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:

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

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.

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

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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?

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And how I love hiking with this bunch.

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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.

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

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He even napped:

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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.

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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.

Oh, the highs and lows of small business.  There isn’t enough room on the internets for the tales of joy and woe we could tell, so we’ll say this: despite the extremities, we couldn’t imagine any other life, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished.  On June 1, 2014, we will celebrate five years in small business!

To celebrate Small Business Saturday, we’re offering a FREE Honeybear Beeswax Candle (regular price: $12) with any purchase over $29!

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If you’d like one of these candles — our runaway bestseller in 2013! — just add one to your shopping cart on www.glaciercountyhoney.com.  When you check out, our website will e-mail you an incorrect invoice charging you for the candle.  Wait a little while, and we’ll e-mail you an updated, corrected invoice with credit/debit/check payment options.  If you have any questions, please e-mail sales@glaciercountyhoney.com or call 406-544-2818.

If you have other discount codes, feel free to use those, too.  We appreciate your support more than we can say as we look towards our 5th year.  Shop Small, y’all.

The fine print: must order $29 before other discounts in merchandise.  Offer expires at midnight MST on Small Biz Saturday 2013.  Don’t make Santa mad.  Etc.

2013.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Cut Bank is our county seat, where we go to pay taxes, buy groceries, and tinker with cars.  I started my legal career there as an intern in 2006, and in the way of small towns, quickly became friends with a guy about my age with a similar inclination for twisting political conversations and an adoration of the Rockies.  Not long ago, my friend decided to apply himself to his photography hobby, and the results are stunning.  I emailed him and asked to use these photos on my blog because I think y’all just have to see them.

May I present, the Northern Lights from Cut Bank, Montana, on October 1, 2013:

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To keep up with Jackson’s photography, check him out on Flickr: jbell2006.

Thanks for letting me share, Jackson.  Keep up the good work!

2013.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All photo credits to Jackson Bell.  All Rights Reserved.

Montana, you’ve never gifted me with a lovelier summer.   Thank you.  But could we talk about fall?  As in, are we going to have one, or just go straight from hot to freezing?

The mountains are already wearing their sleek white coats, and they gleam in the late afternoon light, which is fading faster each day.  I went out to grab a load of wood last night, just after 8pm, and was astounded to realize I would need a flashlight for my task.

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I dropped our kids off in Helena for a weekend with Grandma Sarah and Grandpa Walt, while Honeydew and I reconnected with hunting camp, and drove right into a full on snowstorm on McDonald Pass.

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At camp, we celebrated a 40th birthday and made many new friends.   Making friends never gets old.  One of them noticed a 3′ rattlesnake slugglishly slithering along the dirt road leading to the cabin, stepped on his brakes, backed up, rummaged around his sedan, and promptly decapitated the rattler with his … ice scraper.  Yes, y’all.  I wouldn’t go so far to say it was tasty, but I would say that the texture had that same rubbery-ness that Chicken McNuggets have.  But I’m a snob, I know.

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He’ll get a pretty belt out of it, regardless.

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On the way to hunting camp, although it was not at all on the way, I drove the Going-to-the-Sun Road for the last time this year.  It was scheduled to close for construction, and would have closed regardless due to the government shutdown, but I like that Mother Nature took over the show and closed it herself, with 8″ of snow at Logan Pass over the weekend.

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Baby Howard continues to smile and I swear nothing has ever made me smile so insanely in return.  I am obsessed with that smile of his.  On the other hand, at 5am Howard tends to prove the “everything in nature has an equal and opposite reaction” maxim: no baby has ever put more tortured angst into the howls he lets out upon waking and immediately deciding that he is starving.  It’s disturbing, buddy!

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Maggie Rose continues to be a very sweet Big Sister, unless the attention of her Nat Nat, and occasionally her Nan, is at stake.  But otherwise, she’s actually more helpful than I could have dreamed when Howard first came home from the hospital and I felt like I spent all day protecting him from her forceful affections.

