March 2011


For Honeydew, it’s this:

The Montana state line, in the cold, wet, gray March snow.

He is a happy, happy man.

But I’m happier still, that he’s home.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Last year, we blogged more about the pollination aspect of Glacier County Honey Co, as I was not incubating It’ll and was free to bounce back and forth between Montana and California as I saw fit.  If you don’t know, we ship our lovely honeybees south to California in the late fall, and Honeydew joins them in January, just in time for almond pollination.  As a result, he and I are separated for much of the winter, more this winter than last.

But our separation is about to end.  Honeydew is currently en route from Palo Cedro, California, and will rejoin me near Babb in the immediate future.  He is northbound and trucking home the trailer he has called his California home for many winters now.  It will become our new Darling Summer Help’s summer abode, and its presence in our front yard will cement our cover potential of White Trash Living magazine:

Right now, Honeydew is in Nevada, no doubt singing the version of North Bound and Down that he entertained me with last year, as we drove the 1 ton and the 2 ton home together, with Roy Rogers.

Safe travels, my love.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

This year’s Made in Montana Marketplace was a great one for Glacier County Honey Co, and made all the weeks of preparation, beeswax burns, and mindless honey labeling worth it!  However, as I wrote last week, I could not have done it without the help of many, many selfless folks in my life.  After my parents left, Don and Mimi Grant, Honeydew’s godparent-types from Great Falls, brought me lunch and a much needed break on Friday afternoon.

And then on Saturday, Brother Dear and Pseudo Sista filled in, on and off, all day long for me.  And I really don’t think I could have done it without them, especially considering that I lost my voice on Friday, Wholesale Day, and had no way to communicate to our fans and customers on Saturday, Retail Day!  Since Brother Dear and Pseudo Sista have, at one time or another, been at least peripherally involved in all aspects of the business of the Glacier County Honey Co, they were well suited to discuss honey production, beeswax filtration, and colony collapse disorder with the masses that visited our booth on Saturday – thanks to everyone who stopped by!

But especially thanks to Pseudo Sista and Brother Dear.  Aren’t they the best?

Another highlight of Retail Day: I finally got to meet one of my heroes-in-Montana-small-business, Sarah Calhoun, owner of Red Ants Pants, workwear for women, in White Sulphur Springs.  Sarah and I have exchanged countless emails about the highs and lows of s-corp ownership, and it felt so good to get an in-person hug from her.  Bless her heart, at the Marketplace’s conclusion, Sarah stayed behind to help us schlep all of our display items and the few beeswax candles we didn’t sell, back to the trailer.  Her mama raised her up right, y’all.  So good to meet you, Sarah!

And finally, thanks to Tammy Tamarillo, our artist friend from Costa Rica, for the moral support, and good luck, she brought to us at the Marketplace!  We’ll hope to be back for the 2012 Marketplace.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Whew.  It apparently takes a village to get me off to the Made in Montana Marketplace.

Sometimes I can truly overestimate my abilities.  This self-overestimation has never been more apparent than in the third trimester of my first pregnancy.  Somehow, despite the fact that our little retail company’s volume has increased over 400% since last year, and despite the fact that I’ve added about 15 new products to our offerings, and despite the fact that I am approaching the 33rd week of my pregnancy, I just kinda figured that I would get myself off to the Marketplace in a similar fashion to last year: i.e. throw a couple of boxes of honey and candles in the Suburban and hit the road for Great Falls.

Uhhhhh.  Apparently pregnancy has made me delusional.

Luckily, my parents, who know me better than I know myself, arrived to the Warehome on Sunday, and commenced Being Helpful, which they are both incredibly good at.  And so three frantic days of bottling and labeling honey, pouring and packaging beeswax, and cleaning and rewiring trailers ensued.

This afternoon, after my Dad delivered a trailer packed full of the best honey you’ve never tasted and beautiful beeswax products to the Great Falls Civic Center, my Mom and I unpacked box after box filled with the fruits of my winter labors.  And at the day’s end, my booth looked mighty fine, if I do say so myself.

Glacier County Honey Co. is booth #107 at the Made in Montana Marketplace.  We hope you’ll come see us!

Since last year’s Marketplace, we’ve added a slew of pretty beeswax products, such as our #1 best seller, the Large Pinecone:

We’ve added pretty packaging, too – I would say new packaging, but we actually didn’t provide any until now.  I know, I know … but I try to think of this amazing fact as simply underlining how far we’ve come!  After all, I knew we needed something more than a sheet of tissue paper to protect and best display our beeswax products, but I didn’t want to run out and spend a bunch of money on the first packaging I saw.  However, I think these cello bags are going to be just the trick.

The taper candles look mighty fine in them, too.  We offer them in plain, octagon, colonial, obelisk, and best selling hexagon.

As you may remember, we also launched a line of fabulous honeybee cocktail rings, in conjunction with Bon Lemon.  I have a new beehive cake stand, and I’m enjoying using it to display the festive rings!

And of course, I brought many, many bottles of our gorgeous, raw honey – the best you’ve never tasted, indeed, and packaged in the most modern methods available on the market.  You don’t think you care until you squeeze honey from our 1# flip top with the vacuum seal, release your grip, and watch the honey be sucked back into the bottle – hello, nonsticky counters and fingers!  As the Beekeeper’s Wife, my life is devoted to un-stick-ifying … well, everything, but everyone else who tries out these bottles loves ’em, too.

Here’s a whole basket of the nonsticky wonders.  $5 each, y’all.

