December 2011


For my family, today is Christmas Eve.  For yours, today might be a night of Chanukah celebration, or Festivus, or perhaps just another Saturday.  But whatever moves the spirit in your clan during this time of year, I think we can all raise our glasses to being on the right side of the solstice.  Every day will hold a smidge more light than the day before, every day until June 21.

And I could never get enough of Montana light.

May today be merry, and bright.  Happy Everything from Glacier County Honey Co.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Photo Credit and Toast Credit to Sanford Stone.  All Rights Reserved.

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Before:

After:

Ahhhh, the best part of Holiday Warehome Living: a 13′ Charlie Brown tree!  Our halls are officially decked.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

And I’m not just talking about changin’ diapers, or the commercial about how a baby changes everything.

Which she certainly does!

But times are a changin’ for the Glacier County Honey Co., too.  Since Maggie Rose’s arrival, this blog has leaned more towards babies than beekeeping, and y’all have been very forgiving.  But I like to write about our other girls, The Bees, too — as fascinating as Maggie is, her impact as a pollinator on our food supply is not as significant as that of our other daughters — and I’ll be doing a lot more of that starting next month.

Before Honeydew and I were married, I practiced law in Missoula, Montana, with the most intelligent, ethical, and entertaining ladies a gal could ask for.  After I married Honeydew, I started my own firm in Cut Bank and for the last several years, I’ve been assisting with divorces, wills, and parenting plans for folks along the High Line.  The highs and lows of being a solo practitioner, and later, of being in a partnership with Brother Dear, are among the most extreme I have known, and those experiences molded me in ways — good and bad — that are hard to explain.  I can say that every bit of those years negotiating, advocating, and researching beautifully prepared me for a partnership in a fairly big Small Business with my husband.  Especially the negotiating!  Whew, Honeydew and I spend a lot of time together.

Between the growing Small Business – thanks to each of you who have supported us, you are making our dream come true – and the growing Baby, I’ve had to make a decision about whether or not to continue to wear the Lawyer hat.  To say that I’ve struggled with this decision is so vastly inadequate.

There is the Lawyer part of me that asks, “But won’t you be undermining all of those years you spent working your tail off for your law degree? Won’t you be undermining all the women who’ve come before you, and who will come after you, who think that you are part of the problem with women advancing in law?  Have a baby, quit lawyering – we’ve heard it all before.”   And while I believe those women are a little harsh – after all, excepting the actresses and actors who can afford a surrogate, the one thing we can’t outsource is the delivery of our own children – I still hear their voices.

And then there is Lawyer vanity, too, if I’m honest with myself.  Every now and again, I enjoy throwing on a pretty suit – ah, no having to match a top to pants! – and getting together with my colleagues to bend our brains in exploring a fine point of law, or politics, or literature.  Lawyers love to talk, and I am no exception.  Beekeepers love to talk too, but I am just an eager 1L in that field, armed with knowledge from books but lacking the confidence and expertise gained only from actual practice, and I am hesitant in my remarks.

And then there is the Small Business Owner part of me that questions, “Do you see the way this business is growing?  Do you realize that you were the one who started the retail end of the business, and that you can’t dump it on Honeydew just because you’ve gotten busy with a custody dispute?  Do you see that the harder you and Honeydew work, the bigger it gets?  Do you see that there is no one else to do this work, only the two of you?”

And then there is the Personal part of me that insists, “Do you see that you are spreading yourself too thin, that you can’t be a good Small Business Owner, and a good Lawyer, and a good Wife, and most importantly, a good Mom?  Moreover, do you really think if you make it to be 90, laying there on a bed you can hardly get out of, that you will wish you had spent more time driving to Cut Bank and appearing in courthouses from Choteau to Shelby, more time growing your own business and less time growing the business that you own with your husband?  Less time with Maggie Rose and Honeydew?”

In short, for much of 2011, I’ve had a lot of voices in my head.  I’ve listened, I’ve argued, I’ve cursed them for keeping me from sleep.  I have struggled to make the right decision.  And of course, when you are married and have children, you make decisions not only for yourself – and that is a concept, if I am again honest with myself, that I am still absorbing.  I was on my own for many years before I married Honeydew.  There are still moments in our marriage, in our business partnership, when I default to the decision making skill set of my 20s, the skill set that takes into consideration me, and only me.  I’ve realized that, and I’m working on it, and it’s part of why it took me so many months to decide about the Lawyering, and even more months to write about it.

