Day to Day

Back in November, I posted my favorite annual blog, one of two occasions I hope never to miss – Thanksgiving, and the anniversary of my brother’s untimely death. I wrote of my goal to get back into consistent writing, my second true love and the one that has endured, brought me pain and joy, and helped to pay the ever mounting bills that adulthood and self awareness dictate due.

It’s almost May, but it’s never too late to try again.

Tonight, I’m sitting on my porch, listening to my neighbor’s cranky mower, the robins caterwauling over the last of the day’s worms, and Babyman and Sister warbling over the monitor. All business-building, marriage-growing, and baby-birthing aside, I feel I did a decent job documenting Sister’s entre into this staggeringly beautiful world. Babyman’s, not so much. 

He is a miracle, of course, as all babies are. Nearly two, he is as blue eyed and blonde as he is opinionated. Beets, baths, and bodacious John Deer tractors are the bread and butter of his days. He is as sturdy as they come, and yet needs me in a way that Sister never has, and he grasps my hand wherever we go and I feel his tiny pulse tickle my ring finger and give thanks, almost always, for the plethora of platelets coursing through his bloodstream. Sometimes when he is wailing face down on the hardwood over some entirely insignificant slight, this thanksgiving is admittedly hard to come by. Despite all my assumptions to the contrary, I have not turned out to be the mother my mother is, and I lack wells of endless patience, even as I hold him in my heart and not my arms as the tantrum continues. 

So I am sorry, Babyman, for the lack of documentation of your babyhood, for you are nearly a little boy these days.

And I am sorry, Sister, for not capturing your transition from the only child to the incredibly independent, generally kind big sister that you are.

But know that little was transcribed because we have been so delightfully busy teaching you to hike and ski and bike, while carting Brother around on our hips, and it has been a delightful 22 months of minutiae.

   The days are long but the years are short, indeed. 





Half a foot of fresh, wet snow smothers our yard, and all the sounds of the early morning, as I sit down to write.  I sit reluctantly, not because I do not adore stringing words together, but because my absence has made such stringing less like jewelry making and more like jewelry repair – there are unexpected knots to unravel, sparkling beads dropped to the floor and lost forever, rings of emotion too loose or too tight to wear just yet.

But I am grateful for this season of repair – the words, I trust, will still be there, when my Babyman is no longer a baby, and the Rose of the West is in school, and the company checkbook is balanced, and all the nagging insurance questions are answered, and the endless emails accumulating in my various inboxes are properly acknowledged.  I promise myself that after Christmas, when the last package is shipped and the inventory taken, I will take the time each day to write, to sweat, to run my fingers along the guitar Brother Dear gave me for Christmas last year, as I so long to learn to play.  And hopefully that will happen.

For now, pictures worth thousands of words of thankfulness:


My Maggie Rose.  She’ll be four in May.  Amazing.


My Babyman. Howard was about a year old in this shot – he’ll be 2 in June.

For old, dear friends …

law school

(law school)



college progeny

And the chance to know the beautiful children of those old friends.

I’m thankful for new friends …


And the opportunity to watch my children become friends with theirs on a near-daily basis.

fairy godmothers

For Fairy Godmothers …


For knowing where you come from … this picture was taken in October, at the Black-Kitchens Family Reunion, near Millen, Georgia, to celebrate Aunt Sarah Black Johnson’s 100th birthday!


For civilization, and the business opportunities it affords – thanks for all the small biz therapy, Mags, and congratulations to you and Cole on your beautiful brewery!  I’m thankful for good beer, too.

glacier national park2

For wilderness, and the joy it restores in me.

glacier national park

For wilderness, and the chance for introspection it so often presents.

glacier national park4

For wilderness, where I fell in love with the man who changed my life.

glacier national park23

For wilderness, the keeper of my most sacred memories …


It’s hard to be thankful for you, Howard, when I miss you so much, but I am thankful for the 19 years we shared, especially those last months in Glacier National Park.


For bees, for pollination, for honey, for a bountiful harvest, for the chance to get up every day and do it all over again.


And for my little family.  For the coffee cups and sippies and champagne flutes that delineate our days, I am most thankful of all.