Here are my pretty new business cards, beautifully done by Calliespondence.  Honeydew and I used to share one business card with both of our names on it, and I thought I wanted my own.  Now I’m back to thinking it was better when we shared – after all, we both have our areas of expertise in this business, and give out each other’s contact information as frequently as we answer questions about Colony Collapse Disorder and how frequently we get stung.  So I should probably get back to that old style of card … but there is something about having “a card of one’s own.”

Here’s my awesome Mom, without whom no beeswax products would have been packaged over the course of the last week, nor would any actual meals have been consumed.  Thanks for coming with me, Mom.

And here’s one last shot of our booth!  And of It’ll’s first trip to the Marketplace, I suppose.

Glacier County Honey Company is mighty proud to be a member of the Made in Montana program.  We hope y’all will come to the Civic Center in Great Falls on Saturday, from 9 to 4, and see what your fellow Montanans have spent the winter crafting for your enjoyment!  You’ll be even more proud to call the Big Sky your home, or your favorite destination, as the case may be.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

And the Pioneer Woman is so dazzling in person that my eyes were closed as a result!

In case you are not familiar with her, The Pioneer Woman, or Ree Drummond, is the subject of any blog-doration I may feel.  There are many bloggers who are better writers or photographers than she, who are wittier, funnier, and pithier than she, but none that strike me as authentic and adorable as she.  And so hers is the only blog I check as religiously as I check the weather.

Having now met the PW in person, and discussed the benefits of epidurals versus the detriments of epidurals with her, I can vouch for the fact that she is even bubblier and more adorable in person than she comes across on her website.  And remarkably, still not annoying.  And I am easily annoyed.

For the record, the PW has four (beautiful) children, and has had two epidurals.  She gives me confidence, either way.

The PW complimented me on my burgeoning “waistline,” and told me that she could discuss childbirth all day.  And I wished for a moment that I was not person #123 in line for a hundreds-of-persons book signing, and that I could sit down and share a beverage with her.  Because while the PW is adorable, and her cooking blog frequently makes me salivate, and her home school blog gives me confidence that I, too, could homeschool, if Honeydew and I decide that such a path is appropriate for It’ll, and her home and garden blog makes me want to whip out the ole DeWalt and build myself some raised flower beds, and her photography blog caused me to actually read the owner’s manual to my Fancy Weddin’ Gift Camera, it is the personal part of her blog, and now her best selling book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, that draws me to her website, day after day.

The PW inspires me daily with her appreciation for the odd life she finds herself living, on one of the country’s largest working cattle ranches in the middle-of-nowhere-Oklahoma.  Her love for her husband, for her children, for sunsets and rises and wild mustangs and Diet Dr. Pepper, all resonate with me.  Though I grew up with a little more dirt under my fingernails than did the PW, who grew up on the golf course, I too, traded my black heels for tractor wheels when I fell in love with my husband and left the big city lawyer life in Missoula and moved to the middle-of-nowhere-Northern-Montana.

The PW’s near-daily-drivel reminds me of why I fell for Honeydew: like the PW’s husband, Marlboro Man, when Honeydew fell in love with me, he just up and told me, refusing to play the 21st century game of playing it cool, and thereby surprising me like no other man had ever come close to doing – sometimes I think I was “surprised” into love with Honeydew.

The PW’s posts about the quiet beauty of life on a cattle ranch, despite the resulting unavailability of fresh artichoke hearts and Americanos, bolster me on the occasional day when the remoteness of life under the Big Sky closes in on me and I feel a bit alone.  And malnourished.

And the PW’s posts about her affection for Anthropologie shopping sprees and shellac manicures underline for me that while I may have left the city behind, that doesn’t mean I have to live in Carhartts 365 days per year.  364 will do well enough for the honeybees.

Thank you, PW, for coming out to Great Falls, Montana, and for continuing to remind me of the odd beauty of my own life, not as a ranch wife, but as the Beekeeper’s Wife.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

So.  I went Great Falls over the weekend.  I got to meet The Pioneer Woman, another blogger who has inspired me to love the assorted oddities of my rural life all the more.  I attended the Charlie Russell art auction.  Made new friends.  Wandered around Great Falls in the 56 degree weather, soaking up the sunshine and flaunting my jacket-less arms.  Took many, many photographs.

Arrived back to Babb, sans camera …

Will be back to blogging when I locate said camera.  If you find it, send it my way!

Now, the snow’s not over, folks.  On the 49th Parallel, we usually see the fluffy stuff every month of the year, though July is sometimes an exception, which is why I deem it a Season Unto Itself, and My Favorite Month of the Year, and Don’t-You-Dare-Get-Married-Outside-of-Montana-in-July-Cause-I-Ain’t-Leaving.  But I digress.

Though the snow isn’t over, winter does seem to be easing its death grip around the proverbial neck of Glacier County.  And that is cause for celebration!

Just look at the sunshine I soaked up en route to post office yesterday!  The angle of the Earth has changed enough that the sun warmed the inside of my car, instead of just lighting it.  Ah.  Bliss.

Of course, “spring” in the Rockies doesn’t mean the daffodils, hyacinths, and redbuds of the South.  Here, it will mean weeks of gray snow and mud, and plenty of it, as we melt out.  We’ll probably go from a constant Winter Storm Warning to a constant Flooding Warning.

But I will choose to focus on the beauty of that sole patch of dirt in front of the Warehome, and on Sunday, as we officially welcome Spring, I will rejoice.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

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