So, I’ve decided that there will come a time — probably much sooner than I imagine — when Maggie Rose is older, and the Glacier County Honey Co. is more established, and neither of them will need me so much.  And I may re-evaluate the voices, this decision, at that time.

But for now, I’ve decided to put the Lawyering hat on the shelf, and to accompany Honeydew to California to check on the bees and learn a little bit more about almond pollination, splitting, shaking, and queen grafting.  Perhaps, while I am there, I will watch Maggie take her first steps in an olive grove.  Certainly I will be present in my marriage mentally and physically, and I will embrace the decision I made and not look back.

And that is my Christmas gift to myself.

Six-and-a-half-months going on Sixteen.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Nothing will.

20111214-092932.jpg

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

This morning, the moonset stole the show from dawn.

I posted this poem about December last year, and liked it so much that I think I’ll post it again, today.  I think it serves as a gentle reminder that while the bright lights of December – whether from the moon or otherwise – bring joy to many, they can also illuminate the empty places at the table.  Like the song says, say hello to everyone you meet, on the street, in December – and bee kind.

Poem for December

after so many decades we know it so well

they don’t even need to transmit anymore

the constant message already inside us

you have to be perfect yet every year

ends although certain people are forever gone

this time of year is always the best

whole days by your hands collected

sweet baked apples placed on a tray

the end of the night now it is early

you are awake suddenly it is December

here come the days many people dread

like white sentinels coming to arrest us

for a better holiday here is the secret

put some bacon in the stock and don’t tell

grandma or Jeremy the pale

silently didactic vegan boyfriend

keep the wine away from the uncles

who with every glass become more conservative

until their hearts are very organized

everyone should have been an only child

maybe the one who would have soothed

barely the edges is gone so imagine

someone just closed the blinds in the room

the one you grew up in so you could sleep

far into the morning

-Matthrew Zapruder, featured in Real Simple Magazine, December 2010

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Photo credit to Sanford Stone.  All Rights Reserved.

We’ll keep this short.  And sweet, of course.  Because of the very rural nature of our post office, and the often-insane-winter-weather-conditions near Babb, we’re recommending that you place Hanukkah and Christmas orders by Monday, December 19, though we’re shipping through the 23rd.  So, with ten days to go, we’re offering one last deal on honey.

First, we’re clearing out our stores of these 1/2 pound honey bears – we used them as favors when we were married.  So, there’s a limited number of them, and they’re on clearance!  Perfect for teacher gifts, stocking stuffers, or to add to a gift basket, too.  Our normal 1/2 pound stock runs $3.50 each.  These 1/2 pound bears are only THREE DOLLARS!  Stock up!

Adorable, no?

Also, by popular demand, we finally sent the best-honey-you’ve-never-tasted off to the company that makes honey stix.  Perfect to keep in your purse/diaper bag/briefcase/gym bag/backpack/car etc for your tea, your fried chicken, or just for a quick burst of all-natural, perfectly-balanced-combo-of-fructose-and-glucose, energy!  Twenty cents each.

Thanks, as always, for all your support, and for allowing us to turn our blog into an advertising forum every now and again.  Happy Holidays.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

The pile of packages-to-mail grew steadily all of yesterday.  By early afternoon, it was as tall as I am, and I am not short.  In the beeswax room, I wrapped gift baskets with one hand and adjusted the volume on the baby monitor with the other, listening to Honeydew and Maggie play in the nursery.  I reached for another 1# bottle of honey, and came up with nothing.  Out of honey?  Sure was.

Huh.  I leaned against my shipping table for a moment and tried to decide what to do.  There were hundreds of pounds of honey in the bottling tank, but it needed to sit another night, letting the air bubbles seep out of it.

A cloud shifted outside, and sunlight poured into the beeswax room windows, landing on my hiking boots, discarded by the door.

And I knew what really needed to be done.

And so we loaded up the truck with packages and baby, ruined the postmaster’s day, and proceeded on to Glacier National Park, to pay our respects.  This is what we saw:

Divide

Wind whipping water around Dead Horse Curve, St. Mary Lake

Sunset over Red Eagle, Mahotopa, Little Chief, and Dusty Star – from the Going-to-the-Sun Road at about 4pm.

Huge waves on St. Mary Lake.

Napi Point.  Lower St. Mary Lake, iced over.  We’ll be icefishing soon.

Two Sisters, all boarded up for winter.  We miss you, John and Susan.

Mighty Chief.

Till next time, Glacier.  Time to bottle those hundred of pounds of honey, and get back to shipping.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

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