August 2011


When Honeydew and I were expecting Maggie (or It’ll, as we called her back then), we talked endlessly of what she might look like.  Honeydew thought he remembered how to do Mendelian genetics squares, and he decided that since he and I both have green eyes — which he thought were a double recessive trait — then our baby would have to have green eyes, too.

Well, Maggie Rose popped out with eyes glowing like the lupine that blooms on the Iceberg Lake trail.

And our obstretrician explained to us that Honeydew hadn’t quite remembered the rules of genetics, that it is quite possible we’ll have blue eyed children.

Aren’t we lucky?

Maggie Rose is only three months old, so her eyes may change … but I kinda hope not.  I like seeing my Grandma Ivey looking out at me with those baby blues.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

We’ve got snow in the forecast for tomorrow night.  Sigh.

I’m not ready to let go of Summer just yet – she took her sweet time arriving, but when she did, she was as beautiful as any summer I’ve known here, making the fields blush with alfalfa, turning Kennedy Creek warm enough for swimming, and sending gauzy pink dawns to gently roust us from our morning beds.

And let’s not forget the sunsets she gifted us …

I took these on Saturday night, and though I didn’t know about the snow forecast at the time, I wondered if Summer might be making her curtain call.

Come on, Summer – encore!

2011. Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

And already one heckuva forklift operator.

Yay, Maggie Rose!

Good thing you decided to start pulling your weight around here, little girl.

Honeydew and I were just about to get rid of you.

We’ve got a long week of pulling and extracting honey ahead of us … but we did find time to get the first 500# of gorgeous, delicious 2011 honey in our 1# squeeze top bottles!  Get your order in at www.glaciercountyhoney.com.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

This morning, I am searching my brain for the right words, which is quite frustrating to me, as my fingers should be flying across the keyboard.  For the first time in months, we have both taken a day off to do nothing, and Honeydew lies contentedly on the couch with our baby, watching Saturday morning cartoons.  In my office, I am surrounded by reminders of bills to pay and checkbooks to balance and Quickbooks accounts to analyze, but we have agreed that I will take a much needed hour and write.

Today marks seven years – seven – since my youngest brother, Howard, died in a fraternity house fire, along with two of his friends.

I am sitting here, sipping my coffee half-n-half, wishing I had an archaeology degree – like Brother Dear.

Looking at the last photo taken of my intact pre-Honeydew family, I think that such a degree might help me to write about what I have decided are the eras of my lives.  The word Paleozoic comes to mind, but then again, I am only thirty-one.

There is certainly the pre-Howard’s-death era, a gloriously innocent and privileged time in my life that lasted 24 years, as I was 24 when he died.

And there is obviously the post-Howard era.  Not so glorious.

But this morning, after Maggie had her breakfast, the three of us curled up on our bed, under our sunny, western facing window, and Maggie Rose commenced her morning routine: cooing, smiling, and laughing delightedly with her whole heart.

And I realized that for me, the immediate-post-Howard era is over.

I am not saying that Maggie’s birth filled in all the potholes in my soul that Howard’s death left behind.  Until the day that I die, I will keep the memories of the black grief that defined the immediate-post-Howard era, and the hard lessons learned.

But I can say that Maggie’s arrival has gifted me with a new set of tires with which to navigate said potholes.

Her birth does not make Howard’s death, and gaping presence in our lives, easier or better or different in its effect on my ability to handle screaming smoke detectors or gorgeous young men bursting with potential – dead or alive.

But from the moment Honeydew said, slowly, in a wondrous tone I’d never hear him use before, “It’s a … it’s a … girl!” I have known that I am in a new era in my life.

Go on, Mama said.

And I am glad that I listened to my Mama, that I did not let paralyzing grief turn into paralyzing fear, or rejection of joy.

Howard, how I wish you could hold Maggie on my couch this fine morning.  Love you so, Littlest Brother.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

As far Honey Harvest 2011 goes, I think this picture says it all.

Thanks so much to everyone pulling honey, uncapping frames, putting lunch out, de-stickifying the Warehome, procuring groceries, and most importantly, keeping Maggie happy.  It’s been a great year, in more ways than one.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Uncle Brother Dear knows a lot about a little, and a little about a lot.  He has much to teach Maggie Rose.

But he especially knows about football.  NFL Football, to be precise.

And so her pigskin education is off to an early start.  How can it be football season already?

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

If I had a dollar for every phone call, e-mail, or Facebook message we get about comb honey … well, y’all get the idea.

What is comb honey, you ask?  Well, it’s really just honey that’s still in its natural beeswax packaging.  Before the modern honey extractor was invented, comb honey was the only honey there was, and everyone happily slathered the honey-and-beeswax combination on their biscuits and peanut butter sammies.

But after the modern honey extractor was invented, and honey could easily be separated from beeswax, folks got used to the idea of liquid, beeswax-free-honey, and comb honey fell out of fashion with consumers.  Comb honey fell out of fashion with beekeepers, too, as they noticed that their bees were thrilled to get their frames of wax back intact, ready to refill with honey – with comb honey, bees have to work much harder, creating the beeswax foundation that stores the honey again and again.  Sometimes they’ll swarm rather than work comb honey frames.  Sometime’s they’ll do crazy things with the rest of the honey in the hive, too …

As a result, comb honey is hard to find these days.

But as the phone calls continued to pour in, with folks searching for comb honey, I remembered that Honeydew’s parents had once run comb honey supers, and I wondered aloud to him if we could do the same thing.  Honeydew grumbled, as he always does when I get yet another idea that involves expanding our retail business, but he dutifully pulled out the comb honey equipment that we had apparently purchased with our buyout of most of the assets of the Chief Mountain Honey Company, Honeydew’s dad’s.  I didn’t even know we already had it, tucked safely away in Warehouse #1!  Honeydew inventoried what we had, and instructed me to order more equipment to get started with.

Then, Honeydew’s mom came up to meet Maggie Rose, and she spent several days cleaning up the old equipment for us.  When the new equipment arrived, the 2011 Summer Help, my mom, and I spent a rainy afternoon putting it all together.

We decided to try our luck with traditional Ross Rounds, and also with a new comb honey system from Bee-O-Pac.

Yesterday, Honeydew and the boys pulled the first of the comb honey supers, and we held our breaths as Honeydew gently pushed the frames apart from each other.  To our relief and delight, the bees made comb honey!

Some of the comb honeys are more perfect than others, and so I’m brainstorming what to do with the comb honeys that bees left half full.  I’m not sure if I can scrape them out of the plastic frames, drop them in a mason jar and cover them with liquid honey, but I’d like to.  Wouldn’t that be purty?

We’ll be harvesting Ross Rounds next week, and then we’ll be announcing our new product(s) on our website.   Comb honey lovers, stay tuned in for more!

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

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