May 2012


We believe the maxim that all press is good press, as long as they spell your name correctly.

In this case, they got our phone number wrong (that’s our fax number, y’all – if you need to buzzz at us, call 406-544-2818), but they spelled our name right, and we’re thrilled to be a part of Peaks and Plains!

Thanks for believing in entrepreneurs, Peaks and Plains.

And thanks for believing in Glacier County Honey Co., darling blog readers.

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

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We threw Maggie a little soiree yesterday.  Oh, I know she didn’t “know” it was her birthday, nor did she “need” a party.  But excuses to get the neighborhood kids (and by that I mean a 5o mile radius) together are few and far between, and so we seized the day.

Plus, all of our ranching friends get to have branding parties — where all the other neighbors come and help brand this year’s calves — and we don’t find it time effective to brand millions of bees, so we thought Maggie’s birthday was a great reason to ice down the Bud Light and invite over our friends.

Maggie learned about pinatas:

And beehive rum cakes:

And cupcakes:

And candles:

And buttercream:

Thanks to Pseudo Sista for all the help!

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Honeydew and I rolled over in the gray, predawn light and beamed at each other this morning.  We’ve managed to keep our firstborn alive for an entire year.

And what a year it has been.  Today, I’m using the blog to capture a few details of Maggie’s arrival, because everyone knows that I can barely remember my own name from week to week, and if I don’t write these down Maggie Rose might never know that despite her adoration of Daddy, she was a Mama’s girl in the beginning, resisting three separate rounds of inducement and electing to remain in the womb far beyond her due date of Friday, May 13.

Eventually, her amniotic fluid levels plummeted, and I was admitted to the hospital for the inducements.  I paced the halls restlessly for almost three days before her arrival, admiring the sparkling May sunshine beyond the windows and wishing It’ll, as we called her then, were there to enjoy it with me.  When she did finally deign to begin the journey to oxygen and double cheeseburgers, I bounced on an oversize yoga ball and then floated in a warm tub, fascinated by the strength of the contractions, confident in my body’s abilities.

Hours slipped by, and it was time to push, the most instinctual, primal feeling I have ever known. I closed my eyes and pictured myself step-step-breathing up Mt. Siyeh, finally grasping the legal concept of the Rule Against Perpetuities  at 2:30am during finals, recovering from a miniature panic attack on a open ledge on Mt. Clements and continuing to the top.  I knew I had the grit, the determination, the strength.  Honeydew and Dr. Bowden announced they could see Maggie’s head, and I glanced at the clock and realized that the morning sunlight had turned to inky darkness.

But still she did not come.

And then, just before midnight, Dr. Bowden took my hand and looked at me with her quiet confidence, letting the silence speak for itself.  “Are we out of options?” I asked with a hitch in my voice.  And she said yes, that I had labored long enough that she was concerned for It’ll and for me, that It’ll’s head was just too big, and that she wanted to perform a c-section, the one possibility of labor that I had feared and dreaded.

Twenty minutes later, Maggie was pulled from my lower abdomen, and under the weight of the anesthesia pinning my lungs to the icy operating table, I struggled to put all the conviction I had left in me into my voice.  “What is it?”

“It’s a … it’s a … it’s a girl!”  Honeydew exclaimed, in sheer wonder, gazing over the blue sheet separating me from my lower body, and my baby.

And so you were, Maggie Rose.

You have made this past year the most exhausting, magical year of my life.  Daddy and I would not trade you for all the coffee in South America, even on days that you are teething.

Happy first birthday, Maggie Rose!

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

When Blackstone Farms was first offered for sale, a dear friend – Bruce Valley, for those of y’all lucky enough to know this fine young man – asked me how I felt about my parents selling my childhood stomping grounds.  We were sitting in the Many Glacier bar, and out of my mouth came a casual line that’s now stuck around long enough to be true.

“Home is where your mama is,” I said to Bruce, meaning no disrespect to my equally beloved father.

Why did I say this?  I’m not sure if it’s because my mom is the penultimate homemaker — I strive to be half as good as she is — or if it’s that the first home we ever know, the watery womb, is so deeply imprinted into our cortex that we don’t even realize that calling out for Mama means calling out for home.

Whatever the reason, I put little thought into my answer, and as so rarely happens, I found I instinctively knew the truth without overanalyzing it.  Home is where your Mama is.

And on Monday, she happened to be in Glacier County, my “actual” home, as did my dad and Brother Dear.  The skies were perfect and I’d worked through the weekend, so we took to Glacier Park to celebrate spring’s homecoming, cruising down to Two Medicine to scramble up the longest 3.1 miles in the park, to Scenic Point.

Hi, Mom.  Thanks for getting us to take a day off and go hiking.

Maggie Rose and I inadvertently dressed alike.  As did Brother Dear and Mom.  Dorks.

At the bottom, the trail has a lot of snow cover, but no big deal, though I’d recommend waterproof shoes.  As it climbs higher, the snowbanks get a little steeper, but nothing scary if you’re not toting a baby on your back.  I’m not as coordinated as Brother Dear, so he took Maggie, and my poles, and maneuvered her through.  Good work, Uncle Brother Dear!

The saddle before the ridge walk out to actual Scenic Point is choked with snow, though I imagine if you didn’t have a nearly-1-year-old in tow you could probably easily scramble above it.  We deemed the saddle “good enough” and soaked in the gorgeous views of Two Medicine.