And also, although I write because I love to write, and not to convince you, Gentle Reader, to buy our honey, we’re thankful for you, too, and would like to offer you 25% off your purchase, Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.  Not valid on 12# or 35# buckets, 12 packs/Super Sweet Savers, 20# blocks of wax, or shipping.  EARLYBIRDHONEY is the magic code you need.  Happy Thanksgiving!


2014. Glacier County Honey Co.  Some photo credits to Lindsey Jane Gardner.  All Rights Reserved.

Glacier County Honey Co. will be presenting at the WAS meeting next month in Missoula, as well as selling one of the prettiest crops of honey we’ve seen in recent years on the Oval at the University of Montana on Saturday, September 20, as part of the festivities.  For the agenda and other info on the conference, check this out:

Western Apiculture Society meeting in Missoula! September 17-20.

We have much to report: the 1st birthday of our youngest beekeeper, the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the arrival of July … but first, an announcement:

2014 FYOB Flyer jpg

We hope you’ll stop by and see us!  Please call Courtney at 406-544-2818 or email with any questions.

2014.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Falling in love with Honeydew was unexpected. Our paths had crisscrossed for years before we officially met at a 2007 party in the Tack Barn —- although to be fair, he claims he’d tried to chat me up at Charlie’s in a previous summer and was cooly rebuffed.

All things in due time.

When Honeydew appeared at Hillhouse five months later, swathed in layers of long underwear and the first shadows of the beard he can now grow proudly, to invite me icefishing I thought it simply an afternoon’s adventure.

I did not know that the early winter light would illuminate my path to marriage, motherhood, and business ownership – and our relationship is hewn out of the endless challenges of all three.

Tonight, we popped a cork in celebration of five years of business partnership: Glacier County Honey Co. incorporated June 1, 2009, not quite two months before we married.

We have, of course, baptized our endeavor in gallons of sweat, at least a pint of blood, and an ocean of tears. These truths are not surprising, but I am daily surprised by just how hard it has been, and also by how much I love being in business with my husband, despite the fact that our marriage, our family, would be less tried if we spent the bulk of our days engaged in the passionate pursuit of … different pursuits.

There are hot words I would un-say, cold actions I would undo, but on the cusp of five years, I simply choose to celebrate our mutual commitment to challenging work that matters, a life hard fought and deeply lived, a legacy that our children may pass on – or not.

Here’s to another five, fifteen, fifty years and beyond of life and love inextricably bound to Glacier County Honey Co. – through the wracking sobs and the triumphant glasses of champagne, owning it has taught me more about life, and myself, than all the previous experiences of my days put together. Salute!





Thanks to Natalee Rowe for our beautiful GCHC wine glasses!

2014. Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.

Winter and spring continue to battle it out in the heart of Many Glacier, but as I walked to Red Rock Falls yesterday with my husband, my three year old, my baby, my mom, my brother, and my dear friend, the brave Glacier lillies were thrusting their heads above the icy mud, always the first to add color to a still snow strewn landscape.  We also saw several munching moose – no big surprise in the Swiftcurrent Valley, but always a fun one, from a good distance.



The falls themselves were thundering, and sobering in their icy power:



And of course we enjoyed gazing at the incomparable mountains of Many Glacier, where we posed for a few family shots.  It’s never too early to think about the Christmas card, right?




And how I love hiking with this bunch.


What a difference a year makes – three miles was about a mile and a half too far for Maggie last summer, but it was just right this year, and she had a blast, as did we all.


Howard was an excellent rider, too.  No hair pulling and screaming —- yet.


He even napped:




This Memorial Day weekend, we reveled, as always, in our freedom to start our businesses, make our own rules, and live our lives on an international border in peace.


Thanks are certainly not enough to offer to the families of our veterans who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our many freedoms, but we’ll say them, always, and remember.

2014.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Maggie and Howard, you are one month shy of 3 and 1, and these are the busiest but best days of my life. Still no time for blogging, but here’s a placeholder of recent Easter snapshots for Mother’s Day 2014:





Raising the two of you makes me daily shake with laughter and fear, though becoming your mother made me entirely fearless in some ways, and utterly vulnerable in others. Y’all are the greatest adventure of my life.

2014. Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.


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