In the beginning...
A little better prepared...
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I started keeping bees as a young boy in Texas long (long) ago, before protective gear was truly protective. Consequently, I earned more than my fair share of stings and didn't balk when my beekeeping days ended.
I didn't stop eating honey, though. I had severe allergies as a child, and my mother was told by a wise doctor to use honey instead of sugar. My wife, Helen, was an easy convert.
I spent many years teaching and coaching (primarily football) in high school. Dealing with a colorful mix of administrators, parents, students, and athletes (and getting stung on more than one occasion) provided me with the fortitude to tackle bees again, which Helen and I did just before I hung up my coach's whistle in May, 2013.
Beekeeping is precarious and demands patience, dedication, and a willingness to experiment. The first year, both our hives failed to survive, so we tried again. The subsequent years have been more successful, and this year seems to be starting out well... so far, anyway. There is no such thing as a wise, smug beekeeper!
Helen taught orthopedically and multi-handicapped kindergarteners in another lifetime. During her teaching stint, our family added Matthew and Katie; several years after Helen 'retired' from teaching, our family expanded once again, this time in a particularly special way. Jeffrey was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a progressive neuromuscular disease. Helen used her skilled nursing experience from her classroom days to care for Jeffrey until he earned his wings at 5-1/2 months.
In addition to the bees and all other bee-related projects, two dogs and recently-inherited cat, two cute grandkiddos, old-house projects, a carpet dry-cleaning business, and Helen's column, we have a rental cabin (Angel Mountain Cabin) to make sure we don't get bored during retirement. Ha.
Honey B in her collar (and bonus detachable flower!) from Anna at Creature Collars! She's wondering about the wisdom of wearing bees around her neck....