Everyone had to help carry Maggie Rose.  She weighs about 25# and I can’t say I’m real impressed with the Kelty Kids pack we’ve got her in.  Anyone have a recommendation on a more comfortable model, or should we just step up the walking practice?

A herd of Bighorn sheep escorted us out.  I don’t know why I still take sheep pictures, but they always thrill me, and it was fun to watch Maggie notice them for the first time.

Ah, Glacier.  You’re not home in the sense that Mama is, but you’re a mighty close second.  So good to see you!

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Growing up at Blackstone Farms, we lived too far out to get cable, and my parents didn’t break down and get a satellite dish until I was in high school.  So, I watched a lot of movies on VHS as a kid.  Among my favorites was, and is, Camelot, the musical starring Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Harris and Franco Nero.  So many great songs in that movie – I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight?, The Simple Joys of Maidenhood, and The Lusty Month of May:

Tra la! It’s May!

The lusty month of May!

That lovely month when ev’ryone goes

Blissfully astray.

Tra la! It’s here!

That shocking time of year

When tons of wicked little thoughts

Merrily appear!

It’s May! It’s May!

That gorgeous holiday

When ev’ry maiden prays that her lad

Will be a cad!

It’s mad! It’s gay!

A libelous display!

Those dreary vows that ev’ryone takes,

Ev’ryone breaks.

Ev’ryone makes divine mistakes

The lusty month of May!

When the skies in Glacier County look like this …

and we’re sweating through our shirt sleeves in mid-May, I always wander around humming this tune.  Last year, I missed the entirety of May-in-Glacier-County due to Maggie Rose’s arrival.  She was worth it.

But.  Ah, May.  So good to see you.

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for your entries!  Your summer excesses got us pumped up for summer!  Ours is tubing the St. Mary River after a long day of pulling/extracting honey.

We used a random number generator to pick the winner, and are pleased to announce it is #6, Lindsey Jane Photography!  Lindsey Jane took these gorgeous photos of Maggie Rose last fall, so we’re acquainted.  Lindsey, shoot me an email and let me know which SweatyBand you prefer and if I should deliver your prize to Whitefish or if you’d prefer it shipped to a lucky lady.  courtney (at) glaciercountyhoney (dot) com

If you didn’t win, you can order your SweatyBands on www.glaciercountyhoney.com … free shipping with any honey or wax order!

And, another giveaway is coming soon … meanwhile, the first load of our bees arrives about 6am tomorrow, so we’re off to bed to rest up for proper salutations!

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Last Mother’s Day, I was massively pregnant, and although Honeydew took me out to dinner with my own mother and father to mark the day, I felt like I had snuck into a bar with a fake ID – an imposter at a party I wasn’t yet ready to attend.

Oh, sure, pregnancy can require a little sacrifice – I gave up champagne, deli meat, and alpine skiing while incubating Maggie Rose.  Big whoop.  But it’s not mothering.  In this last year I’ve learned that mothering is also not defined by the moments when your baby gifts you with a toothy grin or wants to hug your neck.

Mothering is the endless days, some with a rhythm, some — harder — without, of keeping a baby warm, clean, fed, entertained, comforted, learning, loved.

Mothering is the newfound well of patience that comes from deep within the spinal cord, tapped for the first time in the delivery of a child.

Mothering is the constant tears of joy and fear that mark the moments.  The Hallmark cards go on and on about how becoming a mother will give you the greatest joy you’ve ever known, but they fail to mention that this is so because becoming a mother scares you down in the darkest corners of your soul.  Everything in nature has a flip side, a counter point, a perfect opposite, and mothering has taught me that joy’s is fear.

This spring, while we were in California, I walked almost daily on the Sacramento River Trail, pushing Maggie Rose’s stroller for miles and miles, alone with my thoughts, drinking in the goodness of the great outdoors.  One afternoon, I returned to my car after a particularly long walk, at a deserted trailhead I hadn’t used before.  I found the back window to my car smashed in, shards of tinted glass filling every nook and cranny of Maggie’s car seat.  The trailhead was deserted, dusk was falling, cell phone service was minimal.  Before Maggie, I’d have been outraged over the destruction of my personal property — and the theft of my purse, which I was fond of, but which contained only dirty diapers, a can of bear spray, and coupons.  But I would have simply called the Sheriff to make the report, brushed the glass off my seat, and turned the key in the ignition to go home.

With Maggie Rose in my shaking arms, I turned my X Ray Mother Vision to the shadows of the surrounding manzanita, looking for thieves lying in wait for me.  I palmed the rock used to break the window and wondered about the accuracy of my aim, as I slowly circled the car, balancing Maggie on one hip.  I took out my cell phone and willed it to have service, turning in careful circles as I contacted the Sheriff, who was not helpful, and Jackie, who was, and immediately tracked Honeydew down and sent him my way.  I armed myself with a large piece of jagged glass and pictured myself defending Maggie to the death, drawing blood without regret.

I knew I would do anything to protect the greatest joy in my life, although I was about as afraid as I have ever been.  I realized in those long, forbidding shadows that Hallmark is also right about how the delivery a child is the simultaneous delivery of your heart, wandering around, dreadfully exposed, outside of your body until the day that you die.

One year in, I think that mothering is to live in joyful fear.  I don’t mean that negatively.  Looking at my Maggie’s face, I’d say this life of joyful fear can be a state of near nirvana.

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

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