July 2010


July 19.

Clouds clinging to one another, obscuring the mountains.  Sun dipping towards the western horizon.  Honeydew, DSH, Pseudo Sister and me, collapsed on the couches.

Stragglers from a front hydrating the windows.  The pink light begins to command my attention, and I lay aside a piece I am writing, and rise from the couch.

The clouds are circling around, setting up for a glorious farewell to the day.

And then the clouds move back in, and somehow everything is even more resplendent than it was a minute before, supersaturated color bleeding through gauzy layers of cloud.

As the clouds increase in viscosity, the mountains become steely gray knights, gathering around the round table before the battle, shrouded in Merlin’s mists.

Ethereal.  Pulchritudinous.  Sublime.  Mesmeric.  These words were created for evenings in July, in Montana.

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.

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Bucky Dawg and I spent many nights together this winter, curled up in front of the crackling wood stove, thinking about Glacier County Honey Company, our identity, our brand, and our future goals.  After some time, I decided to register “you’ve never tasted honey this good” with the State, and I went around conducting informal polls and tastings to back up my claim, as did dear friends of mine like Layla Jane and Ray Ray.  On Twitter and Facebook, I chatted Glacier County Honey up, and I became friendly with Flathead Living Magazine, a lovely quarterly publication out of, you guessed it, the Flathead Valley, Montana.

I sent them a box of honey with a note that said, “tell us this isn’t the best honey you never tasted!”  And so they did their own testing, decided it was, and gave us a little bit of press in their Summer Edition!  Here’s the photo they ran, that they kindly sent to us:

To see what else Flathead Living Magazine had to say about Glacier County Honey, pick up the Summer 2010 edition and turn to page 78!

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Happiness is a picture of your dear friend’s baby enjoying his Glacier County Honey on an English muffin.

How darling is Ben?

Love to Alexe and Jules for sharing these photos!

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

In my efforts to launch Glacier County Honey Company without spending a dime on marketing, I unknowingly gave myself several gifts.  The most important was permission to write again, to be unafraid to muse about my brother’s death, and how it has affected me, in virtual ink, with friends and strangers alike.  As I’ve written before, though I launched this blog to help establish Glacier County Honey’s web presence, I actually re-launched my identity as a writer.  And it feels so good to have dusted that name tag off, even if my skills are in need of a shot of literary WD40.  I would rather write than do almost anything, and I long to reach back through ten years and wring my 22 year old neck.  If I had had just had a little more self-discipline at 22, perhaps I would actually be a writer, and not a blogger who feels guilty for blogging when she could be, probably should be, lawyering.

Another gift: humanity on the internets.  I’ve been wholly surprised by the number of virtual friends I’ve accumulated in my blogging and Facebooking and Twittering.  Despite what you hear on the evening news, I’ve found the online community to be warm and witty and welcoming.  It seems that nearly everyone on the internet identifies themselves as a writer, or owns a small business, or loves the way dawn smells as it breaks.  Good folks are everywhere, after all.

One of these friends is named Lisa, and she tends to her blog, Privilege, with great care, caution, and camaraderie.  Lisa is a gifted writer, and I very much enjoy her topics on WASPy issues that I believe are being “discussed” in public for the first time, in this age of social media.  But more than that, I’ve found Lisa to embody that warm hearted spirit of the online community more than any other virtual friend I’ve made on the internets.  She is very generous, with her blog space and her Tweets and her time, always going out of her way to mention another blogger she finds amusing, or to send a kind word to someone who is clearly down.  Lisa has linked to Glacier County Honey off her blog on several occasions, and she recently mentioned us in a meme she posted to her blog.  In her considerate way, Lisa stated that she was only passing on recognition to the bloggers she mentioned, and not obligation to repost the meme.  She would never be a burden, her manners are simply sterling.  But I found her meme amusing, and so I am reposting it here.  Thanks, Lisa.  You make the internets brighter.

1. What Experience Most Shaped You And Why? (That You Love)
I love that this experience must be one you love – I write enough about grief and grieving on this blog that y’all already know the negatives that have shaped me irrevocably.  I suppose that the experience that most shaped me that I love was my first summer working near Glacier National Park.  Before then, I didn’t know that flowers could be that shade of purple that divides sunset and moonrise, that peanut butter and honey sandwiches could taste like sunshine, that people of all backgrounds from across the country could actually be as interesting as their bumper stickers made them out to be.  That summer changed me forever, and has made me happier than I knew I could be.

2. If You Had A Whole Day With No Commitments, What Would You Do? (That You Love)
I would rise early, and enjoy cream stirred into my coffee while wrapped in a fleece robe, out in my adirondack chairs.  There would be no wind.  The loons on the pond would scream out their approval of the gorgeous morning.  And then I would go climb a mountain in Glacier National Park with at least one someone I love.

3. What Food Or Drink Could You Never Give Up? (That You Love)
Cream stirred into my coffee?

4. If You Could Travel Anywhere, Where Would That Be And Why? (That You Love)
I’d like to see New Zealand, to hike the Milford Trek and drink fine sauvignon blanc on some knoll overlooking a fjord.  And I assume that I would love it.  But I don’t know for sure, so instead I will answer that I would travel to my grandma’s magical yard, and breathe in the roses and the decaying Georgia heat.  I know I love that.

