by Bedfordlandings

I don’t necessarily want to be THAT pet owner who adores their pet so much that – but I do adore Doolittle and so does everyone else who comes to Bedford Landings B & B. A couple of weeks ago, two Nashville songwriters were staying with us. Of course, Doolittle made friends with them. Laughingly, they said they thought they should write a song called “Doolittle the Flying Dorky.” Then, dreaming on, they said, then you could write a children’s book and it would even become a TV show. LOL!

So having a few moments, I played around with the first chapter. Now I have 5 chapters and I want (your) reader input. Let me know if you want to read more chapters and I will post them! Here is Chapter One.

(Doolittle The Flying Dorky (c) by, Karen DeBord Phillips)

Chapter One – Those Ears!

Since I was just a little pup, I have had big ears.  My 3 sisters and 4 brothers often would tell big earjokes about me. They said I was “all ears” or say I was half bunny rabbit.  But I am not a bunny rabbit!  I was born a Dorky just like they were.  My mama was a Yorkshire (Yorkie) terrier, and my Daddy was a Dachshund. Put it together and that makes a Dorky.  

I didn’t stay with my birth family for very long before I was adopted. And my, do my new people love my ears?  They pet them and stroke them.  I love my new place.  I love to snuggle with them at night and follow them all around the house and yard. 


We play outside… but outside, there are loud noises that I don’t like.  Sometimes, the Mister gets into his big noisemaker and leaves.  He is usually not gone long but in leaving, he makes big rumbling noise!  I watch him disappear into the clouds. He floats up into the air.  Then he goes far so far up that I can’t see him in the sky.

What is that loud noise?

Once the Mister and the Mistress took me with them in this loud thing and we went up, up, up.  We were flying.  The Mistress covered my ears, so it wasn’t too loud for me. 

Doo in plane

My ears continue to grow and people that visit us say, “those ears!” then they laugh.

I love it when people visit. I sit pretty to let them pet me (and my ears).  Everyone seems to love me.  They tease and say they want to take me home with them!  

I love to run and play.  I almost caught a squirrel one time.  I am very fast! I can catch a ball and even rollover. My life is good.

One day I was running in circles outside letting a little boy chase me.

Then I had an idea.  Wonder if I could use my ears for more than being cute?

That night, I dreamed I was flying.  I must have twitched in my sleep because the Mistress woke me up using a soft voice. 

I liked the dream!  In it, I was the Famous Doo!

I could do something no other dog could do!  I had special powers! I could fly!

In my dreams, I could hear a crowd cheering and people singing!

Doo… littleDoooooo LittleDoo the flying Dorky

Doooo littleDoo Little

He’s always been quite lucky

He runs so fast then jumps up high

Then look what happens, he reaches the skyyyy!

Doooo Little, Doo!

The famous Flying Dorky!

End Chapter One. If you want more, you gotta tell me. If that was totally enough, it’s ok!

Update for Bedford Landings B & B

Posted on May 25, 2023 by Bedfordlandings

Life is busy at the Bedford Landings B & B but also in the community. Jack and I have been giving leadership for building an outdoor Learning Environment for our church preschool. It is going very well. Maybe we are half way there! Next step is fencing then landscaping.

Figure 8 bike bath in background

We are also active in the Lakeside Singers. Our concert is June 2 (7 pm) and June 3 (3 pm) with the theme “Gone Country.” It should be foot stomping’ fun! Tickets available at the door (Trinity Ecumenical Parish) or online.

Reservations for May were the best ever! What great guests! We are heating up for June but still have openings. Just check the online calendar.
The other thing Karen is involved in is singing with a band for charity (only) events. It is great fun in retirement to be acting like a teenager again but takes practice and coordination of schedules for an 8-person band.

Boomer band front line singers

It’s a great time of year to rent a boat and go out on the lake! Be sure to schedule a boat in advance. Many people get here and then try to get a boat and they are already booked! We are looking forward to your visit with us! We will save you some bacon!

Pecan-encrusted bacon!

Inn Quirkiness

Posted on March 30, 2023 by Bedfordlandings

“Quirkness” is a quality of being slightly peculiar or unconventional.   It is similar to eccentric. Have you felt as if you have met quirky people?  Have you observed quirky art or quirky décor?

While traveling for 6 weeks this past winter, we took two cruises plus traveled by land in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.  We observed food and housekeeping practices on the ships but also we tried to stay in as many bed and breakfasts as possible so that we could observe them to improve our own practices. 

