It’s been a while, and you’re deserving of an update!
I’ve had three harvests so far this year. The first was by far the biggest (four gallons), and the other two have been closer to two gallons each. All in all a good year for me. I think I’ll get another harvest which puts me right at my goal of ten gallons (roughly 120 pounds of honey).
I’ve started selling honey again as well. Not a lot, but I’ve made $43 from two sales, and I’m looking forward to more. I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and hit the farmers market, which is exciting! And I kind of want to talk about that a bit on a personal level, so….
I’ve wanted to do the farmers market for a while now. My old beekeeping friend and I had long planned on doing it, but we just never got around to it last year. Between school, work, and other responsibilities, we just never did. And that was fine. I assumed that we would take this summer getting ready, and that was always the plan.
Until it wasn’t.
Without going into a lot of details, which would not really be appropriate for this forum anyway, that friend is no longer a friend. I don’t want to speak much more about it because, even now, I still think quite fondly of him and wish him the best. I truly want him to be happy, but enough of that.
Because of that and the ensuing fall out, I spent a lot of the summer ignoring the bees (too much emotional connection to that friend). I did what I had to do to keep them alive, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that my passion for the bees started to come back. I had lost that for the passion of doing something with that best friend. I’ve returned to the roots of beekeeping that brought me into the industry long before he ever joined me, and in doing so, I’ve rekindled a bit of that fire.
I’ve used this late summer as a chance to bring many friends to the hives with me, to rebuild my love of mentoring, and get excited again.
The other day, a friend of mine mentioned that he wanted to see me excited for life again, something that largely disappeared with the start of the summer and the failures of that friendship. As I debated with Courtney about what that could be, we decided together on the bees, particularly growing a cottage industry around our bees, which leads us to the Farmers Market!
So our community does several farmers markets throughout the summer and fall, and the biggest is not far from our house. We’re going to run a booth there on October 19th and see what happens. Here’s a short list of some of what we are planning on offering:
- Honey (2 oz mini bears, 1/2 lb jars, and 1 pound jars)
- Rolled beeswax candles (at least two sizes)
- Poured tapers (sold in pairs)
- Honey butter (homemade honey and homemade butter to boot!)
- Lip Balms (in tubes this time instead of the little jars)
- Lotion (2 oz tubs)
There are a few other ideas that we have that I’m keeping in my back pocket for now….
Last night Courtney and I spent the evening rolling candles while watching the classically funny Knights Tale. The night before that, we stayed up late in the kitchen bottling honey. It was nice to have a joint hobby together, to stay up a bit late doing good things, and spending that time together just us without the kids.
It’s also rekindling a long-time desire of mine to open up a bee-based storefront. A real one. There are so few real bee stores in my area, and all of them are, well… poorly done. The biggest one is literally in the middle of the train yard, hard to find, and run by very knowledgeable but “salty” people if that makes sense. Not exactly a group of people who help bring others in. 🙂 (And I say that with a full confession of how much I enjoy those people!)
I’ve got a coworker who is fascinated by the idea and very interested in joining in. I guess we’ll see what happens, but if the farmers market is successful in the coming weeks, you can bet that we’ll be taking a loooong look at where we go from here. In fact, if it is successful, we may try for a season-long setup at this farmers market instead of a single weekend. And if that is successful… 🙂
It’s nice to see the fire coming back into hives again. Nice to see them as joys instead of chores. And honestly… it’s nice to be doing it for me again instead of for others.