Maggie, it looks like we’re in for a long winter.  Daddy and I sure are lucky to have you to help!  How are you with a snow shovel?  I think we’ll be finding out.

2013.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

Dear July,

Our history together is storied, though I cannot know if our love affair is one sided or not.  I try to celebrate you fully, and yesterday, during my daily mad dash to the post office, I paused for a moment on our dusty dirt road and drank in the goodness of the last day of your July-ness, and I thought to write to you and recap our best moments together this year.

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As anyone who’s read this blog for any period of time knows, you are by far my favorite month of the year, and I was a little heartbroken when I awoke this morning in the cool quiet and realized today is August 1.

Oh, July.

We worked on most of your days this year, as the result of the start to what Honeydew and I think will be a very fine honey harvest.  Can’t complain about that.  Thank you for your bountiful sunshine and calm winds that helped the bees make such a great crop.

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But there was time for play, too.

In memory of my brother, Howard, we participated in our annual Beer Olympics.  Remarkably, for the 7th year in a row, the only injuries suffered by the enthusiastic participants were ones to the ego.

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Notably in July, our new son Howard met his Sissy, and it was true love on both sides.

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And Maggie learned about sharing Nan’s lap:

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Maggie Rose also went on her first self-propelled hike, with me, Howard, Nan and Chuck, around the Red Eagle Nature Trail.  It was a little too long for a 2 year old, but listening to Maggie chanting “Maggie hikin’!” for the first mile or so was the best sound these ears have ever heard.  Of course this would happen in July.

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Since then, Maggie’s hiked from Sunrift Gorge to Sun Point, and up to Hidden Pass from Logan Pass.  I really can’t say whether or not she actually likes hiking, but she surely does like the ice cream that inevitably follows it!

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Ugh.  Blue, bubblegum ice cream.  Maybe we don’t share the same tastebuds after all, Maggie Rose!

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On July 4, we held our annual Parade & Potluck at Duck Lake, and Maggie once again fulfilled her Royal Duties.

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She also played her first game of kickball, in the Big Field.  I’d be willing to bet she’s the only two year old in Montana who played kickball in July wearing Lilly Pulitzer — thanks to Southern friends for keeping her true to her roots!

Honeydew and I always say that Maggie was born in the Summer of the Snow.  Remember this?  Well, it practically stuck around till the next winter!  We’ll tell Howard that he was born in the Summer of the Bears.  They were legion and storied in July 2013.  This guy stole our volleyball during the Hillstock festivities:

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As the month wore on, a lovely woman who spends her summers at Duck Lake was attacked by a bear while walking just north of the lake. Not long after that, I ran into a black bear near Sun Point while carrying Howard, holding Maggie Rose’s hand, and trying to keep up with my 8 and 10 year old niece and nephew.   And then our dear friend, The Bear Ranger for Glacier National Park, heard a late night noise in her kitchen and discovered that a black bear had jimmied open the latched screen door and let himself in.  Now, what are the Las Vegas odds on that?

Definitely the Summer of the Bears.

Howard grew and grew each day of July, although at first his relative tiny-ness next to Maggie Rose concerned me, and I worried.  Funny how you can forget infancy’s fragility in two short years.   He’s just fine.

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July, thank you for your good humour and kind countenance.

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I will miss each you day until we are re-united.  Tell March to be gentle with me.

Love, Courtney

2013.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Some photo credits to Charlie Stone.  All Rights Reserved.

In the midst of all the general harvest time insanity around here, our local FSA office called and wanted to know if we could help entertain USDA Undersecretary Ed Avalos during his visit to Glacier County.

Well, why not?

Any chance to show the talking heads in DC what actual farmers do for a living is ok by us – no offense to Mr. Avalos, who we deemed an all around nice guy and enjoyed visiting with.

Here’s a few shots from our visit:

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Explaining the process of rendering beeswax.

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Showing off our gentle, sweet gals …

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… and our even sweeter baby boy, of course … his sister was napping.

Thanks for your interest in Montana agriculture, Undersecretary Avalos!

2013.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.