5. Who Do You Have A Crush On? (That You Love)
Our puppy dog, Roy.

6. If You Were A Leader Of Your Country, What Would You Do? (That You Love)
I would encourage social media, actually.  It’s in, and I think it helps to develop reading, writing, and researching skills, all so incredibly important to an educated populace.  We need more people asking “why,” not just spitting back their party’s line.

7. Give Me One Savory Recipe That Doesn’t Include Cheese (That You Love)
Pastor Ryan-via-the-Pioneer-Woman’s Whole Herb Roasted Chicken – incredibly delicious, easy, and sure to impress!

8. If You Could Spend Just One Day In Someone Else’s Body, Who Would It Be? (That You Love)
I’d spend the day in my husband’s body.  I believe it would be illuminating.  Though smelly.

9. What Women Writer—Living Or Dead—-Do You Most Admire And Why? (That You Love)
I admire Pam Houston for her thoughtful, brave commentaries on what it means to fall in love with inappropriate cowboys, grapple with your weight, love your dogs too much, and recreate a life for yourself under the big skies of the West.  At times, her writing is a prism through which I view my own life, and she makes it better.  That’s not to say my life is not wonderful – it is – but everyone needs to be reminded of that, at times.

This was fun.  Thanks, Lisa.

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

The massiveness of July and August weighs heavily upon me.  The Big Sky really is enormous this time of year, and in cloudless late afternoons, appears nearly purple, so deep is its crystalline blue.  The amount of tasks that can only be dealt with this time of year (oiling the house, stringing fence through the marsh, coaxing lettuce and onions from the earth) overwhelms me.  Every day, despite the constant sweeping and mopping and folding, the house seems dirtier, as house guests and family and strangers and honey customers and neighbors and dear friends troop in and out of it, from sunup to sunset.

But it matters not.  We’ll get it cleaned up by fall.  There are other pressing matters this time of year, too.  The high passes and peaks of Glacier are only open for just a few short weeks, and I must go to them, or lose my reason for loving life near Babb.

But for now, I must lay away the lists and the scrubbing and the oiling and even the hiking.  It is Monday, and I have been at work all day.  There will be no task mastering when I arrive home, tired and somewhat grumpy.  Tonight, I will simply try to  appreciate the small wonders of this world.

And luckily, appreciating the small wonders of this world is not so hard to do, when at Hillhouse.

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

This post marks the last of the weddin’ tomes, as today is our first wedding anniversary.  Our dear friend Torian Donohoe married us, and in her remarks to us, she said this about wedding anniversaries:

Each year when you come upon your anniversary, I encourage you to rededicate yourselves to the vows you make here today.  Take stock of where you are in your marriage and how you are doing as marriage partners.  Express your gratitude to each other, for the ways that you have effectively loved and supported one another, and forgive yourselves and each other for any judgments that have come between you.

I choose you to be my beloved

to have and to hold

from this day forward,

for better, for worse

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

to honor and sustain,

and to be true to you in all things.

I vow to always love you for who you are and to accept the changes that life brings.

Until death do us part, this is my solemn vow.

Happy anniversary, Honeydew!

And now, back to beekeeping, peak bagging, and doing whatever it is we do near Babb, Montana.

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Photo credits to Tom Whisenand.  All Rights Reserved.

I predicted earlier this week that I would lose all of my male subscribers by indulging in a week’s worth of weddin’ posts.  I was right.  So far, we’ve lost one subscriber, presumably male!  But hang in there guys, there are just two posts left before I return to blathering on about beekeeping and Babb, Montana – plus, today’s post might appeal to the men out there, as it features the get-away “car” that Brother Dear arranged for us, and gunpowder!

This is Tammy, our old Ford Explorer.  Not much is known about Tammy’s youth, but in her middle age, she was acquired by Jay Franck, a good friend of ours who also happens to be Glacier County Honey’s web designer, and who came up with our fabulous logo.  Before Jay was an amazing print and web designer, he was a waiter at Johnson’s of St. Mary, just down the road from Hillhouse, and he owned Tammy.  As a Johnson’s employee, Jay lived on top of a very steep hill, with an absurdly steep driveway.  One morning, he emerged from his cabin to take Tammy for a spin.  Next thing he knew, he was rocketing backwards down the hill, heading directly for the restaurant!  Panicked, Jay jumped out of Tammy, and Tammy crashed into the restaurant, where Brother Dear happened to be frying bacon on the line, at the height of the breakfast rush.  Amazingly enough, no one was significantly injured during this incident, except Tammy.

Tammy ain’t got no back end no mo.

Tammy ain’t got no side windows, neither.

So Jay approached Brother Dear about taking Tammy in, giving her a restful environment in which to spend her golden years.  Tammy is officially retired from the paved roads of Montana, but she’s great on the dirt roads of Hillhouse, and she provided a mighty festive exit for Honeydew and I after our weddin’ reception!

Miss Bets also provided Honeydew and I with a fabulous exit – as a surprise to us, she set off beautiful firecrackers as we left the reception.  Earlier this week, I wrote about how much fun Miss Bets is, and I think you can see from this beautiful display that she is incredibly thoughtful, too.  Plannin’ a good Montana weddin’ takes a village.  And a backless Ford Explorer!

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Some photo credits to Tom Whisenand.  All Rights Reserved.

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