While on the cruise ship all day (called a Day at Sea), we generally get sucked into the art auctions.  And very often and very mindlessly, our bid card flew into the air and before we knew it, we own a new piece of art.  We have recently been looking at a sort of quirky artist.  His paintings are certainly pieces for discussion and wondering!  Here are two examples of Michael Cheval’s works and his website. What is your interpretation?

In New Zealand, we stayed at an Inn called Lake Tekapo Lodge. First of all, when we arrived, we broke a rule about knocking.  As B & B owners who live on our property, we prefer guests knock instead of walking right in.  Well, we walked right into the front door.  We didn’t notice the “Welcome Karen and Jack. Ring the Bell” sign, nor the big finger pointing the bell! We wandered around until the innkeeper’s dog barked alerting her we were there.

Front door
Please ring the bell!
Stephanie at Lake Tekapo Losge

Innkeeper, Stephanie, had some really cool, interesting, quirky décor!  I asked her which was her favorite piece in the house and she signified this one because of the energy and movement.

But I also loved this hanging dress- origami-type of art created from a road map and the curious collection of images below this.

And this fine trio of interesting characters.

Fine looking trio!

This was among my favorite!

Speak to the Hand!

Her property was overlooking beautiful Lake Tekapo. This little man gets to peer out the window at the view all day long!

What a view!

On the way to this Inn, we went through a curious little spot called Burkes Pass. Not much there but this:

Creative looking gas station
Burkes Pass, NZ

And this…

Picker's paradise
Picker’s Paradise

And here’s an idea for those jeans that the kids outgrow!

planter in little jeans

After leaving the Hawaiian cruise, we spent one night in Honolulu to see Pearl Harbour before heading home. We stayed at the (historic) Manoa Valley Inn. Our flight didn’t leave the next day until midnight so we vacated our lodging room so they could clean it but then stayed in their sunroom as long as we felt appropriate. We called an Uber about noon then we we hung out in the airport for 12 hours!! It was a nice sunroom.

Cheery sunroom

Then there were a few items of interest at the Manoa Valley Inn like this collection of frogs!


The frogs were sitting right across from this very ornate (period?) piece.

It’s a lamp

And that was sitting right next to this sort of scary dog!

Dog statue
Guard Dawg

But they indeed had a nice fish tank!

Fish sucked right to the tank!

We learned soooo much on this trip and saw such amazing places! Maybe in the next blog you will get a wildlife tour!

But let me leave you scratching your head about this one! We found these cheerios in the grocery store in Hawaii. Think that’s quirky? We didn’t purchase them!

Hotdogs labeled cheerios

Eleanor Pigby and Petunia the Pig

Posted on January 5, 2023 by Bedfordlandings

Ah, look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?  

Eleanor Pigby confided that she has never seen so many people come and go.  They come with suitcase in hand, timidly knocking at the door, then upon departure, they act like old friends giving hugs and exchanging contact information.  Where do they all come from? Some come by car, some by airplane!  Where do they all come from? Eleanor has sat in the same position on the front porch through all seasons.

Where do they Come from and Why?

Bedford Landings has hosted people from as far away as Canada, Curacao, France, Germany, and Hungary.  But, why?  What brings them to Bedford Landings?  Some are visiting family.  Some are just passing through and want an overnight off the beaten path. Some are on honeymoons or a get away from the rush of day-to-day life while others know that Smith Mountain Lake is a beautiful place to be any season of the year!  

Eleanor has seen them all.  She looks and listens but never judges.  She watches and learns.  She tries to look pleasant and welcoming but watchful; always watchful.  She sees planes land, motorcycles and, hears noises coming from the hangar.  Sometimes late at night, guests tiptoe up the steps and sometimes late at night she sees a raccoon sneaking around.  She’s seen it all!  

Look at her next time and hear her singing quietly to herself very softly, “Ah look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?!”  Eleanor has been standing watch for nearly 10 years. She has a crack in her ear, mended with a visible streak of glue. Her ribbons fade and we replace them, yet she always appears lonely.  Spotting the perfect companion on Facebook, we ordered another porch pig.  It took well over 6 months for Petunia to arrive, but don’t they look so joyful in each other’s company as we enter the year 2023!

Two sone pigs

Come visit our Porch and our Pigs in 2023!  Don’t they both look happy now?

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