November 2010

Facebook is inundated with pictures of people and their Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus light displays, proudly declaring their readiness for the festive holiday season.

We’re ready, too.  But near Babb, our lights blow away in the incessant winds.  So we prepare otherwise for the holiday season.

We call up our favorite Hutterites, and fill the freezer with turkeys and buns!  Mmmm.  Now, to keep Honeydew from eating all of the buns before Christmas …

May your preparations be merry and bright.  And less windy than ours.  70MPH gusts predicted tonight!

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.


It’s 18 degrees and sunny here, with light winds of about 13MPH.

Absolutely blissful.  I’m drinking my tiny mug off eggnog and coffee, trying to come up with a clever new name for that particular shade of almost-solstice blue.

Or I was, until the Babb Taliban invaded my living room.

I may or may not be married to this scary man.

Who just shattered my peaceful morning as he roared across the Mirror on his dad’s snow mobile.

Ah, Monday.

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, as I don’t generally use this blog to full on advertise our {fabulous} products.  But for reasons I expounded on earlier this week, Glacier County Honey Company is participating in Small Business Saturday tomorrow, November 27.  As a result, we’re offering 10% off of our beeswax ornaments, tshirts, and sweatshirts!

Small Business Saturday is sponsored by American Express, but you do not have to use your Amex card to get 10% off with us.  In fact, we can take any credit/debit card via PayPal, and if we know you, we’ll accept your check, too.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to help you determine the best way to ship, what size sweatshirt your uncle Joe might need (the sweatshirts tend to run a little larger than a cheapie sweatshirt), or which ornament is most frequently goggled over by tween girls at trade shows.  I’m at your disposal, and I won’t ask you to press one for English!

Please remember small businesses as you make your list of holiday gifts!  We appreciate you.

Hoodie sweatshirt, normally $40, Small Business Saturday price $36.

Tshirt, normally $18, Small Business Saturday price $16.20.

Beeswax ornaments, normally $4.00, Small Business Saturday price $3.60.

Beeswax ornaments will last a lifetime if you’re gentle with them – just keep them wrapped in tissue when not in use, and if “bloom” begins to rise to their surfaces, rub them softly with a clean rag  or run a hair dryer over their surfaces to warm them.  Bloom is an indication that beeswax is pure, as these are – it is simply the natural oils in the beeswax rising to the surface over time.  Same thing apparently happens with high quality chocolate over time, though such chocolate has never last long enough in my house for me to be able to verify this phenomenon.

Worker bees secrete beeswax in flakes, and it takes about 800,000 flakes to make one pound of beeswax.  We separate the honey and the beeswax while we’re extracting, and begin filtering the beeswax, heating the beeswax several times over and skimming natural impurities (such as dirt, dead bees, and grass) out of it before pouring it into these ornaments, which smell like honey and sunshine.  We don’t add a thing to them, just a raffia ribbon to hang them with.

A tree filled with 100% natural, not-made-in-China ornaments crafted from a completely renewable resource from an industry in need of your support?  Ah.  Very merry indeed!

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

First light on the mountains.

Family.  Laughter.  That kind that makes your belly jiggle like a bowl full of jelly.

Queen Banks filled with healthy honeybees.  California in the springtime.

Marriage. Dark chocolate, too.

Bounty from big rivers, and old friends.

Stories that make us laugh.

Babies.  Especially babies who love honey.


Wild things.  Including brothers.

Beeswax candlelight. Especially when the power goes out.

Good girlfriends.  Knee high boots.

Husbands who love to play.  Mother, mother ocean.  Mexico in December.

Champagne.  Material objects of desire that are beautiful because they are loved, not just because they are beautiful.

Rainbows.  Spirituality.  Mountains.

And blog readers.  Thank you for being with us on this journey, this big dream of small business.  And love.

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Yesterday, Brother Dear and I trekked to Cut Bank.  I was, of course, a little afraid of the predicted winds and ensuing whiteout conditions, and I was so very happy not to drive.

On our way home, I picked up the camera and tried to capture the lonely, arctic essence of our 140 mile round trip to the grocery store, the auto parts store, the hardware store, the bank, the post office, and our law office.

The road goes on forever, it seems, though we are only about a few miles from Canada right here.

Brother Dear’s Blue Blockers lent an interesting glow to the mountains,which finally reappeared yesterday after a week long blizzard absence.

Hi Glacier.  It’s good to see you again.

Yellow to the left, Chief to the right, Duck Lake below.

Today, I’ll be brining our enormous Hutterite turkey and preparing the Pioneer Woman’s Nantucket Cranberry Pie, my grandma’s Pecan Pie, and my very own sweet potatoes.  But now that I’ve got my view of Glacier National Park back, I’ll spend half the day lost in thought, planning cross country ski trips into Many Glacier and decorating our soon-to-be-cut-down Christmas tree with beautiful beeswax ornaments in my head.  Let’s hope the pies don’t suffer as a result!

May you be less distracted in your Turkey Day prep than I.

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

I remember from the few hours of science class that didn’t cause my eyes to glaze over that our DNA resembles a double helix.  Whatever that means.

The English major in me, the voracious reader and writer, has an easier time comprehending DNA by thinking of it as a little library, complete with ladders, floating about in each cell, where there are no shelves and all the books look like tiny jigsaw pieces and fit together as beautifully as the syllables in iambic pentameter.  And since I’m harboring a tiny parasite, apparently apple sized these days, I’ve been thinking a lot about DNA, what Honeydew will pass on to our baby, what I will, what I hope not to.  And in turn, I’ve spent plenty of moments staring blankly into the snow, which has fallen now for seven straight days, thinking about what was passed on to me, which authors are harbored in the library of my DNA.

Great cooks, Southern ones to be sure, comprise many volumes of my DNA.  I am not yet a great Southern cook, but I have the genetic potential and the desire, and I hope the parasite will also find satisfaction in feeding those he or she loves, and at least impressing those he or she does not love.

Though Uncle Brother Dear will surely groan, I think that one of the tools of a great Southern cook is mayonnaise.

Brother Dear has a hard time with the M word and can generally ferret out its presence in any recipe, even after his mother has gone to some pains to assure him that there is no M in X, there are only “eggs suspended in oil,” which is all mayonnaise is, after all.  She’ll dismiss his questions with, “just a binding agent,” no easy task, since Brother Dear is himself a great Southern cook.

So when not one, but two cases of beautiful mayonnaise arrived at the warehouse this fall, Brother Dear went running for the hills, and I went running for the family recipe book, grease splattered and mayonnaise smeared.  Because this mayonnaise was not just any mayonnaise, but the pinnacle of mayonnaises, the particular blend that brings out the sunshine in heirloom tomatoes, salt, pepper, and white bread, the binding agent that turns chicken salad into soul food, and the secret ingredient to chocolate cake so moist that a glass of milk would be overkill.  Duke’s Mayonnaise.  Acknowledged by the South and by Duke’s marketing department as “the secret of Great Southern Cooks.”  Unavailable within the great State of Montana.  Sent to me by my uncle Vince.

With the Duke’s, Vince included a note on the packing slip:

Howard, if you don’t know, passed away six years ago.  He was my youngest brother.  And I wonder what books we shared in our DNA libraries – surely there were many that one of us read and the other did not.  Perhaps I will get to see those stories again, sometime after next spring.

Thanks, Vince.

2010. Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.

Thirty five years ago today, my parents were married at the prettiest little church in the world, Fair Haven, near Millen, Georgia.

On that day they stood and repeated their vows in front of family and close friends, they could not know that thirty five years later, they would celebrate their anniversary with Montana drivers licenses in their wallets.  I’d love to say, “what a long, strange trip it’s been,” but they’re not Grateful Dead fans.

Mr. and Mrs. Stone are more Gladys Knight & the Pips kind of folks.  In honor of their anniversary, I’m posting the lyrics to “their song,” along with some of my favorite pictures of them.

You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

I’ve had my share of life’s ups and downs
But fate’s been kind, the downs have been few
I guess you could say that I’ve been lucky
Well, I guess you could say that it’s all because of you 

If anyone should ever write my life story
For whatever reason there might be
Ooh, you’ll be there between each line of pain and glory
‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me
Ah, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me

Oh, there have been times when times were hard
But always somehow I made it, I made it through
‘Cause for every moment that I’ve spent hurting
There was a moment that I spent, ah, just loving you

If anyone should ever write my life story
For whatever reason there might be
Oh, you’ll be there between each line of pain and glory
‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me
Oh, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me
I know, you’re the best thing, oh, that ever happened to me


Hillhouse, December 2008, below zero temps.

St. Simons Island, Georgia, 2005.

Sunset at The Lodge, St. Simons Island, Georgia, 2005.

Chatmoss Ball, Martinsville, Virginia, 2006.

Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, 2007.

Above Babb Flats, Montana, 2005.

Red Meadow Lake, near Polebridge, Montana, 2005.

Colorado River Trip, Grand Canyon, 2004.

Post Floral Park, at Comeau Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, 2007 – only ten miles to go at 5pm!

And this, my favorite picture of them, in the judge’s stand at the Polebridge 4th of July parade. Polebridge, Montana, 2005.

Mom and Dad, here’s to 35 more!

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.

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